American Beauty Resistance Soldering Unit


Brian Eiland
 

 

I have an American Beauty 250 unit like this

 

https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-0ea95/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/71119/86240/197234__14674.1556338759.jpg?c=2

 

I am primarily using it at this moment to solder track jointers and DCC feeder wires.
I have a couple of questions:

1) On the back side it has some sort of 'button' (not operable?) labeled “3 amps”. What is this?...some sort of fuse??

2) These units either work at their full capability, or do not work at all? In other words it does NOT loss power over time,...with its age??

3) Mine has the tweezers with approx 1/16” round metal electrodes. I find that it is sometimes difficult to get a good electrical contact. Could this be because of faulty metal electrodes. I've read that some are copper coded electrodes....could they have lost some of this 'coating' over age and/or filing and cleaning off flux??

4) Are there better electrodes to use? I see references to carbon electrodes

 


5) I have found that I need to adjust my power setting up to almost 80-90 percent? Is this really more than it should be to solder 18g feeder wires onto HO scale code 100 track?(I thought this was a powerful model?)


6) Do all these damn fluxes leave a residue on the electrodes and the soldered track joint??

 

7) One creamy flux I was using recently seemed to melt and flow quickly, but it left a fair bit of dirty residue. I was also concerned that the solder was not fully flowing across to BOTH rails at a joint. In fact the amount of solder in the joint as a whole did not seem to be overwheming.I was beging to believe I was not getting sufficient solder in the joint?

Sorry for the long posting, but today I was having trouble with my track solder jobs.

 

I had just a few days before visited a local welding shop and picked up some liquid paste recommended by them...a Harris 'STAY-SILV'...white brazing flux. It DID NOT seem to melt and flow with the temp of tweezers, or they were not making a solid contact with the work piece.

 

Frustrated, please HELP

Brian


wirefordcc
 

Hi Brian,

I also have an American Beauty 250W unit.  I think my might be older than yours.

I have a fuse on the back of mine. Yours sounds like it has a circuit breaker.

Mine has been working fine for about 35 years.  There has been no loss of power.

I am using the same tips as you - the 1/16" or so, copper clad, stainless steel tips.  If your tips arc or you get some melted ties on the tips, they will not work.  A resistance soldering iron counts on a nearly zero ohm resistance in the contact to work.  In the past, I used an old finger nail file to clean the inside face of the tips.  You don't need to scrub them.  Just knock off any crud that is on the tip.  Now that I have a cordless Dremel, I use that with a wire brush to clean the tips.

I haven't tried the carbon electrodes.  They look too big to use for soldering track.  If anyone else has used them, please chime in.

For code 83 HO track, I use my resistance soldering station set to about 68%.  I find if I am set below 65%, it takes longer.  I want the joint to heat quickly.  I would think about 68% - 70% would be good for code 100.

I highly recommend the gel (liquid) flux from H&N Electronics.  https://www.hnflux.com  What they call gel is slightly more viscous than what they call liquid.  This works great as I use a toothpick to capture one drop from the bottle and apply it to my feeder and track.  It also works great because when you step on your pedal and you will almost instantly hear it sizzle.  You are ready to solder!   If you can't get things to sizzle, than clean your tips.

H&N recommends cleaning any excess flux with a damp cloth or sponge, but I find that if you use no more than a drop or two, it all heats up and you don't have any residue.

I am currently building my new model railroad.  It is about 750 sq. ft. in size.  So far, I have only used about 1 oz of flux and it is about two-thirds wired.

I am planning a column in Model Railroader on resistance soldering.  I'm hoping to run it late spring.

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC


wirefordcc
 

I see your last name in the message header.  So, if I can use your question, just send me your city and state.


Thanks

 

Allan

 

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Eiland via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2020 9:22 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: [w4dccqa] American Beauty Resistance Soldering Unit

 

 

I have an American Beauty 250 unit like this

 

https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-0ea95/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/71119/86240/197234__14674.1556338759.jpg?c=2

 

I am primarily using it at this moment to solder track jointers and DCC feeder wires.
I have a couple of questions:

1) On the back side it has some sort of 'button' (not operable?) labeled “3 amps”. What is this?...some sort of fuse??

2) These units either work at their full capability, or do not work at all? In other words it does NOT loss power over time,...with its age??

3) Mine has the tweezers with approx 1/16” round metal electrodes. I find that it is sometimes difficult to get a good electrical contact. Could this be because of faulty metal electrodes. I've read that some are copper coded electrodes....could they have lost some of this 'coating' over age and/or filing and cleaning off flux??

4) Are there better electrodes to use? I see references to carbon electrodes

 


5) I have found that I need to adjust my power setting up to almost 80-90 percent? Is this really more than it should be to solder 18g feeder wires onto HO scale code 100 track?(I thought this was a powerful model?)


6) Do all these damn fluxes leave a residue on the electrodes and the soldered track joint??

 

7) One creamy flux I was using recently seemed to melt and flow quickly, but it left a fair bit of dirty residue. I was also concerned that the solder was not fully flowing across to BOTH rails at a joint. In fact the amount of solder in the joint as a whole did not seem to be overwheming.I was beging to believe I was not getting sufficient solder in the joint?

Sorry for the long posting, but today I was having trouble with my track solder jobs.

 

I had just a few days before visited a local welding shop and picked up some liquid paste recommended by them...a Harris 'STAY-SILV'...white brazing flux. It DID NOT seem to melt and flow with the temp of tweezers, or they were not making a solid contact with the work piece.

