Soldering iron

Hello,
I hope I have posted this in the right section, please notify me if I have not. I am looking for a soldering iron to purchase, and I am very tight on my budget. What is a good soldering iron that will last me a while, under $50? Please get back to me, I'd love to know. I am unwilling to spend any more than that amount at this time due to me needing to purchase more electronic components for a future practice project, and my money needs to be managed properly.

Adafruit has selected useful solder irons.

Start with this : Collin's Lab: Soldering - YouTube

This is cheap : Adjustable 30W 110V soldering iron [XY-258 110V] : ID 180 : $22.00 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits but 30W would not be enough for me.
If possible, buy one of these : Digital Genuine Hakko FX-888D (936 upgrade) [FX-888D] : ID 1204 : $129.95 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits

Peter_n:
If possible, buy one of these.

There is a point here.

Are you really going to work with electronics, or is this merely a single trivial project after which you will move on?

If you are going to continue with the craft, then you buy a proper temperature-controlled iron with sufficient power (65 W) to do the job. Reliably and easily. Like that one.

Why? Because will save a tremendous amount of embarrassment.

Where are you based? You quote $50 but you appear to be on European time (or somewhere in Africa). A local supplier is likely to be better for you.

Russell.

I used a $20 iron for many years. Then I upgraded to a $99 temperature-controlled bench-mounted super-duper. I don't ever pick up the old iron, but I don't regret buying it or the years I spent without the good one.

Don't cheap out on the wattage. A higher wattage is always better because it's about the same temperature as a big iron on a delicate component but a small iron will never heat up a big component adequately. 40W seems to be a pretty good size. I've used irons from 20W to 6W and I never want to do that again.

MorganS:
A higher wattage is always better because it's about the same temperature as a big iron on a delicate component but a small iron will never heat up a big component adequately.

What do you mean by a "big component"?

See also this other recent thread

Thanks for your help, I am based in the United Stated for the one who asked. I will be checking these links now.

google diy soldering iron.

http://m.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Weller-Soldering-Station-Tool-Iron-WTCPL-Light-Works-Great-Functional-/311404705789?nav=SEARCH

I'd find this very tempting in your scenario. It uses the magnetic tips for temp control, they last forever, no electronics to fail. I used one of those in preference to a 25w one with electronic control, only last month did we score a 50w electronic controlled one which I now default

I have always been a big fan of weller.

Mag tips are reliable and weller have always had a decent iron coat

30 years on and i can get replacement tips
.

Fairly expensive though.

Tom george has some irons that look interesting but i do not know how they work.

V expensive though
.

Boardburner2:
Fairly expensive though.

You are dead right there!

That is the only limitation of the Weller.

Thank you for your suggestions. I don't really want to build my own soldering iron or anything like that yet until I get more educatrd with electronics. So far I've been pointed at Weller and Hakko and I will deeply look into those. I'm going to search for one that's brand new, because I don't purchase anything used. I really appreciate your efforts to help me find a good soldering iron.

jboyton:
What do you mean by a "big component"?

Mainly anything with "fat" leads or a large metal case - TO-3 metal-can transistors come to mind. But you likely won't encounter those much, unless you are doing larger power electronics and/or audio-amps and the like. There's also things like tube sockets, which typically take more wattage to solder (again, a very niche area).

Cgenius:
...because I don't purchase anything used....

You might be missing out on a lot of fun and interesting stuff that way.

A soldering station is one thing (though you can find used ones cheaply if you look - many in excellent shape). But there are a ton of other things it may be better to buy used. Big ticket items, especially - like automobiles and houses. The former because they depreciate so rapidly, and the latter because many of today's homes are built like overpriced cardboard boxes (and they exist in a "cookie-cutter" "neighborhood" with terrible HOAs in most cases).

As with anything - you need to do your research first, and you will be taking a chance. You do that even with new stuff, though.

In the electronics tool realm - one of the best deals you can make by purchasing used is an oscilloscope, should you need one. To do it right, though, you need to understand how to use one - so you can evaluate it properly when you go to look at it (never purchase a used o-scope without testing it yourself). I've seen used scopes at ham fests that new would have run you several grand to purchase, being sold for a few hundred dollars.

It can be a gamble, I'll admit. Some of my best purchases though (electronics or otherwise) have been through the used and surplus markets (I also collect old robotics and electronics - no choice but to purchase used).

In the electronics world, a "big" component might be the cool "Big Red Switch" you found that's just perfect for your project except the connections on the back are fat spade lugs that really suck the heat out of your iron. Another common one that's difficult to solder is the shield/ground/sleeve connection on a 3.5mm headphone/speaker plug. I always have to file off the coating, use flux and a decently big iron to get solder to stick to those.
On the Arduino, I find I'm often removing the power input jack and that requires a lot of heat to get all the legs unsoldered. Usually the jack doesn't survive but a bigger iron is more likely to retrieve it in one piece without melting the plastic because I'm heating the pins for less time.

[quote author=Cgenius ]because I don't purchase anything used...
[/quote]

That's exactly why i won't even perhaps consider donating to you.
You have asked for donations on this forum, and started a crowdfunding thingy for that.
No way i will support someone with that state of mind, i'm sorry.
I was typing a reply in that thread telling you why, but i decided not to post that.
cr0sh told in the above post perfectly well why you actually should buy used stuff.
You will learn a great deal, about electronics in general, and about your tools and how to use them if you buy real cheap quality used tools.
Real cheap most of the times means there's something wrong with it.
Fixing that will be real valuable.
Virtually all hobbyists around here have done this and only were able to buy new in a much later stage.

So the best support someone could give you, is to certainly not send you any money so you'll be forced to buy used stuff.

Hello everyone again,
Thanks for your replies. If you haven't noticed, I don't usually quote specific posts because I want to make sure that I acknowledge everyone that took their time to reply to me.
Anyways, the most recent comments criticized me about not purchasing anything used. As a person new to electronics, I've been pointed towards the most expensive tools, and the any other tools were considered to be either cheap or used. Now coming from the perspective of the average person, you'd think... "Used? That's no good! It won't last as long and might even be worse quality."
But now I have come to the understanding that you guys have a completely different opinion on used items. So I just want to say thank you for taking the time to explain that to me, and it will be taken into consideration. :smiley: