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# Solder Station Recommendations?

J

#### Joe

Jan 1, 1970
0
I used to have an Edsyn solder station that I bought from Radio Shack
about 5 or 6 years ago for around $50.00. It got lost in my cross-country move. I'd like to get something of similar quality and not spend more than around$50 or $60. At most I solder maybe 200 connections in a year. I also have a soldering "gun" for heavier soldering, so the one I'm looking for will be for components that typically mount on a PCB. Anybody know of a solder station on special, or a favorite that fits my needs and roughly my price range? Thanks. --- Joe M #### Michael Black Jan 1, 1970 0 Joe said: I used to have an Edsyn solder station that I bought from Radio Shack about 5 or 6 years ago for around$50.00.

It got lost in my cross-country move.

I'd like to get something of similar quality and not spend more than
around $50 or$60.

At most I solder maybe 200 connections in a year. I also have a soldering
"gun" for heavier soldering, so the one I'm looking for will be for
components that typically mount on a PCB.

Anybody know of a solder station on special, or a favorite that fits my
needs and roughly my price range?
I've had soldering irons for 35 years, most of my life, and I've never
had anything more than just an iron. I suspect if you are making so
few connections that you can count them, there isn't a big need for
anything more than a twenty dollar iron. Just make sure the tips
can be replaced, and that they are plated (with whatever they are
commonly plated with, it's been so long since I've needed to buy
a new tip, I forget).

For most of that time, I've bought modular irons, again I forget
who makes them since much of that time I've bought them as Radio
Shack branded irons. So you can change the heating element, and
the tip, for a lot of flexibility that I've never really taken
advantage of. But changeable tips are useful if you want to do
some really fine work at times.

Toss in a stand of some sort.

At least, that's the way I'm reading your question. "Soldering
station" to me implies a fancier iron with some sort of constant
temperature control, and that is overkill for occasional use.

Michael

J

#### Joe

Jan 1, 1970
0
notbob said:
http://www.howardelectronics.com/xytronic/379.html

It's called Google. It's a search engine.

nb

I never heard of Howard Electronics, but I think I did come across this
solder station via a google search.

Have you had any dealings with Howard Electronics, or know of them by
reputation?

Also, I don't know anything about xytronic. Is it a decent brand?

Thanks.

--- Joe

B

#### Ben Jackson

Jan 1, 1970
0
Have you had any dealings with Howard Electronics, or know of them by
reputation?

Also, I don't know anything about xytronic. Is it a decent brand?

I'm not the guy who posted that, but I have a 379 (not purchased from
Howard) and I have also purchased things from Howard Electronics (such
as more tips).

The 379 is great. It is generally only limited by the tip. The big
B10 chisel tip can easily solder parts onto big thermal pads. I
also like the finer chisel tips for general work. The super sharp
tips like like B23 and B03 do work when you need really fine work, but
their low thermal mass will slow you down. If you really want to do
super fine work all day, buy a Metcal.

I got one of their "mini wave" tips (hollow tip that you load with solder
to do smt work) but I haven't tried it yet. In a week or so I'll be
mounting some QFPs that should test it.

A

#### Arfa Daily

Jan 1, 1970
0
Michael Black said:
I've had soldering irons for 35 years, most of my life, and I've never
had anything more than just an iron. I suspect if you are making so
few connections that you can count them, there isn't a big need for
anything more than a twenty dollar iron. Just make sure the tips
can be replaced, and that they are plated (with whatever they are
commonly plated with, it's been so long since I've needed to buy
a new tip, I forget).

For most of that time, I've bought modular irons, again I forget
who makes them since much of that time I've bought them as Radio
Shack branded irons. So you can change the heating element, and
the tip, for a lot of flexibility that I've never really taken
advantage of. But changeable tips are useful if you want to do
some really fine work at times.

Toss in a stand of some sort.

At least, that's the way I'm reading your question. "Soldering
station" to me implies a fancier iron with some sort of constant
temperature control, and that is overkill for occasional use.

