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 Post subject: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 4:49 am 
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Joined: Sep Fri 04, 2009 8:21 pm
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Location: Prescott, AZ
I decided that if I am going to work on old tube radios very much I need a heftier source of heat for soldering. Back in the '50s I used a Wellar soldering gun for working on tube radios. The small soldering irons and stations that are sold and used today for solid state circuitry is not really suitable for old tube sets IMHO. So what do you guys generally use on old radios?

Howard


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 4:54 am 
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Location: Stamford, NY
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-Anal ... B000BRC2XU

I can honestly say this station has been the best investment. Hasn't let me down yet. Just had to get a chisel tip, and I've been good to go. The Weller guns are good for soldering to the chassis/unsoldering nasty mountains of solder.. But for the rest, this Wes 51 is GREAT.


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 5:01 am 
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Location: Camino, California
My experience with modern Weller products hasn't been so great. The guns they sell today aren't like the ones from back in the day. I had a modern gun, it broke. I had the WLC-100 soldering station, it broke. The only modern Wellers I've had good experiences with are their "Marksman" series pencils, one 40 watt, the other 80. Very reasonably priced, and hot when you need them to be. Simpler seems to be better. One really cool safety feature of that series, is that the front of the handle is illuminated by a neon bulb when the pencil is plugged in. Great way to visibly tell that the pencil has power. I've forgotten on a few occasions to unplug the pencil when walking away from the bench for the day. Hard to miss with the glowing handle.

For bigger jobs, like soldering to the chassis, or opening oil filled bathtub caps to restuff them, I use an old American Beauty 200 Watt pencil I picked up at a flea market for $10.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 5:15 am 
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Joined: Jul Thu 21, 2011 2:01 am
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Location: Atlanta, GA
I was not getting enough heat from a 40 watt pencil so I bought a vintage Weller 8200 100/140 watt on Ebay for $10 + shipping. I used 12 Ga copper wire stripped from left over 12/2 Romex when I wired my house 24 years ago, and bent by me for tips.

Now I have enough heat to solder grounds to tabs on the chassis. Consensus is old Wellers better than new Wellers.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 5:55 am 
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Joined: Jun Tue 21, 2011 8:27 pm
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Location: Flint Hill, Virginia
I'm going to agree with RadioPicker on this, as I have the same soldering station.
This will service all your tube radio soldering needs except possibly a chassis ground.
For grounds, find an old Weller soldering iron on eBay or the next yard sale.
Image

~ Mitch ~


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 7:28 am 
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Location: Austin, Texas
I've said it before and I'll say it again-find a nice vintage 60-100W soldering iron with a large screw on tip and you are set for a long time. I have found many NOS irons for $25.00 or less:)-Gearhead


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 8:08 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Haledon, NJ, usa
Get the WES51 and don't look back.
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-Anal ... B000BRC2XU
I love this iron and it's adjustable.
I leave it at the 1/2 way point for almost ALL solder joints on ANY old radio you can imagine.
If I need to solder to the chassis I turn it up to full.

Really it is the best tool ever.
I have been in professional electronics since 1963... I know it's only fifty years.. but still, .... I haven't found anything better in all those 50 years.
Just trust us... get it!
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 11:25 am 
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Joined: Jul Mon 26, 2010 8:30 pm
Posts: 29047
Location: Annapolis, MD
2 irons here:
1. Weller WTCPT:
http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/welle ... 4Aod-hgAgA
Works for almost everything I need to do.

2. Weller 40-watt with 1/4" chisel tip.

The second one is cheap and solders to a chassis with no problem. It also makes short work of de-soldering some of the more gross examples of 1930s craftsmandhip. The only issue is that it runs hot when not being used, and so it eats tips.

What I REALLY miss is my old 47-wat Ungar--~3/8" chisel tip with the heating element right inside the tip. It would solder to a cold water pipe---I kid you not.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 12:38 pm 
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Location: Littleton, MA
pixellany wrote:
What I REALLY miss is my old 47-wat Ungar--~3/8" chisel tip with the heating element right inside the tip. It would solder to a cold water pipe---I kid you not.

Barno Electronics up in Pittsburgh has some new old stock Ungar parts, including that heating element. Their web-catalog is useless, but you might try giving them a call.
http://www.barnoelec.com

Have you taken a trip up to Towson MD to visit Baynesville Electronics yet? They may well have some new old stock Ungar irons.
http://www.baynesvilleelectronics.com/aboutus.ivnu

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 31, 2013 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Sep Sun 26, 2010 9:40 pm
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Location: Buffalo, N.Y.
Peter is right re/ a tool that has lasted 50 years. Yes, the Weller guns sold at Home Depot or Lowes are garbage at best, so the best bet is to keep going to flea markets and estate sales and try to hoard as many older guns as you can find.

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Thu 01, 2013 12:08 am 
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Joined: Nov Mon 05, 2012 10:05 am
Posts: 482
Location: Northwest Arkansas 72732
I was in the same situation looking for the same thing.

