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Author Topic: Soldering iron  (Read 8593 times)

John O'Brien

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Soldering iron
« on: January 29, 2011, 03:43:51 am »

So I ran in to some cash recently, and we became friends rather quickly. We decided that it would be best if I spent it on a new soldering iron for myself.

I just wanted to ask my fellow LABsters if they had any preference for something like this, or any thoughts I should be considering. I just want it for basic cable fixing and things of the like, nothing huge.

I've heard Weller is a great company to invest in for these things, and they seem to have amazing reviews across the board. I don't want to dump too much money in to this just yet, as I wont be using this every day. I was looking at something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-SP23LK-Marksman-Watt-Soldering/dp/B0009ZD2AG/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1296290333&sr=1-1

or would spending the extra $30 or so, would this be a better option:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AS28UC/ref=cm_cr_asin_lnk


I know wattage doesn't affect heat necessarily, but I don't want to underheat myself and be frustrated with the lack of heat my purchase has after the fact.


Any thoughts are appreciated!
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Ola Brekken

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2011, 04:55:39 am »

The Weller WS80 soldering station has been my trusty workhorse for the last 10 years.
I believe it's called WS81 now.
Can do anything from 2ga cable (with the 4.5mm tip) to SMD IC's with the 0.2mm tip.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2011, 08:15:20 am »

Weller is a good product and I can't say enough good things about the WS80 station.
I know it's more money than you are planning to spend but look at it as an investment for long term. You won't buy another one for a long time to come.
The WS80 has removable tips that allow for different tip shapes and heat ranges. That is a real benefit you will come to appreciate.
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John Halliburton

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2011, 09:52:42 am »

IN the $40-50 range, a decent pen style iron instead of the cheap "station":

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=372-110

or

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=372-112

I prefer Hakko products, after years of Weller problems in a few of their stations other than the very expensive units.  Hakko makes a couple of nice irons that I haven't used, but have ceramic heating elements.  They may be to much power for smaller electronics work. 

If you can afford it, the Hakko 936 station is the best $90-100 you'll spend on a soldering iron(station in this case).  The range of work you can perform with great thermal control is very wide, along with a great selection of tips.

Oops, apparently Hakko have discontinued the 936 station, and are now introducing it's successor, the FX-888:

http://www.hakkousa.com/detail.asp?CID=49&PID=4800&Page=1

So much sexier, eh? ;>)  I suspect you'll find 936 units for sale new still for awhile.  Also check ebay and other places for used units.

"Buy once, cry once".

Best regards,

John

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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2011, 01:51:05 pm »

I moved to a soldering station when I started making DI boxes.  My instant reaction was "Wow, I really do know how to solder"  I made better looking joints quicker.  Weller, or Hakko, I would buy a used station with regulated temperature before I would buy any iron.

Frank
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Royce Covington

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2011, 04:03:00 pm »

I have been using Weller for quite some time and for the most part, have had no problems.  I believe the first model I owned was similar to your first choice, a consumer use type.  although, it was functional, it wasn't ideal and I soon outgrew it's usefulnes. 

I opted for the WP35, which is comfortable to use, offers plenty of heat for a wide-range of applications and fits nicely into the tool box that I carry for gigs.

If I were doing more bench-work, than repairs on-the-go, I'd probably splurge for one of the more versatile workstation models.

R~
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Matt McQuaid

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2011, 05:39:53 pm »

I was recently in the same boat and was trying to decide between buying a nice weller bench setup or just the basic portable weller. I opted for the later since I wouldn't easily be able to carry a bench setup to gigs, nor would I want to. If you have no intention of taking it out of the house, then go with a bench for the sole reason that most have a variable temperature control.

Matt
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Tim Padrick

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2011, 12:48:33 am »

I've been using Hakko Dash 454 for years, never a problem.  With just a couple of tips I can solder anything from (large) SMT to 10 gauge wire.  http://www.hakkousa.com/detail.asp?CID=49,118&PID=2493&Page=1
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John O'Brien

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2011, 12:54:22 am »

I was recently in the same boat and was trying to decide between buying a nice weller bench setup or just the basic portable weller. I opted for the later since I wouldn't easily be able to carry a bench setup to gigs, nor would I want to. If you have no intention of taking it out of the house, then go with a bench for the sole reason that most have a variable temperature control.

Matt

this is the route I ended up going with, as I was looking for something that would be able to travel with me in the case of fly gigs and just any general traveling dates.

I completely agree that the wrong tool and the right price is still the wrong tool, and the reason I went with a cheaper one this time around(can one really go wrong with a Weller handheld for 10 bucks, on sale?) and also bought a multi-meter. When I have my own workbench and other assorted tools, I'll be looking at those station options.


Next is a good cable tester. Anyone have any advice on those? I know Behringer makes a cheap one, but I am hesitant to buy anything with that name on it without actually getting a heads-up on their quality first.
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 04:54:11 pm »


Next is a good cable tester. Anyone have any advice on those? I know Behringer makes a cheap one, but I am hesitant to buy anything with that name on it without actually getting a heads-up on their quality first.

The Behringer CT100 is a copy of the Ebtech SWIZZ Army Cable Tester.  It seems to be a very good copy.  It works well,  It has a hold feature that is useful for finding intermittent problems and it checks for shell to pin 1 It also has a very handy tone generator built in.  My only complaint is that Ebtech designed there tester before Speakon was popular, so the Behringer doesn't have it either.

Worth the money,  Good tester.

Frank
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Re: Soldering iron
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 04:54:11 pm »


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