Profile for DrBob > Reviews

Browse

DrBob's Profile

Customer Reviews: 60
Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,154
Helpful Votes: 756




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
DrBob RSS Feed

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
pixel
Generic USB 3.0 2 Ports to Motherboard 20-pin adapter converter Color Black
Generic USB 3.0 2 Ports to Motherboard 20-pin adapter converter Color Black
Offered by Value Area
Price: $4.99
5 used & new from $4.75

3.0 out of 5 stars VERY fast delivery, perfect solution--IF you have clearance!, January 14, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a great gadget for connecting a pair of USB 2 or 3.0 cables that come from your case front panel to your motherboard (MB) 19 or 20-pin USB connector. Far superior to running the cables out of a hole in the case back to plug into the MB back panel, losing the use of 2 of the USB ports on that panel.

BUT since I am using a Lian Li home theater case which fits a drive cage above the MB, there is no room for the adapter plus the USB "A" plugs from the front panel. Not worth returning, and this may be useful in a different case. It's living in my parts bin.

If you have a similar problem, look at Silverstone's **** which has the USB receptacles on short cables that bent (with some effort) enough to fit my case.


Brother Removable Paper Label (DK4205)
Brother Removable Paper Label (DK4205)
Price: $31.85
77 used & new from $28.66

1.0 out of 5 stars Unbrotherly Quality Control Problem, December 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
From the reviews, it seems this product has very variable adhesive properties. That's called shoddy quality control. My roll has very poor adhesion--just as reported by another reviewer--but yet another reviewer needs to use a chemical solvent to remove supposedly the same labels. Others seem to have no problem at all. With these labels costing twice as much as ordinary paper labels, this is inexcusable. Don't buy these unless you are willing to return them if they don't adhere properly!

O Brother, where art thou? Please post if you have solved this problem. I'd like to return my useless roll, but would NOT want the same stuff--nor the devil-grip ones--in exchange


New 3220 mAh Replacement Battery for Samsung Galaxy Note 4 IV (SM-N910 AT&T Sprint T-Mobile US Cellular Verizon) BELTRON BLT-NT4
New 3220 mAh Replacement Battery for Samsung Galaxy Note 4 IV (SM-N910 AT&T Sprint T-Mobile US Cellular Verizon) BELTRON BLT-NT4
Offered by jcBargains
Price: $10.95
3 used & new from $10.92

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Need One Of These. Really!, December 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
One of the ESSENTIAL features for me is a user-replaceable battery as our Note 4 has. I modestly admit you and I were smart enough to get such a phone, I modestly admit. Now we need to follow through!

It's a long-term habit with me to carry one with me at all times in case my beloved phone (ALL my phones are beloved!) should need a jolt o' volts. Less than 30 seconds to slide off a gel case, the phone back cover, and pop out the spent battery. Then drop in the fresh battery, click the phone back on, and the case back on. 100% charge, and no huge slow battery pack.

This is one of the first Note 4 batteries on Amazon; No reviews at all. I bought one of these essentially with eenie-meenie technology; there were only 2 choices, there weren't no mo'

This fits exactly, and except for color, is indistinguishable from the Samsung Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) battery that came with the phone. Now I prefer to compare hard data, but it's difficult to measure charge and running time accurately without specialized test equipment. Just using the phone, as I do, is very dependent on what is going on with your phone. I can say my Note 4 lasts a full day and leaves from 35 to 60% charge (much longer than my Original Note). For example, you may not realize that the quality of the local cell tower greatly influences battery life; with a strong signal, your phone reduces transmit power to a few hundredths of a Watt, but with a weak signal it can automatically increase to a full Watt or more. The point is that this battery seems to work the same as the OEM one, even holding its charge for a week or more in my pocket.

It lacks the Near-field Communications feature of the OEM battery, but I don't use that; even if I eventually do, this battery will still serve as an emergency backup. And it's really affordable.

