Need advice on solder iron for a present

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by tony8404, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. tony8404

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 11, 2008
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    Well, I was not sure what to get my Dad for christmas, until i was there this morning. He was talking to me about soldering some very small chips and that he had to put magnifiers together to be able to even see where to solder at. So he was saying that the solder iron he has looks like a hand under the magnifier.

    Then it dawned on me to get him a nice but decent price soldering iron that he can use for doing very tiny soldering.... I already went to radio shacks web site and looked around but I wanted to see what you guys suggest. Can anyone let me know of a decent soldering iron for doing tiny soldering? thanks
     
  2. kdillinger

    Active Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    141
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    How much money are you willing to spend?

    Metcal, now known as OkI (Ok International) - stupid name, is often considered the top of the line, but will set you back several hundred dollars ($500+).
    Weller is another good brand, but not quite as expensive and you can pick one up for about $150.
    Hakko is another one, but I am not sure how good they are or the price.

    I have used both Metcal and Weller for SMT soldering, 0402 size passives and TSSOP type of devices. I would go for the Weller because of the price.
     
  3. tony8404

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 11, 2008
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    Wow, well, for money i am not sure yet but i wanna say thats way out my league. i probably have around 40 to spend. I do not need the top of the line but i need something that is not just the normal solder iron, i need one for very small chips. If i had to get one from radioshack which would anyone recomend to me for very small soldering of microchips i mean tiny ?
     
  4. Audioguru

    New Member

    Dec 20, 2007
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    Radio Shack are gone from Canada because their products had very poor quality and extremely high prices. The same cheap (I am not allowed to say from where) things were sold in The Dollar Store for 1/10th their price.

    Real electronic parts distributors like Digikey and Newark have high quality name-brand products for low fair prices.

    My Weller soldering iron is about 45 years old and still works perfectly. Its tips last for years. The cheap (***) ones from Radio Shack might last a few weeks.
     
  5. tony8404

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 11, 2008
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    okay i see what you mean./... but still for what i am looking for i still do not know the proper name for it.... I know i need a solder iron, but what type of solder iron do i need for doing smt soldering? I do not want to go professional but dont want something that will last a week. I am afraid to go to radio shack and ask for a solder rion that will do very small tiny soldering because i doubt the person will know what there talking about.

    What would the name be for the type of solder iron i am looking for??? thanks
     
  6. Harrington

    New Member

    Dec 19, 2009
    86
    3
    There is an advert on the bottom of my website for Aoyue I suggest the 2000 range they have tips down to .3 mm and less They also supply a very nice hot air station which I highly recommend as well Here is my site you will fined the advert on the bottom of that page click on the advert and that takes you to their home page very good value for money also they are led free approved and have variable temperature control via led display audible indication when temperature is reached and a very attractive price range of £65.00 or there about far far cheaper than Weller and what’s more just as good if not better I’ve purchased 3 of their stations so far and found them to be excellent as is their after sales service

    Here is the link <snip>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2009
  7. kdillinger

    Active Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    141
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    There are different types of soldering iron by way of how they heat up the soldering tips, but what you need is a certain type of tip.

    The name brands, Metcal (OkI) and Weller, stock plenty of tips in all sizes.

    When you say tiny, what types of packages or component sizes are we talking about?

    DFN, QFN, SOIC, SOT3?

    0603, 0402, 0102?
     
  8. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    2,675
    234
    The easiest way to do this is look for what they call a "pencil" soldering iron that has fixed wattage (30 to 40 watts) for soldering surface mount and other heat sensitive devices... this will save some money over the adjustable temperature ones, and it would still be a great gift coming from you (I know I would be grateful if my kids went out of their way to buy me some solder! lol)...

    here is one from Digikey (and it is a weller!) that I use and it is great but it is still over 100 because of the adjustable temp http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=WES51-ND


    Here is one from Radio Shack I have never used these before but for what you say he will use it for, it should work just fine and as long as he takes care of it, the tips and station should last for a while... although it is still near $70.00 >>http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3132686
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  9. tony8404

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    98
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    i shorten it up in the next thread
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  10. tony8404

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 11, 2008
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  11. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    I am not sure what the gang thinks of one of these. I have one and am happy with it. It gets good reviews.

    If you can afford buying a few extra stocking stuffers, you can get your Dad a nice multi meter, shrink wrap heater or selection of a few other items.
     
  12. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    I would recommend a hakko 936. This is a very common iron sold under different names. Easy to get tips for and easy to get info on. You can get one brand new for $65. Look at all there irons. They are all really great.
    http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=hakko+936&_sacat=See-All-Categories
    You can also find Hakko 936's and tips at any reputable hobby shop so if you can't wait to ship, or will be needing tips on the fly this may be an option.

    I ended up picking up an old obsolete Hakko 939 thats totally digital and has the heat element in the tip itself. Its an amazing iron and I got it for $50 brand new, it retailed for $1000+. Tips are $20 each and easy enough to get still, I think hakko might actually still be producing them. Another big thing is to get a 936 iron and plug a 939 iron or (903iron) into the 936. You don't get the digital advantage but you do get the heat continuity benefit of the heating element in the tip.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  13. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
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    My boy got me a velleman soldering station that has temperature control as well as a small tip. It wasn't too expensive as such things go, around $25, but I am enjoying it. I can use almost any iron, but this one makes the job a lot easier.

    http://www.vellemanusa.com/us/enu/product/view/?id=522806

    If you can get him some fine gauge solder and wick that would complete it IMO. It may be impossible to get, but I still think the old lead/tin solder is the best.
     
  14. Paragon

    Member

    Dec 8, 2009
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    I would not bother with the Ratshak stuff. The weller station with variable power might be good. Don't even bother with the battery powered ones.

    I have a Hakko 936-12 (medium pen) and it works very well. If you use the sponge as intended to clean the tip, they way mine looks it should last forever.
     
  15. tony8404

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jun 11, 2008
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  16. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
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    This may sound quite involved, tho that's just me...............any decent pencil-type soldering tool will work with the necessary modification, and requires some patience until the proper combination is found.

    I repair 35mm film cameras [ tech school on my G.I. Bill ] which require very tiny solder joints, on primarily 32 ga wire, as well as changing chips

    Your tip, should be copper, and removable from the heating element. wattage anywhere from 10 to 30, depending on your desired / recommended dwell time on each connection, which will be quite short for chips.

    You can either hammer the soft copper tip out to the size you are comfortable working with, or drill a small hole into the face of the tip, and extend its reach with a piece of copperclad steel wire, approx 24 ga.......... silverclad copper will work, tho' it may prove too flexible for the application when heated.

    The minor trick to this endeavor, is having a small dimple reservior on the extreme tip, and cut your solder into small pieces you can pick up on the tip, each adequate for one connection .
     
  17. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    388
    Just remember you get what you pay for. A crappy iron can make the best solderer look like a fool and a great iron can make any idiot look like they know what they are doing. I learned this the hard way.
     
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