Soldering Iron

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Hi

Having gone through a few cheep soldering irons over the past few years (under £30, up to 20 W output) I am now looking into purchasing something a little more robust and effecient such as a solder station with variable output power/temperature control.

What are the main things I should be looking for in terms of power output and temperature?
Im hoping to spend under £150.

Any thoughts?

Justin

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After basic needs (power 40...60 W) temeperature control (200...450 C) , ESD protected, check different tips and other spare parts availability. Even better if some famous brand tips can be used (weller,....)

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I got a second-hand Metcal STSS power unit with a new MX-500 handpiece and a good selection of new cartridges for £125. It doesn't have variable temperature, but that isn't needed with the Metcal as it uses different cartridges for that. The heat capacity is phenomenal, anyway, with the RF heating technique it uses. I should even be able to use the latest MX-5000 handpiece and cartridges with it.

Leon Heller G1HSM

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try
http://cpc.farnell.com/duratool/d00671/soldering-rework-station/dp/SD01383
It has hot air desoldering as well as temperature contolled iron

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I think one of the best budget minded irons out there is the Hakko 936. I paid about $90 8 or so years ago for mine and it is still running strong. I prefer my high end Weller that I have at work - but it cost about 5 times as much.

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Check out this thread.
https://www.avrfreaks.net/index.p...
This may help.

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nleahcim wrote:
I think one of the best budget minded irons out there is the Hakko 936. I paid about $90 8 or so years ago for mine and it is still running strong. I prefer my high end Weller that I have at work - but it cost about 5 times as much.

I'm still using a Hakko 926 at home, and I'm still very pleased with it. Must be 20 years old now.

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I've used plain old slobbering irons for years, so a couple months ago, I plunked down a little (very little) money for a temperature controled iron. "Vellman VTSS5"

It seemed pretty nice, but I really don't know how to decide where to set the temperature knob. Then, I was busy with something else for a few weeks, and when I went to use it again, the tip had turned brown like this. It now repells solder, and won't wipe clean on the sponge. For the time being, I'm back to an old iron. I have found I can solder SMD's pretty handily with the old tool.

So, Learn me how to use this thing :D I do have another point.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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Try some Multicore Tip Cleaner. If that doesn't work you will need to replace the tip. I'd replace the iron with something better.

Leon Heller G1HSM

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I've got a Aoyue 968 that was less than 200$ shipping included from Ebay...

It's both hot air and iron... It works well for me...

Michael

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Metcal for the win - you can pick up the older types on Ebay quite cheaply now though the STSS version is perhaps a better bet with respect to longevity of tip availability.

Regarding cleaners I've found that using wet sponges doesn't help and I saw problems like those Torby has experienced on my old Weller iron. I now use one of the circular 'rough wire wool' dishes and that seems to work very well.

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wobbin_c wrote:
Metcal for the win - you can pick up the older types on Ebay quite cheaply now though the STSS version is perhaps a better bet with respect to longevity of tip availability.

Regarding cleaners I've found that using wet sponges doesn't help and I saw problems like those Torby has experienced on my old Weller iron. I now use one of the circular 'rough wire wool' dishes and that seems to work very well.


I saw some info from Weller suggesting that, as I recall, tip lifetimes were increased by about 400% when using the metal wool cleaners. I actually use both, personally.

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Circuit Specialists has a sale on their "Blackjack" line of soldering stations. (http://www.circuitspecialists.co...). They're just rebadged Aoyue stations (www.aoyue.com). I'm sure the pros will scoff at them, but for a hobby-level soldering they are great. I've had one for several years, and it's never let me down. I've done thru-hole and SMT, lead and lead-free with it. And for the Europeans, they have an international website at www.web-tronics.com. No financial interest here - just a very satisfied customer.

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There is an old adage - "Buy cheap, pay dear!" I would suggest you spend a little more as you and your iron will become one for countless hours! I have a nice digitally controlled Weller that I love. I have the Weller WESD51.

However...Leon always offers good advice so I am now looking closely at the Metcal Smartheat technology and have question:

How many different heat tips do you need for a typical board? 1, 2 ? And...how are they rated?

Thanks
John

Just some guy

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For a typical through-hole board with lead solder I only need one - STTC-101P. I only use one for SM boards - STTC-144. For drag-soldering I use the SMTC-0167. I have a few others but those are the ones I use most of the time.

Metcal recommends that the tip should be about the same size as the pin one is soldering, BTW.

Leon Heller G1HSM

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Im looking at a weller WS51 and WS81 station in RS. one has 50W output, the other 80W but for the same price. Is the higher power always the best or is there a happy medium with 50W?

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I've been very happy with my WES51. I have soldered a wide variety of through-hole and SMD parts, and don't think I've ever felt the need for more power.

That said, the extra power might come in handy when soldering onto ground plane heat sinks, for example.

Michael

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Hi,

I bought the WES51 a few months ago and I love it; it has been great for me.

Good luck,

Alan

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Got the WS81. Its a great job!
Thanks for the advice.