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 Post subject: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 7:00 am 
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Joined: Apr Wed 18, 2018 10:06 pm
Posts: 162
Location: Batesville, Indiana 47006
I've heard so many different opinions on this but what kind of soldering iron should I get? I plan on working on table radios t first, then when I get comfortable, ill move on to vintage car radios. I was thinking one of those soldering stations so you can adjust the temps and stuff. I want an iron that can handle it all. I can't spend an outrageous amount, but I will spend what I need too for good quality, and reliability. It seems like one of the most important tools in this trade, so I want to get it right the first time. Thanks guys! -John


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 10:21 am 
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Joined: Nov Mon 02, 2009 7:01 am
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Location: Lincoln City, OR
Greetings to John and the Forum:

I personally use Weller, but I understand their quality is not what it used to be. Hakko is considered top of the line or nearly so, but their products are priced accordingly. Whatever you get, be sure that tips and other parts are readily available. Having to discard an entire soldering station because it is an orphan brand and the tip has worn out with no replacements available is not very good economics.

Good Luck,

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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 11:48 am 
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
Look at Tenma. They used to be sold by MCM and now are available from Newark electronics. Also thru Walmart and Amazon etc. just get the simpler ones....less to go wrong. I used them commercially at the shop for many years and when one finally gave up (rare) you aren’t out huge $ to just replace one although they were usually repairable. Used all day every day

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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 12:04 pm 
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My experience with the vintage or classic American soldering manufacturers equipment lead me to look askance at Tenma when people and companies started acquiring them. But I guess they are satisfactory. OR work good and reaonable priced. Just be sure to get some spare tips up front for your particular type. I guess that getting tips has not been an issue up to now but in 3 years or 5 years, might be different situation. So have spares for the station, is all.

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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 12:08 pm 
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I strongly recommend something that is temperature-controlled. Mine is a Weller WTCPT, which has been going strong for almost 10 years now. There are a wide variety of tips available for it.

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"Measure voltage, but THINK current." --anon.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 12:51 pm 
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Location: Montvale NJ, 07645
I used a Radio Shack 40 watt iron for years. You really don't need a soldering station and temperature control. Getting a good joint is all in the technique.
I upgraded to a Hakko FX-951 station and it is nice, but I can make solder joints just as good with a simple iron and they cost a lot less than the $250 for a Hakko. The best feature of the Hakko is the ability to change tips fast to go from point-to-point wiring to PC boards. I am sure Weller and other stations are less money, but I have not heard good things about the quality of them lately. The Hakko thus far has performed flawlessly. Is it worth the extra money? I guess time will tell.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sat 02, 2014 3:59 am
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Location: Brooklyn, NY 11217
So I have a few irons. I started with a Tenma that had a heater element die quickly. I tossed it at the time. I then bought a Hakko (FX-888d $99 one) and it serves me pretty well. That said, when the turkish currency collapsed, I bought this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKXWLaxIR08

here:

https://www.tindie.com/products/sogukle ... -t245c245/ This is what I reach for now. I have a JBC handle with tips I bought used and a beefy computer brick and it is just flat out the best iron I have. It was $50 at the time for the controller. It is double that now it seems. It's great. I don't use the stand sense or sleep timer though.


This is getting good reviews: https://www.unionrepair.com/tool-t12-11 ... ation.html which is the same concept, but doesn't use a real JBC handle (though can use its tips).


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 4:18 pm 
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Joined: May Tue 30, 2006 4:46 pm
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Location: Santa Rosa, CA
+1 for Weller WTCPT. I have had 2 of them over approx. 40 yrs. The first one still worked fine until The Fire of 2017. You can find them at flea markets here in CA as many industrial companies used them in production and in labs. My current one is about 25 yrs old from the Siliconix Appl. Engineering lab.

Quote:
You really don't need a soldering station and temperature control. Getting a good joint is all in the technique.


Maybe, but until you perfect your technique, a soldering station is a good investment. Particularly if you are building something with a lot of solder joints, not just doing repair work.

