recommend a good soldering iron

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by lokeycmos, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. lokeycmos

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Apr 3, 2009
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    looking for some advice or a recommendation for a new soldering iron. I recently broke my 30 watt iron and looking to replace it with something a little better. im looking for a stand alone, not a station, because I put It in my back pack and take it to work with me. ive been looking on ebay and radio shack, but it seems like everyone is using steel tips. why do they even make steel tips? solder doesn't stick to steel. ive had bad luck trying to tin steel tips. what I was using before my iron broke was a thick piece of copper wire ground to a shiny tip that tinned very nicely. it will be for general purpose and the ocassional small stuff like soldering usb jacks. thanks!
     
  2. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Look for something made by Weller. Thermostat controlled is a nice feature.
     
    shortbus and #12 like this.
  3. @android

    Member

    Dec 15, 2011
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    In my experience any mediocre soldering iron works fine. I'm using one since last 4-5 years and not to forget withput TROUBLE! :D
     
  4. RG23

    Active Member

    Dec 6, 2010
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  5. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Hakko FX-601
     
  6. absf

    Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2010
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    Seconded. I have several Weller TCP series 45W irons from my office. They are working on 48V DC so I bought a stepdown transformer for them. The tip is magnetic and a bit expensive but I think it's worth the price I paid.

    Allen
     
  7. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    The iron is just a heater... and the knock offs are pretty decent units.

    The tought part is the tip: they burn out fast, very fast in most of the knock offs. Here the top contenders Weller and Hakko are recommended.
     
  8. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I suggest Weller or Hakko temperature-controlled units. While they may be expensive at the start, they WILL NOT let you down for many, many years. I have an old Weller from about 20-30 years ago, and it's still running like a champ. It looks like junk, but it has lasted very well and continues to serve me. I highly recommend them.

    Matt
     
  9. bug13

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2012
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  10. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    The tips burn out??? Try the new iron clad tips. I've been using them for 40 years with only one going bad on me.

    Maybe ErnieM thought you meant soldering GUN. Yeah, those are crap, but a 35 watt is in the soldering IRON range.
     
  11. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Oh yeah, that's another point--35 watts is MUCH too large for a lot of electronics applications. I have a 15W pencil-type iron that I sometimes use with normal soldering. Don't go too high or you might melt the pads off your PCB, damage the components, or you might not even be able to apply solder to the joint properly--the iron could pull it away. I would use 35 watts for soldering heat sink tabs and that sort of thing. For just soldering components, I highly recommend a 15-25W iron.

    Of course this would all be taken care of if you chose to buy a Weller or Hakko temperature controlled iron ;)

    Matt
     
  12. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I do a lot of hand wired jobs with my 33W Weller, like guitar amplifiers and car wiring. I've learned to be very delicate with circuit boards.
     
  13. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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  14. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I guess the only thing I have left to say is that you might want to put some automotive anti- seize compound on the threads of the tip and endure the stink while it burns off the liquid part. Otherwise, the tip tends to be impossible to get off the heater after a few years. You basically try not to change tips because it's always a bit of a chore.
     
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