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Old Sep 07, 2010, 06:21 PM
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MO, USA
Joined Jun 2010
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soldering station recommendations?

I just placed an order for lipos, charger, etc etc. I'm going to be doing some connector changing and typical RC stuff. I'd like to upgrade from the $9.99 Wal Mart irons of my past, to something a bit more versatile, and that will last longer. Mostly electrical work, but occasionally soldering together larger, non-RC connectors as well.

I have no "serious" background in electrical work; just the typical hobby stuff (RC, stereo connectors, misc electrical stuff, car and motorcycle work). I'd like to get some input from those of you who use, or know, about quality units. I'm looking for the best VALUE, not necessarily the best UNIT. The best unit will probably be more than I need, and cost more than I want to spend. I'd like to keep it below $90, ideally below $70.

Should I go with a 70 / 80 watt unit, vs a 40? Or get a 40 for electrical work, and a small "soldering torch" for the larger stuff (landing gear wire, battery terminals, etc)?
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Dallas, TX
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http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brand...c=037103191328
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 06:50 PM
Zor
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Ontario,Canada
Joined Feb 2007
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Hello everyone,

A 50 watts iron does not store enough heat to solder things like 1/8" dia landing gear wire or cabane wire on larger models.

I do not like using a torch for this purpose due to the risk of overheating the wire and potentially reduce its hardness.

So I have a 100 watts iron (American Beauty) and a soldering gun dual heat 100 w and 150 w.

I also have a 30 watts for printed board work.

I occasionally use a regular propane torch for big work. Those using a 14 oz propane tank.

Just to give anyone an idea.

Zor
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 07:38 PM
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USA
Joined Mar 2005
4,319 Posts
A little torch is nice for the landing gear and stuff. A pencil
type iron is great for repairing small things and a gun
is nice for in between things..

All this said, soldiering is an art. It requires practice and
patients! It requires getting things clean and controlling
how hot you get the things you are working with. It requires
the right solder for the job, no there is not one solder for
all things. Resin for electrics, silver for load bearing things.

Low temp silver solder is fine, 1 or 2 %!

Before you solder anything important you need to practice
practice, practice...... Clean, clean, clean.....

Brad is a soldering guru and I have just recently learned
all about soldering and I am comfortable with most of it.


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Old Sep 09, 2010, 05:34 PM
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USA, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2004
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Haha practice... and patients!

"Doctor, I think there's something wrong with my leg!"

"Excellent." *preps soldering station*
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Old Sep 09, 2010, 08:30 PM
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United States, FL, Gainesville
Joined Dec 2005
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ZD99, second one down works great for occasional electronic use. http://www.mpja.com/productsdirect.a...item4=15141+TL
Can't help you with landing gear, I hand catch my DLGs. Maybe a Horrible Freight butane torch for that.
Dave
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 12:38 AM
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Dallas, Texas area
Joined Sep 2003
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This solder station is an analog version of the one previously posted and it falls in your price bracket.
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-A...4354892&sr=8-1
It is a very good product with excellent temperature accuracy.
You will need to buy about three additional tips for it so you will have the size for the job at hand.
It uses Weller ET series tips and I prefer the 'screwdriver' tips over the conical or single sided blade tips. They are under $5 each so its not to painful to buy a couple of them.
This solder station (or the digital one posted above) should last a lifetime and take care of most of your soldering needs.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 11:17 PM
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Waltham, MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chashint View Post
This solder station is an analog version of the one previously posted and it falls in your price bracket.
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-A...4354892&sr=8-1
It is a very good product with excellent temperature accuracy.
You will need to buy about three additional tips for it so you will have the size for the job at hand.
It uses Weller ET series tips and I prefer the 'screwdriver' tips over the conical or single sided blade tips. They are under $5 each so its not to painful to buy a couple of them.
This solder station (or the digital one posted above) should last a lifetime and take care of most of your soldering needs.
I bought one of these a few months back for electronics work. After a lifetime of using cheapo house burners, I'm astonished at what I've been missing, and how well this thing works! IMO, best money you'll ever spend.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 11:07 AM
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United States, CA, Stockton
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Check out this site for your soldering supply's. http://bart.ccis.com/home/hn/
I have used supersafe Superior No.3 liquid flux for all my soldering joints,It works great
Earl
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Old Sep 19, 2010, 01:19 AM
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USA, TX, Lewisville
Joined Nov 2004
375 Posts
I probably have one of these that I could let go for the right persuasion!

Let me know.

