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Author Topic: Time for a new iron  (Read 4105 times)
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That is sad about Weller.

I'm in my 40's and I remember seeing some of my childhood friends dads Heathkit and HAM radio gear.  Seems like they all had those really cool Weller stations and you knew they were the real deal.

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My  wtcp201 is definitely a good iron, but the temperature control on these old irons is based on the tip inserted in he pencil.  It also does take longer to reach temperature and is slower to react to temperature loss from soldering... meaning sometimes you wait.   I replaced my original with a newer Weller in 2003 but this unit had other issues the biggest of which was a ceramic heating element...   which is fine until the day you knock over the iron onto a cement floor and it cracks.   Having dial adjusted temperature setting like the hakko is a plus.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 05:55:50 pm by pwillard » Logged

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can i take that for granted with "cheap" weller?

idk but it was like someone said they r bad now and everybody took that as a fact, is it true?

when i look at this, that doesnt seem to be that cheap to me:
http://tinyurl.com/7kxrr97


does anyone know this one ZD-931?
http://www.reichelt.de/Diverse-Loetstationen/STATION-ZD-931/3//index.html?ACTION=3&GROUPID=555&ARTICLE=90918&SHOW=1&START=0&OFFSET=16&&SID=11UAdD3H8AAAIAAFIFTT44a7386fa39a90a63bae951f3ef79a3d3&LANGUAGE=EN
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 06:18:47 pm by lax123 » Logged

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I have a WES51 and I love it.

I have never had a problem with it. I use a 1/8 inch chisel tip and it solders everything I want to.

You have to remember I went through 5 or 6 radio shack irons prior to buying this one in the same time frame.

They are not inexpensive. I want to say it is more a moderate priced item for a hobby type use. I purchased it for my use in my profession of repairing office machines but use it daily for my hobby.

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As with any tool.

If this is something that you plan to use everyday, invest a little money into it and make your life that much easier. Good tools are a god send on your arms, mind and knowing your are doing things properly.

If this is a one off project and it will eind up in a drawer never to be used again, get the cheapest thing at walmart, kmart or harbor freight.

Tools that I use are one thing I am picky about. Soldering Iron, Volt meter and a screwdriver set.
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Cheap as in poor quality, not cheap as in inexpensive.

can i take that for granted with "cheap" weller?

idk but it was like someone said they r bad now and everybody took that as a fact, is it true?

when i look at this, that doesnt seem to be that cheap to me:
http://tinyurl.com/7kxrr97


does anyone know this one ZD-931?
http://www.reichelt.de/Diverse-Loetstationen/STATION-ZD-931/3//index.html?ACTION=3&GROUPID=555&ARTICLE=90918&SHOW=1&START=0&OFFSET=16&&SID=11UAdD3H8AAAIAAFIFTT44a7386fa39a90a63bae951f3ef79a3d3&LANGUAGE=EN
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Always been pleased with my range of wellers, having said that you really cant go wrong with an fx-888.
WES51 or an FX-888 is a great place to start pick your poison for tip available and possible future use.
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I retired after 45 years in all area's of electronics and by far the BEST soldering tool i have EVER used is MY Hakko 926 soldering station. I started out using a wood burning tool for a soldering iron 53 years ago at age 13. My first commercial soldering iron was a 125 watt soldering gun made by Weller (made my own tips from 10 Ga solid wire from electricians 'discards' and I have used every type of iron since. The Wellers are great irons BUT they use an alloy that is a "Curie point" alloy (look it up on Wiki) and any steel along side the iron will defeat the magnetic sensor. There is also the issue of the switch (mechanical) that controls power to the iron... Ungar made an iron in the 60's that has a famous history... it seems that the iron has a replaceable "Heat Cartridge" and replaceable tips... The Heater occasionally fail and vaporize internally... since it was "plugged it in it only had one way to go out and it would do so. Once I picked up my Trusty Iron only to have it go off like a small cannon and embed the heater cartridge in the ceiling.. (TRUTH). The Hakko with the variety of available tips (I just bought 10 of them for $10.00 on Ebay) is the BEST one I have Ever used. I have one a foot to my right arm that I've owned for 10 years and I have replaced a dozen or so tips and 3 heating elements... Not too bad at all. Complete replacement Hakko irons can be purchased for under $20.00 anytime.

