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Topic: Soldering Option help (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic

SaintSkinny

Hey all,
     I'm moving ever forward with my project and one thing I'm going to need is a soldering Iron. I've got a soldering gun, but that's obviously not the best tool for the job. I'm on a stupid tight budget for the time being, so my options are pretty limited.... I considered looking for a used iron but I doubt there's much out there in my price range. I half considered putting a wanted ad on craigslist just saying 'good home to adjustable soldering iron' or something like that, but with my luck I'd end up getting kidnapped or something  :o  :smiley-confuse:

 I had considered running to harbor freight and grabbing a $4 Soldering iron, but after researching I'm under the impression I'll need something adjustable for working on things like Arduino Boards. Is this correct?

Here are a few irons I'm considering, I'd appreciate any input!


Robot Shop 30w adjustable iron



Circuit Specialists 60w Soldering Station


Power Consumption: 60 W max
VAC Input:110/120VAC
Output Voltage to Soldering Iron: 24VAC
Temperature Range: 200° C to 480° C / 392° F to 896° F
Cord Assembly: 3 ft
Heating element: Dual Core ceramic


Elenco SL-75 Temperature Controlled Soldering Station

• Low-cost solder station with manual temperature settings
• 48W heater power
• Temperature range: 350°F - 900°F
• Electronics temperature control
• Power on LED


Ebay 60w adjustable iron

pert

The clear favorite for quality low price irons in the hobby electronics world seems to now be the TS100 and TS80 soldering irons. I've seen quite a few reviews from the trusted names and no negatives so far. I think they do give it points for portability, which is not a feature I put any value on, but that's definitely not the sole selling point.

Unfortunately these irons are at a significantly higher price point from the ones you're looking at. What I can tell you is that I would happily trade in my $20 iron and an extra $45 for a TS100 and power supply but since I have a working $20 iron I can't justify buying a new iron. If you're anything like me, you already have a pile of power supplies so you could just buy the iron.

SaintSkinny

The clear favorite for quality low price irons in the hobby electronics world seems to now be the TS100 and TS80 soldering irons. I've seen quite a few reviews from the trusted names and no negatives so far. I think they do give it points for portability, which is not a feature I put any value on, but that's definitely not the sole selling point.

Unfortunately these irons are at a significantly higher price point from the ones you're looking at. What I can tell you is that I would happily trade in my $20 iron and an extra $45 for a TS100 and power supply but since I have a working $20 iron I can't justify buying a new iron. If you're anything like me, you already have a pile of power supplies so you could just buy the iron.
Those look nice, If things work out I'll have to get one of them down the road. For now I just need something that'll do the job. I'm in the process of starting a little business selling Growroom Data Loggers units and DIY kits, which will hopefully help improve my current financial situation.

Long story short I'm a caregiver for my mom, she's had a couple battles with Leukemia and a Stem cell Transplant, She's over a year from the Transplant and all things considered, is doing okay. that being said, I don't get paid for being her caregiver, so we're living on her SS for the time. Between travel to appointments, meds, etc., The transplant took a pretty big toll on our finances.. I've got medical issues of my own so even if she didn't need me here as often, my options are limited... But where my body fails, my brain prevails, part of my brain at least... So I'm trying to put my skills to good use to get us out of this financial mess. After kicking AML's ass, surviving a month long coma, kicking AML's butt again, then getting through the transplant, I just want to take as much stress off of her as possible so she can enjoy life and relax for a change.

I've got most of the parts for the Data Logger on their way here, I may sell the first as a DIY kit.

JohnRob

Hi,

Given your cost restraints I understand your goal.

I think the most important requirements are:

1) has enough power to heat up a joint quickly
2) Has a variety of tips to different components.   To replace a 0603 you need a very fine tip and very fine solder.


If you have the above, you could always use a light dimmer to make it adjustable.

Sorry I can't recommend a specific iron :(
Please do not PM me with thread based messages.  If your thoughts are worth responding,  the group should benefit from your insight.

CurtCarpenter

I've been using one of these for a few years now -- very similar to the second one you show, but with a temperature display.  I've been happy with it, although the display isn't really necessary. 

If you hunt around a little, you might be able to find one that comes with a spare soldering iron.  It may cost a few more dollars, but will give you peace of mind in case one fails (I've not had one fail yet).

The big advantage of these stations is that they heat up fast, so you can turn the temp. down when not in use and quickly return them to temp. when you need them again.  If you're like me, you'll end up using just two temperatures:  one you decide works best for soldering, and another for idle times.


SaintSkinny

I've been using one of these for a few years now -- very similar to the second one you show, but with a temperature display.  I've been happy with it, although the display isn't really necessary.  

