soldering iron?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by braeden, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. braeden

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    17
    0
    i looked on google and on here for some advice about a new soldering iron and couldnt find anything?

    i was wondering about gas soldering irons for small prjects? will they work?

    here is the one i have been looking at:

    http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?item=GSI-2


    or would a plug in adjustable watt soldering iron be better?

    i hate cords but w.e


    thanx
     
  2. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    A plug-in adjustable temperature iron would be best.

    A plug-in adjustable wattage iron would be next best.

    A plug-in, fixed thermostatically controlled iron would be next best.

    A plug-in, multi-watt pencil iron would be next best

    A plug-in, fixed-watt pencil iron would be below the multi-watt pencil.

    (I've left out some great high-end hot air solder stations, but those are like REALLY expensive)

    The gas and battery operated irons are below what's listed already.

    Not because they're bad, necessarily - but because of their relatively high cost of operation, and inconvenience when they're out of mojo (battery juice/gas) which usually happens right when you're in the middle of soldering something. And when they're running out of mojo, you may not realize what's happening, and burn up components by holding the iron on them for too long.

    Get a plug-in. Forget the gimmicky stuff.
     
  3. braeden

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    17
    0


    awesome thx. now i can get back to spending all my money.
     
  4. scubasteve_911

    Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2007
    1,202
    1
    My soldering iron is a hot plate, you forgot that one Wookie! :D

    I buy solder paste, get a cheap heavy guage needle and grind down the end. Put some solder paste in the needle, go to town with it all over your board. Then, place components (surface mount of course) into the paste. Put on hot plate (follow a profile) and tada! I think Sparkfun (site) has some info on this technique.

    Steve
     
  5. mrmeval

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 30, 2006
    833
    2
    The gas ones are ok for occasional use. I liked the Japanese made pyropen Jr but because of the plastic parts the heat will eventually kill it as they get brittle if used with standard soldering tips.

    However if you dedicate one to surface mount removal they are excellent.

    I think because you don't need the hot air tip to touch anything lets them work longer. Once I'd switched the last one I had to hot air use only it worked for a couple years till someone stole it.

    As a hot air tool it's far cheaper than a bench setup and more precise than a hot air gun.
     
  6. John Luciani

    Active Member

    Apr 3, 2007
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  7. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    Have you tried a toaster oven? :)

    My local huge discount store has had toaster ovens with a built-in digital temp display for $40. I've been toying with the idea of picking one up and trying it ;)

    A number of people on different sites have reported very favorable results for SMT soldering using toaster ovens. I would think that an oven would be a considerable improvement over a hot plate; as with a hot plate you would wind up with hot and cold spots on the high side of the board due to uneven conduction through the board material and vias.

    Basically, you gradually warm up the populated board to perhaps 250°F, and let it "soak" there for a couple of minutes, then quickly ramp up the temp until the solder flows, and immediately drop the temp back down to the low 200F range for a couple minutes to let the solder solidify.

    Hot plates really shine if you're soldering a board into an enclosure, such as a nickel-plated brass or copper box.
     
  8. scubasteve_911

    Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2007
    1,202
    1
    Hi Wook,

    From experience, the hot plate is superior to the toaster oven. I originally used the toaster oven idea a few years back, but I found that it overheat connectors and etc. The hotplate works great, you still need to do a profile in order to allow the paste to soak and go through its magical cycle.

    Similar people have reported more success via the hot plate method.

    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/present.php?p=Reflow Skillet

    Steve

    The site details use of a skillet instead of a hot plate, which are a bit different in construction. Newer hotplates are designed so that their coils are spread out much better than the elements found in skillets.
     
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