I do not have an external charger yet--the phone is too new. So I use the phone's wall charger to charge the phone fully, then remove the charged battery, put the spare battery in and charge it fully, and leave it in. When it runs down, I recharge it if possible. If not, I do the 30-second battery swap. Usually when I get home. I have not used much of the spare battery charge, so it recharges very fast. Then I swap the dead battery in and charge it overnight. In the morning I once again have a fully-charged phone and a fully-charged spare. Plus it is beneficial to alternate batteries occasionally.

Disclaimer: I bought this myself and get no kickbacks for my reviews. This is the review I would have liked to see when I was looking for one of these. I hope it helps.


Galaxy Note 4 Case, Maxboost® [Clear Cushion] Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Case Bumper [Lifetime Warranty] Seamless integrated Shock-Absorbing Bumper and Ultra Clear Back Panel Protective Cover - Stylish Retail Packaging - Slim Bumper Cases for Samsung Note 4 (2014 Model, SM-N910S / SM-N910C) - Ultra Clear
Galaxy Note 4 Case, Maxboost® [Clear Cushion] Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Case Bumper [Lifetime Warranty] Seamless integrated Shock-Absorbing Bumper and Ultra Clear Back Panel Protective Cover - Stylish Retail Packaging - Slim Bumper Cases for Samsung Note 4 (2014 Model, SM-N910S / SM-N910C) - Ultra Clear
Offered by power-innovation
Price: $19.95
3 used & new from $10.99

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Gel Case I Have Seen So Far, November 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Less than a month from first availability of the Note 4, I expected some problems getting a perfectly-fitting gel case for my Note 4. Early reviews substantiated that. So I bought 2 cheap ones--no point laying out a lot of money before the design bugs have been worked out. The first one I bought had inaccurate positioning of openings, completely covering one of the small holes on the bottom edge of the case. I assume this is one of the stereo microphones. The second case partially covered one microphone hole. My old leather punch would easily let me modify the holes, but the main problem with both cases was they were too tight; it was a struggle to get them on. The second case was so tight its rim wouldn't rise above the phone's screen surface, leaving part of the top edge unprotected.

This case cost a little more, but is a near-perfect fit for my phone. It is molded with a hard, flat back and flexible sides. The back is thicker than the other cases', just enough to prevent the camera window from contacting a flat surface (the Note 4's window protrudes above the camera's back cover for some reason.)
the
All the phone ports have generous matching case openings so I've had no trouble attaching micro-USB, headphone, and S-Pen. All microphone holes are clear. The case fits well; it is secure, yet easy to slip on and off. That's important to me. because I always carry a spare battery (3220 mAh Replacement Battery for Samsung Galaxy Note 4 BELTRON BLT-NT4) with me for a quick swap to 100% charge, which can be done in less than 30 seconds by removing and replacing the case and phone back cover.

The rim of the case is thick enough to keep the screen safe from a fall onto a flat surface. The clear back lets my "Reward for Return" label on the phone back show through, yet be protected.

EDIT: One problem that had begun to annoy me: This case has the quality feature of slightly-protruding molded-in button pads to help press the phone's Display On/Off and Volume buttons when the case is attached. Unfortunately they protrude enough that I frequently actuate them when I carry the phone or remove/replace it from my pocket. And they make the phone a bit awkward to use as a carpenters' level (a handy kind of app I have installed.) So I took out my trusty X-Acto knife and a triangular blade and cut the button pads out of the case edges. An easy 2-minute fix, and I find it a nice improvement. Still easy to use, just a bit more determination is needed to press the phone buttons. No change in my rating, as many folks will prefer the case as sold. So buy it and try it--and decide for yourself if a quick circumcision will benefit it.

All-in-all, a great value!

Disclaimer: I paid for this myself, and my opinion is entirely my own.


