$12 variable temp iron - inexpensive backup??

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by marshallf3, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. marshallf3

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
  2. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    ehhhhh that just scares me. Why not cut out the middle man and just wrap a nail with some copper, add some caps and a nine volt!
  3. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    Do what I do with a lot of projects,let your brain Impulse
    post.The guys will give you wikipedea links and help,the
    spelling will get better the more you post,to much time
    doing spell check,people will be ok since you put It out
    front.My kind of guy. What about fire ant mounds in your
  4. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    $12 aint bad for a variable iron...or any iron for a beginner.. The tips actually look decent, and the iron ACTUALLY looks nice for such a low price point.
  5. marshallf3

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    That's what surprised me, they come with iron plated tips which are what the good Wellers come with.
    The tips on my 2 WLC100s are 15 and 17 years old - still soldering just fine.
  6. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm hearing it screaming " Made in Chyna " :rolleyes:
  7. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    You speak chinese? :)
  8. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    Variable temp, but not controlled temperature?

    The description says only variable power settings. The dial has no temperature markings. Nevertheless, it claims 5 to 40W or so. As a backup it might not be bad, particularly for desoldering. Did you notice that the small and enlarged pictures are not the same?

  9. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    I guess it will be a better purchase than some very fake chinese models that are sold on EBAY. As the authentic high quality solder stations. And the tip do not look bad. But I must stress I have not tested it.
  10. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    I bought a very similar iron from MPJA for $15:

    It is not thermostatically controlled, but the wattage is adjustable. You must let the iron cool completely prior to changing tips; the barrel is steel and the tips have powdered aluminum on the shank; the heat makes the aluminum expand and provide a good thermal junction. Once you remove the tip, you need to clean any remaining aluminum oxide from the inside of the barrel, or your tips will get stuck, and you'll have a dickens of a time getting them in and out until you do.

    I ordered a few different tips; the 1/32" mine came with is good for the small stuff, but the flat and chisel tips are more appropriate for tinning and desoldering.

    I've only been using 63/37 and 60/40 solder with mine. If you're planning on soldering with lead-free solder, you may need a hotter iron.
  11. marshallf3

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    It's somewhat a copy of the Weller WLC100 - compare pix.

    I read through all the reviews on that site and 95% of them were pro, a few complaining that it didn't get as hot as they expected.

    Heck no, for $12 it isn't going to have precision temperature control and a 4 digit readout but neither does my Weller. I just know about where to set the knob for what I'm going to be soldering, on the scale of 1 - 5 it usually ends up around 3-1/2 for normal PC work, maybe 4 if it's a huge thick lead or joining thick wires. Crank it up to 5 and it will remove or reattach large metal shields but I rarely have to do that anymore.

    Thought it might be a good choice for a beginner as the question pops up often around here - students on a very tight budget. The holder and sponge are the best features in addition to coming with an iron plated tip.

    Shipping costs would of course drive the price up but if you go through their vast website you'll likely find quite a few other bargains that are worth adding to the order.

    I've been thinking about trying out their little Lepai T amp, it's rated at 20W/ch but doesn't come with a large enough power supply for that. I have read that some are selling the identical amp with a 24V supply now. Some guys on the audio forums are replacing the cheap pots with better Alpha ones from Mouser for about $1 each pot.