Is this a good budget soldering iron?

I dip a soft bristled toothbrush in 70% isopropyl alcohol

I do the same, but use 99.9% Anhydrous isopropyl alcohol. Airdries really quick. I have a gallon bottle of this http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/mg-chemicals/824-500ML/473-1150-ND/2602438 that I refill a taller version of this with http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/static-control-esd-clean-room-products/accessories/2228308?k=isopropyl and a hog hair brush, the longer bristles fit nicely over the legs of shields. http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/mg-chemicals/857/473-1050-ND/949492

Does smell like a doctor's/vet's office afterwards.

CanadianCyanide:
Based on suggestions for Hakko and Weller, I was thinking of getting a Yihua 936 (Clone of the Hakko 936) as a real Hakko or Weller is a bit out of my budget. It’s sold on amazon.com here and I’ve seen it recommended on other sites as it’s only $25-30. If I buy this in combination with this solder , would it work well and would the iron last me a while?

I believe Dave Jones did a teardown of that exact Yee-haw! (as he pronounced it) model. I believe he found that it was just a superficial clone, the interior control circuitry was different and the temperature regulation wasn’t as good. Only the appearance was copied.

Good enough I’d imagine, and it has a proper iron holder.

Watcher: Anyone has experience with AOYUE soldering equipment ?

For example this station.

I've used an Aoyue rework station a bit. My main iron is a Weller WESD51 soldering station with digital temp control.

I bought one of these to evaluate it as a beginner iron for OlyMEGA:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013JM4AW4/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage

I also bought a pack of Hakko tips. This iron is NOT compatible with Hakko tips.

I will be doing a video of it.

This is the best iron out there but beyond both my budget
and I’m sure the OP’s.
The Metcal is just about the absolute best I’ve seen anywhere.
It has almost zero thermal inertia and can go from single IC
pin to 16 gauge wire on a ground plain without a hint of delay.
I have an old Weller with fixed temperature tips. It works fine
for me.
Dwight

This is the best iron out there but beyond both my budget and I'm sure the OP's.

Which iron are you referring to dwightthinker ?

Watcher:
Which iron are you referring to dwightthinker ?

Any of the Metcal irons With the rf generator.
Dwight

People give great recommendations for great products when they're not spending their own money.

It's just an iron. A piece of hot metal. There are even ones that just use fire. Get the one you posted originally, come back when it somehow isn't doing what you want it to do.

INTP: People give great recommendations for great products when they're not spending their own money.

It's just an iron. A piece of hot metal. There are even ones that just use fire. Get the one you posted originally, come back when it somehow isn't doing what you want it to do.

It is clear you have never used an soldering iron, more than casually. Have you ever remove 100 parts from a PC board without damaging a single pad ( including single sided )? The right iron for the right job. If all you want is a wood burner, it is no issue. Dwight

dwightthinker: It is clear you have never used an soldering iron, more than casually. Have you ever remove 100 parts from a PC board without damaging a single pad ( including single sided )? The right iron for the right job. If all you want is a wood burner, it is no issue. Dwight

Somehow I'm the only one that read the first words of the thread, "So I'm an Arduino beginner...." and didn't jump to conclusions of "man this guy probably needs to remove 100 parts from a PC board without damaging a single pad blah blah"

It is clear you have never acknowledged that not everyone has the same needs. Spare the ad hominem and move along. The amount that I solder has zilch to do with giving the OP advice as per his needs and budget.

I agree that it's not necessary for a beginner to get a professional soldering iron and there are some cheap soldering irons that should work fine for most any casual use. However, it is worth a bit of effort to try to get a reasonably usable iron since it is a very important tool. When I first got into Arduino I knew I would need a "good" soldering iron because I had previously a lot of trouble trying to solder with the non-adjustable hardware store model I already owned. I had no clue what constituted a good iron other than adjustability and searching for information usually led me to threads with electrical engineers fan-boying on their high end irons and saying everything in my budget was complete junk. So I decided to trust Adafruit when they said:

This 'pen-style' soldering iron is just about the best entry-level tool I've seen.