Se Professional 13 Piece Set Watch Back Press W/ 12 Dies Jt1229
Se Professional 13 Piece Set Watch Back Press W/ 12 Dies Jt1229
Offered by Micro-Tools
Price: $29.90
3 used & new from $16.28

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly as Pictured. Misaligned, October 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Lacks curved finger grip shown, making it difficult and uncomfortable to hand hold. Box is labeled "Glass Fitting Machine". Mine looks just like the picture shown on 10/11/2014 (things change on Amazon) for SE - Watch Case Press w/12 Nylon Dies.

Pros: Strong, heavy construction, decently finished. It does look "professional". I put a lot of force on it without any strength problems (of the press--as for me, I failed miserably). Amazon seems to mix reviews and vendors for what they think are identical products; maybe that's why some reviewers claim their devices broke. The image in this listing does seem to be of a much less sturdy unit than mine. Nice assortment of non-scratching nylon dies. all are clearly marked with diameters in millimeter increments. Some are flat on both sides, making them dangerous to use on domed watchglasses--if that is what you are using it for. But they are OK for flat surfaces. Dies easily clip on/off bottom stud and ram.

Cons: Holes for top ram and bottom stud are drilled inaccurately so dies are misaligned by about a millimeter. I don't know if this accounted for my difficulty in using it. Impossible to hand hold. It must be screwed to a workbench to apply enough pressure to press back onto watch case--if it's even possible.

I was unable to press the back onto my wife's watch with this device. I am trying to work up the nerve to use my nice big pair of Vise-grips and two dies from this kit. If that works, the dies alone are worth the price. The watch is a cheap costume-jewelry item with an attractive ring of glass gems around the dial. The 40mm recessed die is a perfect fit to press on the watch face without touching either the crystal or the gems. This tool would get 5 stars from me if I could get the dang watch back pressed on! I suspect the watch cost about what I paid for the press and a pack of batteries. Perhaps I'll just get her a new one and claim the credit for fixing this one!

Edited 10/11/2014 to insert link to picture and clarify a few things. Still looking for a new watch.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2014 11:56 PM PST


10 Pry Tools Repair Open Compatible with apple ipod/ iphone (a)
10 Pry Tools Repair Open Compatible with apple ipod/ iphone (a)
Offered by EF-Cloud
Price: $1.89
29 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality, Faster Delivery Than Expected. Work Great on Galaxy Note, July 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
COMPATIBILITY:
These are listed as "Compatible with apple ipod/iphone", Apparently they are not appropriate for some Apple devices. But they ARE near-perfect for my Samsung Galaxy Note.

QUALITY:
These appear identical to the ones I received in a kit I bought, but I found these to be harder plastic and stronger. I am happy with the quality, considering the price is less than 18 cents each, delivered--making them disposable after one use. They are made soft enough to not scratch the device you are working on, yet exert force on the device's inside case clips. They will not cut through adhesive, which seems to be the problem some reviewers report when opening iPods. They are designed with a sharp (for plastic) tip bent 90 degrees, which works beautifully to slip between the junction of the outer front cover and inner shell of the phone, and pop the phone's clips apart with an easy rocking motion. Easier after a little experience.

My original pair of kit tools still work after three case openings, but are well worn. However, I anticipate that with their harder plastic, and my by-now well-honed expertise at clip-popping, these ten will last for as long as I will. I do not do this for a living.

DELIVERY: The listing was for an EXTREMELY cheap set of 10, with free shipping. The listing didn't say it, but I automatically assume they come directly from China. Some unhappy reviewers apparently didn't notice the very long estimated delivery time. I ordered mine on July 2, 2014; the estimated delivery date was shown as July 29 - August 14, 2014. They actually arrived yesterday, July 16. Fourteen working days, not bad at all. Of course, if I am pressed for time, I will never order directly from China; Amazon Prime is the way to go!