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I received the tips for my old... Hakko 900/926/936 iron today and they are perfect... copies of $5.00 tips sold here in the US. Bosity from Ebay sells 10 of them for $9.95 8 or 10 different styles/sizes and a 45 deg chisel tip (1/4" long) that is perfect for small soldering at it's point to flipping an SMT part off of a PCB with the side of the 45 deg knife edge... If the plating is as good as the original (They Look identical) I should have a lifetime supply of tips. The only way to damage them is to burn plastic with them and bake it on (not clean  or wipe it quickly) or to try to sharpen them by filing the tips as that removes the plating...
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 12:36:12 am by Docedison » Logged

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Ungar made an iron in the 60's that has a famous history... it seems that the iron has a replaceable "Heat Cartridge" and replaceable tips... The Heater occasionally fail and vaporize internally... since it was "plugged it in it only had one way to go out and it would do so. Once I picked up my Trusty Iron only to have it go off like a small cannon and embed the heater cartridge in the ceiling.. (TRUTH).

Wow, you state it was the 1960's, but even back then it's amazing that someone could get away with selling a commercial product that could fail in such a spectacularly dangerous way during normal and expected use!  It's a good thing you didn't point the iron toward's your other arm, or anything else you want to keep functional, when you picked it up that time.
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Ungar made an iron in the 60's that has a famous history... it seems that the iron has a replaceable "Heat Cartridge" and replaceable tips... The Heater occasionally fail and vaporize internally... since it was "plugged it in it only had one way to go out and it would do so. Once I picked up my Trusty Iron only to have it go off like a small cannon and embed the heater cartridge in the ceiling.. (TRUTH).

Wow, you state it was the 1960's, but even back then it's amazing that someone could get away with selling a commercial product that could fail in such a spectacularly dangerous way during normal and expected use!  It's a good thing you didn't point the iron toward's your other arm, or anything else you want to keep functional, when you picked it up that time.

That was before it was felt that government's/societies responsibility was to protect people from their own carelessness...  The very best science learning toys are from that era, chemistry sets with chemicals that could be used to make explosives (along with instructions on how to do so), articles in magazines describing how to build xray machines, particle accelerators, etc...  In short, information/tools were available, and people were expected to be smart enough to know how to use them properly...  This was the environment where we created the generation that gave use the blossoming of the space age and the creation of modern electronics and computers...
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Except the situation Doc described wasn't due to carelessness.  The product had a dangerous defect that occasionally caused the heater cartridge to explode, potentially just due to powering it up.  An unpowered soldering iron can't fulfill its designed function so turning it on has to be part of proper and intended usage.  Also, manual soldering irons require being held during use; picking one up by the intended handle shouldn't be a problem either.  So in this particular case you can't just blame it on "carelessness" if a faulty heating cartride vaporizes during normal use.  

Furthermore, if all such soldering irons of that period had the same propensity to explode you might have some point that this would have been potential risk should have been expected by anyone using a soldering iron at that time.  However, that wasn't the case.  There were a number of electrically powered soldering irons on the market at the same time that were just as good at fulfilling their intended function without this particular risk.

I believe that if a commercial product unexpectedly and unnecessarily causes significant harm when used reasonably for the product's intended purpose it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to either modify the product to remove the potential danger (at least during normal usage) or stop making the product.  If they refuse to do either, I also believe it is right and proper for society/governement to force them to choose one of those options.

Finally, I don’t know why you’re waxing poetically about some supposed “lost golden age” of scientific and technological discovery.  First it has nothing to do with potentially explosive hand tools.  Second, while you won’t get the instructions or materials in your Wal-Mart, search “chemistry” on Amazon and tell us in all honesty how knowledge is being suppressed.  Also, I see your DIY particle accelerators, and raise you DIY fusors!
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 12:08:49 pm by Far-seeker » Logged

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To me, there is a difference between the what I see as the commercial Weller units and hobbyist grade.  I think that is all any of us was pointing out.  To get a good Weller, you will pay more than your mentioned "budget" number. 

