Monthly Archives: July 2016

  • Why Would You Have to Clean a No-Clean Soldering Flux?

    no clean flux residueIt sounds like an oxy-moron but it is a common misconception that no-clean flux never needs to be cleaned. Many in the industry have experienced the conductive residue that can be left behind by no-clean flux. This residue can be extremely hard to remove, which becomes a big problem if you are working with sensitive boards. Because the no-clean fluxes are designed to not need to be cleaned they do not come off easily, which can be problematic.

    The amount of residue that is left on the board is dependent on several factors including the amount of solids-resins, gelling agents and activators contained in the flux. There is less flux residue left on the boards when the solids content is lower. Most of today’s no-clean flux contain between 50 and 70 percent solids.

    Despite all of this, no-clean remains the most widely used type of flux. Manufacturers are in the habit of running all of their boards with no-clean, and simply cleaning only those boards that require it.

    It may be tempting to not clean your dirty boards, simply because you are using a “no-clean” flux but this can have significant adverse effects down the road. In the past, assemblers saw problems arise with in-circuit testing on these un-cleaned boards. The residues from these no-clean fluxes also lead to malfunctions in circuits with clock speeds.

    acl staticideWhile in most cases not every board being soldered with no-clean flux will need this extra step, you do need to be on the lookout for the tell-tale residue left behind and clean these boards to prevent problems down the road. One great product for doing this is ACL Staticide 8623-12 No Clean Precision Flux Remover. This product can be purchased online at KIMCO Distribution http://gokimco.com/search?form_key=OhbYqHgT3MbeEp53&q=ACL+Staticide+8623-12+No+Clean+Precision+Flux+Remover.

  • Why Isn’t My Soldering Iron Tip Tinning?

    weller soldering ironOne of the frustrations in the electronics assembly world can be when your soldering iron tip cannot be tinned. Tinning is a necessary step for all new tips. By tinning the soldering iron tip, you can keep the tip from oxidizing. The fine coating of solder that is applied to the tip is critical to the soldering process, as the tip transfers the heat from the iron to the joint that you are trying to solder.

    The real secret to tinning your soldering iron tip lies in the timing. You need to get the coating of solder on the tip before it gets hot and begins oxidizing, which can make this process a challenging if not impossible one. To prevent this oxidation you need to act quickly and efficiently applying the solder.

    Your soldering iron tip also may not be tinning if there is an oxide layer. In this case you will need to first clean this oxidation off of the tip before the tinning process.

    Another sign that there is a problem and that you will not be able to tin the soldering iron is if the tip keeps turning black when you try to solder. Less expensive soldering irons will have a tip that is more likely to get black carbon on it, contaminating your tip with this in turn. If this is a reoccurring problem, it may be worthwhile to invest in a higher-end soldering iron which will save on productivity, not to mention operator frustration, in the long-run.

    Weller is a popular manufacturer of soldering irons that can help to eliminate this problem. The Weller TCP12P Controlled-Output Field Soldering Iron is a great choice.

    KIMCO Distributing offers a wide range of soldering irons, including those from Weller. Visit http://gokimco.com/search?form_key=OhbYqHgT3MbeEp53&q=soldering+iron to browse the soldering irons available.

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