Soldering station recommendations.. - RC Groups
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Feb 22, 2010, 06:17 PM
Rsetiegerd Uesr
CyberJay's Avatar

Soldering station recommendations..

I'd like to purchase a soldering station.. I've been doing my homework but I would like to bounce it off the hive before I plunk down my buck$.

Currently I have a 15w weller for small stuff and a 40w craftsman that I use for almost anything else. Soldering 2 pieces of 12g together can be tricky. Both irons are pretty cheap.

I solder pretty frequently.. 17 model aircraft, hacked up bicycle lights, low voltage lighting in the house, car audio, ham radio, etc. I figure it won't be wasted money to get a nice soldering station.

The immediate need for this is I would like to assemble some nimh battery packs. I have done this before with my 40w craftsman but it was tricky and I feel like I needed to apply heat to the joint for a long time before it generated a good bond. I'm hoping that a temp regulated soldering station will help me do this without damaging the cells.

My needs are wire to wire and wire to connector soldering down to 32awg and up to 8 or 10awg and also assembling battery packs as I said. I may also use it to build wire landing gear from time to time, I've only done that once but it came out nice so I may do it again.

I'm considering the Weller WES51 or WESD51.. Is that a good choice or what else should I be looking at? Anything else I need to do it "right"? Currently I use a kitchen sponge, radioshack flux and solder, and the irons listed above so I'm pretty low tech.

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Feb 22, 2010, 07:03 PM
Retired CFI Helicopter
Hughes500Bob's Avatar
I use a Weller station EC4001 similar to the WES51 with the pencil tip iron for fine work like balance tap stuff and a W60P 60 watt Weller wide tip iron for big wires ... like battery power wires. This combo has never failed me.
Feb 22, 2010, 07:41 PM
TJin(Guy + Tech)
tjinguy's Avatar
We have several different models at work including the WES51, which I have in my office and use almost daily. All work well. The one downside to the Wellers is that they don't all use the same accessories (irons, tips, etc) between the different models but that may not matter to you.

At home I have a Pace ST-25 and like it very much. It is a higher end unit in both features and feel than all the Wellers I have used but it is not cheap. All Pace equipment uses the same accessories, so that is nice. It is bigger and heavier than the WES51 if that means anything. I personally like the turn-knob style of temp adjustment vs the push button. One downside to the Pace equipment is that you can't seem to buy it on-line. Instead you have to find a dealer.
Feb 22, 2010, 07:43 PM
Registered User
Hakko 936 is pretty much the standard in the RC car crowd. Excellent iron. I don't know what the airplane guys use the most.
Feb 22, 2010, 08:32 PM
Rsetiegerd Uesr
CyberJay's Avatar
Wow... on the surface that hakko unit looks great... 60 watts, 200 to 896, maintains temps to within 1.5.. And only $90. Seems much better on paper. I can do without the flame job but whatever..

Feb 22, 2010, 08:47 PM
Rsetiegerd Uesr
CyberJay's Avatar
So the 936 is $80 and the 937 is $185.. The specs are exactly the same. I'm kindof amazed that it's an extra $100 for digital temp control... Guess I'll stick with the analog version.

Feb 22, 2010, 11:01 PM
Doberman fan
apriliamille's Avatar
+1 on the 936.
mine has blue flames, but i didnt care what color it was when i ordered it.
people in my apartment complex come by asking to borrow my solder station and i dont think its for the blue flames
Feb 23, 2010, 08:32 AM
AKA Terry Till
ex-racr's Avatar
I have the Weller WLC100 Soldering Station. One thing I like about it, is that you use a regular plug and can plug in a trim seal tool, or other non-regulated device and adjust the temperature. I used this to cover with solite covering over foam and I was able to control the temperature so that the solite didn't melt.
Just my .02
Feb 23, 2010, 09:29 AM
Electric Helis is my game
MrMel's Avatar
I ordered one of these;

Will see how it work in hobby environment, I like the 10second to target temp part of it.
Feb 23, 2010, 09:44 AM
Frankenstein recycled packs
rampman's Avatar
I personally am over weller and use Hakko now for work. I have had too many issues with the tip holders wearing out pretty fast with the Weller's.
With that said, buy a name brand you can get parts for locally if possible. As for the ebay unit, can you get parts for it? Most any solder station will have ~10 seconds turn on to melting solder. IMO, call the mfg and ask them as I did not see tips for your unit.
as tips wear out often and if soldering some SM you will want a fine point, packs and deans... you will want the largest mass of metal like their 900M-T-R tip - IF it will fit.

Feb 23, 2010, 10:44 AM
Major Electron Addiction
Been using one of these for about 6 months. It has worked very well when I need to solder 10ga wire for the big electrics.
Feb 23, 2010, 10:47 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Originally Posted by rodsmith123
Been using one of these for about 6 months. It has worked very well when I need to solder 10ga wire for the big electrics.
+1 - it is a re badged Hakko and is the bee's knees.

Feb 23, 2010, 11:31 AM
Registered User
KurtMc's Avatar
One of these hammer head tips sure makes soldering batteries together easier:
Feb 23, 2010, 11:45 AM
fly! be free! uh oh
cfw's Avatar
Originally Posted by MrMel
I ordered one of these;

Will see how it work in hobby environment, I like the 10second to target temp part of it.

This looks similar to my MetCal soldering station. I'm not positive on the one you posted, but mine works on RF. You NEVER leave it on, and only turn it on when you're ready to solder. Heats in seconds, works AWESOME, but here's the catch, only on small stuff. Doing some battery connectors? Don't bother. But if you're soldering your motor wires directly to your ESC board, it's perfect.

There are larger versions that do larger items. But at over $100 per, I'm not getting different stations for different jobs.
Feb 23, 2010, 12:04 PM
Registered User
earlwb's Avatar
I have a Weller 60 w adjustable temp soldering station that I have used for quite a few years now. With the heavy thick tips it solders the connectors pretty good. No problems.

Of course I took to using a monster 120w Weller soldering iron with huge 1/2" tips for soldering the 4mm and 5mm connectors onto the heavier gauge wires. I had run into problems where as you tried to stick the wire into the cup, the solder would cool down too much and you had to wait for it to heat up and melt, and the wire would get really hot holding it there. I have less of a problem with the big sucker.
Handy for soldering tin to make old fashioned control line wedgie fuel tanks.
But the 80w might work out better though.
But these are a little too big for Deans connectors, you have to be more careful to avoid melting the plastic with the tip touching it.

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