Genesis GHG1500A Dual-Temperature Heat Gun, Grey/Green, 1-Pack
Genesis GHG1500A Dual-Temperature Heat Gun, Grey/Green, 1-Pack
Price: $22.04
4 used & new from $17.81

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Expected--But One Caution!, July 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had to solder some cables to 120V cooling fans. These connections must be insulated for safety, but I just can't stand gooey electrical tape. I had heat-shrink insulating tubing, but my old heat gun died. Using matches or a lighter makes for a poor application. Since I don't do much of this work anymore, I wanted a cheap replacement, and I wanted a few nozzle attachments to control the heat better.

This gun is inexpensive but not cheap. It looks and feels like a tool several times the price. It produces enormous heat at its 1500W High setting; Genesis claims you can sweat-solder plumbing pipes with it. Be careful! I'll probably use the 750W Low setting for everything.

The nozzle attachments are a heavier gauge than expected and fit securely. Definitely not cheap-feeling.

I like the design feature that lets it lie securely on its back on a workbench, aiming up so you can manipulate the work with two hands if needed.

Cons:
The seam at the front of the handle is a little uncomfortable. I'll probably file it smooth. No big deal.

Caution:
I saw quite a lot of white smoke coming out of the gun after couple of minutes of use; it smelled like hot production residues (oil, insulation, paint, etc.) coming off. It billowed out the shell of the gun like some movie prop, but diminished quickly and was completely gone after about 5 minutes of running. It is perfectly normal, though this gun's enormous heat output gave it the Oscar for best short duration fume production by a non-smoke grenade I've ever seen. I bet many buyers return these guns after seeing the smoke.It would have been wise for Genesis to "burn it in" at the factory.

Had I no experience with the smell of real fires and burned electrical parts, I might have dropped it and breathlessly called 911 from the driveway. I suggest you "burn it in" outdoors or near a window so you don't smell up the house.

As Douglas Adams would say: Don't panic!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2015 2:45 PM PST


BUFFALO MediaStation BDXL Portable Blu-Ray Writer - BRXL-PC6U2B
BUFFALO MediaStation BDXL Portable Blu-Ray Writer - BRXL-PC6U2B
Price: $79.99
59 used & new from $65.12

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Portable Drive, Full-featured, Highly Recommended!, July 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
** Edited 7/19/2014 to correct software description and compulsively fix a few typos/minor goofs.

Thanks to the previous reviewers for alerting me to the unusual connections this unit uses. So I gave it a lot more thought than usual for an optical drive, and decided that it would be fine for my needs. Here are my thoughts. Your mileage may vary.

MY NEEDS (electronic): My new lightweight notebook lacks an internal optical drive. Though I'd rarely needed to use the built-in drives on my older machines, one is still valuable for certain tasks like loading software and giving photos and slide shows to folks who don't use computers. I bought a cheap external DVD drive with the computer, but couldn't find it when my machine suddenly required a BUNCH of troubleshooting, backups, and reinstalls. So I decided to get a new drive with a nicer set of features, including full Blu-Ray R/W. This has 4-layer BD capability for up to 128gB discs I might want to use in the future.

FEATURES/PROBLEMS/BENEFITS:

1. DOUBLE CABLE DESIGN: This is needed because an electromechanical drive like this may require more than the standard 500 milliamperes (mA) that an ordinary USB 2.0 port is required to provide. If the drive doesn't get enough current, it won't work--or worse, work unreliably. Connecting to a second port gets you up to an ample 1000 mA. If you don't happen to have an available second port, there is a jack on the back for a 5V external power supply. I have not tried this yet.

2. SHORT CABLES: This turns our to be a plus for me, as this unit has a clever design which stores the cables nicely around the drive case so they are easy to pack. No coiling, no ties. One small black box to toss in the suitcase. Many reviewers complain about the difficulty of the supplied cable reaching two USB ports at a time on certain machines. Mine has two adjacent ports, but if you need to you could buy an inexpensive USB extension cable for one port. But then I realized that I really don't NEED two cables because I could plug the unit into a SINGLE USB 3.0 port (now being called "Superspeed"), which delivers a standard 900 mA; plenty to run the drive. To the reviewer who thought he couldn't connect a USB 2.0 cable to a USB 3.0 port: USB "A" connectors (the common flat ones) are compatible for both USB types. They work fine.

