Will this soldering iron work to build circuit on perfboard?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by tjohnson, May 29, 2015.

  1. tjohnson

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 23, 2014
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  2. wayneh

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    It'll work, but there may be better options for that price. I like this one a lot because I can get replacement tips easily and inexpensively.
     
  3. tjohnson

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    Dec 23, 2014
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    I was just wondering because the soldering iron that is part of the kit got some pretty poor reviews (see here) on RadioShack's website because people complained that it was too hot. So even though the temperature of ~1000°F isn't adjustable, this iron should be fine for soldering small electronics?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  4. wayneh

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    I think it will eat tips quickly. The excess temperature may be OK for doing the work, but it will degrade the tip quickly. I'd steer clear.
     
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  5. Lestraveled

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    May 19, 2014
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    Way back in the past I would lower the temperature of the iron by putting a diode (1N4004,5,6,7) in series with the line to cut the power in half. This was good to put the iron in stand-by. To raise the power from that point I would put power resistors in parallel with the diode. These would bring the iron from 50% up to 100%. I am guessing that a 120 ohm 10Watt resistor will get you around 75%.
    For construction use an outlet box with a wall switch. (Don't cut the cord.)
     
  6. Lestraveled

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    wayneh is right about high temperature burning up tips. It won't last long at max temp.
     
  7. tjohnson

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    Thanks for the advice. I think I'll return it to RadioShack (since I haven't used it at all yet) and get the one you mentioned.

    @Lestraveled: Thanks, but I'd rather not mess with a wall wart, especially when I can get a better soldering iron that's cheaper than the one I have now.
     
  8. wayneh

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    And now you know why Radio Shack is disappearing.
     
  9. Lestraveled

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    Good call.
     
  10. ScottWang

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  11. tjohnson

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    Thanks, I saw the idea of using a light dimmer mentioned in one of the reviews, but I still think I'd rather get a better one.
     
  12. ScottWang

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    Aug 23, 2012
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    You can buy the soldering kit if you like, but I never buy that kind of tools, I always used the cheaper iron with wood grip around US$ 1.00 and bought some Lamp dimmers or make it by myself, because the iron through the temperature control, so the cheaper iron can be use over 10 years, and I bought another 60W iron also used the same dimmer, so the life can be longer enough, I also bought some of the Lamp dimmers as what I linked for you in #10.

    soldering-iron_30W-60W-s_ScottWang.jpg
     
  13. bertus

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  14. ian field

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    My favourite iron is the Antex - reasonably priced and fully reliable enough for my needs.

    The X25 is a good basic iron at low price with no temerature control, the 50W TC model is much better.

    There are a couple of gotcha's though - the element is a thin rod assembly and its wound with thin resistance wire, I have very noisy mains and a couple of irons succombed to spikes. This would probably be much less a problem with a 110V rated model.

    Originally the tips which fit over the element rod were slotted, so when you need to remove the old one it was easy to spread it open and wiggle the last bit off the element, the last tips I bought aren't slotted - I haven't used any of those yet, but I envisage having to draw file the sides before I can open it out like the slotted ones.
     
  15. ian field

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    Radio Shack pulled out of the UK many years ago.

    Most of the pre packed components they stocked were very low quality and had a distinctly Chinese look to them.

    Gradually the whole store in my town was taken over by rather tacky consumer electronics like stereos and various novelty appliances.

    Once I bought a Micronta multimeter. Within a week all the voltage ranges had lost any semlance of calibration and gone noticebly non-linear as well.

    On one occasion I bought a 'bargain' pack of unmarked regulators from Radio Shack, there were some TO66 style with 4 pins that I had no chance to identify so I cut it open for a look inside. When a data sheet for a similar looking regulator turned up - it had a big bold lettering warning across the top that it has a beryllium substrate which is highly toxic - do not cut open or disassemble!
     
  16. nigelwright7557

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    May 10, 2008
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    Its too hot for electronic components, it could damage them.
    Buy a proper electronics soldering iron of about 25 watts.
     
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  17. tjohnson

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    Dec 23, 2014
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    Thanks @bertus and @ian field, but the Antex isn't an option for me because I don't have a 230V power source.

    I'm thinking of getting the one mentioned by @wayneh, but it doesn't look like it's pre-tinned. I remember reading in the book Make: Electronics (Learning by Discovery) that you should only use a pre-tinned soldering iron. Is this true?
     
  18. wayneh

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    My tips were ready to go out of the package. But my first action is to always wet my tip with fresh solder anyway.
     
  19. tjohnson

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    Do you mean that you got the accompanying tip set to use with it? And the tips were pre-tinned?
     
  20. wayneh

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    Exactly correct, and yes.

    I got the spare tips because every other iron I've ever owned - a half dozen? - failed at the tip and I either could not find a replacement tip or, if I could, it was as expensive as a new iron. Part of my reason for choosing this iron was that I could clearly buy inexpensive replacement tips.

    Ironically, I think I'm still on my first tip. Keeping the tip just warm enough - and not hotter - greatly extends tip life.
     
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