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Old Jun 21, 2007, 01:44 PM
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Oakridge, Oregon
Joined Jul 2004
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Soldering Gun Choices

I have worn out my low watt cheapo soldering iron and I was looking for a good one (more than $2). I like the idea of going to a high watt iron/gun in the 100+ watt range so that I can use it only when I need it and not have to leave it on, but I was worried that got to hot for the electronics that use. I tend to take sometime putting things together. I also liked the battery operated cold solder pen solder guns that warm up and coll down fast. I could take that anywhere.
I fly electric planes in the 3-25 amp range so nothing too heavy duty is needed. I will only use it for electronics for these planes.
Here are some of the ones that I found on Harbor Freight:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=4328
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=91298
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=94903

And Lowes:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...5MP&lpage=none
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...0PK&lpage=none
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...0PK&lpage=none


What do you think, or what do you use???

-Ryan
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 01:59 PM
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Florida
Joined Aug 2004
4,112 Posts
Of the second three you mentioned, only the second one will do most of your jobs. You really need two irons, one a gun and another 40 to 60 watt iron with selectable tips and temperature control. The last Weller one might be okay but I have not shopped for one for many years but always found the Weller irons to be quite good. A good temperature controlled iron will not be inexpensive however.
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 02:01 PM
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Oakridge, Oregon
Joined Jul 2004
651 Posts
I listed some more weller soldering irons from lowes above.

Thanks,
Ryan
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 03:04 PM
Joined Oct 2004
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And Lowes:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...5MP&lpage=none
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...0PK&lpage=none
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...0PK&lpage=none


What do you think, or what do you use???

-Ryan[/QUOTE]

Hi "TheDonski"......I've sent you a PM.
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 03:09 PM
Reduce the drama...
rick.benjamin's Avatar
USA, OR, Damascus
Joined Apr 2004
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Ryan;

You need a "detail, small work" tool
http://www.hmcelectronics.com/cgi-bi...duct/1980-0373

Regards
Rick
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Last edited by rick.benjamin; Jun 22, 2007 at 11:47 AM.
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 04:03 PM
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Oakridge, Oregon
Joined Jul 2004
651 Posts
I am not able to follow the link on the second small tool. It just sends me back to the home page. I was assuming that this was the one that you were talking about:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...5MP&lpage=none

Thanks,
Ryan
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Old Jun 22, 2007, 08:26 AM
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Green Bay, WI
Joined Dec 2006
107 Posts
These are very nice for the money.

Good 70 watt iron

Matt
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Old Jun 22, 2007, 09:44 AM
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Florida
Joined Aug 2004
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As an electrical engineer and having put together many spacecraft electronics, instrumention etc. soldering gun will NOT destroy electronics. True, you can magnetise such things as screw drivers etc. if you know how with these guns but they do not, repeat, DO NOT , destroy nearby electroic parts and are perfectly acceptable for most soldering jobs. I'd not use them on a PC board unless that were the only tool I had but; for most jobs the gun is an excellent choice.
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Old Jun 22, 2007, 11:46 AM
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rick.benjamin's Avatar
USA, OR, Damascus
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I defer to Rodney and adjusted my post #5
Also corrected the link to small work tool
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Old Jun 22, 2007, 11:50 AM
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Riverside, CA
Joined Apr 2006
1,494 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDonski
I have worn out my low watt cheapo soldering iron and I was looking for a good one (more than $2). I like the idea of going to a high watt iron/gun in the 100+ watt range so that I can use it only when I need it and not have to leave it on, but I was worried that got to hot for the electronics that use. I tend to take sometime putting things together. I also liked the battery operated cold solder pen solder guns that warm up and coll down fast. I could take that anywhere.
I fly electric planes in the 3-25 amp range so nothing too heavy duty is needed. I will only use it for electronics for these planes.
Here are some of the ones that I found on Harbor Freight:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=4328
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=91298
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=94903

And Lowes:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...5MP&lpage=none
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...0PK&lpage=none
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...0PK&lpage=none


What do you think, or what do you use???

-Ryan
Don't get a soldering gun. For ANYTHING. Get a simple, decent quality 80-100 watt soldering iron for heavy stuff like Dean's connectors, and landing gear wire. It will heat in a couple of minutes, and stay hot throughout your work session. The problem with guns is they start to heat comparatively fast, but they take a while to reach full temp.

