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lost on a good soldering iron/station

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
i will be moving soon and would really like to buy a decent soldering iron/pencil. i dont really need a soldering station because i dont really see myself doing more than 6 or so connections a year. i know radioshack pencils arent that great and the harbor freight choices are worse. i can shop at fry's for the next 2 weeks.
does anyone want to give me some recommendations so i dont make the same mistake i made before? that mistake was buying the rs pencil.
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w00t
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post #2 of 13
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WLC100-40-Watt-Soldering-Station/dp/B000AS28UC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1388949988&sr=8-2&keywords=Weller+W100
I know it's a station and not a pencil BUT its fairly inexpensive and frankly for lack of a better word it is amazing!
According to Amazon I bought it on October 17, 2010. I have used probably at least once a week soldering everything from 8 Gauge to 30 Gauge wire, tiny SMD components and massive relays. And I'm still on the original tip. It's wonderful. Soldering iron are not something to skimp on, I use mine almost as much as my dremel. That said there is a place for cheap pencils, and if you really want one I'd be happy to recommend a couple.
post #3 of 13
The Weller station Evil posted is likely the best suggestion. I do a lot of soldering with my RC hobbies and ended up with a Hakko 888 that I love. It replaced my two radio shack units and my harbor freight solder gun.

The harbor freight gun was actually great for doing stuff down to like 2 - 8 gauge braided power cables but anything much smaller and it was just awkward.
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ROG - D-Frame
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post #4 of 13
Oh I would love one of those Hakkos, basically anything Hakko is good for electronics work (have their pliers and wire cutters) but if your only using it a bit it is probably overkill.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
i can have that wlc100 ordered in from frys for $45.
i realize the station allows variable temps but can you recommend a good pencil? i doubt i will ever solder any wires larger than 8gauge. and it would be nice if i could solder to pcb without damaging it.

i appreciate all the help. i am pretty much clueless on quality irons
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w00t
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post #6 of 13
Honestly I have the dial on either 3 or 5 and nowhere else. I use 3 for PCBs and 5 for everything else.

This one should be pretty decent, though I have not used it personally
http://www.frys.com/product/1556308?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

Basically for irons avoid cheap no names (Hakko, AOYUE, and weller are all very good) and avoid Butane, cold heat or basically anything not 120V AC unless you have a specific need, which it appear you don't. The one other thing that stations have is a built in stand which comes in handy as it is much sturdier than pencil stands. You don't want you 900 degree iron falling onto your foott.

THis one is also probably decent but once again low end
http://www.frys.com/product/2818734?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
ok, thanks for all the help everyone. if anyone has any more recommendations for a good pencil, please post it up. i have about 2 weeks to get an iron. i also found the wlc100 at home depot for the same price. i could even get that after i move.
any station under $50 is great and a pencil under $30 is good too.
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post #8 of 13
You definitely want a solder station that has a heat control - especially if you're using lead-free solder. The hotter the iron is allowed to get, the quicker the solder oxidizes, and the quicker you ruin your tips. And tips ain't cheap. Without a heat control, it's full temp at all times.
APU what?
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APU what?
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post #9 of 13
The best deal was Radio Shack's 70W, temperature controlled soldering station for $39.95:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15725446



70W means it can solder and desolder about anything, including lead-free solder, and when desoldering you need plenty of heat to get the job done quickly and prevent damage to the circuit board. Normally 70W is too powerful, but temperature regulation makes this iron safe to use on both the thinnest traces and the thickest ground planes. Temperature regulation is much better than just power regulation.

Other Radio Shack irons are actually pretty good, and 30W is about right for general use but may not be enough for 4+ layer circuit boards, which may need 40W.

Iron plated tips last a lot, lot longer than plain or chrome-plated tips.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
its a late reply and thank you from me but, thanks for all the help guys.

have you used that station or know someone who has larymoencurly? i can go pick it up today if its actually a good unit.
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