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What soldering iron are all the cool kids using these days?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Honga Man, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Honga Man

    Honga Man Tele-Afflicted

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    I have an old soldering iron that I bought at Radio Shack for about $20 fifteen or twenty years ago. It still works but the tip is sort of melted into a fatter blob of metal than I'd like for delicate use - such as mini-toggles.

    I've never owned a good one, but I think it's time as I have a few guitar projects to complete. I don't need "the best" as I'm just a hobbyist but I don't want the cheapest either...which I assume is what Radio Shack sells.

    Thanks for any recommendations.
     
  2. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    The Weller WLC100 is probably right up your alley. Variable heat control, though not digital. I use 2 of them, and keep a screwdriver style tip on one for grounds and a very fine tip on the other for tiny wires.
     
  3. fabricator

    fabricator Tele-Meister

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    I've bought cheaper irons in the past that would still be useable if I could find replacement tips.

    I recently purchased a Weller iron because I know I'll always be able to find tips for it.
     
  4. steam-powered

    steam-powered Tele-Meister

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    Inexpensive and works just fine, setting the dial at max for wiring jobs.
     
  5. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

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    I got this one too for my first soldering project ever. Worked phenomenally well, and I bought it based on various recommendations and Amazon reviews. I used it set around 3.5 to 4 for the Thunderdrive build, for tinning and soldering.
     
  6. Progbusters

    Progbusters Tele-Meister

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    the one with the blue handle at stewmac, its pretty good
     
  7. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Anything with a chisel tip in good condition will work fine for pot lugs and switches. If you're working on PCB's for stomp box kits, then a smaller tip and a rheostat is important to keep from lifting the traces from too much heat (same issue applies with imported superswitches with plastic bodies).

    Make sure you have a sponge, or find a tip cleaner that's made of a ball of bronze wool, to keep the tip clean. RadioShack has a little tin of tip cleaner that works well. But always remember to add a dab of solder to the tip before you touch the workpiece, and then when you're done always leave a blob of solder on the iron - you clean it before each use not after. The blob of solder keeps the hot metal underneath from being exposed and oxidizing. Eventually, though, you must replace the tip.
     
  8. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Weller WES51. I've been using one daily in the shop for the last 4 or so years. Bought one for at home last year to replace my vintage Ungars. You can solder most anything with this unit if you use the right tip.
     
  9. Honga Man

    Honga Man Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks all. I'll check into Weller irons.
     
  10. JohnS

    JohnS Friend of Leo's

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    I use a Weller 25 watt chisel tip for signal wires and a 100 watt stained glass chisel tip iron for grounds. The high heat lets you work quickly.
     
  11. Starrman44

    Starrman44 Tele-Afflicted

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    Hakko FX888
     
  12. Tom Pettingill

    Tom Pettingill Tele-Holic

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    Hakko makes some great gear. I've had my 936 for about 15 years now and its been a pleasure to use.
     
  13. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

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    I use the hakko 936 great iron never have problems with it and heats up in like 5 seconds and stays hot. It gets abused and just keeps going.
    They should still make the 936
     
  14. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

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    Many of us are using either a Weller with rheostat, and stand
    or a knockoff. Mine is an offbrand.

    That way, you have a variety of heat settings, instead of a one trick pony.
     
  15. sjruvolo

    sjruvolo Tele-Meister

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    +1
     
  16. lothar34

    lothar34 Tele-Meister

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    I've been using this one for the last 6 or 8 months. It's amazing so far (about 20 projects). I've never had a digital, variable heat iron before and I will never go back. It only takes about 20 seconds to heat up.


    Aoyue 9378 60 Watt Programmable Digital Soldering Station - ESD Safe, includes 10 tips, C/F switchable, Configurable Iron Holder, Spare Heating Element,100-130V:Amazon:Industrial & [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@4172H6mXtoL
     
  17. LeftyAl

    LeftyAl Friend of Leo's

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  18. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Friend of Leo's

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    My dad introduced me to a "soldering gun" as opposed to an "iron" when I was a kid. We used to make tube radios and tube amps together.

    I've got three soldering irons now but I still keep reaching for the gun out of habit…

    [​IMG]
     
  19. dogfootblues

    dogfootblues Tele-Afflicted

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    The gun pictured above is what I'm using. Went through almost every other Welles pencil at lowes and Home Depot. Got the gun and nooooko problems with it being too low on heat now. Cuts my time down by hours. Seriously.
     
  20. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That's the same one I have.
     
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