That said,  you really should never go cheap on your tools you will use all the time.  Example: If you decide to save a few hundred dollars on an o-scope for example, you will later kick yourself when you realize what you can't do with it and then ultimately you will desire the scope you should have purchased...  making the one you did purchase... a waste of money.
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The incident he describes is an iron projecting its heating cartridge forward, which while it shouldn't happen, isn't going to harm a user since 'proper' use will not result in pointing that projectile at oneself...  And even improper use would not result in a life threatening injury... Hence my comment, which was a response to yours about the 'safety' issues...  Life is not safe... reasonable people don't expect it to be.  In fact it is guaranteed to be terminal.

 And there isn't much to compare today, with the folks who created devices like I mentioned with vacuum tube era technology.  Given the vast improvement in technology available to the general populace, we should see a vast improvement on what was created then... and we haven't.  In part because people worry too much about things like 'safety'.
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To me, there is a difference between the what I see as the commercial Weller units and hobbyist grade.  I think that is all any of us was pointing out.  To get a good Weller, you will pay more than your mentioned "budget" number. 

That said,  you really should never go cheap on your tools you will use all the time.  Example: If you decide to save a few hundred dollars on an o-scope for example, you will later kick yourself when you realize what you can't do with it and then ultimately you will desire the scope you should have purchased...  making the one you did purchase... a waste of money.

While good advice, it is really dependent upon what is meant by all the time.  Someone who only uses a soldering iron as a hobbyist, is well founded to get an iron in the price range of the OP, but someone who is using one 'all the time' would be much better served by something like a metcal that would be at least a magnitude more expensive...
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The incident he describes is an iron projecting its heating cartridge forward, which while it shouldn't happen, isn't going to harm a user since 'proper' use will not result in pointing that projectile at oneself...  And even improper use would not result in a life threatening injury... Hence my comment, which was a response to yours about the 'safety' issues...  Life is not safe... reasonable people don't expect it to be.  In fact it is guaranteed to be terminal.

So while soldering you've never, even momentarily, had your other hand or arm in straight-line path of your soldering iron?  I don't mean just right in front of it, it could be on the other side of PCB or inches away grabing a solder wick, etc...  Recall that Doc mentioned the heating cartridge's final resting place was the ceiling, if he was in a room with standard height ceilings that cartridge had plenty of energy to hurt someone.  Also while losing a chunk of a hand or arm isn't fatal, it's something most people generally want to avoid.

All of that is really besides my main point however... The Ungar soldering iron in question was not only potentially unsafe, it was completely unnecessarily so.  Some risks are innate and intrinsic to an activity or device, the "nature of the beast" as it were.  However, as previously stated, if an electrically powered soldering iron has a chance of any part of it exploding during ordinary usage it is seriously flawed.  Even an inexpensive hobbyist type of electrically powered soldering iron that is decently treated should have no more chance of explosion than a well made and properly used hammer has of falling apart in your hands.  Finally, setting aside the danger it might mean to the user, why is it so unreasonable to demand that a soldering iron not violently destroy itself in the course normal usage?!?!

I don't expect life to be to completely safe, not only is that impossible it would be boring as well.  However in my experience, reasonable people don’t usually take unnecessary risks.  If they choose partake in activities that have innate risks, they also mitigate them to the extent it’s practical to do so.  That’s not being risk adverse, that’s being smart!

Quote
And there isn't much to compare today, with the folks who created devices like I mentioned with vacuum tube era technology.  Given the vast improvement in technology available to the general populace, we should see a vast improvement on what was created then... and we haven't.  In part because people worry too much about things like 'safety'.
Ok now I’m starting to think you are just trolling me, either that or you are letting unchecked nostalgia seriously delude you.  
Here’s why, we are having this discussion on an internet forum dedicated to artists, hobbyists, and various other non-professionals (although there are professional engineers posting as well) from across the entire globe using palm-sized microprocessor boards that are many orders of magnitude more computationally powerful than most computers existing during the 1960’s.  Furthermore, the people on this forum are using these devices to improve or change any almost conceivable aspect of their daily lives, or just for the heck of it.  You can read about numerous home automation projects, robotics, remote sensor networks, computerized telescopes, home weather stations, etc… even high altitude balloons and rockets with multiple sensors and telemetry!  What more do you want flying cars, jet packs?  Spend 15 minutes with Google and you’ll probably find someone, somewhere, at least attempting any manner DIY project you can think of, you just need to open your eyes a bit.

In any case, I doubt continuing this digression will have much further use or interest to anyone.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 03:45:06 pm by Far-seeker » Logged

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