Michael

It depends on what exactly your "occasional" uses are. If it's just for
fixing the doorbell, or the kids' toys - the sort of stuff where a soldering
iron just hangs on the garage wall for most of the year, and is a handy tool
to have when yout neighbour pops round with two wires that need soldering
together - then I agree totally with Michael. Anything of about a 30 or 40
watt rating that feels comfortable in your hand, and has a variety of tips
available, should be fine. If, however, it is to be used for work on
commercial printed circuit boards, you might want to look at something just
a little more sophisticated. The component packaging density is very high
now, and many surface mount components are just too small and delicate to be
dealt with by a 'heated poker', as is a lot of the actual print. Also bear
in mind that the whole world is going over to lead-free solder in
production, and this requires an iron with a hotter tip, to work with
successfully. For a standard non-controlled iron, that represents a conflict
of characteristics ie small tip - hot - stays hot. In this case, you might
want to consider a 'basic' temperature controlled iron. Many are really
quite cheap now, if you don't need real precision, and day in - day out
workshop reliability.

Arfa

N

#### notbob

Jan 1, 1970
0
Also, I don't know anything about xytronic. Is it a decent brand?

I've not tried it. I have an older Weller, but am considering a Weller
WCL100. It's also in your $50 range and has been recommended for SMT soldering, something I'm completely ignorant of. nb C #### Chuck Jan 1, 1970 0 You might consider an ESD-safe model like the Xytronics 137ESD. A very nice station for about$80. More than your target price, but may be
worth the difference.

Chuck

G

#### GregS

Jan 1, 1970
0
You might consider an ESD-safe model like the Xytronics 137ESD. A very
nice station for about $80. More than your target price, but may be worth the difference. Chuck WLC100 can't see the cord, but looks like a 2 wire ungrounded. I like Xytronics, been using them for about 20 years. I used two wire irons a great seal. Never blew anything out, in fact, I have soldered powered up units with the ungrounded tips. No recommended, but I have actually forgot to turn equipment off when repairing !! Love my 80 watt Weller !!! greg J #### John Jan 1, 1970 0 I used to have an Edsyn solder station that I bought from Radio Shack about 5 or 6 years ago for around$50.00.

It got lost in my cross-country move.

I'd like to get something of similar quality and not spend more than
around $50 or$60.

At most I solder maybe 200 connections in a year. I also have a soldering
"gun" for heavier soldering, so the one I'm looking for will be for
components that typically mount on a PCB.

Anybody know of a solder station on special, or a favorite that fits my
needs and roughly my price range?

Thanks.

--- Joe

Check out www.mpja.com
They have a variety of adjustable temperature stations starting under
$30. John R #### Robin Jan 1, 1970 0 I used to have an Edsyn solder station that I bought from Radio Shack about 5 or 6 years ago for around$50.00.

It got lost in my cross-country move.

I'd like to get something of similar quality and not spend more than
around $50 or$60.

At most I solder maybe 200 connections in a year. I also have a soldering
"gun" for heavier soldering, so the one I'm looking for will be for
components that typically mount on a PCB.

Anybody know of a solder station on special, or a favorite that fits my
needs and roughly my price range?

Thanks.

--- Joe

The "Kalashnikov" of soldering irons is (or was) the original Weller
with its simple built-in "mechanical" temperature regulation.

Get a fine point number 7 tip for general use and a broad point number
8 tip for wave-desoldering idc headers.

Robin

A

#### Arfa Daily

Jan 1, 1970
0
Robin said:
The "Kalashnikov" of soldering irons is (or was) the original Weller
with its simple built-in "mechanical" temperature regulation.

Get a fine point number 7 tip for general use and a broad point number
8 tip for wave-desoldering idc headers.

Robin

"Kalashnikov of soldering stations" - I like that ! It's very true as well.
I have had two Weller Magnastat irons in constant daily use for years, and
also have a '900 series vacuum desoldering station which uses the same iron.
Agreed also on the tip choice that you advocate.

Arfa

D

#### Dave Plowman (News)

Jan 1, 1970
0
"Kalashnikov of soldering stations" - I like that ! It's very true as
well. I have had two Weller Magnastat irons in constant daily use for
years, and also have a '900 series vacuum desoldering station which
uses the same iron. Agreed also on the tip choice that you advocate.

I must be odd in not much liking Weller. I've had Antex for over 40 years
and prefer the balance and weight.