3. CABLE LIFE: USB connectors are not very rugged; they are rated for relatively few connection cycles and easily damaged in use. I was concerned that it would be difficult to replace a damaged cable, as they seemed permanently attached to the drive case. BUT NOT TO WORRY! The T-shaped cable simply plugs in! There is a mini-A connector at the back of the drive. You can just plug in a replacement cable. If your computer or hub can provide sufficient power on a single connector, you can plug in a single inexpensive USB "Mini-A" to "A" cable of virtually any length!

4. EXTRA POWER OPTION: Has a rear connector for 5Vdc power. No current rating is shown, but just about any old 5Vdc supply whose output cable fits the Buffalo ought to work (be gentle with the Buffalo!) This could be helpful if you have no USB 3.0 ports and can't spare a second USB 2.0 port. You will have to find a power supply by trial and error, as jacks vary in size. Fortunately, you can use just about any supply that fits if it is rated for 1 Ampere or more Check the little picture on the power supply to make sure its center conductor is positive (+). It should match the one on the drive bottom near the jack. I have not seen a center-negative connection for many years, but I always check first as a reverse connection could destroy the equipment.

5. EASE OF USE: The drive worked immediately out of the box, when plugged into a single USB 3.0 port--as expected. I cranked out eight CD-Rs/DVD-Rs this evening with no problems.The second cable remained stowed away. The included disc is not needed for setup. It contains only the CyberLink software package.

6. SOFTWARE: You don't need to install any software to use this drive for reading data, playing music or loading programs from this drive. You do need extra software to do more complex jobs like cloning discs and playing or creating movies. Optical drives come with various packages, often obsolete or freeware stuff. This came with a very complete suite of "name-brand" software from CyberLink, covering music and data discs through photo editing, DVD movie creation. My drive came with CyberLink Media Suite Version 8.00.3518. Version 12 seems to be the latest, but offers little advantage for most users. Upgrades are available for the more creative among you. Check the CyberLink site to see what features V11 and V12 offer. It is good stuff--I installed the supplied disc, popped in a Blu-Ray movie, and was watching HD video in no time.

CONS: Only one: it is USB 2.0 only. I don't think this is a handicap for CD/DVD/BD use, as USB 2.0 supports faster transfers than optical drives can use--and this drive is fully compatible with V3.0 ports now and in the future; it just runs at USB 2.0 speeds. I am now trying to buy USB V3.0 devices exclusively. Do make sure your future equipment has lots of USB 3.0. I find, for example, that it more than doubles data transfer rates for big video files on flash or hard drives (assuming the computer and drive ports, and the cable, are all USB 3.0 rated.

DISCLAIMER:
I bought this with my own credit card, and have no connection with Amazon, Buffalo nor CyberLink except as a customer. I am very pleased with this purchase and am confident you will feel the same. I'm posting this to share some information I would have liked to have seen in the listing before I bought it. I hope it is useful to you.


Intocircuit Ac Adapter Power Battery Charger PSU for Hp Envy Touchsmart 15t-j000; Hp Sleekbook Envy M6-k(not Envy M6), Compatible with 710412-001 709985-002 Ppp009c 710412-001 Ppp009c 09985-004 Ppp009a Ad9043-022g2 Ppp009a 709985-004 710412-001 Ad9043-022g2
Intocircuit Ac Adapter Power Battery Charger PSU for Hp Envy Touchsmart 15t-j000; Hp Sleekbook Envy M6-k(not Envy M6), Compatible with 710412-001 709985-002 Ppp009c 710412-001 Ppp009c 09985-004 Ppp009a Ad9043-022g2 Ppp009a 709985-004 710412-001 Ad9043-022g2
Offered by Hisgadget Inc
Price: $16.99
2 used & new from $16.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Beyond Expectations! May be more reliable than HP!, June 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
To eliminate any doubt, this unit DOES satisfactorily replace an HP 710412-001 AC Adapter. And it may be more reliable than the original HP supply!