In the description of this item: https://www.adafruit.com/products/180 Well "Lady Ada" must had been high on flux fumes because the cord on this stupid thing is so stiff it's almost unusable. Also, there's no clear documentation on tip compatibility and Adafruit doesn't sell replacement tips for it. The iron does work but I've had to hang it from the ceiling by the cord and it's still very awkward constantly fighting the cord when trying to do precision work or long jobs. I can't really justify buying another one when I have a working iron since it's just a hobby for me but I really wish I had done a bit more research and spent a little more to get something that would have served me better over the years. Since I didn't pay much for it(though they do charge a good bit for shipping), it's not really worth the effort to try to splice a better cord on there.

pert: ...the cord on this stupid thing is so stiff it's almost unusable.

Yep, a big problem (and dangerous) in colder climates. I have a Chinese rework station with the same "feature". Weller stations (have?) had super flexible silicone cords. Leo..

Wawa: Yep, a big problem (and dangerous) in colder climates. I have a Chinese rework station with the same "feature". Weller stations (have?) had super flexible silicone cords. Leo..

And the super flexible cords also have problems. Some assemblers whip the cords around to get them out of their way and one of the 3 wires in the cord eventually breaks. When my company way young, I used to disassemble the irons and shorten the cords so they would work again. After two times, the cords were too short.

The really tiny wands have the same cords, but are not fixable by shortening the cords.

The problem becomes bad when the plastic strain relief gets brittle and brakes, leaving sharp edges.

now we just order new wands.

Paul

I don't think a hobbyist needs a $500 soldering iron. It is just that using a worthless iron will make you think there is something wrong with you when it is the iron that is the issue. On ebay I just saw an older TC201/TC202 that is complete( without sponge ) for $59. I have one of these and other than the pain to change tips when hot, it is a great iron. Getting a selection of three tips, will make soldering a joy. Dwight

I use a very cheap soldering iron, cost me not more than $5 (300 Indian Rs). People might laugh at me but It does my job well till now. I dont solder stuffs on a daily basis. So I think for a beginner starting with a low cost soldering iron is not an issue, once the person feels more advanced soldering requirements and can spend money later for a soldering station.

Below is a PCB I designed (manufactured by third party) and soldered yesterday.|500x375

Showing the wrong side if you have a point about soldering :)

INTP:
Showing the wrong side if you have a point about soldering :slight_smile:

here it is :), I didnt had one at that time. Soldering might not be neat, I am still learning that skill.

Link to the soldering iron I am using.

IMG_1647.JPG

sarouje: I use a very cheap soldering iron, cost me not more than $5 (300 Indian Rs). People might laugh at me but It does my job well till now. I dont solder stuffs on a daily basis. So I think for a beginner starting with a low cost soldering iron is not an issue, once the person feels more advanced soldering requirements and can spend money later for a soldering station.

Do you use a wire holder/third hand tool to hold whatever you're soldering, and is there any way you could link me to it?

CanadianCyanide:
Do you use a wire holder/third hand tool to hold whatever you’re soldering, and is there any way you could link me to it?

I use this third hand tool while soldering. That small LED light is also very helpful, which can operate from 3 AA battery or using a power adapter.

Some times I don’t use a third hand, just lay the board on my desk and solder it.

I use this third hand tool while soldering. That small LED light is also very helpful, which can operate from 3 AA battery or using a power adapter.

In the past, I ve tried using some of these holders but it just didnt work. As someone else pointed earlier, the whole setup tends to tip over.

These days I mainly work with SMD components which means I only work on once side of the board with tweezers. When I do need to solder through hole things, I use some adhesive tape (pvc electricians tape or even paper tape) to hold the component in place on one side while soldering it on the other.