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Author Topic: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?  (Read 4618 times)

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Offline zackTopic starter

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What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« on: May 23, 2008, 05:49:02 AM »
There are so many of them! What should I look for when getting one?  Is there a brand/kit you would recommend? Optimum wattage, things to avoid etc?

Thanks!

Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2008, 06:07:41 AM »
A good soldering gun....
hhmmm...

Get one with around 50W... so you can literally do anything...
And get also one which can adjust temp...

Wattage is just how well your gun can supply heat...
But in a inexpensive gun this will mean more heat (hotter tip)...
But in a semi to full professional it will mean the first thing...

Also the ability to change tips is also important... don't ignore it....

that's from me...

Lefteris
For whom the interrupts toll...


P.S. I've been inactive for almost a year... Don't give promises but I'll try to complete my tutorials. I'll let you know when..

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Offline benji

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2008, 06:29:23 AM »
i did buy a made in japan one,, the brand is Goot and its 20 watts, the tip is amaizingly thin
,,it works great ,,
good ol' BeNNy

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 03:13:04 PM »
Whats your budget?

A good soldering iron has adjustable wattage.

Offline izaktj

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2008, 05:38:20 PM »
I am interested in this too.
My budget is $50 d=

Offline Roberto

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2008, 07:57:11 PM »
Got a 15 watt iron at RadioShack. Great for making small robots. ($50 robot, etc.)
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Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2008, 12:31:29 AM »
Whats your budget?

A good soldering iron has adjustable wattage.

Adjustable heat isn't the point anyway?!?!

I got a 50W Weller with adjustable heat via tips...
Every tip has it's own temperature depending on the rating from 1 to 9 I think...


whatever.....
For whom the interrupts toll...


P.S. I've been inactive for almost a year... Don't give promises but I'll try to complete my tutorials. I'll let you know when..

Cheers!

Offline paulstreats

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2008, 03:48:47 AM »
My adjustable solder station also comes with tip with temperature ratings. The ratings are there to tell you how hot the tip should go before it gets overheated when damage to the tip is more likely to occur. So I have to adjust the temperature of the iron accordingly to what tip I use.

This is usually the way it works so id check to be sure if i were you (what would be the point of making a soldering iron more expensive by adding an adjustable temperature when all you need to do is change the tip)

I also got a big beefy 50w weller iron. Its designed for melting plumbers solder and comes with some really big fat tips. I never used it on electronics because the tips that came with it would cover about 5 solder pads at once!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 03:53:24 AM by paulstreats »

Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2008, 03:57:55 AM »
My adjustable solder station also comes with tip with temperature ratings. The ratings are there to tell you how hot the tip should go before it gets overheated when damage to the tip is more likely to occur. So I have to adjust the temperature of the iron accordingly to what tip I use.

Mine it's not like that...
the tip is magnetic... when heated the magnetic field weakens so the circuit is cut open and heating stops...

Weller rules.... period!!!!!
For whom the interrupts toll...


P.S. I've been inactive for almost a year... Don't give promises but I'll try to complete my tutorials. I'll let you know when..

Cheers!

Offline paulstreats

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2008, 04:02:08 AM »
are you talking about a solder gun and not a solder iron?

Offline benji

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2008, 06:14:54 AM »
well zack didmt make his question clear enough ,the question was about a soldering iron but then he is asking about optimum wattage  ;D
good ol' BeNNy

Offline kd5kfl

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2008, 06:38:15 AM »
This is not a direct reply to the question at hand, but since we are talking soldering irons here...

Soldering irons have one of two properties: Grounded tip or floating tip. If you find yourself soldering in a hot circuit, you will find out why this matters....bzzzzt.

Offline zackTopic starter

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2008, 07:21:47 AM »
Whats your budget?

A good soldering iron has adjustable wattage.

Nothing specific in mind, but what is recommended for  a beginner?  Of course if I go with the most expensive it is going to be packed with a whole lot of features! But from the folks here who've used soldering irons for sometime, there may be a few things you like and few featues that you think are a must, and a few well redundant.  A good balance between price and featureset. 

For example, if I'm going to get a multimeter, from my experience I need one that measures atleast VI&R, has auto power off (very often I forget to turn it off!), is digital has continuity test.  The rest of the features are nice but not a must for my modest needs. Just an analogy.  :)

When I posted a similar question about a dremel, someone mentioned not to buy battery powered ones. I thought that was a great and very useful tip. That's something a newbie wouldn't realize but someone who's used a dremel will tell you based on experience. 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 07:25:03 AM by zack »

Offline Webbot

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2008, 01:18:37 PM »
Personally, I'd just buy a 18W Weller iron, a cheap stand, and maybe a selection of different sized bits (ie thin canonical to thick'n'flat).  Simple and as cheap as possible - and fine for circuit boards.

With the money you save compared to an expensive 'all singing and dancing iron' - you could then buy a hotter iron later (say 30W) for any bigger jobs like soldering wires to the metal cases of larger dc motors.

Much cheaper to buy different irons for different jobs - rather than a 'mega iron' which may do more than you would ever want. And a lot cheaper to replace if one goes belly up !!

In my view - its like choosing a toaster. You can spend pennies or mega bucks - but so long as it can burn bread then it can make toast !!


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Offline Commanderbob

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2008, 10:19:15 PM »
I have and love this iron. It is a bit above you price range but it pays to have a nice iron. Also the hot air part is crucial for working with surface mount parts, they are almost imposable to unsolder without one.
Justin

Offline awally88

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2008, 05:36:11 AM »
Get something with a stand or buy  a stand separately, It's annoying not to have!

Offline Steel_monkey

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2008, 12:35:50 PM »
Everything depends of your hands and experience. Fine pitch can be soldered with 2$ iron, and it is not very hard. Tip temperature can be changed pulling tip from hotter. In my opinion, 25 W is best for small parts. And stand is a must.   
« Last Edit: May 28, 2008, 12:40:11 PM by Steel_monkey »

Offline Brandon121233

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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2008, 01:30:43 PM »
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=85 this is simiar to the one I have now, but I started out with a cheepo radioshack $15 one when I was 7 and used that for about 8 years.
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Re: What to look for when purchasing a soldering iron?
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2008, 02:12:00 PM »
It also matters if you use lead based or lead-less solder.

Lead-less solder requires a lot more wattage . . .

My iron cost $250 when I bought it two years ago, and has hot air (really useful for not just SMD, but also for heat shrink :P)

I've never damaged a soldering tip. Well, I did once, somehow my soldering iron flew up in the air and landed on the tip . . . the tip was badly bent . . . but then I used pliers to bend it back and it still works perfectly fine for SMD even after 2 years of use . . .

 


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