ProSoundWeb Community

Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB: The Classic Live Audio Board => Topic started by: John O'Brien on January 29, 2011, 03:43:51 am

Title: Soldering iron
Post by: John O'Brien 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!
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Ola Brekken 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.
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Keith Broughton 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.
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: John Halliburton 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

Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Frank DeWitt 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
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Royce Covington 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 (http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WP35-Professional-Soldering-3-Wire/dp/B000B5YIYS), 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~
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Matt McQuaid 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
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Tim Padrick 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
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: John O'Brien 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.
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Frank DeWitt 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
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Brad Harris on January 30, 2011, 05:34:04 pm
If you're looking for something small for the toolbox for small field repairs, then most of those 25-35w jobbies will do the trick.

If your looking for more usage out of it (more than a xlr a month). Do yourself a favour and look at a station. The one you linked i find too limited, and i'd look at the wes51. Changable tips, removable iron, good temperature control and fairly short heatup times. Plus a large assortment of tips are available.  Runs for $65-100 depending on where you look.
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Jay Barracato on January 31, 2011, 09:02:55 am
If you're looking for something small for the toolbox for small field repairs, then most of those 25-35w jobbies will do the trick.


That is what is in my toolbox, but thinking back I can't think of any single time where I actually made a "field repair".
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: info@travelingmonkeysound.com on February 02, 2011, 01:29:16 pm
Alctron DB-4C  http://www.alctron-audio.com/encpShow.asp?id=1869 (http://www.alctron-audio.com/encpShow.asp?id=1869) Is wide variety continuity tester, with leds for each in and out pin, which also does all possible adapter cables (like NL8 to rca, no cam lock to headphone though).
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: John O'Brien on February 02, 2011, 01:59:19 pm
thanks for the info on irons. i have my eye on some weller and hakko options for the future. it seems to be a good investment for sure. 10 dollars for the weller hand held mad me happy.

i ended up going with this for a cable tester. had good reviews, and was cheap at the same time. while it doesn't have LED for displaying continuity, i don't mind sweeping a knob to figure out what's working.
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: info@travelingmonkeysound.com on February 02, 2011, 02:21:34 pm
That's the exact same thing as the alctron, but this one has a usb plug instead of the 1/8 plug.
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: John O'Brien on February 02, 2011, 08:14:46 pm
That's the exact same thing as the alctron, but this one has a usb plug instead of the 1/8 plug.


I saw that. Both of them seem to be rugged and ok to throw in a gig bag and head out on the road. 30 dollars doesn't hurt.
Title: Re: Soldering iron
Post by: Travis_Valois on February 03, 2011, 06:19:08 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 (http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WP35-Professional-Soldering-3-Wire/dp/B000B5YIYS), 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~
I carry a W60P in my toolbag for field use.

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-W60P-60Watts-Controlled-Soldering/dp/B0006OBF0Y/ref=sr_1_50?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1296774989&sr=1-50 (http://www.amazon.com/Weller-W60P-60Watts-Controlled-Soldering/dp/B0006OBF0Y/ref=sr_1_50?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1296774989&sr=1-50)