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Thread: What type soldering iron do you guys use?

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    is the type of iron that I started off with:
    I started off (as a boy in the 1960's) with a low voltage scope soldering iron. These were actually a brilliant design, they ran off a low voltage transformer. To activate them you had to be holding the handle (so it made them less risky for grabbing the wrong end). You could control the temperature for practically any job by the % of time you held down the button, so you could solder small jobs in radios etc or solder to heavy metal chassis. I once used one to solder up a hole in my car's radiator.

    Picture attached.

    These irons were incredibly popular once in NZ and Australia.

    Now I use temp controlled Weller irons.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #22
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    I've got several. First I have an old Heath iron with low-med-high settings, it's been a "friend" for decades and I would hate to get rid of it. One day the heater element will die and that will be the end since there's no replacements for it. I also have an old Ungar with a high wattage heater element and wide flat tip for removing solder from heatsinks etc. Then there's a Chinese temperature controlled iron that uses Hakko tips. I bought it to use as a replacement for the Heath. Lastly, I have two desoldering irons, one with a vacuum pump, the other with a squeeze bulb. Lastly, a hot air station with multiple nozzles. I had a Nicad battery operated iron many years ago, but it was a PITA since you still needed the charger most of the time for anything but the smallest jobs.
    Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

  3. #23
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    That's one aspect of the Weller TCP--parts have always been available for it, which is pretty amazing.

  4. #24
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    Had different ones over the years and on Christmas, my parents got me a new soldering iron that has temperature controls and heats up pretty darn quick (10 seconds).
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  5. #25
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    Not only do temp controlled irons heat up fast, they stay at temp when you are actually soldering.
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  6. #26
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    374-100_ALT_0 (1).jpg

    This was my first iron that had a decent adjustment knob, made by Stahl. I still use it once in a while.
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
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  7. #27
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    You guys rattled my cage with respect to my old Weller D-550 325 watt gun. Mine goes back at least 50 years and long ago, I dropped it and broke the (bakelite) case. I made it serviceable using fiberglass mesh and Bondo. I figured that it was about time to do the old girl justice. Believe it or not, you can still order parts--the case ran about $18.50 (appears to be ABS) and I picked up an extra tip. Total bill was about $25--just enough to get free shipping from Amazon.

    The package showed up today and the case fit very well, with a couple of nits--my old gun used a spring strain-relief, but the new ones don't use anything. I grabbed a piece of vinyl hose, threaded the "new" line cord through it and secured one end with a cable tie. Looks and works just fine--and my cord is up-to-date--it's polarized.

    I though about using a 3-wire cord, but that might be self-defeating if I wanted to solder a "live" connection, so I stuck with the 2-wire cord. I've soldered AWG 6 cables with the thing.

    I guess it's good for another 50 years or so...

  8. #28
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    I used an Radio Shack branded Ungar for years, then a Weller.

    I picked up a Metcal as part of a larger lot of parts and gave it a try. Haven't touched the Weller since. Still have a spare Weller WESD51 new in the box.

    The Metcal heats almost instantly, small to hold in your hand and you can change tip in just a few seconds. Larger tips will deliver enough heat to remove old twist mount capacitors, fine tips are great for surface mount parts.

  9. #29

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    Hakko are great for most purposes, not least because they have the best tips.

    The actual iron isn't that important as long as it has a decent amount of power and temperature control, but the tips are critical.

    For some reason a lot of people seem to like conical tips which are basically useless. Maybe it's just what they are used to struggling with, I don't know.

    Hakko make great flat tips. They do some U shaped ones too which are nice for SMD work - you can heat both sides of a resistor or capacitor at once. Hakko design the tips to be changed quickly and often because the Japanese like to use the right tool for the job.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuro68k View Post
    Hakko are great for most purposes, not least because they have the best tips.

    The actual iron isn't that important as long as it has a decent amount of power and temperature control, but the tips are critical.

    For some reason a lot of people seem to like conical tips which are basically useless. Maybe it's just what they are used to struggling with, I don't know.

    Hakko make great flat tips. They do some U shaped ones too which are nice for SMD work - you can heat both sides of a resistor or capacitor at once. Hakko design the tips to be changed quickly and often because the Japanese like to use the right tool for the job.
    I'm with you. I like small flat tips. Pointed ones are hard to keep the tinning clean at the point.
    Dwight

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