Suggestions For a Soldering Iron
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lextek

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I'm looking into getting a soldering iron. Right now I have basic soldering skills. I have a couple of Snap-On butane soldering irons at work. Not the most precise things. I'd like to try a little amp project. So any suggestions would be appreciated.
 
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carlo

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lextek,

I hope to one day have a fancy soldering station, but in the meantime a Weller SP40L has served me well. I don't remember when I bought it but I wouldn't have spent more than $40 and its still going strong.

Kester solder makes me happy.

carlo.
 
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Toe

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I recently grabbed myself a Weller WLC-100 variable-temperature soldering station. Picked it up for $35, and I love it!
 
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tangent

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The main thing is to buy your iron from a "real" electronics shop -- the kind where you can say "do you have 1N5290s?" to the guy behind the counter and not get treated to a dumb look. Radio Shack and Fry's are not "real" electronics shops.

Spending more gets you more features, of course, but you can spend as little as about $9 and get a good pencil iron at this kind of shop.
 
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Nick Dangerous

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I agree. The $13 Weller 25W chisel-tip soldering iron I bought from Fry's is a great one to start with.
 
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aeberbach

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At $100 it is hard to beat the Weller WTCPT. It seems like a lot initially but I have been using one now for around 9 years.
 
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Gariver

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I would do the following: I would buy an inexpensive soldering iron first. Then I would check EBAY for a nice soldering station by Weller or Hakko. Yes, every once in a while, you see nice soldering stations at very low prices there. So this is a good tactic!

Hakko Soldering Stations...
I have a Hakko 937 Digital Soldering Station that is very nice. However, I recommend trying to get the Hakko 936 Soldering Station over at EBAY below list price. The 936 is not digital. It has a dial to set temperature. Both of these stations are very high quality, and I am sure you will like them.

http://www.ebay.com

Weller WLC-100...
I agree with Toe on this one. The WLC-100 is hard to beat for the price. This variable temp soldering station is loaded with features. That $36 is a very low price since I usually see this SS selling for slightly more.
 
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I ended up buying a Hakko 936 station from an online store about 2 weeks ago for $85 after missing a few eBay auctions where the price would've been $60ish. I've seen some good things said about this soldering station. I was motivated to upgrade to a good soldering station after using these big $200-300 Metcal stations with literally pencil-like irons in one of the labs at school. Another lab actually has the Hakko 936 that I bought, but that work area is off limits to me. The Hakko seemed like a good choice since it has the option to come with a smaller-thinner iron while being at a reasonable price. I can't wait to start my next project so I can try this new iron out.
 
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Gariver

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Possum:

The Hakko 936 and 937 Soldering Stations are excellent soldering stations. Both are of the highest possible quality. Plus they look great! So a Hakko 936 for $60plus is really a high-tech bargain. The reason for the low price is this: Hakko is NOT well known! Most people know a Weller, but not a Hakko. This creates a terrific opportunity for savvy, knowledgeable buyers!

Hakko: Smaller, thinner soldering iron...
I almost bought the small soldering iron (900S) for my Hakko 937. However, I soon realized that the standard soldering iron is thin enough at 16mm diameter. That's about 5/8 inch. I feel it is just the right size! Anyway, these extra soldering irons are sold at very, very high prices (over $100 for 900S). Plus the small iron has only 6 tips available for it. That lacks versatility! So I do not advice getting the small soldering iron. Instead, you should get small soldering tips. In my opinion, that's a better move.

Total tips for Standard and Small Soldering Irons...
Standard 907 soldering iron = 24 tips.
Small 900S soldering iron = 6 tips.

Hakko tips...
I suggest that you get some of the smaller soldering tips. The standard 937 tip is a 907 Series MTD 1.6mm spade, but I like tips smaller than that. I really like the combination of high temperature and a very, very small tip. That combination works extremely well for me.
--Hakko 900 MTD 1.2mm spade--Good tip to have.
--Hakko 900 MTD 0.8mm spade--Great tip to have for most work!
--Hakko 900 MTI 0.2mm point--Great pointed tip for soldering surface mount devices (SMD)!

To check out Hakko equipment prices, go to these sites...
http://www.wassco.com
http://www.action-electronics.com

Please note: Wassco has lower prices for soldering tips.

Good luck with this info!
 
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Toe

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Quote:

Originally posted by Gariver
Weller WLC-100...
I agree with Toe on this one. The WLC-100 is hard to beat for the price. This variable temp soldering station is loaded with features. That $36 is a very low price since I usually see this SS selling for slightly more.


Search Google, there's quite a few places that have them available for under $40.
 
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Possum

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I got the standard 907 with my station. By smaller, I mean smaller than the irons from the other stations
. I thought about the 900S, but the 907 looked small enough to me, and the 936 packages for sale usually come with the 907 anyway - either the standard 907 or a larger size, I think.
 
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