Need advice to complete aging Weller equipment (WECP-20, MLR-21, IG-102, WTCP-S)

Thread Starter


Joined Jan 20, 2019

For about two years, I'm doing electronic repairs with an aging Weller equipment that I purchased second hand for a good price.
One problem that I encounter is the time that I loose when desoldering components that were assembled with lead free solder (requiring more heat) especially when there are large heat sink like USB connectors.

Here's my current equipment. In bold, what I'm currently using:
  • an Weller IG-102 desoldering (which acts as a 220V to 24V transformer)
  • a Weller WTCP-S temperature controlled ESD-Safe soldering station, up to 400°C
  • a Weller WECP-20 temperature controlled soldering station, up to 450°C
  • an ERSA MS 60 temperature controlled soldering station that I'm not using yet
  • a Weller MLR-21 25 Watt soldering iron for micro soldering works, with a slender and thin conical tip
  • a low cost Yihua 852D+ hot air station with variable air speed, up to 500°C
  • desoldering wick
  • rosin flux
The WTCP-S soldering is mounted on th IG-102 desoldering unit, which powers it in 24V.
I currently don't have the desoldering equipment (desoldering pump) for the IG-102 and it seems difficult to find.

The MLR-21 iron should normally be used together with the WECP-20 station, but I use it with the WTCP-S because this station is ESD safe.
(I'm not sure if the WECP-20 is ESD safe or how should it be grounded.)

The MLR-21 supports several tips from the MT family :
Nowadays, these tips are difficult to find and expensive.
Furthermore, it seems difficult to find clones from other manufacturers for this tip family.

For the MLR-21, I ionly have a slender and thin conical tip ; useful for precision works, but often too thin for good heat transfer when desolering.
Clearly, I need more tips, like chisel and chisel bent ones.
Although I'm soldering with leaded solder, I feel that the 400°C limit of the WTCP-S is a bit short when I have to remove components that were brasered with unleaded solder. I assume that the 25 Watts of the MLR-21 are a bit short as well, but optimizing heat transfer should help.

The hot air helps me a lot to preheat near 180° or more and reduce heat sink. The flux is great help as well.
It works, but I clearly need more comfort.

Conrad commercializes the MR to LR adapter from Weller (manufacturer reference: T0054412199):
I assume that it would give me access to the wider range of genuine and clone tips LR family, which is more popular because the LR21 iron is more widespread than the MLR21.

Because good soldering equipement is expensive, I would like to improve my existing equipement, but I'm not sure about the strategy for the mid- long- term.
Should I simply buy a few more tips in the price range of 15$ - 30$ (+ shipping) per tip?
And/or buy the MR to LR adapter ?
Or switch to a newer quality equipment possibly that is more adapted to lead free solders and with tips easier to find?

I hope there are here some veterans to share their experience.