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Soldering Gun

The soldering gun (figure 2-31) has gained great popularity in recent years because it heats and cools rapidly. It is especially well adapted to maintenance and troubleshooting work where only a small part of the technician's time is spent actually soldering.

Figure 2-31. - Soldering gun.

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A transformer in the soldering gun supplies approximately 1 volt at high current to a loop of copper, which acts as the soldering tip. It heats to soldering temperature in 3 to 5 seconds. However, it may overheat to the point of incandescence if left on over 30 seconds. This should be avoided because excess heat will burn the insulation off the wiring. The gun is operated by a finger switch. The gun heats only while the switch is pressed.

Since the gun normally operates only for short periods at a time, it is comparatively easy to keep clean and well tinned. Short operating time allows little oxidation to form. Because the tip is made of pure copper, it is likely to pit, due to the dissolving action of the solder.

The gun or iron should always be kept tinned to permit proper heat transfer to the connection to be soldered. Tinning also helps control the heat to prevent solder buildup on the tip. This control reduces the chance of the solder spilling over to nearby components and causing short circuits. Maintaining the proper tinning on the iron or gun, however, may be made easier by tinning with silver solder (a composition of silver, copper, and zinc). The temperature at which the bond is formed between the copper tip and the silver solder is much higher than with lead-tin solder. This tends to decrease the pitting action of the solder on the copper tip.

Overheating small or delicate wiring can easily occur when a soldering gun is used. For most jobs, even the LOW position of the trigger overheats the gun after 10 seconds. With practice, the heat can be controlled by pulsing the gun on and off with its trigger. The HIGH position is used only for fast heating and for soldering heavy connections.

When a soldering iron or gun is used, heating and cooling cycles tend to loosen the nuts or screws that hold the replaceable tips. When the nut on a gun becomes loose, the resistance of the tip connection increases. The temperature of the connection is increased, thus reducing the heat at the tip. Continued loosening may eventually cause an open circuit. Therefore, check and tighten the nut or screw, as needed.

Soldering guns should never be used to solder electronic components, such as resistors, capacitors, and transistors, because the heat generated can destroy the components. They should be used only on terminals, splices, and connectors (not the miniature type).

Q.30 What happens if a soldering gun switch is pressed for periods longer than 30 seconds? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.31 What causes the nuts or screws that hold the tips on soldering irons and guns to loosen? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.32 A soldering gun should NOT be used on what components? answer.gif (214 bytes)




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