 

Frustrated, please HELP

Brian


Brian Eiland
 

Yes Allan, and thanks. I think I am going to buy some new electrodes and get some of that solder you recommend. My electrode tips get too dirty too quickly, and I have to 'scrub' them around to get a good contact. I purchased this unit used a while back, so maybe the copper coating on those electrodes has worn off...... by first owner then me. And I definitely need a GOOD flux.
Brian Eiland
St Augustine, FL

On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 11:17 AM wirefordcc <bigboy@...> wrote:

I see your last name in the message header.  So, if I can use your question, just send me your city and state.


Thanks

 

Allan

 

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Eiland via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2020 9:22 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: [w4dccqa] American Beauty Resistance Soldering Unit

 

 

I have an American Beauty 250 unit like this

 

https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-0ea95/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/71119/86240/197234__14674.1556338759.jpg?c=2

 

I am primarily using it at this moment to solder track jointers and DCC feeder wires.
I have a couple of questions:

1) On the back side it has some sort of 'button' (not operable?) labeled “3 amps”. What is this?...some sort of fuse??

2) These units either work at their full capability, or do not work at all? In other words it does NOT loss power over time,...with its age??

3) Mine has the tweezers with approx 1/16” round metal electrodes. I find that it is sometimes difficult to get a good electrical contact. Could this be because of faulty metal electrodes. I've read that some are copper coded electrodes....could they have lost some of this 'coating' over age and/or filing and cleaning off flux??

4) Are there better electrodes to use? I see references to carbon electrodes

 


5) I have found that I need to adjust my power setting up to almost 80-90 percent? Is this really more than it should be to solder 18g feeder wires onto HO scale code 100 track?(I thought this was a powerful model?)


6) Do all these damn fluxes leave a residue on the electrodes and the soldered track joint??

 

7) One creamy flux I was using recently seemed to melt and flow quickly, but it left a fair bit of dirty residue. I was also concerned that the solder was not fully flowing across to BOTH rails at a joint. In fact the amount of solder in the joint as a whole did not seem to be overwheming.I was beging to believe I was not getting sufficient solder in the joint?

Sorry for the long posting, but today I was having trouble with my track solder jobs.

 

I had just a few days before visited a local welding shop and picked up some liquid paste recommended by them...a Harris 'STAY-SILV'...white brazing flux. It DID NOT seem to melt and flow with the temp of tweezers, or they were not making a solid contact with the work piece.

 

Frustrated, please HELP

Brian


wirefordcc
 

I should have also mentioned using the 0.031” (or 1mm or .8mm) solid solder (without flux).  Don’t use paste flux.

 

I get about 10-15 years out of one set of tips.

 

Thanks for letting me use your questions.  Many of the answers are already in the column.  I’ll use those that are not.  The questions may not run the same month as the column.  It’s all depends on how extra space they have.

 

Thank you and enjoy!

 

Allan Gartner

 

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Eiland via groups.io
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 11:24 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] American Beauty Resistance Soldering Unit

 

Yes Allan, and thanks. I think I am going to buy some new electrodes and get some of that solder you recommend. My electrode tips get too dirty too quickly, and I have to 'scrub' them around to get a good contact. I purchased this unit used a while back, so maybe the copper coating on those electrodes has worn off...... by first owner then me. And I definitely need a GOOD flux.

Brian Eiland
St Augustine, FL

 

On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 11:17 AM wirefordcc <bigboy@...> wrote:

I see your last name in the message header.  So, if I can use your question, just send me your city and state.


Thanks

 

Allan

 

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Eiland via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2020 9:22 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: [w4dccqa] American Beauty Resistance Soldering Unit

 

 

I have an American Beauty 250 unit like this

 

https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-0ea95/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/71119/86240/197234__14674.1556338759.jpg?c=2

 

I am primarily using it at this moment to solder track jointers and DCC feeder wires.
I have a couple of questions:

1) On the back side it has some sort of 'button' (not operable?) labeled “3 amps”. What is this?...some sort of fuse??

2) These units either work at their full capability, or do not work at all? In other words it does NOT loss power over time,...with its age??

3) Mine has the tweezers with approx 1/16” round metal electrodes. I find that it is sometimes difficult to get a good electrical contact. Could this be because of faulty metal electrodes. I've read that some are copper coded electrodes....could they have lost some of this 'coating' over age and/or filing and cleaning off flux??

4) Are there better electrodes to use? I see references to carbon electrodes

 


5) I have found that I need to adjust my power setting up to almost 80-90 percent? Is this really more than it should be to solder 18g feeder wires onto HO scale code 100 track?(I thought this was a powerful model?)


6) Do all these damn fluxes leave a residue on the electrodes and the soldered track joint??

 

7) One creamy flux I was using recently seemed to melt and flow quickly, but it left a fair bit of dirty residue. I was also concerned that the solder was not fully flowing across to BOTH rails at a joint. In fact the amount of solder in the joint as a whole did not seem to be overwheming.I was beging to believe I was not getting sufficient solder in the joint?

Sorry for the long posting, but today I was having trouble with my track solder jobs.

 

I had just a few days before visited a local welding shop and picked up some liquid paste recommended by them...a Harris 'STAY-SILV'...white brazing flux. It DID NOT seem to melt and flow with the temp of tweezers, or they were not making a solid contact with the work piece.

 

Frustrated, please HELP

Brian