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Author Topic: Looking for $50 soldering iron.  (Read 843 times)
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Central MN, USA
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I am looking for a decent soldering iron for PCB work around $50. My radioshack 30W iron is fine except the tip keeps wearing off. The thin layer of protection is too thin. The tip got eaten up by solder and I can't solder with it anymore. Every few months I have to buy another tip. I thought it might be their trick to have you come back to them all the time for not paying enough (the iron with a few tools was $8.99 and the tip was a few dollars!)

I know how to solder. My portable Weller iron never wears off its tips. It's well-built. Just open to recommendations before diving into catalogs. Thanks!
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I use this iron.  It works well enough for me.

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707
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Quote
and the tip was a few dollars

if you have to mail order tips, figure in the S&H $$$.
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Spend a little more and get a combo unit.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=x-tronic+4040&_sacat=0&_odkw=x-tronic&_osacat=0&_from=R40
This is what I am using these days.
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@ Liudr, I found a Hakko 936 for $50.00 and I bought it. I got it from Electrodragon but I think they've sold out.
You might get lucky but if I had it to do over again I'd build one. The reason I didn't was that I found the schematic after I bought the iron.
The one I bought is a 220V version but with a step-up/isolation transformer I can use it on 120VAC and I gain an isolation transformer for my O'scope.
I do have a copy of the thermal controller schematic and it would be easy to duplicate as it only uses an LM358 and perhaps a dozen other parts.
The Irons can be found where ever and shouldn't cost more than $12.00. I bought a new one about a year ago for my old 907 (same 24V ac iron for all) and I've seen a few since then. If you have a 24V 3A transformer and an LM358 all you need really is the schematic and I just attached it to this post.
When I used that iron in production I think perhaps I bought 10 tips in 2 years and that was for four irons. Extremely long lasting.

Bob


* Hakko Heat Controller_lm358_simple.png (17.22 KB, 1278x679 - viewed 48 times.)
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Spend a little more and get a combo unit.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=x-tronic+4040&_sacat=0&_odkw=x-tronic&_osacat=0&_from=R40
This is what I am using these days.

Looks like a huge step up for me. Ebay says 46% off so $110 a piece. Is that a decent price?
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Doc,

I wish I had enough parts to build an iron controller or a 24VAC iron to use with the controller. I've saved the diagram so if I come across transformers I will know what I can do with it. So are most industrial irons running on 24VAC for safety reasons? The one CrossRoads is suggesting is also 24VAC.
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I use this iron.  It works well enough for me.

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707

Thanks. What about the cord? My cheap iron has developed a memory so it can only be picked up and set down a certain way or it will twist and threatens to drop to the floor or burn me.
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That is a bargain... Completely.

Bob
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The cord is OK, With my iron I found I had to epoxy the iron holder to the base and from the pictures it is the same iron but the base is heavy enough to hold the iron without issue. The assortment of tips is nice too.
Liudr, I think you will really like that rework station.

Bob
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Thanks. What about the cord? My cheap iron has developed a memory so it can only be picked up and set down a certain way or it will twist and threatens to drop to the floor or burn me.

Get a stand...

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I paid about the same price liudr, the iron & hot air has been working very nice for a year+ now.
I bought a bunch of nozzles at mjpa.com as well for better directed air when removing/installing ICs.
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Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
Arduino for Teens available at Amazon.com.

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