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Soldering Iron Recommendation?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Suntower, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member


    I have an old weller soldering station I got from a job I had 30 years ago. It has finally given up the ghost.

    I was wondering if someone could recommend a cheap, but decent soldering iron/station that I could use for most audio needs (anything from power cables to circuit boards.) I don't know that I need a true thermostat, but yeah, some decent tips and some switchable heat settings would be good.

    I went to Radio Shack yesterday and -boy- have things changed! They had NOTHING. In fact, I couldn't -find- an 'electronics' store anywhere near me (south Seattle).



  2. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Digikey.com is a good starting point, or Mouser.com

    I use a OKI- which was Metcal before. Works great.

    I also Like the Hako irons.

    Both are great tools, I have a old weller too, but it can not regulate the tip heat as well as the OKI or Hako products.

    Whats your price range, and do you do mostly through hole?
  3. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    Budget? CHEAP! :D I guess $50. I've been so out of the game I have no idea. I know 'pro' stations can be 10x that. I was hoping there was something with good value for occasional work. But when I -do- solder I want it to look pretty.

    I don't need 2 second heat-up or instant cool-down or really precise thermo control. Just something that can do a range of work cleanly.

    Suggestions? I just checked Mouser and there are so -many- to choose from. Kinda overwhelming.


  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Here are a couple decent soldering stations under $55 - even a mid-grade Weller.



    I got one of these for light duty work around the house because they were dirt cheap on sale and it didn't last much more than 6 months with light use:


    It was ok while it lasted and might be fixable.
  5. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    Hey thanks!

    Do you have any experience with the Elenco? It almost looks too cheap to be good... OTOH, I've had lots of great audio gear that was cheap and worked well so...

    The Weller would do the trick, for sure, but I wonder if the 40w will be a problem for finer work... My old one had a dial to set lower wattage. Do you think this is a drawback?

    Again, thanks!


  6. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    More damage has been done by under-temp soldering irons than over-temp ones, IMO

    Heat the joint, solder, and get off the joint. You DON'T want to sink a lot of heat into the CCA and end up lifting the pads.

    Recommend you get an iron with temp control
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    The Weller is variable 5w - 40w.

    Nope I don't have any personal experience with the Elenco. They specialize in kits and projects for beginners to learn electronics and soldering skills. So I assume they might be considered entry-level units by someone like yourself with experience. I'm sure there's a certain level of 'you get what you pay for' involved.
  8. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    Thanks again. I dunno if I'm still all that 'experienced'. But I do know a good iron makes the job a -lot- easier. Not willing to pay $400 or whatever, though.

    Unless someone here has some other ideas, I think I'll stick with the Weller since I know I can get replacement parts for it most anywhere.



  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I see the same iron NIB on ebay for $49 delivered.
  10. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    I have the Weller in that link. It does the job. Nothing special, but way better than those pencil irons that Radio Shack had been carrying (around 5 yrs ago?).
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I also use the Weller as one of my irons and it works quite well. Especially for the price.
  12. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    I just got one delivered from Amazon for $40. Haven't tried it yet, but it seems like the goods.



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