I'd been looking unsuccessfully for power-connector tips for my "Universal" Targus and iGo aftermarket power adapters to let me use them for my new HP Pavilion Touchsmart 14 Sleekbook. Giving up, I decided to buy a new adapter with a dedicated (permanently-attached) plug. I found this adapter for about the price of a (very)good lunch. I was really surprised when I received this IntoCircuit unit. It came in a very professional-looking, heavyweight, colorful cardboard box, nicely printed and perfect as a gift for a Sleekbook user. I thanked myself profusely.

Inside was a neat, clean, carefully-packed power brick with attached 45 inch output cord and about a 6-foot 3-wire power cord (C5 "Mickey Mouse" connector) exactly like the original HP line cord. The brick sits nicely on the floor with enough extra cord to easily reach the computer on my desk, and the line cord can reach most receptacles I encounter. It can inexpensively be replaced with a longer (like 3 Prong AC Power Cord Cable (12 Feet) or shorter (like C&E CNE40551 1 Foot Notebook/Laptop Power Cord), NEMA 5-15P to C5, 3 Pin cord if you prefer. The supply is rated for 100-240 Vac input (suitable for international travel) and 19.5Vdc output as needed by these computers. It carries two output-current ratings, 3.3A (65W) and 4.62A (90W). This means the unit can deliver 90W if your computer needs it, but if the computer is satisfied with 65W, the adapter will be happy to provide it. The box also included a nice suede-ish carry bag, a classy touch.

The crucial point, of course, is the HP-proprietary plug for the computer. I am pleased to report that, although it is straight-in instead of right-angle like the HP version, this plug fits easily, yet securely, on my notebook. I am using it right now. I prefer this straight plug, which disconnects more easily, so the computer doesn't get pulled off the desk if some clumsy oaf (usually me) trips over the cord.

NOTE: THIS PLUG IS ACTUALLY MORE RELIABLE THAN THE ORIGINAL HP PRODUCT'S.
After less than a year, my original HP power supply cord is getting loose at the computer connector, and often slips out without warning. I thought it surprising enough to add this note. I think the HP is good quality, but the angled plug design seems to increase the stress on the contacts as you move the computer around.

In sum, I'm a very happy buyer, here to order a second one for myself to keep downstairs so I only have to shlep the notebook itself between floors.

Disclaimer: I have no relationship with any manufacturer mentioned here. I own one of these units and am ordering another. I do not own either of the line cords I mention as examples, but believe they will work. Check before ordering.

**Edited 6/19/14: Added output power capabilities, links, and fixed a couple of minor goofs.
**Edited 8/21/14: Added note about reliability vs. HP original cord.


Alpha Fry AT-31604 60-40 Rosin Core Solder (4 Ounces)
Alpha Fry AT-31604 60-40 Rosin Core Solder (4 Ounces)
Offered by SJS Commercial
Price: $8.57
17 used & new from $3.94

71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some information about solder you might find useful, June 7, 2014
I was glad to find real tin-lead solder is still available! But reading the user reviews made me realize that some users were having problems because they don't fully understand solder and soldering. So here are a few tips some of you might find helpful:

1. Solder is used as a kind of glue to hold pieces of metal together and conduct electricity and heat between them.

2. To do this, you need to apply a metal that has a melting point lower than any of the metals being joined, else they will melt first.

3. For almost all electrical work, we could use lead, which is very cheap, but melts at about 328C (622F). Tin is expensive, but melts much more easily, at 232C (450F).

