Best bang for buck soldering station?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Cretin, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Cretin

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2012
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    Any recommendations folks? I'm looking for something around $60 (that would be real cheap), and if you have a particular product in mind please let me know and maybe I can find a second hand one for $60 or so

    I've bought so many surplus irons at this point (3 to be exact) that it's just grinding my gears, and I really want to make sure the products I solder are professional looking and most of all work well.
     
  2. Stuntman

    Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011
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  3. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    For a quick "bang", order one with as many whistles and bells as possible. For a nice long tune played to remember, get a used Weller station.

    Nothing fancy like digital displays of temperature control, just pick your tip (600, 700 or 800 degrees F and select tip size and shape). An internal electromagnetic thermos witch controls temp. Replace tip as needed but mine is at least 30 years old. Replacement parts are still available! Sorry for not suggesting a "bang". After all, it is just a soldering iron, no high-tech needed.
     
  4. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
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    The brand of iron has no effect on the quality of a soldering job. Brand of iron doesn't make you better at soldering, just like Snap-on tools don't make a better mechanic. Or a Stradivarius doesn't make you a better violinist.

    The best thing you can do for yourself, if having problems with your soldering, is to get some cheap proto boards and scraps of wire and practice! == Shortbus

    Crutches... automatic temp control my left foot !! Pardon my sarcasm, but Hakkos, and the lot, imho, are a waste of money... Electronic soldering, soldering in general, is not complicated at all... nor hard to master.

    Work on developing your soldering technique. Follow the three simple parameters for effective soldering... Cleanliness, flux, and adequate heat.
    Remember that your iron must conduct enough heat into the entire joint you are trying to solder as quickly as possible to keep the fourth parameter... Dwell time -- as short as possible...

    Go to the local dollar store -- some will occaisionally have nondescript 20-30 watt irons, that will do lead free all day long. I have several that are still good several years down the road, and of course, some will burn out in a week... Ya get what you pay for...
     
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  5. bance

    Member

    Aug 11, 2012
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    Whilst I agree generally with PackratKing, It is very beneficial to have the extra oomph of a higher wattage iron with temperature control... go for a second hand Weller or Pace.

    And practice, practice.practice, it'll get you to Carnegie hall eventually.
     
  6. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    20 to 30 watts is a lot of heat to solder small components. Ok for vacuum tube point to point wiring - not for a 2n3904 in the hands of an amiture. They also burn up tips at record pace so you end up with more blach sh!t on the solder joint.

    Find something in the 12 to 15 watt range if it is not temperature controlled.
     
  7. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    You left off...
    - Multi-thousand dollar golf clubs won't decrease your handicap.
    - Sports car will not make girls fall all over you
    - a wet bar and home theater doesn't make your house everyone's favorite Super Bowl destination
    - garage full of expensive power tools just means you have to park in the driveway.
     
  8. Cretin

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2012
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    I totally understand what you mean, good form is always the most important requisite in almost any skill. I have spent about a year soldering, so my technique is quite good, but when i'm dealing with absolute crap irons, i know i'm not doing my work justice.

    That being said, I do definitely need to keep practicing :D:D:D
     
  9. BillB3857

    Senior Member

    Feb 28, 2009
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  10. Dr.killjoy

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2013
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    I disagree with sport car thing because I will live it helps out alot and just like boats lol..


    But all kidding aside just buy a name brand like a hakko-weller- or anything else because later down the road when you need parts or your tip goes bad them you can find these parts without much trouble ..
     
  11. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Ok, "expensive" sports cars, boats, kids and puppies work well.
     
  12. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
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    When soldering for long times, Keep the replaceable part of the tip tinned right up to the threads... and use heat-sink grease on those threads. When the solder up that high loses its sheen, tin it again... or keep one of those little brass suede brushes handy to keep oxidation at bay... don't even let the black chit form

    Given a threaded heat element, tips are not all that hard to make.
     
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