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Is this soldering station sufficient?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by SoulstormTX, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. SoulstormTX

    SoulstormTX Tele-Meister

    Age:
    32
    210
    Jul 14, 2017
    San Antonio, Tx
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  2. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    That looks really nice, Soulstorm! I don't know why that wouldn't work very well. I use this one, along with this rosin paste flux and this wire tip cleaner. Yours has the wire cleaner included in the station, it seems.

    I've fixed some guitars and built an amp with mine. Yours looks to be perfect for any of those jobs!
     
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  3. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    I use the Weller one you linked to, it’s pretty much my go-to soldering machine.
     
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  4. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    Yes, that's a very good soldering station.
     
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  5. bluesky1963

    bluesky1963 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    54
    451
    Apr 1, 2011
    Glendale, AZ
    I've got one of the Wellers. It's aces in my book.
     
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  6. brokenbones

    brokenbones Tele-Meister

    234
    Mar 15, 2012
    Indy
    Either one should be fine. Personally, i'd like to have some sort of temperature gauge or display, like the first one. I wouldn't use the sponge to clean your tips. This is debateable on many forums but i've found the brass scrunchies clean better and prolong the life of the tips. Order extra tips. It's nice to have an assortment of different shapes and size ends on those extra tips. Wider, fatter tips are better for wiring and cables.
     
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  7. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    For the few extra bucks I think the one with the temperature guage etc. is the better of the two. JMHO
     
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  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    We're talking electric guitars here, right?
    Really not demanding solder duty in electric guitars, though the little wires in four wire HBs can be a bit delicate.

    I guess we are in a gear renaissance where it's important to have the best tool for every job, and "the best" might be interpreted as professional equipment for hobbyists, but in 38 years of soldering electric guitar circuitry I've never known the temp of the tip, used a station, or had multiple tip cleaning devices.

    I've had at least a half dozen of these over the years, solders pots quickly without cooking them, is ready to go in 15 seconds, and I don't have to remember to shut it off. Has a handy built in light too.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002YDMZF4/?tag=tdpri-20

    Building pedals requires a lower wattage finer tip, but I can finish soldering a pickup installation in the time it takes a pencil station to warm up.
     
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  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    This is a really useful tool for guitar electronics, a solder sucker for removing the old solder.
    I think this is the one I've used for over 20 years.
    Especially good for keeping the wipers in a five way switch clear of solder.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000PDNOTG/?tag=tdpri-20

    Plenty of cheaper ones too
     
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  10. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    236
    Jun 4, 2010
    Melbourne
    @telemnemonics is right that you don't need a sophisticated iron for most guitar work. Although I definitely prefer the pencil shaped ones. I used a basic one like this that cost about $10 for many years, but now have a Weller with temp display; it does basically the same job in the same way though.
    [​IMG]

    Other very useful soldering tools are a 'third/helping' hand, a hemostat, and a big LED light / magnifier on a stand if your eyes are fading.

    And having managed without them for 30 years I've recently found a set of soldering aids quite useful ...
    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=181767957940

    Stewmac sells something slightly better for a bit more ...
    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool...Pickups/Soldering/StewMac_Soldering_Aids.html
     
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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  12. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Tele-Afflicted

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska

    I've got the X-tonic 4000 Series station. I'd estimate I've got about over 40 hours on it (built 2 amps, so that's a guess) and I've had no problems with it. I also love the magnifying lamp it came with, but that shouldn't be the tipping point. Another poster here said he bought the same station as me and it died quickly, but that's not been my experience.

    I'd also highly recommend a solder sucker and desoldering wick. I like using the wick the most. If you solder, you will eventually be desoldering. Trust me.

    If you are like me, you will be comforted by the LED temperature readout. It's probably not nuts-on accurate, but having a ballpark idea about your tip temperature is nice.
     

  13. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    236
    Jun 4, 2010
    Melbourne
    Yes ... I have the cheap version too ... ;)
    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=202059182285
    The two main lenses work well for me, which is good because the little one at the front broke off.
     
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  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    True you don't need the best station for guitar work, but avoid the 25 watt standalone pencils. Even the 40-watters don't get hot enough to cleanly solder to the back of a pot shell. Much, much better to have the heat and not need it often, than to need it once, and not have it.

    For the record, I like my Aoyue 9378 60-watt station. No issues, heats up in about ten seconds.

    I prefer those cheaper blue solder suckers with the nylon tip. Cost about $6. I use mine constantly (amps as well as guitars). I make a lot of mistakes. It's been going strong for about 8 years, can't see why it would ever stop working. Just make sure you get one that fully disassembles.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002KRAAG/?tag=tdpri-20
     
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  15. SoulstormTX

    SoulstormTX Tele-Meister

    Age:
    32
    210
    Jul 14, 2017
    San Antonio, Tx
    I appreciate all you guys taking time to answer. You've been immensely helpful. I guess it's time to buy and get started! Does anyone have any tips on learning materials? I've soldered before but it was years ago when I was younger. My dad taught me, but it's been so long that I don't really remember much.
     

  16. Garruchal

    Garruchal TDPRI Member

    Age:
    50
    52
    Nov 29, 2013
    Seattle
    After 20 years of soldering many projects together, including micro-controller circuits, power supplies, many circuits with IC's and the like, I finally bought a soldering station instead of using a stand-alone cheap iron. Up until then, my equipment consisted of a cheap iron, a sponge, flux-core solder and a de-soldering pump.

    My take on a station: if you have room to keep it on your workbench, get one. They heat up fast and give you a handy place to keep the iron.
    Other tips:
    • Definitely get a de-soldering pump
    • Light the area well
    • Use a magnifying light (my mother sent me one like she uses while doing embroidery) or glasses (this may be less of an important item for just guitar work, but is a game-changer with circuit-boards.)
    • Get a "third hand" desk-top vice
     

  17. user34603

    user34603 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    67
    322
    Dec 5, 2016
    Richmond VA
    ... I can solder anything in a guitar with a $20 complete kit.... Amazon has this one I use almost weekly. Has a dial for temperature selection. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H1IFT54/?tag=tdpri-20
     

  18. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Jul 2, 2015
    PNW USA
    My tech friend said, "Just get a Weller WP25."

    So I did, and it's a great improvement over the crummy Radio Shack ones I'd been using. I got mine new for $20 but they're usually $25-30 at the low end.

    For a simple, inexpensive soldering iron it works great, holds temperature. I made a holder station by spiraling a length of metal rod and attaching it to a small board. A metal cup holds solder, alligator clips etc., and there's a sponge for cleaning.

    P.S. - my friend says don't clean the tip after you're done with a job; clean it when you heat it up to start work (and as needed while working). He says this keeps the tip in better shape.
     

  19. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Tele-Afflicted

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
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  20. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    I'm with TimTam. You really don't need an expensive station for guitar work. BUT - if you are doing pedals, or need something where you have to crank the temp (relatively large solder joints), then a station is a good idea. Dialing up or down the temp has more to do with handling heat-sensitive stuff like transistors and chips, or needing lots of heat to spread a lot of solder over a larger area. You can sometimes socket the former.

    Problem is that a lot of Amazon stuff - and I do mean A LOT - is cheap knockoff-type stuff. If you are going to invest in that kind or equipment, get something that's name-brand like Weller. I've never heard of X_Tronic, though I've been out of that game for a couple of decades.
     

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