There are two major problems with soldering guns.
1. The small tip doesn't retain heat. The part you are soldering can sink (suck) the heat right out of it. Then it takes a few seconds to heat backup again.

2. Most guys will hold the gun on the work while it is heating. The part gets hotter and hotter until it eventually melts the solder. But in the mean time the part has been sucking up a whole lot of damaging heat. This is called heat soak.

Most electronic parts are designed to stand soldering temperatures, but they weren't designed to tolerate them for very long. You need a HOT iron, that will retain it's heat during the brief soldering operation and allow you to get off the solder joint as soon as possible. In most cases you don't want to expose the joint to heat for more than a 2-3 seconds. the soldering gun fails miserably here.

For a soldering station, the absolute best value you are going to find anywhere is here:

http://www.howardelectronics.com/xytronic/379.html

This is a professional temperature-controlled soldering station for 50 bucks. You can, and I often do, leave it on all day long with the temperature turned down. When you are ready to use it, turn the temp up and it will heat to the correct temperature before you can pull the iron out of the holder.

I use mine for soldering extremely small surface mount components (look at all those tiny rice grain size parts on your receiver or ESC. I have also run the temperature all the way up and soldered Dean's connectors, but I don't recommend it because of the heat soak problem I mentioned above.

Get decent equipment. It will last a very long time. A soldering gun is basically just a Christmas or Father's Day present, not a good tool.

Eric
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Old Jun 24, 2007, 09:29 PM
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Oakridge, Oregon
Joined Jul 2004
651 Posts
Thanks for the reply and emails! Now I just need to get enough money together to buy one. What solder do you use for these electronic parts
? I have something like-can't remember for sure since I threw it away- Electric Solder lead free 60-40% from Ace Hardware that I have been using.

-Ryan
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Last edited by TheDonski; Jun 24, 2007 at 09:37 PM.
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Old Jun 24, 2007, 10:42 PM
"Simplify, then add lightness"
Raleigh,NC
Joined Nov 2000
2,701 Posts
If it is labeled 60-40 it is most likely Not lead free(60-40 would be 60% tin and 40% lead). Lead free would be more like 96% tin and 4% silver. Here is what I use, just because it is easy to get at Radio Shack. http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...tId=2062722&cp

I agree 100% with Eric about getting a good temperature controlled soldering station. I have have had an older version of the Xytronic for many years, and have been very happy with it. I got mine from Web-tronics. Their prices are usually a little lower than Howard. They have the 379 that Eric mentioned for only $40. http://www.web-tronics.com/aueltecosost.html

One advantage to the Xytronic is that they use the same tips as Hakko 936 and tips are available from very many sources. Getting replacement tips for off brand irons can be a problem.

Jeff
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Old Jun 26, 2007, 03:43 PM
Master of 1 point landing
Naperville, IL
Joined Jul 2005
2,841 Posts
one last and MAJOR problem of a gun is that it makes a fine degaussing tool for magnets, the flux in the loop is able to degauss lots of things. I used them a million years ago to degauss tape deck heads. No you dont heat the head, just wave the energized iron over it a couple of times.
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Old Jun 26, 2007, 05:00 PM
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Oakridge, Oregon
Joined Jul 2004
651 Posts
I wanted to see if anyone has some good resources on how to solder. I checked online and their are a lot. The internet is not always a reputable source for info. I was looking for mostly how to keep the iron functioning like new after a lot of use. My last iron probably could have been better taken care of to last longer. So matenance type stuff.

-Ryan
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Old Jun 26, 2007, 05:26 PM
"Simplify, then add lightness"
Raleigh,NC
Joined Nov 2000
2,701 Posts
If you get a temperature controlled iron, about the only thing necessary is to keep the tip clean. I have always used just the damp sponge, which does have the disadvantage of cooling the tip a little when you use it. A lot of irons come with the the coiled steel wool cleaners, or you can buy the same coiled steel wool at a grocery store.

Don't know what happened to your old cheap iron, but the uncontrolled irons run the heater full blast all the time, so the element burns out more quickly. Also, the cheap irons have poor or no plating on the tips, so they don't last long.
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