Will a 30W soldering iron work for lead-free solder?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Grayham, May 27, 2010.

  1. Grayham

    Thread Starter Member

    May 18, 2010
    79
    2
    Hi,

    I am about to purchase a cheap 30W soldering iron off ebay.

    I have some lead-free solder and after doing some research I heard it needs around 240 degrees Celsius to melt properly.

    Do you think I could need a hotter iron than 30W for lead-free solder?
     
  2. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    Buy a temp regulated iron. You won't be sorry.

    If you buy the cheap 30W iron, odds are you will be sorry.
     
  3. Grayham

    Thread Starter Member

    May 18, 2010
    79
    2
    What is a temp regulated iron?
     
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    969
    he just means a typical soldering station that has a control box attached to it that you can set the temp and it will hold it at that. Weller/Hakko/Metcal all make great units. It is just much easier to control the heat where as a regular 30W pen type soldering iron is just on or off..not temp control. But a typical 30W iron will easily reach lead free solder temps. (typically up to like 350deg C is)
     
    Grayham likes this.
  5. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    The cheaper irons can vary greatly in the amount of heat they hold, and the reheat speed after each solder joint, or wipe on a sponge.

    These variances in temperatures can lead to bad joints.

    This can be a SUPER PAIN to troubleshoot.

    A temp regulated iron will throw in a little more power to keep the temperature close to even during stressful times.

    Also, if you are looking to de-solder and salvage older components, or try to use the new SMD components, you will be best set with a proper setup.
     
    Grayham likes this.
  6. Grayham

    Thread Starter Member

    May 18, 2010
    79
    2
    Okay, thanks for your advice.
    I went ahead and purchased it anyway as it was under $15.

    I will look into buying one of those suggested later on, just need it for a quick and cheap soldering job for now anyway.
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I bought Velleman unit after the one my boy got me stopped working, when it works they are OK, but they don't last long. Next time will be something better I think.
     
  8. Bychon

    Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    469
    41
    Somehow, I found myself in posession of a $10 P.O.S. soldering iron. The second time I plugged it in, it was corroded and didn't work. Good thing I have a stock of Weller's. I get along just fine with a 33 watt Weller "straight" soldering iron and a couple of Weller guns...125 Watt and 250 Watt for chassis grounds. If it gets worse than that, I have a soldering tip for a propane tank and a small oxy-acetylene torch. (Just kidding.)
     
  9. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I have several butane soldering irons that I am fond of. I wouldn't use them for a project, but they are great for emergency use.
     
  10. Externet

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 29, 2005
    758
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    Sorry, but a 30W, 300 W or 3KW soldering iron does not guarantee to perform with unleaded.

    Is its operating temperature ! , not the power what you should be after. The higher power will allow to work only on larger items or when its heat sinks on ground planes. Cheap irons do not even specify what temperature they work at.
     
  11. whale

    Active Member

    Dec 21, 2008
    111
    0
    get the exact value of the melting point of u r solder , and then choose your soldering iron according to the temperature u needed.i think the manifacture will state the maximum temp of the soldering iron .
     
  12. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Actually, unless you are talking a tip 3" across power is as good a method as any. Power is the total calories, you concentrate it on a small tip it will hit melting points of solder. Most irons look very similar, this is more a matter of physics and design, if they were large (as soldering irons in my grandfathers day were) then you have to worry about both power and temperature.
     
  13. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    i remember the BIG irons. 1/2 inch around tips that you could file to shape whatever particular tip design you needed. I remember them being particularly soft metal. If the iron was dropped by more than a foot or two, it would deform the tip.

    Then again, this was over 20 years ago. I think they are still manufactured for plumbing. Ill have to give google a spin.

    [ed]
    The top two are the ones I remember from back then. American Beauty Irons. The specs say 550 watts. Thats a pretty powerful iron.
    [​IMG]
    [/ed]
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
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