4. If we mix tin and lead together, we get an alloy which melts even more easily. It turns out that 60% tin and 40% alloy (60/40), like this solder, melts at 188C (370F). Even better, but more expensive and hard to find, is 63% tin and 37% lead, which melts at about 183C (361F). Plumbers use 50% tin and 50% lead alloy, melting at about 214C (418ºF). Avoid it for electrical/electronic work.

5. To get a good solder joint, the parts to be joined MUST be clean! Use a wire brush or sandpaper (not steel wool, bits of which can drop on your work and create short circuits.

6. Wrap the CLEAN wires together or clamp your CLEAN work so it will not move after you remove the soldering iron. Press the hot iron against the joint and touch the solder wire to the iron tip where it contacts the joint. Let a very small amount of solder melt and get drawn into the joint to help heat to travel into the joint. Then touch the solder to the part being soldered. To get a good joint, the JOINT, NOT THE IRON must melt the solder. The solder MUST "wet" the joint and flow into the joint smoothly. Move the iron away carefully and let the solder cool. It takes a few seconds for the melted solder to cool. During this time, the alloy is slushy, and movement before it cools will result in a weak, rough-looking "cold solder joint" which is unreliable and must be re-melted. Do not try to melt a blob of solder onto the iron's tip and carry it to the joint. The flux will be gone and the solder won't flow properly.

7. The slushy phase is very short for 60/40 solder, but can last for many seconds for 50/50. Plumbers used to take advantage of this to make "wipe joints" by wiping and forming the slushy solder with a rag as it cools. That is very seldom done these days--and NEVER in electronics. 63/37 solder goes from a liquid to a solid almost instantly, making cold joints rare. Buy it if you can; you use very little per joint in electronic work. I bought a 1-lb spool of it many years ago and still have most of it. I misplaced it recently, which is why I am here on Amazon.

8. Flux: Most metals quickly react with air to form an oxide film, starting as soon as they are cleaned. Aluminum is a very active metal, which would be unusable outdoors if its oxide film were not protecting it from corrosion. It makes soldering it very difficult, so it's usually crimped or welded.. Copper and brass oxide films will also prevent solder from adhering, so even if you CLEAN before soldering, you need a flux to dissolve and prevent oxidation at the joint during soldering. Acid flux is used in plumbing as it is very effective, but it is corrosive and must be removed after the joint is made. Rosin-based flux is less corrosive and can be left in place. It is usually supplied within the center core of electronic solder such as this, so you don't need to buy a can of it unless you are plumbing.

The secret of soldering: Lots of heat, for a very short time. Trying to protect parts from heat by using a low-temperature or undersized iron will actually result in MORE overheating of the parts because the heat will have more time to travel to the part even if the solder joint is unsuccessful. Do this: Use a good temperature-controlled soldering iron such as aWeller W60P 60Watts/120V Controlled Output Soldering Iron with a 1/16" or 1/8" tip for electronics or up to a 1/4" tip for heavier work. I use 600F temperature tips for 60/40 solder, though 700F might be better for lead-free solder. Keep the tip clean by melting a bit of solder on it and wiping it off quickly with a damp paper towel or sponge to get a smooth silvery surface. Modern irons come with iron-plated tips for long life. NEVER try to file them like you grandfather did!

If you are a newbie, you ought to get a training kit to start. I have been buying Elenco AmeriKit Learn to Solder Kits for my kids, nieces, nephews, and friends who want to learn to solder. These come with decent tools (though the soldering iron is not going to last 40 years like my W-60.) There is an excellent instruction sheet for soldering and desoldering, with a simple circuit board and parts to work with and hopefully build a working gadget. All at a remarkably low price.

Disclaimers: I have no connection with the products I mention. My 5-star rating of this item is based on Alpha products I have used in the past. I have not yet ordered this. As a long-time amateur radio licensee, it is part of our culture to help others. I hope you find this useful and perhaps join us.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 14, 2014 11:29 AM PDT


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6