Author Topic: Soldering Iron Recommendations?  (Read 3968 times)

Offline ricopico

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Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« on: August 20, 2015, 03:53:22 PM »
So looking over my bag of components from Mouser, and digging up my cheapo soldering iron from Harbor Freight, i'm thinking of getting an upgrade for my soldering iron.  I see some available on Ebay, but I don't know what features to look for (soldering holder/temp control/etc.)  How much should I reasonably expect to spend on a descent iron?

Thanks for feedback.  Rico

Offline flyinverted

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2015, 04:47:20 PM »
I suggest a soldering station and not just an iron.

Weller and Esdyn make great stations. Temperature controlled and easy to change tips are the keys.

I have had this one for 15+ years and it still works great.
http://www.amazon.com/Soldering-Station-951SX-Temperature-Controlled/dp/B00012YSG4

Read those reviews.

Offline t.jo13

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2015, 08:22:50 PM »
+1  on a weller station.

Offline Donny M. Carter

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2015, 06:30:18 PM »
I recommend the Hakko Fx888d. it's a solid unit at a great price. I did not look around for the best price, just a link. This unit is often on sale at several places.

http://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX888D-23BY-Digital-Soldering-FX-888D/dp/B00ANZRT4M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440203283&sr=8-1&keywords=hakko+fx-888d

Offline RichM

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2015, 10:43:32 PM »
It may not be the best, but this one has worked for me the last two years with no problems.
http://www.radioshack.com/radioshack-digital-soldering-station/6400053.html
I purchased mine at a local store and didn't have to wait on shipping. 

Offline gadgetsmith

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2015, 05:21:36 AM »
Got this with "birthday money" this past spring. Love it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B006FA481G

Had this before, and was very happy too.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000AS28UC


Offline jnealand

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2015, 07:51:49 AM »
I have had the Weller (2nd link) in gadgetsmiths post for years.  Works great and has been easy to find new tips.  That being said if I had to replace it I think I would be looking for one with digital control of temp and little things like a spool for my solder and and a separate stand.  Not sure what I would pick, but the Weller works great.
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Offline JonB256

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2015, 10:00:22 AM »
I bought a no-name clone of an older Hakko model. No digital readout, just a numbered dial.
But, it uses standard Hakko tips and is very temperature controlled. Also has a Hot Air handle that I use for heat shrink. It is supposed to be for surface mounting, but I've never done that.

Looks like this one:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Aoyue-968A-4-in-1-Digital-Hot-Air-Rework-and-Soldering-Station-/110839316933?hash=item19ce89c1c5  but didn't come with all the extras. This one has a suction near the tip to keep the flux fumes away. (personally, I love the smell of flux in the morning. It smells like victory.)

I bought two at the time (one for me, one for fdunham) and they are both still working great.

The real things to look for are adjustable temp (which means it has a thermostat built in), replaceable tips and a "holster" to put the hot iron in between soldering.

Offline ricopico

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2015, 01:57:53 PM »
Thanks everyone for your recommendations.  Looks like i'll have to save up some dough to upgrade.

thanks, 

Rico

Offline jnealand

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2015, 10:51:13 AM »

Offline mello_roberto

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Offline tbone321

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2015, 12:28:59 PM »
It looks nice but that rework station is more geared to SMD work and rework and unless you intend to do a lot of that type of work, the mpney can be much better spent.

Offline mararunr

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2015, 07:02:48 AM »
I would suggest staying away from too big of a station type setup if you are planning on building any large elements.  For example I'm working on a 10.5 foot by 5.5 matrix as well as a 6 foot tall Bethlehem Star - luckily I just have the little Weller base station to move around so the iron will reach certain points.  I can't imagine moving some of the base stations posted with all the extras.  Just my .02
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 This is just my opinion/suggestion/viewpoint.  Others with other viewpoints/experiences may have different advice.  I am a hobbyist with a couple years real world experience, not an expert.

Offline JonB256

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2015, 08:43:27 AM »
I would suggest staying away from too big of a station type setup if you are planning on building any large elements.  For example I'm working on a 10.5 foot by 5.5 matrix as well as a 6 foot tall Bethlehem Star - luckily I just have the little Weller base station to move around so the iron will reach certain points.  I can't imagine moving some of the base stations posted with all the extras.  Just my .02

I have a small, battery powered soldering pen for that kind of work (or on the roof).

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-BP860MP-Battery-Powered-Soldering-Colors/dp/B000S63P9E

It isn't great for quality soldering, but sometimes you just need some heat and a cigarette lighter just won't do (because I've done that, too.) You know you are desperate when you wrap solder around two wires twisted together and then hit it with a butane lighter.

p.s., that solder joint is still good after 4 years!

Offline mararunr

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2015, 09:34:15 AM »
I have a small, battery powered soldering pen for that kind of work (or on the roof).

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-BP860MP-Battery-Powered-Soldering-Colors/dp/B000S63P9E

It isn't great for quality soldering, but sometimes you just need some heat and a cigarette lighter just won't do (because I've done that, too.) You know you are desperate when you wrap solder around two wires twisted together and then hit it with a butane lighter.

p.s., that solder joint is still good after 4 years!

Hadn't even thought that route - I do have a butane torch  ;D
Thanks as always Jon!  Will definitely have to grab one of those battery-powered irons.

 

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