G

#### GregS

Jan 1, 1970
0
I must be odd in not much liking Weller. I've had Antex for over 40 years
and prefer the balance and weight.

After using the Weller WRS 3000 iron, all others I have been using forever,
seem like holding baseball bats, trying to solder.

greg

R

#### Robin

Jan 1, 1970
0
I must be odd in not much liking Weller. I've had Antex for over 40 years
and prefer the balance and weight.

--
*Husbands should come with instructions

Dave Plowman [email protected] London SW
To e-mail, change noise into sound.

My first iron was an Antex in ~1968. It was really beautiful and tiny
and it was cheap and lasted for years but only because I looked after
it, and generally remembered to switch it off.

You can leave a Weller switched on all week, put it in a bucket of
water, light fags with it and mend plastic housings. If the magnet-
switch sticks, hit it on the bench.

You *can* destroy it by using it as a crowbar but then it is easily
fixed with a new tip. Production managers wise-up to this by
restricting new tips to one every couple of months - so the wise
contractor keeps his own and swaps it, replacing the original when the
job is done.

Robin

N

#### notbob

Jan 1, 1970
0
You can leave a Weller switched on all week, put it in a bucket of
water, light fags with it and mend plastic housings. If the magnet-
switch sticks, hit it on the bench.

But! ...be careful of those cords/connectors. One place I worked had
2 lockers full of dead Wellers. Closer inspection revealed almost
everyone one of them had cord/connector failures where the iron
plugged into the power unit.

nb

R

#### Robin

Jan 1, 1970
0
But! ...be careful of those cords/connectors. One place I worked had
2 lockers full of dead Wellers. Closer inspection revealed almost
everyone one of them had cord/connector failures where the iron
plugged into the power unit.

nb

You are right. The cord often wears out first.

But a Weller can even perform it's own abdominal surgery thanks to
transformer isolation.

Robin

A

#### Arfa Daily

Jan 1, 1970
0
Robin said:
My first iron was an Antex in ~1968. It was really beautiful and tiny
and it was cheap and lasted for years but only because I looked after
it, and generally remembered to switch it off.

You can leave a Weller switched on all week, put it in a bucket of
water, light fags with it and mend plastic housings. If the magnet-
switch sticks, hit it on the bench.

You *can* destroy it by using it as a crowbar but then it is easily
fixed with a new tip. Production managers wise-up to this by
restricting new tips to one every couple of months - so the wise
contractor keeps his own and swaps it, replacing the original when the
job is done.

Robin
LOL double !! You could just strike "Robin" off the bottom of that, and put
"Arfa" there instead ...

Arfa

D

#### Dave Plowman (News)

Jan 1, 1970
0
My first iron was an Antex in ~1968. It was really beautiful and tiny
and it was cheap and lasted for years but only because I looked after
it, and generally remembered to switch it off.

Think I had my first one earlier than that. More expensive than the usual
Henley Solon - in those days.
You can leave a Weller switched on all week, put it in a bucket of
water, light fags with it and mend plastic housings. If the magnet-
switch sticks, hit it on the bench.
You *can* destroy it by using it as a crowbar but then it is easily
fixed with a new tip. Production managers wise-up to this by
restricting new tips to one every couple of months - so the wise
contractor keeps his own and swaps it, replacing the original when the
job is done.

Of course mine isn't used 24/7 - it's a sort of paying hobby. But my first
temperature controlled 50 watt low volt Antex is still fine and only on
its second element. Must be about 15 years old.

These days I have a home made solder/desolder station which has two Antex
hand pieces fitted with the different bits I most use, and two others with
the next most common which I plug in if required. I made the mistake of
using a Pace SX80 as the desolder tool and the element on that has a short
- and expensive - life. Wish I could find an alternative.

But like all tools it comes down to personal preferences.

R

#### Rich Grise

Jan 1, 1970
0
I must be odd in not much liking Weller. I've had Antex for over 40 years
and prefer the balance and weight.

I've always used mostly Wellers, because that's what the company bought.
At home on my own bench, I use the "princess" from RS or one of a couple
of clunky irons from the hardware store or something.

Cheers!
Rich

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