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Headphone repair help

Community Veteran
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Registered: 18-02-2013

Headphone repair help

I'm looking for a soldering iron to tackle a micro usb port on a set of headphones, has anybody got any wisdom on what to buy for this type of job. I've been looking around the web and the general census is to get some 0.5mm solder and an iron with 0.5mm tip, I'm just not sure what iron type or wattage would be powerful enough for this type of work.
I have a light magnifier which should just about do me i hope.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: Headphone repair help

Any soldering iron around 17-30 watts will be fine.
Make sure you get some liquid flux (good for SMT stuff) and fine desoldering braid and/or solder sucker !
Soldering fine pitch components often results in solder bridges which can be a pain to get off without the flux / braid.
I actually use a 3-4mm bit and drag solder SMT devices but that takes a fair bit of practice.
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Re: Headphone repair help

Being a cheapskate, when I had some fine soldering to do, I swirled some copper wire around the soldering bit and used the wire tip to solder with.
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Re: Headphone repair help

I've done that and find it works fine.

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Community Veteran
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Registered: 18-02-2013

Re: Headphone repair help

I looked at some dragging techniques, but I wont be able to get at it with a big iron, very impressed though. Winding some copper wire to get into the back of the micro-usb port sounds like an idea but I'll have to practice a little first. I was looking at an 18 watt iron with a 0.5mm tip but some reviews put me off saying "Rubbish, Not Hot Enough" etc. Although my gas iron may be a bit brutal for this small job as it tends to burn stuff if the port is facing in the wrong direction! so I'm happy to hear 18 watt will be fine.
Community Veteran
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Re: Headphone repair help

You only really need a higher wattage iron if you are soldering heavier tracks. For the fine stuff, 18w is enough.
I have a range of irons from a cheap £10 100W brute to a top end Metcal which is a real eye opener if you've never used one before - almost instant heat and despite "only" being 50w it will keep up with a lot of the larger irons with ease. It effectively uses an induction heating technique which keeps the tip at a constant temperature and I've soldered some pretty heavy duty stuff with it.
I think I have around 10 irons all together including my first Antec one from when I was 14 years old  - that iron is now 28 years old Shocked
Community Veteran
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Re: Headphone repair help

Well, I bought a little 12 watt Antex iron with 0.5mm tip, seems ok for the small stuff, I had a little practice earlier on with an old WAG354G that was lying about. But they had no flux in the shop i got the iron from so more waiting for stuff, oh well, I'll get it sorted when i have all the gear i need next week.
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Re: Headphone repair help

The flux isn't absolutely necessary if you are very careful - especially with a joint that has already been soldered before but it can help considerably if you bridge the joints and want to get rid of the excess solder with a wick.
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Re: Headphone repair help

I'm resisting trying it till i get some, I can hardly get on the back of the pins so I just want to be sure the solder flows ok. I also got some 1mm wick just incase. I might get some 0.5mm solder while i'm waiting... Any ideas on what flux to get ? This stuff seems ok http://uk.farnell.com/jsp/search/productdetail.jsp?SKU=3059091&MER=bn-me-ca-r1-best-che-8 . I had some stuff in a green tin, but it long since ran out. I got some of the new lead free solder with my old gas iron, but I can't get on with it at all. I guess things change Undecided
Any idea on what solder to go for, I see a lot of opinions on types of solder, my thoughts are to get 0.3mm or 0.5mm 63/37 not sure on what make though.
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Re: Headphone repair help

Cripes - I've got some flux in a syringe that I've had for around 10 years now - it just says SMT rework flux lol.
I use the 0.7mm 60/40 solder from Rapid Electronics for most SMT stuff I do (I think that is what I use anyway - seems the smallest they do). The bigger stuff I use for cables etc.
Go for the thinnest stuff you can get - makes it a little easier for the fine tracks.
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Re: Headphone repair help

They seem to do 0.3/0.5mm, thanks for the tip, Stannol rings a bell.
http://www.rapidonline.com/FFSearchResults.aspx?query=0.3mm%20solder&filterSearchScope=1
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Re: Headphone repair help

I got it sorted ok. Just for the reference, I repaired the power socket on a set of G930 headphones with a basic light/magnifier with additional magnifier laid on top using a 12watt Antex M12 Soldering Iron with 0.5mm tip and a CW8100 "No Clean Flux Pen", I just cut the 1mm solder with a pair of scissors to a fine point instead of getting any new fine 0.3/0.5mm solder, but i will be getting some for future reference. I also ordered spare micro usb type b sockets from Japan which I'm happy to say are a perfect match.