help choosing a soldering iron

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by sniperdude, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. sniperdude

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    hi all

    looking to buy a new soldering iron for PCB work mainly just replacing caps and laptop power DC connectors but to be honest I really don't know what to buy

    I have been looking at silverline stations as they are cheaper than
    the likes of weller that I must say are way overpriced here in the UK when compared to USA

    I don't really want to sped too much simply because i don't have it
    to spend lol but i would like something worth the money, anyone
    ever seen these silverline in action ?

    suggestions would be great guys obviously you guys here will know alot more than me :D
  2. bluebrakes

    Active Member

    Oct 17, 2009
  3. Metalfan1185

    Active Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    I love my little Weller station that my bro bought me for xmas, but I use a PACE Station at work.

    For temps, i solder most repairs at 750F degrees, 850F for RoHs (lead free, which is horrible and I aviod at all costs) and for small SMT repairs i tune down to 610-660F Degrees. Any Iron that can achieve this will work great. Be careful not to get one from radio shack because the tips are made from really soft copper and only last about a month of light use.

    I find some 110VAC irons don't solder well for some reason. I do really well with smaller 24VDC about 40Watt Soldering irons.

    Automotive connections I use a 100 Watt Soldering Gun, and connect it to a Variac transformer if it gets too hot
  4. HeliEye

    New Member

    Feb 6, 2010
    Soldering stations are often a neglected area in pcb assembly, usually due to the cost. Most of us have probably been down the road of using a simple soldering iron initially, but often find there shortcomings to be a hinderance. I found this to my cost, a long time ago, I was assembling security dongles, in batches of 500+ with 2x 25W D-type solder-bucket connectors that were soldered to double-sided edge fingers on the pcb, as this is 50 pads, I found that the soldering iron I was using (Weller) ran out of steam after a short while. A colleague advised trying a Metcal station, I admit I had never even heard of Metcal, a Metcal rep demo'd one of these stations, I was gobsmacked by the difference in performance and bought one immediately. My production time for a 500 run of these pcb's dropped dramatically.
    I added the desoldering gun and a compressor, also a Talon precision tweezer for smd rework.
    I now have added a 2nd Metcal (MX5000) so I have one for work and one at home. This one has twice the RF output power of my original station at 80W.
    What is neat about these stations is that they only seem to give the right ammount of heat for the size of component being soldered, tiny smd's don't get fried, soldering to large ground planes is also a doddle, even managing to do this with a 0.4mm tip, when I get too lazy to change the tip, although this isn't recommended.
    Reflecting on what I used to solder with when I first started soldering, way back in the 50's, I wonder how I managed.

    Thank god for progress ;-)

    VIT Innovation Ltd