If you hunt around a little, you might be able to find one that comes with a spare soldering iron.  It may cost a few more dollars, but will give you peace of mind in case one fails (I've not had one fail yet).

The big advantage of these stations is that they heat up fast, so you can turn the temp. down when not in use and quickly return them to temp. when you need them again.  If you're like me, you'll end up using just two temperatures:  one you decide works best for soldering, and another for idle times.


That not too bad a price, I just got a text asking about something I posted on Craigslist awhile back, so if that sells I might be able to swing it. It definitely makes me feel better about a purchase talking to someone that's bought the product.

I think the most important requirements are:

1) has enough power to heat up a joint quickly
2) Has a variety of tips to different components.   To replace a 0603 you need a very fine tip and very fine solder.

That's something I forgot to grab, fine solder. Any specific guage/size I should grab? Just for soldering things like a DHT22 to a PCB or soldering the Uno pins.
 
If you have the above, you could always use a light dimmer to make it adjustable.
Now that you mention it, I do have a rheostat controlled outlet I made for my Seedling Heat Mat. I suppose if need be I could go with the Harbor Freight model and the rheostat just to get me through until I sell a few kits and make enough to buy a decent iron. I wonder if this method would work with my soldering gun as well? Of course I'm assuming the tip that the gun has is way too bulky to use on an Uno or Nano.

srnet

Buy an iron where you can get (at low cost) a replacement handle.

You will need a fine tip (at a lower tremperature) for a soldering small components such as SMT.

But a fine tip is not a lot of good for soldering wires to connectors or switches, a larger tip and higher temperature is better.

So I have two iron handles, one with a fine tip, the other with a broad chisel tip.

Much easier to swap handles that bits.

 
http://www.50dollarsat.info/
http://www.loratracker.uk/

allanhurst

If you're doing SMT stuff a hotplate and hot airgun are good.

But you can cheapskate using a domestic oven's grill if you're careful.....

Allan

pert

That's something I forgot to grab, fine solder. Any specific guage/size I should grab? Just for soldering things like a DHT22 to a PCB or soldering the Uno pins.
I'm using some 0.61 mm. It seems like anything near that size is good for pretty much anything.

I wonder if this method would work with my soldering gun as well?
As long as the gun's wattage doesn't exceed the rating of the rheostat it should work fine. I ended up doing the same thing years ago with a light dimmer switch and a cheapo soldering iron I use as a stencil burner.

I'm assuming the tip that the gun has is way too bulky to use on an Uno or Nano.
Give it a try. Larger tips are actually better for most things because they can transfer heat more effectively and don't cool down as much. Ideal is a larger tip that comes to a point somewhere so you can get precision when you need it or large contact surface area when you don't. The conical tips are hard to work with because you never get a lot of contact surface and so they won't transfer enough heat where there is any significant amount of metal (on the component or the board).

So I have two iron handles, one with a fine tip, the other with a broad chisel tip.

Much easier to swap handles that bits.  
The modern tips pull right out of the handles. It seems like it would be much faster to use a heat proof tool to swap tips than trying to untangle the cables of two handles.

dougp

I read on this board some months ago that distilled water is recommended for cleaning/wiping the tip as tap water, etc. contains dissolved minerals/chemicals which deteriorate the tip.  Just sayin'.
Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.  If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet. - Niels Bohr

No private consultations undertaken!

CrossRoads

#10
Sep 14, 2018, 04:18 am Last Edit: Sep 14, 2018, 04:19 am by CrossRoads
We/ve been using brass sponges for cleaning tips. Works well, no shock cooling from cold water on a sponge.  Tho I did that for a long time too.  We've also  been living in places with soft water.
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8964
Got a bag of 5 and a holder for them, I think from our 'local' electronics shop.

Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

srnet

It seems like it would be much faster to use a heat proof tool to swap tips than trying to untangle the cables of two handles.
Not when I tried it.

http://www.50dollarsat.info/
http://www.loratracker.uk/

Wawa

In NZ those brass scouring sponges are known as "Goldilocks".
I think Scotch-Brite sells them as "Gold Scourer"
Available in any supermarket.
Leo..

Watcher

#13
Sep 14, 2018, 12:21 pm Last Edit: Sep 14, 2018, 12:21 pm by Watcher
In NZ those brass scouring sponges are known as "Goldilocks".
I think Scotch-Brite sells them as "Gold Scourer"
Available in any supermarket.
Leo..
And on ebay dead cheap as well!

SaintSkinny

Is tip tinner a necessity or can I get by with coating my tip with a bit of rosin core solder?

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