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Help choosing a solder station

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Cobalt60

New Member
Id really appreciate a little help in choosing a solder station. Basically looking for a temp controlled unit that has at least some indication of what the temp is set to, and some indication of when the unit is at that temp or still heating up. Im going to be using this for very fine surface mount soldering, as well as PTH.

Price range would be $100 max and thats preferably after shipping.

At work I used to have a Weller with a dial with markings for the temp, and a light that was solid during warm up and flashed when it was fully heated. This would suffice. Now I have a fancier one at work, and a feature I am particularly fond of is that it is very easy to change tips when hot, as the part you grab to unscrew the tip is part of the grip.

A few companies I think I would like are XYtronics, Velleman, Hakko, and Weller

Thanks for any help!

-Chris P
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
SOLDER STATION TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED-MPJA, Inc.
40 bucks, temp controlled good tip. Worth every penny. They sell cheaper and more expensive units as well but that seems to be the best 'bang for the buck' The sell replacement tips and handles for all their units. I'm very happy with mine.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
I'm not a big fan of digital readouts on analog devices like this. Digital or analog readout they both have to be calibrated, so all you're paying extra for is the LCD and conversion electronics to see the numbers on an LCD. A blinking light showing the control electronics turning off and on when the device reaches it's set point is adequate for me.
The sponge pad on that one is on TOP of the unit is a bad idea, you're just gonna drop solder or bump into the face at some point. The black one I linked as a seperate iron holder with a solder spool holder as well. Also the iron connector on the side looks like a cheap plastic connector. The 301A unit has a solid metal connector with a collared screw lock.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
The black 301A unit also has a FULL range of tip's to chose from and replacement handles are very cheap. So you can have two tips on two different irons and switch easily as long as you turn the power off. Also as I said it comes with a replacement heating/thermocouple unit.
 
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3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
Unless you like the idea of the seven segment display there is no reason to buy it and the other has a few more tips.

The less expensive one has more tips available 9 vrs 5. Replacement handles and hot tweeser are inexpensive for both.

The connector is solid. It is similar to an on pre PS2 keyboard connector.

The sponge on top save a bit on desk space. If you do not like it buy the other iron or put the sponge elswhere. My helping hands jig has a sponge holder on the base.

You will splatter solder on the face. The control panel comes covered with plastic like that on LCD displays. Sceadwian got me to take a look at mine. The plastic that I should have removed is blistered in places but not enough to get me to remove it. I have no idea what it would look like if I had removed it when first purchased.
 
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