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Good Soldering Tool/Station?

post #1 of 13
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I've been thinking about getting a soldering tool/station of my own for working with small things like pcbs. I don't really have a price range, but I'd like to keep it as low as possible unless I'm getting a lot for my money.
Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 13
I got sick of my Weller gun a few month ago and grabbed a TMC 08-600 off fleabay for cheap. It is certainly far from the best out there, but for a very inexpensive temperature controlled station I'm satisfied with it. The build quality was actually better than I was expecting.
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post #3 of 13
I Prefer Weller for solder Irons, i dont use a station but im sure any you find from weller will be worth the money
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post #4 of 13
+1 for Weller's awesome build quality. You will be able to use it for many years.
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post #5 of 13
I've had excellent results with Aoyue stations. Right now I mostly use a station with hot-air rework (an absolute lifesaver for small, surface-mount packages).

http://www.aoyue.com/en/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=358
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post #6 of 13
one's i've used personally:

basic kit ($50 and below)
Used this crummy little Radioshack unit for a good while.
it's fine for light work, but constantly heating things up and etc, look elsewhere. takes it a while to stabilize temperature back after making a joint. and no other tip sizes (which you have to special order) sucks. but if you're doing light work it's not bad and it's cheap.

a step up from that would be a Weller WLC100 . Used it a coworker's place and for light HAM work he finds it a good workhorse.
heats up quick and has a decent temperature range. non-grounded pencil but the base accepts grounded ones. Again good for light work, good range of tips, and fairly cheap.

Dedicated Soldering Stations (typically $100+)
Weller WES51 is a great unit, but expensive. I've only used this one at a friend's workstation and it's a great tool. tips for it are everywhere (I found the stock tip to be rather unwieldy on SMT stuff but that's just me it seems), but a bit pricy however.

The Hakko 936-12 is the unit i personally own and currently use. Stock tip is good for SMT stuff and it's base unit is smaller than the WES51. another plus is that i got it for $80 shipped off ebay. watch for the model differences though, if i remember correctly: -11 is small (tiny little pencil), -12 is medium (good for most anything), and -13 is the heavy duty one (big, honking tip)


just the ones i've played with. hope it helps
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post #7 of 13
+1 to Weller

For just doing basic stuff: Weller 20W This is what I have used for years, cost ~$20, plus $7 for one of the coiled stands. The little stand that comes with this is junk, and a general fire hazard. It won't really hold the iron, it slides all over the place, with a small bump, etc...

I know someone who has this one: WES51 It is a good one too, if you REALLY need temperature control that much.

If you are going to do a lot of smt work, I would suggest looking into hot air.

What ever you decide, make sure the tips are readily available to you, and they have plenty of sizes. I have a perfectly good soldering iron not in use, because I had a hard time finding tips for it at RadioShack, and other local electronics stores that didn't have any.
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post #8 of 13
In the last 35 years I have used many different soldering irons/stations. Weller makes a good product. They are a little pricey.

Four or five years ago, I bought a Hakko 936 at Fry's and have been very happy with it. It is a soldering "station" and not a soldering "iron." The distinction being that you can control the temperature.
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post #9 of 13
i have a wlc100 made by weller which has temp control that i got off amazon for 40$. Works great. I use it to solder dc jacks on laptop motherboards all the time and it works flawlessly.
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post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Nibbles View Post
+1 for Weller's awesome build quality. You will be able to use it for many years.
QFT.

I use my grandfathers soldering station from the '70s for my Vmods. I think it's made of bakelite .
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