Settled on a Weller D550 for the "melt your face off" jobs. Picked one up local for $5. Replaced the soldering tip and light bulbs at a cost of slightly more than the gun. Don't get in a hurry on that one, find a beautiful cheap one from local flea markets. Very common in my local area.... I should pick these up and resell on here for cost + shipping just for guys like you!?

For the soldering station, I bit the bullet and picked up a Pace ST 25 on the fleabay. Cost was about the same as a Weller WES51. Difference? Was, and still is made in the USA. Important to me, maybe not to others. It was sold as used, but looked so new I followed original manufacturers instructions for new burn in procedure. I have an IT friend jealous of that one! I've been super happy with it. Only negative is that it seems hard to find tips in less than a 5-pack.

I was also looking for a solder sucker... I still don't have one. Why? De-solder wick + a cheap amazon flux pen = win! I didn't like solder wick at first, but had some as a free-with-purchase something or another I bought. It was really old, and didn't work at all. Applied some flux from the pen, and BAM!! The stuff even sucks out the solder from those giant solder balls from the 1930's!

I'm now wondering if I can't get away with using one of the tin cans of flux and a small paintbrush to replace the flux pen.... That would be way better!


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Thu 01, 2013 12:53 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: SOUTHLAKE, TX, USA
Any opinions/experiences with the HAKKO brand? I have a Model 936 that I have yet to use.
TIA.
BOB


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Thu 01, 2013 1:10 am 
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Location: Northwest Arkansas 72732
I did a lot of research on the Hakko brand. After finding out Weller was made overseas, I thought I may as well get an overseas brand that is proud to be made where it's made. Hakko is well respected, very recommended, and seemingly the highest overseas quality you can get. My researched suggested it's the best bang for the buck you can buy new. A fellow forum user told me about Pace. The only reason I settled on the Pace was the fact it was made in USA. It just seemed fitting to use USA tools to work on USA equipment. I don't regret my purchase.


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Thu 01, 2013 1:50 am 
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Location: Camino, California
BOB BONCHAK wrote:
Any opinions/experiences with the HAKKO brand? I have a Model 936 that I have yet to use.
TIA.
BOB



We use Hakko stations at work, and I find them to be of decent quality and performance. Never a complaint with the ones I've used. The best soldering station, hands down that I've ever used was a Metcal. Super expensive and probably not so good for antique electronics work, but for doing SMT and small PTH work, they're amazing.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Thu 01, 2013 2:01 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Montvale NJ, 07645
Maybe I am nuts, but I find myself soldering with a Hakko 808 desoldering iron.
Yup that is right. I use it constantly for removing components and I just use it to solder the new one in... :roll:
I don't even plug in my soldering iron half the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Thu 01, 2013 2:50 am 
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Posts: 2463
Location: Austin, Texas
I buy the pre-tinned Hakko tips at Fry's and use them with my 40W Harbor Frightsoldering iron for small stuff. Anything larger I use my antique Drake 60W soldering iron with larger copper tip:)-Gearhead222


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Thu 01, 2013 3:10 am 
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Location: Maryland 20709, USA
Any soldering equipment or technique should be evaluated against the 10-second rule.

It should take no more than ten seconds from the time the tip touches the joint until it's removed... soldering done.

A 5-second limit is much more desirable, but not achievable in all situations.

- Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Thu 01, 2013 10:17 am 
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Location: Sarasota, Florida
I've got two soldering irons on my main bench. One is a Weller WES-51 station -- use it for 90% of everything. The other is an old Weller Junior, which was my Dad's soldering gun. I've also got an 8200 but the two-speed doesn't really do anything for me. It's in a portable toolkit, so if I do things in the field I have that one.

I think the biggest deal with the Weller Junior/8200 is the tip. Older versions have hex-screws that hold the tip in place, while newer versions use thumbscrews to attach the tip. The older way is much more positive; the thumbscrews work loose easily and don't provide as positive a contact.

As for the tips themselves, seems everybody loves the guns but hates the tips. Remember, there are two kinds of tips out there. There is a molded type with a chisel tip at the end, which seems to be the staple. I can't get these darned things to last more than a week with my level of usage. There is another which is apparently made from wire, where the tip area is flattened. I just recently replaced one of these, after getting at least 5 years out of the last one. I get an average of two years out of a WES-51 tip. Remember, this isn't a hobby anymore; I'm at the bench every day, usually till late at night.

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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Fri 02, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Sep Fri 04, 2009 8:21 pm
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Location: Prescott, AZ
Based on comments made here I ordered the Weller WES 51 station. It is on the UPS delivery truck as I type.

Thanks everyone for your comments.


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 Post subject: Re: Soldering ibn old radios
PostPosted: Aug Fri 02, 2013 7:41 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Haledon, NJ, usa
hnorman wrote:
Based on comments made here I ordered the Weller WES 51 station. It is on the UPS delivery truck as I type.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

You're in good company now!
Everyone who has one ... loves it.
I sure wasted a lot of years with every other iron out there...
THIS one was the hands down winner for me!

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