what soldering iron do u use

las3r

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hey guys im not sure if this is the righ section but im looking to buy a decent soldering station around $30+ besides the cheap hand held one's

so any info on ur set up and how u like it will help me decide and no what im looking for

will be working with LED's of course and drivers ect.......
 

PeterH

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I use a Weller WP25. 25 watts, changeable tip. Comes with a 1/8 inch chisel tip. Hand held, minimal features, high quality. Suited for most hobby electronics soldering. Proper heat sinking of sensitive components is a good idea whatever iron you use.

The WLC100 is a nice model for a step up. Variable wattage, and a power supply base you can plug an alternate hand held iron into.

I used to work in a shop that catered to electronics people, sold a fair variety of soldering irons. The models with true temperature control cost a lot more that $30.
 

calipsoii

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Weller WLC100 here. The only complaint I have about it is I wish the variable knob had some kind of indication of wattage/heat/something - a bunch of ticks doesn't tell me much.
 

MWClint

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i use the radio shack mini butane soldering iron. have been using it for 12+ years and they still sell the replaceable tips for it.
the tip is small enough to do work inside AAA heads.
 

PhotonAddict

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I upgraded from a cheap radio shack soldering iron to a Hakko 936 a few years ago. I was unsure about spending that much at the time (~$100) but I'm glad I did. I don't only use it for my flashlight modding so it was well worth it. The Weller WLC100 also seems like a nice one as well - I almost bought it but at the last minute I decided to go with the Hakko.
 

DonShock

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Another Weller WLC100 user here. It's about the cheapest you can go and get the minimum features needed to do a good soldering job for a variety of tasks. To do a quality solder job, you need to match the tip size and the heat to the job so interchangable tips and variable power controls are almost required. IIRC, a couple years back when I bought mine it was around $75 for the station and a full range of tips.

FYI: You might want to check out this thread on soldering from a few years ago. It's got a lot of discussion on equipment and techniques.
 
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bbawkon

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You want a good one, spend the money and buy a Metcal. At my disposal, I have PACE, I have Ersa, I have OKI and Weller. When the going gets tough, and I have something tough to solder, I ALWAYS end up with a Metcal in my hand. For simple stuff, any soldering station will do fine - but when you want to solder something that isn't so simple, you'll hate having an inferior iron. With a midrange+ metcal, you'll never worry about having an inferior iron.

For the record, we have quite a few Ersa i-Con 1 stations, and they are pretty good. For 90% of what we do, they work great. The difference is that for 100% of what we do, the Metcals work great.
 

CKOD

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The CSI linked one is probably the cheapest regulated iron Ive seen, if it doesnt use standard tips, it could be a pain finding replacements, but ive had good luck with CSI brand stuff, I have their 400W hot air pencil for $80 or so it performs very well.

If you upped the amount you wanted to spend, $150 would get you a weller 50W regulated iron, $300+ gets into the nice 80W higher quality irons. (I use a WD2 base station with 2 80W irons at work) and you start getting into Oki and metcal for higher end stuff. Ive not ran into anything I couldnt do with the WP-80 irons, upto 10 AWG wire with a typical sized chisel tip, and if I put the fat chisel tip on, even larger wire, or for soldering 10AWG wire into oversized pins without overheating the whole thing.

I have used OKI stations, but not for anything demanding enough to say anything one way or the other, just though hole PCB work with standard pads, nothing demanding like tiny SMD stuff on big power planes where tight regulation and power delivery are important. Their tip change is just using a silicone pad to pull the tip out and push in another, nice and easy. I havent use metcal at all, but always hear great stuff about them.

All the prices I listed above are all new, keep and eye out, and you might find something very nice for a not so bad price.
 

bbawkon

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The MX500P Is an excellent station. I actually like it more than some of Metcal's newer/fancier stations. Very rapid heat delivery. I solder 4ga wire into lugs all the time with that iron and a chisel tip. The Pace that sits in my lab right next to it couldn't do that on a bet.
 

datiLED

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I use a Circuit Specialists station that is a Hakko 936 clone. I have been using the same station for about 6 or 7 years, and have only had to replace the wand twice. Buy some Hakko tips on e-Bay, and you are set for a long time.
 

VegasF6

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I dunno if it is common knowledge or not, but Hakko discontinued the 936 for a new model, the FX-888. Looks like a neat little unit.
There is a thread floating around somewhere about the various Hakko clones that are out there including the circuit specialist model, Komec, and others about the heating element. It showed in that thread the genuine Hakko used a nice ceramic element, something was inferior about the clones. Don't recall exactly what.

FYI, I use a weller wesd51. Weller has a $20 rebate right now, and there is an ebay seller that claims you can get that rebate through him bringing the total to $109. Though, if he isn't an authorized dealer, I am not sure Weller would honor it.
 

Samy

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I have a Dremel butane soldering iron. I won't get an electric one again as the butane one is so portable to use. It's fully heat adjustable and takes seconds to refill.

Cheers
 

recycler

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I use an old antex iron given to me about 20 years ago, its got a bakelite handle and has never missed a beat ever, I have a collection of various tips which still sell today, it must be at least 30 years old, I think meybe more, you can tell the age by the scars to the cable, I realy should retire it but have no reason to
 

Microa

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I use the Hakko 981 20W/130W dual wattage soldering iron which I bought 26 years ago. Last year, I bought another Goot CXR-31 22W fine tip iron for soldering SMD parts.
I feel that I like the pistol handle of the Hakko than the goot's pancil style handle.
 

las3r

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yea it does look nice and has memory mode, i posted a link on the first post i can get it for $60 shipped
 

VegasF6

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Oh yah. But it's obviously not the same thing, the one you posted says circuit specialist and the one I posted is branded Tenma. Gotta be better, right? :)
If you pop on that one give us a review, I like the looks of it. Would like to see inside.
 

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