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 5:22 pm 
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I am all in on Weller stations myself. Started using them and thus just stuck with the program for commonality. But places I have worked went with whatever they thought was the best buy or something. And some are complaining that Weller not so good anymore, price too high etc. so I hesitate to rule out other types that have a good reputation too. I am sure there are some other good US branded older stations floating around as well as the imports, I just emphasize check into how plentiful spare tips and such are. We had some pretty good ones that were a brand I was unfamiliar with at one time at work, but I think the issue was they broke down after thousands of hours and many years of use, and no data for repairs available as well as tips and such. Don't know if it was Hexacon or something odd named but not imported. I have also a couple direct plug in soldering irons, Weller and Ungar. I recently bought a new tip for the Weller but it would be used in a jam only. Or portable usage or something. Those can work perfectly fine for alot of stuff. That is what everyone used back in the day. Just get a stand so the hot iron stays secured in one place between connections!

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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 5:41 pm 
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Once you have used an iron with temperature control, you will never want any other kind.

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-Mark
"Measure voltage, but THINK current." --anon.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Sep Tue 15, 2015 1:16 am
Posts: 532
Location: 18424 PA
Agreed, Weller. Mine are older, wtcpt on the garage workbench and a wesd51 in the basement workshop. I did not know quality has turned down so I would look for a used older one. Also agree a temp controlled station is hands above a fixed temp, (700-800 for the wtcpt) chassis, smd, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Dec Thu 10, 2015 7:01 pm
Posts: 310
Location: Aurora, IL
Been using the same Weller WTCPN for 35 years now. I'd try to find another used Weller before buying anything being made now but that's just me.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: May Fri 31, 2019 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Sep Tue 30, 2014 6:08 am
Posts: 4215
Location: Norfolk, VA
I've used Weller WTCPN stations the most, but for the last 11 years I've used a Hakko 936 - continuous temperature control (Weller WTCP-starions require a tip change for temperature change).

For portable use, I like the American Beauty and Weller WP-25 irons for PC- board use, and the Weller 8200 or D550 guns for heavier use, like lugs and chassis soldering.

For desoldering, I've got a Pace MBT-100 and an Hakko 808 - and my preference is with the Hakko.

As to cost, both my Hakkos were less expensive than both Weller and Pace.

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"Capacitor Cosmetologist since 1979"
USN Retired 1984-2006 (Avionics/Cal)


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: Jun Sat 01, 2019 8:53 am 
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Joined: Apr Wed 18, 2018 10:06 pm
Posts: 162
Location: Batesville, Indiana 47006
Thanks to all your advice, I'm going with an older Weller. There are a few on eBay that are quite inexpensive. They might not look the best, but I really don't care about looks. If you guys have time, can you look at some of these and tell me which one you think would be best for a beginner like me. Like I said, looks make no difference, I'm looking for reliability, good price, and something that will be easy for me to learn with. I really stink at soldering at the moment. lol There are quite a few out there, so let me know what you think! Seriously, thanks for all the good advice. There's no way I could do this without you guys helping me along. Thank you. -John

Number 1- https://www.ebay.com/itm/Weller-WTCP-Series-Soldering-Station/283432225336?hash=item41fde08a38:g:aiUAAOSwxHdbfbsO

Number 2- https://www.ebay.com/itm/Cooper-Weller-Solder-Station-EC1002-0-Power-Unit-60W-120V-60Hz-USA-Made/113713795783?epid=1001567476&hash=item1a79ded2c7%3Ag%3AprUAAOSwsIFchaJ0&LH_ItemCondition=4

Number 3- https://www.ebay.com/itm/Weller-WTCPK-Solder-Station-with-Tips-In-Case/273833201416?hash=item3fc1bb0f08:g:VssAAOSwcfNcze1~

Number 4- https://www.ebay.com/itm/WELLER-MT1000D-MICROTOUCH-SOLDERING-STATION-240-VAC-25-WATT/332633854498?epid=4018638607&hash=item4d7285d222%3Ag%3AAo4AAOSwKgtcpy~O&LH_ItemCondition=4

Number 5- https://www.ebay.com/itm/Weller-Model-9 ... ondition=4

Number 6- https://www.ebay.com/itm/WELLER-SOLDERING-STATION-MODEL-WCC100-REWORK-STATION-W-WELLER-SOLDERING-PENCIL/263280565204?epid=1403549358&hash=item3d4cbe9bd4%3Ag%3AzPoAAOSwevdZ8NTF%3Asc%3AUSPSPriorityFlatRateBox%2147006%21US%21-1&LH_ItemCondition=4


