Comparing Irons for a beginner

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Xmetalfanx, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Xmetalfanx

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 23, 2013
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    I am sure this has been asked 100 times (I did use the boards search feature) but I have been studying circuitry for a bit and the whole idea was I was interested in eventually learning how to solder (I am not asking for a tutorial or anything)

    I have been driving myself "mad" lately considering what to get ... (not counting the extras like extra flux, a good solder, a solder sucker ...etc etc) I have been looking at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B3SG7F0/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=AFEJH3YLP5PIV for the general price range of $23 (give or take a few bucks) vs the $91.33 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AWUFVY8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1UB0766FG4V9I which is well known (Hakko FX888D) .... I do not really have any "projects" to do but it is a skill I am serious about wanting to learn and while the Hakko may be "overkill now" ... (with proper care and maintenance of the tips, of course) It is one I have really never seen negative comments about. Its the "eh .. .the Weller is a bit cheaper and gets decent... even good reviews... but if i am serious about this and MAY get the Hakko down the line anyway,.... may as well spend the cash and get it now"

    The other thing I am finding is why it seems like a lot more .. .when I start adding different things (like Hakko's brass cleaner that is sold by itself) to the Weller order, it (the price difference) starts closing a bit. I dont want to spend way more than I need to but I know alot of people say ( and I completely understand) "Dont be cheap and an iron that will not last long anyway")

    Thank you all for reading my rambling and your input.
    -Mike
     
  2. dadane

    New Member

    Jan 5, 2015
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    Never heard of Hakko before. If you're serious what is important, IMHO, is not the cost or quality of the station itself but the quality and long term availability of the tips. There is no point buying and iron cheap if you have to replace tips every couple of weeks. For this reason alone I would plump for a well known brand. Xytronic does pretty good mid-range gear.
     
  3. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    I own two of these, and have my eyes set on one of these. I have heard of hakko before, and it's not a bad brand, but in this market you ussually get what you pay for... meaning, most of the time the price will tell you the quality of the tool you're buying. Weller is a very good brand with a range of easy to find, readily available tips. My advice for now is: DON'T buy one of those crappy pencil-style soldering kits (even the Weller brand types). I think it's better to spend more money on a good tool, than saving a few bucks on a bad tool.
     
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  4. JDT

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
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    Go for the Weller. I've been using these temperature controlled irons all my working life (and that's quite a long time now). Various versions. I know they are more expensive than you are thinking of spending but you won't regret it. And if you give up electronics you will always be able to sell.

    They have a large range of tips available. They are coated so last a long time. These are used professionally and are often switched on all day every day. For a hobbyist, they will last forever!
     
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  5. Xmetalfanx

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 23, 2013
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    Thank everyone for their input ... I do not have alot of time now to respond or look at those suggestions, but I have been thinking of that "you get what you pay for" mentality ... that is the reason everytime i am about to place the order for the cheaper (not a station) Weller ... I think "eh ... I probably should spend the cash now and get a better station" ... even if (for now) I do not have alot of "projects" to work on, I HAVE been considering an iron/station for awhile now.
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    There are other threads on this site about soldering irons and meters. They keep coming up, Weller and Fluke. Bite the bullet. Pay for quality. These brands will still be working well 20 years from now.
     
  7. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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  8. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    Interesing... "in handle temperature control" ...
     
  9. Xmetalfanx

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 23, 2013
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    I am not against the more high end weller ones in the price range of the Hakko .. .I just have seen a number of different users saying that they have had (maybe not that exact model AND sometimes THAT exact model) their Hakko for almost 20 years and other than the tips being replaced .. they are still going .... It reminds me of my APC when I got it years back for $100 ... I knew i'd have to replace the batteries every few years (the "3-5 year original battery " lasted me almost 6 to 7 years) .. .but not counting IF IT gets struck (lightnening) ... the Unit should last few years... and it has (sorry to get off topic there)

    I just think the Weller (I posted about) is "eh .. good enough" ... I am not even questioning the quality of The Hakko .. I know it will be great ... (the care of the unit and the tips IS IN my hands, i know)

    again thank you everyone for all your input
    -Mike
     
  10. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    In my own experience; I've found Antex irons pretty good value, they're robust enough for most general work without being costly. They do 230V, 110V and low voltage types - pretty sure 12V, maybe 24V.

    The 230V version has a very fine wire element so can be vulnerable to severe mains transients, I fitted a MOV suppressor block to the mains outlet and had no more trouble.

    Originally I bought several basic model X25 irons on the basis, at that price they should be regarded pretty much as consumables - I still have all the irons bought since solving the mains transients problem, but since treated myself to the 50W temperature controlled model.
     
  11. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    People will scoff but I'm very happy with this station. It's very cheap, has nice replacement tips available, and so far has held up well for several years now. All my old pencil irons - cheap crap from RS or wherever - failed due to dead tips, and I bought a bunch of replacement tips along with this station. My first tip lasted longer than any of the old. I'm pretty sure I'm still using it. My needs are minimal and I'm not using it everyday, but I'd say unless you KNOW you need a lot more, it'd be tough to justify spending more. Put your $100 in a mutual fund and buy yourself a better station years from now, after your money has doubled.
     
  12. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Scoff scoff. How can you build that kind of quality for $20?

    Never mind. The proof is in the pudding, and personal data beats educated guesses every time.
     
  13. RichardO

    Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2013
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    Bertus, thank you for the link. I like the looks of the one in the link.

    I have used miniature Antex soldering irons for decades -- that is from before they changed names a couple of times. I have always liked these soldering irons. I just had one of my irons fail and am fast approaching needing replacements.
     
  14. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Did I say quality? There isn't much. But it works. With the temperature dial tweaked to the right spot, I have mistakenly left it on for hours and come back to find the tip is still clean but hot and ready to go. What more does a newbie need?

    Vision - light and magnification - and manual dexterity are my rate-limiting issues, not my cheap iron.
     
  15. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    I see nothing scoffable about that station... just because something's inexpensive doesn't mean that it's also cheap...
     
  16. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

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    I'm near-sighted (about -4.50D on my left eye) and that has been a blessing in my line of work... I can hold a circuit extremely close to my eyes and see every detail in it... I'm SO glad I didn't do that LASIK thing when my wife insisted about years ago... I still need glasses for driving, but I'm very comfortable when I work on circuits or do some reading
     
  17. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Well, if my job depended on it, I'm sure I'd prefer a more solid holder and a more precise temperature control, and who knows what other improvements. But just as the free DMM from Harbor Freight meets 99% of my needs, so does this station. I'm not alone - there are a lot of favorable reviews out there and I don't hesitate to recommend it.
     
  18. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I'm a bit less nearsighted also and can do most work unaided. But as I get older I find that even close-up work is now becoming challenging. You lose the ability to change focus as the eye ages.
     
  19. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

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    I know... I'm 50 and I can tell there's a sharp difference in my ability to see at close range than when I was 40...
     
  20. wayneh

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    It won't get better. :(

    (Approaching 57.) At least we get wiser?
     
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