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DIY’ers, what’s a good solder iron kit and helper?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Gutterguy, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. Gutterguy

    Gutterguy Tele-Meister

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    Or what should I be looking for? Thanks
     
  2. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I picked up a Weller 40-watt Soldering Station a few years ago. Works great. My only advice is to get an iron with at least 40-watts. I had a 25-watter for a long time and it took forever to melt the solder.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000AS28UC/?tag=tdpri-20
     
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  3. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    My simple Weller SP40L (40 watt) works well. I think Amazon has them. Any Weller 40 watt is fine. 40 watt will solder to the back of pots well.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B3SG6UQ/?tag=tdpri-20

    Be sure it has a pencil tip not just the chisel shape.
    Get a solder sucker, preferably the tube not the squeeze bulb.
    Get some No Ko Rode flux. Whenever you solder to something big like pot, or when desoldering old joints, the flux is a god send.
     
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  4. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    For doing guitar electronics or amp building you just need a straightforward iron and a quality tip. Hakko and Weller are the two main brands and replacement tips of many styles are readily available--I like a small chisel tip but everybody seems to have their own particular favourite. I have a Hakko 936. Bought it 10+ years ago, has had plenty of use, and it's been rock solid. The benefit of getting a station like that is twofold, I think. One, you get reasonably good temperature control, which can be useful to keep from under or overheating joints. Two, you have enough horsepower to heat larger pieces of metal/joints quickly. In the guitar/amp context this mostly means soldering to the back of pots or bus wire/grounding plates.

    As far as helpers are concerned, I don't think they are particularly useful for guitar or amp work (possible exception if you want to soldier two pieces of wire together). But if you want to build pedals they are a godsend. I have and like the panavise. However, there are probably substitutes that work just as well. Any vise where you can manipulate the angle and position of the thing you're working on can make jobs a lot easier and less frustrating.
     
  5. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    helper? Not sure what that means.

    I got years and years and years out of the basic Weller WLC-100. I finally killed it, but it was completely my fault, or else I'd still have it.
     
  6. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

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    The thing that helped me get the best results for my meager skills was using leaded solder. Don't mess around with that crap from Home Depot and flux paste and all. If you're trying to do this as a hobby (low throughput), you're better off with the leaded stuff because it's A LOT easier to work with, IME. It's easier to keep the tip tinned, easier to tin leads, easier to get shiny joints, easier to clean if it does oxidize on the tip.

    If you can swing it, a soldering station with a knob would be good. Even if it only works over a small range, like mine (cheapest Weller with a knob), that's still enough to have some control over your temperature/recovery. That, combined with all the power recommendations here, and you should be set.
     
  7. DelusionedAngel

    DelusionedAngel TDPRI Member

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    If you think you are going to be soldering on guitars on a semi-regular basis, I would recommend investing in a good soldering station up front, always found that it just made things much easier for me. I would recommend a Hakko FX-888D personally. Totally agree with the recommendation to use Leaded solder as well. Also, it usually helps to rough up the back of pots with sandpaper before trying to solder to them, I always found that to be the hardest part of wiring a guitar.
     
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  8. northernguitar

    northernguitar Tele-Holic

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    A ‘3rd hand’ is useful.
     
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  9. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    A couple of heat clips are good to have to protect components, they can do double-duty sometimes as work holders -

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PR1KNS/?tag=tdpri-20

    I like to use flux with one of these -

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00425FUW2/?tag=tdpri-20

    I have one of those multi-armed work holders but honestly rarely use it. More useful, for me, is a set of long-nosed vise grips, to either hold work in its jaws or just to lay on top of things to keep them from moving.

    I have a Hakko soldering station, the "FX888", it's been working well for several years for me. I have different tips for it too but once I put in the small chisel tip I haven't swapped tips again.

    De-soldering braid and a solder sucker are pretty useful too.

    I mainly work on guitar electronics, and pickups - very light soldering chores. Someday I'll build an amp - it's on my list but I haven't worked my way up to it yet.
     
  10. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    I agree with those saying buy a soldering station if you plan on getting into soldering. After 20 years of guitar tinkering I finally bought a station, wish I had much earlier. That said, if you're just going to solder every once in a while, you can get by with a cheapo.
     
  11. Greenmachine

    Greenmachine Tele-Holic

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    Weller WP35
     
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  12. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    Any 40 watt iron should work. Get a name brand since they’re not that expensive. Also get a little soldering iron stand and a wet sponge to wipe the iron off.
     
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  13. MojoTrwall

    MojoTrwall Tele-Holic

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    Blue tack to hold component and IPA to clean pcb.
     
  14. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    How much work are you planning to do? Are you looking for a $10 iron, a $40 iron, a $125 set, or a big pro rig?
     
  15. mistermikev

    mistermikev Tele-Afflicted

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    i love the hakko 888 - got mine on sale 4 years ago for $60ish and the money I've saved on tips alone is worth it but features are great. that said... I bought a $20 cheapo with a temp control on it from amazon for use in the garage... pretty decent actually! if you solder a LOT... hakko.
     
  16. Gutterguy

    Gutterguy Tele-Meister

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    every once in awhile. Thanks to all for the input.
     
  17. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    bros, this is the "just pickups" forum...all you need is a rat shack quality level iron, some wire cutters, and a meter that has continuity check.

    i second that weller SP40L recommendation. look for "plato" wire cutters. meter doesn't matter, cheapest thing you can get.
     
  18. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I find having a hemostat is really helpful holding wires and small parts and for me I also need the magnifying glasses.
     
  19. osfania

    osfania TDPRI Member

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    upload_2021-1-26_17-16-9.jpeg
    Be careful with the hot iron!
     
  20. Roscoe295

    Roscoe295 TDPRI Member

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    I’m new to soldering also. Just snagged this off Amazon (after trying a 25 Watt iron that, ummm, did not work well).

    Very pleased with the iron & the kit. Feel more comfortable soldering now - the iron temp. definitely made a difference.
     

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