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 Post subject: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps...)
PostPosted: Oct Thu 22, 2020 10:34 am 
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Joined: Jun Tue 02, 2020 11:47 am
Posts: 107
What soldering station do you guys recommend when working on your tube tester?

Is 60W enough, or should you go for some 100W soldering station if you want to use solders with 4% silver on some audio stuff later (say, tube amps or vintage radios) ?

Is it recommended to have some control to adjust the temperature, if so, should you pick up one with a simple selector or a more advanced LCD display to show temperatures?

Thanks :)


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Thu 22, 2020 3:55 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
Posts: 2639
Location: Dallas, TX
You will get many opinions on this subject.
I think 60W is enough, but I've been soldering for decades and know how to solder to a chassis when other people would have to go to 100W. Also knowing what will work and when to change to another approach.
Most soldering (terminal strips, tube socket pins, etc.) can be done with 30W maybe a little less.
4% silver containing solder doesn't need an unusual amount of heat or temperature, Tektronix is the only place I've see that used.
Lead free solder are a different breed, needing higher temperature and even different flux, terrible stuff to have to use.
You really don't need to know the iron temperature to the degree, nearest 50-100 degree is enough.
Weller made some irons with a special magnet in the tip that when heated to a certain temperature lost it's strength temporarily and that activated a switch in the handle to turn the heater off. A very simple and reliable temperature control. I don't think that type is made any more. I use one all the time. The tips come in 600, 700 and 800 degree versions.
Temperature controls commonly are either a simple variable power control (like a dimmer) or a electronic sensor temperature control.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Thu 22, 2020 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1720
Location: Hollywood, Maryland
I use the EDSYN 951SX.

Forever I had used a Weller gun because I was not happy with the performance of the soldering stations that I had used. A few months ago I decided once again to purchase a soldering iron, and I called Bruce at EAE Sales. We talked and I purchased the EDSYN 951SX after I checked the reviews on this model soldering station. Why I decided on the EDSYN was that it has a 90 watt heater, and a large selection of tips. I am using one of the larger tips, the LT441BC chisel and it does a fantastic job for working on point to point type radio and audio equipment work. The larger tips require the purchase of the heavy duty retaining sleeve which cost an additional $16.

https://www.eaesales.com/index.php?rout ... duct_id=67

The station is well made, sturdy, and the heat control works very well. So far I have nothing negative to report on it. It cost more than many other options available but I like well made tools, and this EDSYN is the kind of tool one would expect in an industrial shop. Bonus is that it is American made, and Bruce will talk to you through your purchase. I also have bought a bench light from him, and replacement parks for my HAKKO 808.

His email address is info@eaesales.com. Send him an email and ask him to give you a call. I find that his business phone is hard to get through, but it is 260-627-5871. Bruce advertises here on the forum.

R

David W.


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Thu 22, 2020 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1814
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL 34614
I use the one below. For the longest time, I just used a plain 60 watt pencil iron, but I also do circuit board stuff too. I had a 15 watt iron as well for that, but I wanted something in between, and with changeable tips. This being adjustable, take care of all of that. It comes with two tips, one being a find point, the other more of a chisel type, but not very wide, which was weird to me at first, but it does just fine in cases where I used the wide tip before.

I have my 100 watt Weller gun as well. I don't have to use if very often, but there are times with tube stuff that you need it.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Thu 22, 2020 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
I use a more modern Hakko FX-888D for my daily work, backed up by a Weller 100/140 watt gun for the stubborn stuff. When I have to do shields and chassis, I've got an American Beauty iron...with enough thermal mass to keep a room warm for a few hours. :-D. But that's rare these days.

The Hakko stays on for hours at a time and has been the best of all I've used, including Weller. I did like Tenma, but they are getting scarce.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Thu 22, 2020 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 36470
Location: SoCal, 91387
My daily driver is a Weller 60 watt pencil iron. For heavy duty work, such as to melt solder on a metal chassis, I have a Rat Shack (Weller) dual 150-250 watt gun.

No reason to not have more than one iron at your disposal.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Thu 22, 2020 10:57 pm 
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Joined: May Sun 10, 2020 2:55 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Bridgman, MI
gun is handy on old stuff..


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Fri 23, 2020 3:35 am 
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Joined: Oct Sun 15, 2006 12:57 pm
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Location: Liberty, Missouri
I think a 60 Watt temp controlled Iron should be plenty for 95% of what you will do with old radios. I've used a 60 Watt Weller Iron for fifty years and its served very well. Of course, there are areas where it falls short and different tools are needed.

My current Soldering tools include a motor driven Vacuum solder pump, a hot air pencil, a 300Watt chassis Iron, a small Butane pencil iron, and the big iron my Father and I used for antenna work in the 50s and 60s. I literally "fired it up", and used it a year ago to repair an antenna, just to see if it still works. It does.

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Fri 23, 2020 5:18 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 36470
Location: SoCal, 91387
Mikeinkcmo wrote:

My current Soldering tools include a motor driven Vacuum solder pump, a hot air pencil, a 300Watt chassis Iron, a small Butane pencil iron, and the big iron my Father and I used


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OntwwcB ... =cartwrong

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Fri 23, 2020 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
I am using a Weller WTCPT soldering station for most work, and bring out the D550 "big gun" for chassis grounds.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Fri 23, 2020 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Dec Tue 23, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: N. Palm Bch, Fl.
I went from a 30W iron to a station because I can adjust the temp between chassis and PCB without having to get the 15W iron. I got the Weller station for under $100 and it works fine. Some are much more then that and probable work just as good. We all have our own likes and dislikes. but IMO they all the same and get the job done.
Nice collection of irons Mike. That oldy reminds me of plumbers helper days to solder copper sheeting. We had an old timer who was an artist at working on copper sheeting.

Freeman


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Sat 24, 2020 12:58 am 
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Joined: May Sun 10, 2020 2:55 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Bridgman, MI
like to have one of those older large irons 'hand held' I used in middle school :shock: nice radiator welder.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Sun 25, 2020 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Jun Tue 02, 2020 11:47 am
Posts: 107
Great, thank you guys so much for the info. :)

The 60W soldering station is quite common and does not require a premium like some 100W's do. I was initially concerned that the 60W soldering station will not do 4% silver solders right, as I heard those solders require at least 300-400 degrees. But it seems 60W should be enough to deal with those silver containing solders, and to work with soldering components inside tube amps/radios/testers. Yes, as a novice I will stay away from the lead free solders, they are notoriously difficult to work with :mrgreen:

And normally I don't work on chassis, so I think 60W should be good enough for me, and I don't have to pay a premium for the 100W soldering stations. The only challenge I had in the past with a no-name soldering iron was to solder some transistor with heat sink on to a PCB, it took a while for the solder to melt, but it worked. I think a 60W soldering station should have more power than the no-name pencil soldering iron.

BTW
@Barry, you can certainly use your American Beauty iron for soldering if only you wife wouldn't kick your ass :mrgreen:
Image

@Mike, your antique iron is a true beauty


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering Station for vintage stuff (tube testers/amps..
PostPosted: Oct Sun 25, 2020 9:03 pm 
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Joined: May Mon 25, 2020 7:37 pm
Posts: 288
Location: Boston, MA
Freeman wrote:
I went from a 30W iron to a station because I can adjust the temp between chassis and PCB without having to get the 15W iron. I got the Weller station for under $100 and it works fine. Some are much
Same here. I used to use an Ungar pencil iron with interchangeable heaters, but picked up an old WES51 for pennies a few years back and find it much easier to use.


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