Having the right tools makes all the difference. Having a decent soldering iron, especially one with a decent amount of mass and which gets hot enough will make all the difference too.
Paradoxically, if your iron is not hot enough or doesn't have enough mass, you will overheat everything when trying to solder.
Not sure about the mass, but I sure agree on the right tool.
And it doesn't even have to be good tools (although having good ones helps you for maintaining them).
I use a cheap 10$ iron tip from Dealextreme :
I mean sure, it isn't a great tool, but for a beginner, it does the job better than most of the cheap stuff you find in DIY shops that sell for 25$.
The temperature dial does works (tho I can't check if it really heat up to 450°C as promised ). The tip is thin enough to do soldering on our old systems. I managed to resold a broken fuse on a Nintendo DS and do a basic switch mode on a SNES, so with patience you can use it for such applications, even if the tip isn't really made to solder such small spots.
But that kind of tool is still better than the usual clumsy "one heat temp/heavy cord pulling down" iron tip I usually see being sold for beginners :
Avoid those if you can. They are usually clumsy to use, and they are more than often not powerful enough, especially if you need to solder on large surfaces.
And if you get a iron tip.... Advices are divided on this, but get something to clean your tip.
Most soldering iron come with a stand that come with a sponge. Personnal opinion : it's a bad idea. It need to get wet to really work, so each time you clean your tip, you lose heat; if the sponge is dry, when you clean, it will burn and stick to your tip.
So I use the "metallic sponge" :
it doesn't need much care, it can't burn, it doesn't require anything to work.
On the other hand, on thinner tips and fragile ones, it might damage the plating and cause corrosion so...
For a beginner, the metallic spong is better IMO, but someone using more precise and precious tips might want to use the wet sponge.
Edited by CatPix, Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:53 AM.