Review - Rant - Questions about Weller WE101NA soldering iron

Thread Starter

JackPollack

Joined Feb 29, 2016
28
Review and rant:
My trusty Weller soldering station of 20+ years finally died so I decided it was probably better to buy a new one then try to repair the old one. I purchased a Weller 70W WE101NA which has a an LCD screen and looked like it had a lot of other cool features. The first thing I noticed was that the wire that connects the soldering pencil to the base was wound up and knotted in the box in such a way that it has permanent kinks in it. I plugged it in and was expecting a back-lit LCD (all the pictures look like it is), but it wasn't back lit. The instruction sheet was very minimal.

I called the Weller USA distributor with my questions and concerns and they knew absolutely nothing and were completely unable to answer anything including if there was supposed to be a backlight. I sent the WE101NA back for exchange and the new one was exactly like the original including the wire being tangled and kinked.

As many products are now days it is built like junk and and in no way compares to the 20 year old one. Opening up the base you just find a cheep PCB and transformer. I thought Weller was the best, but their support, knowledge of their product and construction of the unit is laughable. Think I should have kept the old one!

My actual questions:
Now that I have my rant out of the way I do have a few questions:

1. I have never had an adjustable temperature soldering iron before.
Approximately what temperature should I be setting it to?

2. There is a setting in the menu called "offset"
What is this all about? How/why do I use this?


Thanks
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,811
If you previously had a Weller TCP, then the temperature was adjustable by your choice of tips!
I use 350°C for lead-free solder, and 400°C if it has a big area to heat (where I should really be using a bigger iron).
My solder supplier tells me that the temperature should be set to 120°C higher than the melting point of the solder.
Not sure about offset, but my new Weller has an irritating feature where it cools down to 180°C when it thinks I'm not using it (which can be half-way through soldering something).
 

Thread Starter

JackPollack

Joined Feb 29, 2016
28
I did have a TCP - I purchased so many many tips years ago I never realized that the tips had a temp spec. I thought it was just the shape and size.

I have been using the new iron at around 700° - guess I've been cooking everything. Is there a chart somewhere that would show the recommended temperatures for different kinds of solder?

The WE101NA has a stand-by timer setting (maybe yours does also, look in the settings) which cools it down after a specified period. I also found this annoying and have it set to the max time.

Now if anyone know about the offset setting I would still like to learn about this.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,811
I did have a TCP - I purchased so many many tips years ago I never realized that the tips had a temp spec. I thought it was just the shape and size.

I have been using the new iron at around 700° - guess I've been cooking everything. Is there a chart somewhere that would show the recommended temperatures for different kinds of solder?

The WE101NA has a stand-by timer setting (maybe yours does also, look in the settings) which cools it down after a specified period. I also found this annoying and have it set to the max time.

Now if anyone know about the offset setting I would still like to learn about this.
If your tip was called BB7 then BB is the size/shape and 7 means 700°F, which is 370°C, which is slightly hotter than the recommendation from my solder supplier.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,805
Careful with your temperature units.

700°F and 800°F are standard settings for Sn/Pb solder and lead-free solder respectively.
This translates to about 370°C and 425°C.

The chart below shows 63/37 Sn/Pb solder melts at about 360°F = 182°C
Add about 120°C to that and we get about 300°C = 572°F
600-700°F is a good setting.



1676828184611.png



1676827881367.png
 

Thread Starter

JackPollack

Joined Feb 29, 2016
28
Thank you for clarifying and pointing out my mistake with the temp units.
Since you say 600-700 I should probably try a a little lower temp than 700
 

Thread Starter

JackPollack

Joined Feb 29, 2016
28
yeah, I saw that while google-ling, trying to find out if there was supposed to be one.
I dont think its worth the effort since he says it not very bright - and I dont plan to solder in the dark too much anyway :)
Thanks
 
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