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Thread: What type soldering iron do you guys use?

  1. #1

    Default What type soldering iron do you guys use?

    My old radioshack special from 15 years ago has about had it. Just a run of the mill standard non temperature adjustable.

    What do you guys use? I'm mainly a hobbyist. I use it for small electronics, computer repair, and occasionally for automotive needs which is never much more than soldering a couple 16 gauge wires together.

    Has anyone used the ts100 or ts80? Like the portability yet they still need to be plugged in. If there was an adapter to go from my 20v dewalt battery pack, it would be perfect.

    otherwise what other suggestions do you have? I'd like something temperature controlled so I can use it on smaller/finer electronics without burning a hole in the circuit board.

  2. #2
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    I've used my Weller TCP iron for about as long as there have been microprocessors. Replaced the heater once and the cord (slammed a drawer on it) once. It just keeps going and going.



    There are certainly cheaper ones and even fancier ones, but mine just works. 50 years ago, it was probably only really good professional choice.

  3. #3
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    They were the first company to have a (patented) thermostat in their replacable tips, ca. 1960s, offering different temperatures
    Later, they had adjustable with a knob models.

    I used one well into the 90's when I was introduced to the Metcal at work.

  4. #4

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    I’ve got a hakko FX-951. It’s probably a little pricey for just hobby use, but I’m glad I bought it. After using only $7 radio shack or Walmart irons it’s amazing what the difference is. It heats up faster, it seems to stay hot better, and the hand piece doesn’t fight you light something with a heavier cord. Probably a cheaper model that can use the hakko tips would be a better idea, but hey this hobby is usually cheaper than fast cars.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Kossow View Post
    They were the first company to have a (patented) thermostat in their replacable tips, ca. 1960s, offering different temperatures
    The principle of operation is dead-simple. The power supply is just a 24VAC transformer with a switch. The handle has an internal switch attached to a spring-loaded rod-shaped magnet; that come up through the center of the tip heater. Each tip has a slug of an alloy that has a curie point denoted by the number stamped into it (e.g. 6 = 600F, 7 = 700F, etc.).

    When the tip is below the curie temperature, the switch rod is attracted to the slug in the tip. When the temperature rises above the curie point, the attraction ceases and the switch opens.

    Metcals are very nice, if you can spare the beer money for one. Most new folks seem to opt for Hakko or the Chinese clones of them (which take the same tips).

    I've also got a couple of old-school irons (e.g. Ungar 777) as well as a Weller D-550 gun (325 watts) for the big jobs.

    Anything larger, and I pull out my acetylene torch.

  6. #6
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    Hey Chuck. That weller is great we still had one at a job i worked at back in 2016.

  7. #7

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    I use a Weller also but to be honest, I purchased a re-work station on eBay and I love it. It's cheap but works great IMO. Been using it for almost 2 years and no problems.

    Here is the one I use:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/862D-2in1-S...91a4fd4a2129af

  8. #8

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    I began with a Weller WES51 and it was really tough to beat, especially for the money. Did a lot of soldering with it, but really fine work was more difficult.

    I tried the Hakko, but it couldn't unseat the Weller for me.

    Then I tried the Pace ADS200 - it is fantastic. I love everything about it, it is made solid and the company has provided top notch support for any questions I've had.

    https://paceworldwide.com/

  9. #9
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    Hexacon irons for me. I use Select-o-Track and Therm-o-Track temperature controlled stations.

  10. #10
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    Tell me about that eBay rework station. How is it for SMT work?

    If you visited any electronics lab in Silicon Valley in the 1970s, you'd find almost nothing but Weller TCP irons, Edsyn Soldapullt suckers, the alcohol dispenser and desoldering braid.

    Only recently have I started using the cheap Chinese hollow needles for PCB rework. Simple, but they do the job.

    When I started building gear (before I learned to shave), I used a 100W Craftsman iron, complete with wood handle and cloth-covered cord. But that was all point-to-point stuff. I next got a Weller gun, which was less hazardous (I picked up the Craftsman by the wrong end--once).
    Last edited by Chuck(G); January 10th, 2020 at 07:15 PM.

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