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: Jun Sat 01, 2019 11:22 am 
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Joined: Apr Wed 18, 2018 10:06 pm
Posts: 162
Location: Batesville, Indiana 47006
Sorry if it's already been mentioned, but is Stahl a good brand? I found this one up for auction, new in box. I'm thinking about bidding if it's a good quality iron. Thanks again guys! -John

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Stahl-Unused-Variable-Temperature-Soldering-Station-w-Iron-Model-STSSVT-w-Box/352674427942?_trkparms=aid%3D1110001%26algo%3DSPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131231084308%26meid%3D00556330f0184fbcb14702f02ef5868c%26pid%3D100010%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D233238120685%26itm%3D352674427942&_trksid=p2047675.c100010.m2109


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: Jun Sat 01, 2019 6:49 pm 
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Posts: 3065
Location: Lexington, KY
You can buy the Stahl new for less than $16:

https://www.parts-express.com/stahl-too ... n--374-100

I have a buddy who swears by those, but he always has a spare. If you buy one order some extra tips with it. I've used a Weller WES51 for the last several years and really like it, but it has been discontinued for a newer model I know nothing about. Good Luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: Jun Sun 02, 2019 3:35 pm 
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If you are going to buy a used Weller on eBay, buy one that has not survived WWII. Most of those look to be well used and probably have issues. You want one that is guaranteed working with a return policy. Some of those you posted are 240 volt models for overseas. Some are missing the soldering iron stands, and some have obvious bad or missing tips or other issues. Replacement parts are pricey. I use two Weller temperature controlled irons on the bench. Both have digital readout and show the preset temperature and actual tip temperature. I am not a big fan of Weller since I think their quality control has gone down over the past few decades. Just like Xcellite and a few other once top notch brands who were bought out by companies looking increase their portfolios at the expense of quality.

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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: Jun Wed 05, 2019 10:47 pm 
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I would like to caution you on some of the Weller stations you have listed. The only Weller stations you listed that still have replacement parts available are the WTCP series stations. On the EC1002, the handpieces are no longer available and the Micro one has about zero parts/tips available any more. The TENMA stations, in my opinion, are hard to find parts for also.

I recommend the EDSYN 951SX soldering station. Still made in the USA. Family owner business for over 50 years, Temperature adjustable 400 to 800 degrees F, very reliable, 95 watt heater, no transformer to go bad, 18 month warranty. A little pricey but you will never need to get a replacement. $165 at EAE Sales with a $34 bag of freebees. There are a few members that have purchased new or refurbished EDSYNs. EAE Sales guarantees you will like the station and if you don't think it is better than any Weller you have ever used, will buy it back from you no matter how long you have had it. Sold over 120 new ones and refurbished /sold over 300 used ones and no one has ever taken me up on that offer in 17 years.


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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: Jun Thu 06, 2019 1:11 am 
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Location: Dayton Ohio
I'll second the Edsyn 951SX.

I actually won a 951SX at the Van Wert, Ohio hamfest one year as a door prize, which was donated by EAE sales.
Since then I've been using it and have to say I really like the station!

Ive also been using a Weller WES51 but I'm a little less than thrilled on the build quality. Especially the temperature control pot.
Its nothing but a little trimpot with a specially made knob to engage it!

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Which Soldering Iron Should I Buy?
PostPosted: Jun Mon 10, 2019 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Apr Wed 18, 2018 10:06 pm
Posts: 162
Location: Batesville, Indiana 47006
I was going to but the Stahl STSSVT Variable Temperature Soldering Iron Station because I heard it was good and I coud get he station and 4 or 5 tips for under $30. If I can somehow get the money, I'll go for the Edsyn 951SX, I love anything Made in the USA and run by a family business, that's not something you find much anymore. I did find a nice looking Craftsman soldering gun and a rummage sale this week for a couple bucks, but it's not like any iron i've ever seen. I'll get pictures up so you guys can see it, as soon as I can. Thanks for the helpful advice guys! -John


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