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Soldering Iron Recommendations


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#1 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:02 AM

I picked up a multimeter last week and am now thinking about getting into soldering. I was looking at this one on the Canadian Staples website and was wondering what soldering experts think. Also, aside from the iron itself and, of course, solder, I think I need something called a solder sucker to remove solder. What else might I need for working on vintage gaming and computer equipment. 



#2 -^CrožBow^- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:26 AM

Well I'm not familiar with the brand myself, but if I wanted a good Iron for starting off I would stick with a brand I know and can get lots of different tips for easily. Like Weller as an example. I'm partial to Hakko, but they are expensive. This is tiny bit more but I think it would be a much better beginner's iron to start off with:

 

https://www.amazon.c... iron soldering

 

And yes you would need a solder pump and also pick up some solder wick as well. I'm not nearly as much of a stickler on any specific solder pump to use since I've used several over the years, and they pretty much all work the same to me. I now use a de-soldering iron but that is quite a bit more expensive, especially for the beginner if this is something you may not want to invest a lot into.

 

On the solder side of things, I'm partial to Kester brand, but it isn't cheap and I have to resort to Amazon to get it since none of my local shops carry it. But honestly, most any solder will do. Just grab a 60/40 blend that has flux in the core to make it easier. The thinner the solder you get the easier it will be to work with as well. So don't get anything too thick. I have various widths on hand but usually use .032 diameter, but I have some even smaller stuff I use as well that is higher quality on smaller stuff.

 

Hope that helps?



#3 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:30 AM

It does help thanks :)

 

I'll keep researching and check out the brand you mentioned and see if I can find locally or at least here in Canada



#4 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:33 AM

I've been soldering for years, on and off, without ever needing a solder pump.  Wick is more than sufficient for most purposes.

Also, check out aliexpress.com to find good prices for Hakko/Weller stations.

 

Edit: Avoid lead-free solder - it totally sucks.


Edited by Andrew Davie, Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:34 AM.


#5 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:36 AM

I found this Weller model at Canadian Tire's website



#6 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:20 PM

One word:  Hakko. Well worth the money to get a quality, temperature-controlled iron. 

 

https://www.amazon.c...s=hakko fx-888d

 

I hate solder wick; all it seems to do is smear solder around - very poorly and slowly. Give me a solder pump any time. Removing and replacing ICs and joystick ports is a breeze with one. 

 

Anyway, good luck!



#7 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:59 PM

Not sure which kind I'll get. That one is a little expensive for a first timer like me. Maybe down the road if I find I need it a lot, but in Canadian that's about 68 billion. No, j/k it's about $140 on the Canadian site. 

 

There's a guy at work who's supposed to give me a bunch of computer parts, some probably dead that I can practice on.

 

Thanks for the advice guys, appreciate it :)

 

One other question - some have different wattages. How hot do I need to get one of these to solder and desolder chips, switches, etc? Is one with a temperature that can be adjusted better than one that is only one temp? I would think so but I'll defer to your expertise.



#8 ZylonBane OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:19 PM

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#9 frankodragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:29 PM

Another tip: Don't use the sponge that's included with a solder stand if you get one.  Instead get an empty soup can and a steel (not copper) scouring pad for cleaning the tip off the iron.  



#10 cvgplus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:26 PM

I do soldering and I have a few irons. Now if I am replacing a gameboy battery or a component on a board or very limited space I use a lower wattage iron with smaller tips.  I would recommend a good 30-60 watt iron to get started. I generally use solder wick/braid myself to desolder but solder suckers are useful too, personal preference since I started as a young teen using this and its a habit for me. My most used iron is a 40Watt Weller with adjustable from 5w-40watts. Weller WLC100 40 Watt Soldering Station can be purchased at many places for between 40-50 dollars. For starting out and novice it does the job especially if using for small electronic components on a board. So will need solder, solder wick/solder sucker aka pump or try both out, some flux etc.Someone else said don't use the sponge to clean the tip and I agree with that totally. Later on if you need something more you can buy a 100-150 dollar iron and you still have a less expensive one as a backup.


Edited by cvgplus, Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:29 PM.


#11 cvgplus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:03 PM

Crossbow suggested the same soldering iron I use quite frequently and with his link is 35 shipped with amazon, I believe I paid 45 or so at Walmart and like that is has a stand you can insert into/holder not just a stand you rest it on like a lot of the cheaper soldering pencil irons. I will give it a glowing testomonial and you don't need a fixed 50 plus watt soldering iron/pencil for circuit board repairs. I am not a beginner and bought other tips for it and with going up to 40 watts I can do 90 percent of the soldering I need to do. The heat produced from larger  could damage surrounding electrical components and most of my soldering on circuit boards are around 30 watts for capacitors, batteries, etc. If you are doing big stuff then a larger soldering gun would come in handy and generally have a fingertip trigger on them but are heavier and often less manuevarble than the soldering pencil type of irons. As was stated by someone above a solder with a diameter of close to .03 works really well and not lead free. Lead free solder I don't like.


Edited by cvgplus, Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:09 PM.


#12 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:42 PM

Weller EC2002M is a great soldering station. I've used one for a long time.



#13 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:10 PM

One word:  Hakko.

 

Seconded.



#14 7800fan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:34 PM

I got Radio Shack 64-053 digital soldering iron many years ago.  It was on sale for something like $50 (original $80) and I had a $30 off coupon (long story) so it was $20 + tax in the end.  It is a rebranded soldering iron (variation of Hakko 60w IIRC) and tips and replacement wand or heater core are still available from many sources.

