Which portable AC-powered soldering iron?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by zoombody, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. zoombody

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    10
    0
    I'm trying to physically downsize my electronics kit, so I'm looking for a soldering iron I can keep in the toolbox more easily than my Weller WTCPT. It's not really for true "portable" use, so I don't want to deal with a butane iron. I've been looking at the Weller W60P and W60P3. First, what's the difference between the two? And secondly, are there other irons in this class -- decent quality and temperature regulation but without a base station -- that I should be considering? Thanks!
     
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,284
    6,797
    The only difference between the P and the P3 is the P has a 2 wire power cord and the P3 has a 3 wire power cord. This might be a good thing to avoid worries about static electricity.

    My personal opinion is that there is no need to consider anything except Weller if quality is the goal. I think that trying to compact your kit means you have been around for a while and you know you are going to be doing this kind of work for a long time, so quality is the important word.

    Other people might know of another good brand and they are welcome to bring it to your attention.
     
  3. zoombody

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    10
    0
    Thanks. What are the advantages/disadvantages of having the iron be grounded? Is there any reason I would not want the version with the three-wire cord?
     
  4. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    850
    215
    Temp. control is so overrated, and unreliable, I take this approach based on the requirements of the job at hand.

    I have several soldering irons, acquired hither and yon over the years, and rated by their actual idling temperature in a coil-spring stand w/ a ceramic heat-sink measured by an infrared spot thermometer [ close enough for gov't work ] to establish my point.

    Pencil irons rated anywhere from 5 - 40 watts, producing temps anywhere from 200°F -- 900° with expendable tips made from whatever happens to work.

    The judgment call comes with what you are soldering , and years of experience.......... whether you are tacking 32 guage wire to a flex-circuit, or spade terminals on 00 stranded...........select whichever iron will do the deed with adequate heat to finish the task, without incinerating the surrounding components or blistering insulation behind the joint.........

    I sweat solder copper plumbing with a mapp-gas torch, -- 18 - 10 ga. wire w/ my good 'ol Weller 375 watt gun...... chips w/ 2 legs per-millimeter pitch are no sweat......you get the drift :D
     
  5. zoombody

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    10
    0
    Good advice about using the right tool for the job, PackratKing, but in contrast to your username I'm trying to put together a minimal kit. ;)

    Can anyone give some more info on grounded vs. ungrounded irons?
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,284
    6,797
    A three wire soldering iron will have a grounded tip, therefore it will not accumulate static electricity.
     
  7. zoombody

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    10
    0
    That's all there is to it? What are the implications of this? On the face of it that seems like an obviously desirable property, but is there any reason not to go with a grounded tip?
     
  8. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,284
    6,797
    OK. If the thing you are soldering has continuity to Earth ground, and you have it plugged in while soldering, you will form a current path to ground with the soldering iron and likely make something smoke (besides the solder).

    I recommend unplugging the victim while soldering to avoid this problem.

    ps, you can use a 3 to 2 adapter on the power cord of the soldering iron if you want to eliminate the Earth ground.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  9. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    5,435
    1,305
    You mean "3 to 2 adapters" which are illegal in most civilised countries. ;)

    I have a couple of small 25W irons (grounded) which include temperature control trimpot and "heater" LED built in the handle. They are excellent for travelling toolbox irons which is where they live.

    They are just cheap brand bought from an electronics shop but are compact and work very well.
     
  10. Jotto

    Member

    Apr 1, 2011
    159
    17


    I totally disagree with you on this. Depending on what your working on will determine temp. I use components that can't be heated over a certain temp or you will damage the component. Also low temp solder only needs 350 degrees.

    Close enough for government work? A glob does the job? All are outdated and don't belong in the work place. Pride in ones work should be the rule, not the exception.
     
  11. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    850
    215
    Good Grief, Charlie Brown........I am failing to see where I was not painfully ? clear on my original point. :confused:

    The judgment call comes with what you are soldering , and years of experience.......... whether you are tacking 32 guage wire to a flex-circuit, or spade terminals on 00 stranded...........Many devices can be employed as soldering heat sinks if the situation is that radical.

    select whichever iron will do the deed with adequate heat to finish the task, without incinerating the surrounding components or blistering insulation behind the joint.........

    You stated --- "" I use components that can't be heated over a certain temp or you will damage the component."" ??? :eek:

    No !! -- :eek::eek: you wouldn't be yankin' my chain now, would you ?? :D

    And furthermore -- ""Close enough for government work? A glob does the job? All are outdated and don't belong in the work place. Pride in ones work should be the rule, not the exception.""

    Please note my Signature.............

    You would more than likely have a kiniption fit if I told what I routinely use for solder and flux :p
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
Loading...