Cheap Soldering Iron Problems

So, I purchased a cheap, plug in the wall type soldering iron recently, and I have actually managed to successfully solder things with it, sort of.

The problem I am having is, I can't tin the tip, and that makes it quite difficult to efficiently solder. It might be a heat problem. Basically any time my solder gets anywhere near the tip, it melts, before it even makes contact with the tip.

I've done a bit of googling, and I can't find anything. Is this a problem anyone has run into? Can I fix it? I'm loath to buy another iron, as I have a nicer one floating around somewhere, I just can't find it.

Sounds like it's got too many Watts...gets too hot.

Those things are designed for soldering pipes, not delicate electronic components.

I'm using the solder it came with though. Also, it doesn't look like the kind you use for soldering pipes. I think it's 60W? Anyway, it came with a spare tip, which I successfully tinned. Ofcourse, as the soldering iron is cooling down, the tinned part is going all funky coloured. So here's hoping it does the job when I actually come to use it.

Is it normal for the tinning to go funky coloured? Or is the spare tip borked too?

Might be time to invest in one of those $100 soldering stations.

Mooncabbage: I'm using the solder it came with though.

So...?

Mooncabbage: I think it's 60W?

Technically known as a "firestick". Absolutely no use for electronics.

Interesting. I looked it up, it's definately 60W. You wouldn't think that was a lot. It doesn't sound like a lot.

What's appropriate for electronics?

Also, using the solder that came with it was only mentioned because you'd assume the iron wouldn't get so insanely hot as to melt the solder before it even came in contact.

If I have to get a new iron, it's not a total loss. I reckon it'd make a fantastic pyrography pen.

ebay for soldering station.

dial is needed. display, not needed.

hot air is nice for smt parts.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-2-in-1-SMD-Soldering-Rework-Stations-Air-Gun-Solder-Iron-YH-8786D-110V-/171060628819?pt=AU_B_I_Electrical_Test_Equipment&hash=item27d4020d53&_uhb=1

Thanks for the reply Dave. Postage aside, that thing is dirt cheap. What's the catch?

FYI, this is what I was considering: http://www.altronics.com.au/p/t2416-micron-lead-free-soldering-station-45w/

If cost is a factor, you can get a Speed control like this

http://www.harborfreight.com/router-speed-control-43060.html

or make one with a dimmer control. That will cut down the heat.

Try a 936 clone. You'll find these with a number of brand names, always around $40-$50. Both the tips and the entire wand is replaceable. You really don't need a higher wattage unless you're too impatient to wait the 60 seconds it takes to get up to temp or unless you're trying to solder things like large connectors on heavy gauge wire.

You need to be cleaning your tip regularly as you're soldering using either a wet sponge or the "gold curls". If you don't your tips will go bad much more quickly. You can also get tip tinning powder to help restore a bad tip but it's not a magic bullet.

If my soldering station fails how do I repair it :astonished:

cjdelphi: If my soldering station fails how do I repair it :astonished:

depends on how if fails. if the dog chewed the cord, just replace the cord.

if the tip is corded and not making contact, clean the contacts

if the fuse blew.... I guess we could do this all day.

many irons are just a transformer, a heat sensor and a triac. find out what is not working and you will probably figure out how to fix it.

Mooncabbage: Thanks for the reply Dave. Postage aside, that thing is dirt cheap. What's the catch?

FYI, this is what I was considering: http://www.altronics.com.au/p/t2416-micron-lead-free-soldering-station-45w/

it is simple, order from china, get a unit with some odd labels.

or order from your catalog place, have them order from china, they take off the odd labels and put on ones that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling that you are getting a better unit. then pay for shipping from the local warehouse.

it is not hard to get a temperature feedback and use that for a controller to pwm power to the tip to get it within some range.

the link was to both an iron and also a hot air tool. technology is the same, only difference is the hand piece.

I should probably get that chinese two piece. Only thing really putting me off is the time it would take to arrive :stuck_out_tongue:

So either $100 for the Micro branded 45W station, and I can get it tomorrow, or $70 for the chinese one, and wait a few weeks.

I wish Perth had more options for electronics :frowning:

dave-in-nj:

cjdelphi:
If my soldering station fails how do I repair it :astonished:

depends on how if fails. if the dog chewed the cord, just replace the cord.

if the tip is corded and not making contact, clean the contacts

if the fuse blew… I guess we could do this all day.

many irons are just a transformer, a heat sensor and a triac. find out what is not working and you will probably figure out how to fix it.

As in I can’t repair it becsuse I need a soldering iron! Obviously what you suggested are the first things I’d check…

Found this on ebay: http://vi.vipr.ebaydesc.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemDescV4&item=121299247039&t=1398412499000&tid=-1&category=109556&seller=global.living&excSoj=1&excTrk=1&lsite=15&ittenable=false&domain=ebay.com.au&descgauge=1#Description2

It's a 853D style 3 in 1 soldering station, although it's more like 4 in 1, what with it having the heat gun, the soldering iron, and both a multimeter and power supply. Anyway, couldn't find much out about it, anybody familiar with these things?

cjdelphi:

dave-in-nj:

cjdelphi: If my soldering station fails how do I repair it :astonished:

depends on how if fails. if the dog chewed the cord, just replace the cord. if the tip is corded and not making contact, clean the contacts if the fuse blew.... I guess we could do this all day. many irons are just a transformer, a heat sensor and a triac. find out what is not working and you will probably figure out how to fix it.

As in I can't repair it because I need a soldering iron! Obviously what you suggested are the first things I'd check...

take a breath, facts, we can only deal with facts. 'broken' is not a description. "i'd check" if a future tense of a verb.

voltage meter. has no operational requirement that includes a working soldering iron. use it, find where the power stops.

since a soldering iron is a cord, a handle and a heating element, there is little to stop it from working. also, most are made of steel so rusting occurs. cleaning is required.

make, model, photo, findings of testing....

cjdelphi:

dave-in-nj:

cjdelphi: If my soldering station fails how do I repair it :astonished:

depends on how if fails. if the dog chewed the cord, just replace the cord. if the tip is corded and not making contact, clean the contacts if the fuse blew.... I guess we could do this all day. many irons are just a transformer, a heat sensor and a triac. find out what is not working and you will probably figure out how to fix it.

As in I can't repair it because I need a soldering iron! Obviously what you suggested are the first things I'd check...

take a breath, facts, we can only deal with facts. 'broken' is not a description. "i'd check" if a future tense of a verb.

voltage meter. has no operational requirement that includes a working soldering iron. use it, find where the power stops.

since a soldering iron is a cord, a handle and a heating element, there is little to stop it from working. also, most are made of steel so rusting occurs. cleaning is required.

make, model, photo, findings of testing....

Huh? You want facts for a non broken soldering station?

Mooncabbage: Interesting. I looked it up, it's definately 60W. You wouldn't think that was a lot. It doesn't sound like a lot.

What's appropriate for electronics?

About 25W.

My first soldering iron was 16W. I still use it sometimes for very small stuff (it has a very sharp tip).