I use a standard cheapy 30W iron, for smaller electronics jobs, I head to the office or ask my lab tech... When that wasn't available I used either the Weller or Metcal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chashint View Post
This solder station is an analog version of the one previously posted and it falls in your price bracket.
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-A...4354892&sr=8-1
It is a very good product with excellent temperature accuracy.
You will need to buy about three additional tips for it so you will have the size for the job at hand.
It uses Weller ET series tips and I prefer the 'screwdriver' tips over the conical or single sided blade tips. They are under $5 each so its not to painful to buy a couple of them.
This solder station (or the digital one posted above) should last a lifetime and take care of most of your soldering needs.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 06:07 AM
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I got razzed by the techy types, when I described my soldering equipment, which wasn't referred to as a "Soldering Station" 30 years and longer ago then this, when I bought it. I have a small pencil iron, a 30 watt gun and an old butane torch (that still has some butane in it). My Dad, who was excellent at torch welding, brazing and soldering always explained that solder flows to the heat. So, clean, clean, clean, use the right solder and apply heat where needed and in ample amounts and you will be successful! I also agree that soldering is an art form and practice has more to do with it, then state of the art equipment.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 06:52 AM
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United States, NM, Las Cruces
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Take a look at www.circuitspecialists.com. they have soldering stations for $39.00. I've used one for the last 3 years and it has been easy to use.
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Old Nov 01, 2010, 07:47 PM
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United States, CA, Felton
Joined Jan 2005
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Always check out the replacement tip prices. Those weller tips are WAY overpriced. Here's one that many folks have great luck with., 5-50 watts variable for 14 bucks.

http://www.mpja.com/solder_equipment.asp
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Old Nov 02, 2010, 01:49 PM
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Hakko
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Old Nov 03, 2010, 10:09 PM
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Perth, Australia
Joined Oct 2009
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While there are better options, at that price point the Hakko 936 is probably the best bang for your buck, they're an excellent reliable unit and usually go forever if not abused. There are also many decent Chinese clones of these, which can be had at bargain prices (often these are found rebranded at big retail chains). Google for reviews there'll be many around and should steer you to a good one as there is a big quality difference amongst the clones, but the nice ones are very nearly as good as the genuine item. I did know the good brands back in the day lol but they've slipped my mind, look for ones that use genuine elements as well cause the chinese elements don't seem to last too long. The older styled Weller stations also are pretty bulletproof and well worth consideration (I've heard mixed reviews of the newer fancy German made ones, haven't used one myself).

With all the stations there'll be limits of too big for a given wattage and tip size. In my opinion it's best to find something that's ergonomically sound, reliable and that covers the vast majority of the work you're likely to do, then fill in any blanks by adding a regular iron or two.

If scouring the used market trying to get something real nice, brands I personally prefer are the OKi/Metcal Smartheat units, Goot and Hakko. Be sure to check out spares availability and tip prices of any model you may consider. There are some other exceptionally good irons aimed at the commercial/industrial segment but you'll often find the price of one tip exceeds the budget you've set, JBC and ESRA being a couple that spring to mind which are like that. Be especially wary of any Hakko product new and cheap from China or Hong Kong it's a heavily cloned brand especially the 936 and fx-951. If you can pick up an OKi PS-800E (the regular PS-800 comes with a crappy hand-piece) or PS-900 at a good price off ebay they're particularly excellent little kits which punch far harder than their wattage ratings would have you believe as the Smart Heat system is a lot more efficient than a ceramic element. I use the baby PS-800E at home, only 35watt but it'll tin automotive battery cables without much complaint, change the tip and I'm off on a circuit board working with smt components, no settings to adjust, it just works, temp is stable and well controlled, rosin flux bubbles away nicely and the joints consistently come out perfect mirror like. Both models go from on to full heat in about 12-15 seconds, which is nice, come with a beautiful little stand and there's a huge range of compatible reasonably priced tips. (between $14-22 for most, SxV regular and easy access production series tips will work on both irons), The 900 is the pick of the two, more wattage and a metal cased station vs decently strong plastic on the PS-800E, both are nice though and essentially make soldering a no brainer.

Some retailers that might be worth a look.
http://www.tequipment.net/
http://www.bomir.com/ (New Goot stations will be out of your budget, but the Goot regular irons are seriously nice to work with and well worth a look.)
http://www.hmcelectronics.com/Solder...ering-Stations
http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/

Oh and keep in mind most commercial/industrial grade irons wont come with a tip.
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