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Author Topic: Looking for better soldering iron  (Read 753 times)
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Could anyone with somewhat extensive experience in soldering share some insight on reasonably priced soldering irons that can handle soldering thick wires (e.g. all the black wires in an ATX power supply which end up acting as a heat sink and making it impossible to melt solder) as well as precision soldering (e.g. SMT).

One I'm considering is the Weller WTCPT 60w which a lot of people seem to like. Are there any others? Pretty much burned through 3 Radio Shack soldering irons (25-35w) and am starting to modify them to force accept tips that don't fit, so I think I'm ready to move into the big[ger] leagues.
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Tucson, AZ
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No single soldering iron is going to work for both large masses of wires such as from the ATX power supply as well as SMT work.  For the large masses of wires, I recommend a soldering gun such as one of the Weller guns.  For SMT work, you would be much better off with a hot air rework station such as a WEP 858D+

http://www.amazon.com/858D-Station-Soldering-Display-Nozzles/dp/B009PPRJHS/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2X00B9RLPPQRA&coliid=I24ICZKG1NEEQU

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-D550PK-120-volt-Professional-Soldering/dp/B00002N7S1/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1362090290&sr=1-1&keywords=weller+soldering+gun
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Hello,

I think also that a 60W iron is enough for wire type we can find on ATX PSU wiring. Though "60W" doesnt mean all and better to look into iron max temperature. Anyway I able to solder such wires using a 50W one (dont know exactly what's the max temperature of my iron :p ). Also ot much difference using different tips, that said, of course a larger tip will help a bit getting it done.
I think that the main point about these wires is that they aren't made ou of copper but steel or something "silver" that doesnt accept solder very well, these wires are more for crimping.
Anyway, doesnt matter too much the iron or the tip you're using: It will not work (almost), if you dont plenty put solder flux on the wire youre trying to solder.

I hope it helps
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 08:17:59 pm by DanDare » Logged

Tucson, AZ
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I have been very successful at soldering bundles of ATX wires with my Hakko FX-888, but if I were planning on soldering them frequently, I would still prefer a soldering gun.
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Well, I went out and invested in a 140/100 watt Weller soldering gun (loving it for these thick ATX wires) and a Benzomatic butane micro torch with a fine tip for electronics soldering. Both out the door for around $45 - if it proves to suffice as this next intermediate step for the next few months, I'll be happy having saved myself from spending an additional $100 for a professional grade station.
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No single soldering iron is going to work for both large masses of wires such as from the ATX power supply as well as SMT work. 

PACE makes 100 watt systems that have quick change tips that go from needle, to 805 chisel, to damn near the size of a dime, though I would not call them reasonably priced
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St. Leonards-on-Sea, E. Sussex, UK.
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Metcal makes systems that will do both types of soldering. The current MX-5000 units are expensive, but I use an older second-hand STSS power unit with the later MX-500 handpiece and cartridges that cost me about £125. They often become available on Ebay, I bought a spare STSS unit for £75.
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Leon Heller
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I am a huge fan of the Hakko FX-888.

I use the included tip for large wires.  I bought a precision tip for soldering surface mount. 
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Capacitor Expert By Day, Enginerd by night.  ||  Personal Blog: www.baldengineer.com  || Electronics Tutorials for Beginners:  www.addohms.c

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