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Thread: What type soldering iron do you guys use?

  1. #31

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    Until.last year I had some variable voltage Weller clone from Amazon....blue base 48watt variable wattage thing. Lasted me five years.

    I replaced it with a similar Weller WLC100 40 watter that I like a lot more.

    Then for Xmas my sis in law got me a wood burning ng kit that is 45 watts and doubles as a soldering iron (different tips). Between the two I'm pretty well set for soldering irons.

    Starting out as a teen messing with electric guitars I had a 1970s Weller that I ran into the ground before a long series of Radio Shack soldering irons ranging between 15-45 watts before the third most recent.

    What bugs me the most is that there's no one standard tip attachment method between brands.
    Last edited by Mad-Mike; January 18th, 2020 at 04:23 PM.

  2. #32
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    There isn't even a standard tip setup within brands. For example, the Weller TCP tips fit only the TCP iron. Other Weller models use different tips.

    You really do want a temperature-controlled iron, Mike. You'll have much grief when you burn the pad off your first PCB using an uncontrolled iron.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by gekaufman View Post
    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.
    I also used a Weller until I was able to pick up a used Metcal, and have stuck with Metcal ever since. They hold up well, so buying one used on Ebay is a pretty safe bet.

  4. #34
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    I do a lot of SMT work and I've pretty much settled on a small 45 degree knife tip for just about everything I do. It's pretty easy to use the knife edge to heat both ends of 0201 through 1210 at the same time along the side of the part to mount them on pre-tinned pads. Also works very well to drag solder just about any leaded part.
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

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    This is what my hot air station looks like:
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by eeguru View Post
    I do a lot of SMT work and I've pretty much settled on a small 45 degree knife tip for just about everything I do. It's pretty easy to use the knife edge to heat both ends of 0201 through 1210 at the same time along the side of the part to mount them on pre-tinned pads. Also works very well to drag solder just about any leaded part.
    Does this work better than placing the component in some solder paste and zapping it with some hot air?

    But yeah, using a fine tip to stick down an SMD (especially things link fine-pitch TQFP pacakges) is not the way to go. Big, broad tip; tack down the corner pins to ensure registration, then start dragging solder also the other pins. Clean up with braid. Inspect carefully.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Does this work better than placing the component in some solder paste and zapping it with some hot air?
    Much quicker. People will argue, but I always generously use SMT 291 syringe flux on board. Basically I'll pre-tin all the pads for all RLC passives. Then use a knife tip to heat both pads and solder mounds as I place and register the part with a good pair of tweezers. It goes really quick from part to part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Big, broad tip; tack down the corner pins to ensure registration, then start dragging solder also the other pins. Clean up with braid. Inspect carefully.
    Actually I find tacking the corners is a big slow-down. Place and align the part to pads, hold down firmly with a finger or tweezers, run a bead of flux along one side of the part on top of the pins, load the tip with a reserved amount of solder, and then drag. If I'm always conservative in the amount on the tip (can always get more), I rarely have to clean excess with braid. Once the first side is dragged, the other three are done without having to hold the part. A small knife tip is also good for taking the knife edge perpendicular to the pins and combing out the solder away from the SMT part to smooth and eliminate bridging; cleaning with a brass ball between swipes.

    I use this tip for just about everything:

    https://www.weller-tools.com/profess...Tips/RTM+030+K
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

  8. #38
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    I find that getting the corners right is a big help when doing larger (>=144 pin) TQFPs on 0.025" pitch. If I don't, inevitably something shifts slightly and I end up making a mess out of things (clean things up and and start over). At least the 4-corners approach lets you check positioning under the microscope and adjusting slightly, if need be. I've sometimes taken to seating the package on the PCB using a dab of clear nail polish on the underside.

    I load up a PTB7 tip and spread the solder around. Clean up with braid.

    For regular PCB work, I use the PTA7 (conical) tips.

    Didn't realize that Helicon is a second source for Weller TCP tips.
    Last edited by Chuck(G); January 19th, 2020 at 04:10 PM.

  9. #39

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    I much prefer the Hakko BC tips over flat or pointed ones:

    https://www.hakko.com/english/tip_se...type_bc_c.html
    http://www.hakko.com/english/mainten...ifference.html



    They used a large one for that photo but you can get them in all sizes. They are the perfect for basically everything - drag soldering, LCRs, wires etc. You can use different parts of the tip depending on your needs at that moment, so for example use the flat part to pre-heat the pad, add solder and then rotate it 180 to stick down the component in a tight spot.

    Just make sure you get genuine ones, there are loads of fakes on eBay.

  10. #40
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    Even though I have a decent Hakko desolder gun, I use a pretty inexpensive Chinese soldering Iron: https://www.ebay.com/itm/40194105910...m=401941059103

    I have two with my primary being about 3 years old now. I have found it to be exceptionally reliable considering the price. I have found the temp knob to work rather well considering I have doubts initially. Its not the old Weller I had at work, but for my day to day tinkering its my reliable old shoe.

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