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Best Soldering Iron...

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card9inal

Member
What is the best soldering iron within the sub $100 range?

What irons offer the most options in terms of available tips?

I'm currently using a cheap Weller iron (WC100 or something like that) but I wonder if I'll get any better performance with something else.

You guys are the best!

Thanks!
 

tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
It depends on what your doing really. Small precision stuff is best done with a small pencil type. larger circuit boards are best with a larger pencil type. Wire and connectors are best with the bigger buzz guns.
A bad soldering system is horrible to use and frustrating to work with.

Some people like the adjustable and regulated soldering stations and others dont. I grew up without one and dont really care for them myself. Look and feel are far faster and more accurate for me because I learned how to solder the old fashioned way long ago so I have no need for the automatic assistance! ;)

For under $100 I would buy a pair of pencil units. A 15 -20 watt and a 30 - 50 watt and a good dual range Weller 100/150 or similar buzz gun.
And a bunch of copper foil, wire, odd pieces and weird items and just sit down and solder until you cant stand it. And then do it again! ;)
Hands on experience with good tools will always beat the most expensive soldering station you can afford.

If you cant work well with the basics you shouldn't be working with the advanced stuff either. A big dummy with expensive toys is still a big dummy. Just one with less money and something to brag about even though he doesn't actually know how to get the most out of any way. :(
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
What is the best soldering iron within the sub $100 range?

What irons offer the most options in terms of available tips?

I'm currently using a cheap Weller iron (WC100 or something like that) but I wonder if I'll get any better performance with something else.

You guys are the best!

Thanks!
What do you plan to do with your iron? Weld, solder PLCC's and surface mount parts, or simple 18 gauge wire soldering? To pick an iron really depends on what you want to do as TCM has said.

We need more info on what you plan to solder. For me, I prefer an adjustable station with a variety of solder tips which allows me to go from surface mount to brute force 10 AWG wire on a heavy clad copper shell.
 

Hero999

Banned
I have a cheap phase controlled variable temperature iron I bought from Maplin awhile ago and is all right but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
 

card9inal

Member
I'll be using it for both through-hole components, probably a few SMT, and then my usual work of building audio cables and patch panels. I purchased a smaller, pencil type, but have yet to use it. (Been too busy with work and the girlfriend to work on my project!)

Is it worth it to get a hot-air gun? I've seen some videos on youtube that utilize one that seems to make some of these tasks nice and easy. Any value to them?

Also, what is the best way to clean a very oxidized tip?

Thanks guys!
 

mramos1

Active Member
I have 2 25+ year old Wellers that still work and are great. They were commercial units I picked up from the first job.

I bought two for work and shop from mpja.com. They were under $30 ro $40, the blue one I hate, but the black one works very well for the price. Both have temp control and you can get extra tips of different sizes. Check out mpja.com, these were dirt cheap one and one performs quiet well. The 301-A is the one that worked well at least for me.
 

RCinFLA

Well-Known Member
Weller or Ungar are good units. Get one that you can change tips easily so you can do fine surface mount detail or change tip if you need a more horsepower' to solder down a bracket.
 

hootie26

New Member
whats the best for soldering LED's to resistors

yes i solder my resistors to my led's but the resistor's sometimes break off, i know that they are getting to hot but don't know exactly what i'm doing wrong
 
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