 

Heats up fast, pretty close to accurate temp setting so I can safely use on SMD at lower temp, regular parts at higher temp, or go all the way to 450'C if I need to burn something.



#15 -^CrožBow^- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:00 AM

Guys I'm a Hakko lover myself...but for a beginner who might not even really like doing this kind of stuff, I think the Weller is a good affordable beginning iron station. It has everything this guy will need to get started. Once he gets better at it and if he really enjoys it, then he should save up for a Hakko no doubt. But yeah..stick with the .03 diameter solder, that Weller station, a solder pump or wick and have at it.

 

Also be sure to watch some YT vids on soldering basics. It will really help out. Be careful with it all..take your time when practicing, and have fun!



#16 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:01 AM

Thanks again for the advice. I'm learning a lot and have been watching a lot of videos. Thomas3120 has some great beginner videos about the equipment and needed items and I've seen his custom mods and consoles so his videos have been a great help. 

 

So temperature could be a concern if I don't get it right or accidentally touch another part on a motherboard. So a variable temperature iron is preferable because a lot seem to have no dial or settings for temp and so would just heat to a temperature that might be too high and damaging to a board and it's components? 

 

I think I will look for a good Weller iron based on recommendations and see what I can find on sites or hopefully, locally, here in Canada. I'm in no great hurry as my XEGS switches from Best will probably be a couple of weeks away but at the same time I'd like to practice on dead pc boards in the meantime so the sooner the better. 

 

Thanks again everyone for all the great advice, I really appreciate it :)



#17 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:57 AM

the problem with non temp controlled ones is they tend to just constantly get hotter, I have a generic 45 watt temp controlled iron, and I usually set it to one of 3 places but it will stay there all day long, my old radio shack firestarter will be in a desired range for at most a half hour then you got to unplug it once pads start falling off 

 

you can kind of sort of fudge it with a lamp dimmer though 



#18 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:08 AM

I saw these two Weller irons in Canadian Tire but neither looks as good as the one Crossbow linked to. I don't know why the pic went horizontal on me. It wasn't like that on my laptop

Attached Thumbnails

  • weller soldering irons canadian tire.jpg


#19 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:40 PM

 

Is this the same one or different? It has the same model number but with a "CUL" on the end of it? It looks the same



#20 Turbo-Torch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:02 PM

This is an inexpensive yet excellent temperature controlled unit.  Been using mine for a few years and have no complaints.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y5V41DB/

Search that model number on Amazon or eBay for the best price and be sure sure it's the + model with the yellow/blue Japan heater.

 

For desoldering...

https://www.radiosha...esoldering-iron

It heats up quickly and the cone tips are easy to replace.  I bought my first one back in the 80s and bought a replacement about a year ago.

 

Probably hard to find one now but it appears the ECG J-045-DS available on eBay is the same unit.

 

Beware of any cheap Hakko units from a place like aliexpress.  It'll be a fake junk knock off at half the price of a real Hakko, yet 3X the price of the unit I mentioned above which actually does a good job and gets decent reviews.



#21 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:00 PM

This is an inexpensive yet excellent temperature controlled unit.  Been using mine for a few years and have no complaints.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y5V41DB/

Search that model number on Amazon or eBay for the best price and be sure sure it's the + model with the yellow/blue Japan heater.

 

 

 

I have used those before, they are a direct copy of the old hakko models, and work quite well, mine is very similar and I have been using it for years now 

 

For desoldering...

https://www.radiosha...esoldering-iron

It heats up quickly and the cone tips are easy to replace.  I bought my first one back in the 80s and bought a replacement about a year ago.

 

 

I have used those as well for decades, but just keep in mind its a "firestarter" so at some point they become too hot, one gets a feeling for it, temp curve starts off slow, stays in a useable range for a while, gets too hot, which is usually a good time for a break and the cycle starts over when you unplug it, I used it to clear out a 68 pin socket on my former mac LCII to install a 6882 math co 



#22 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:14 PM

The link says he won't ship to Canada but that's a great price. I'll research that model to see if there are some Canadian suppliers. I'm curious though, why would I need two different irons for soldering and desoldering? I thought they both did the same thing?

 

EDIT:

 

This is ridiculous. The same unit on the Canadian site is almost $200 more than the US?

 

https://www.amazon.c...&keywords=937d+



#23 frankodragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:32 PM

I have one of these rework stations similar to this:  eBay Auction -- Item Number: 181139781537

 

The only thing is you have to remove the shipping screw underneath the unit to unblock the hot air tube, but due to engrish, I had to take the unit apart and find out which screw needed to be removed.

 

I actually find the hot air blower helpful when removing old labels off of Atari carts.



#24 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:08 PM

The link says he won't ship to Canada but that's a great price. I'll research that model to see if there are some Canadian suppliers. I'm curious though, why would I need two different irons for soldering and desoldering? I thought they both did the same thing?

 

EDIT:

 

This is ridiculous. The same unit on the Canadian site is almost $200 more than the US?

 

https://www.amazon.c...&keywords=937d+

 

 

those are chineese knock off's just look up the number and add "soldering iron" 

 

the second model is a hollow soldering iron with a bulb sucker on the end, its not needed, but its really handy 



#25 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:03 PM

Based on recommendations I order the Weller WUC100CUL. This is supposedly a newer version of the WUC100 and was $10 cheaper. 

 

https://www.amazon.c...=dp_ob_title_hi

 

I'll post how it goes when it arrives. Thanks again for all their help






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