hi all, i have a standard 30 watt soldering pen that i bought at radio shack (i know, i know)… however, it seems that the tip isn’t suitable for more dense boards, as it seems to be too large for components that are mounted close to one another… can someone point me to an affordable pen that is better for soldering electronics projects on a more dense board?..
I have been very pleased with this one: http://www.circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/7307
At US$35 it’s not as cheap as the stuff at Radio Shack, but it’s a good station and a good value.
awesome, thanks!.. are there standards for tip sizes?.. that one appears to be much smaller than the one that i have at the moment… i see it has adjustable temperature - what temperature range should be used for electronics projects?..
Weller makes something called the WP-25. The advantage to buying Weller is that you can get the tips almost anywhere, and there are usually a dozen or more types available, right down to teeny-tiny. if you buy an in expensive station as above, it would be smart to get a dozen tips with it, as you can;t be sure they will be available in a few years time.
The rumor on the Circuit Specialists station I posted is that it’s made on the same assembly line as Hakko units. A buddy has been using one for quite a while; they don’t seem to be a fly-by-night company.
I did get a smaller tip than the standard one (since I do a tiny bit of SMT work).
I had a Weller that looks similar to the WP-25 (not sure what I had, as it was so old all the lettering was worn off, and I couldn’t find the model number to replace it with an identical unit). It was a good one, and lasted for years.
Hakko is a Japanese product and of the highest quality, and extremely xpensive. The Circuit Specialists version is essentially a counterfeit soldering iron manufactured in china made to look like the Hakko. Whoever makes it will slap anyone’s label on it too because they dont really care. Mine worked okay for about a year or two but I never really did like it. I just bought a Weller WES51 and the quality difference between those two irons is huge. The Weller is worth every bit of the extra cost. The amount of time I wasted waiting on the counterfeit to warm back up or just trying to hold it right so it would work was such a pain.
For cheaper pencil types, Jameco carries an Xcelite(?) brand that my students have had some success with. They even make a variable temp one too. Something to look at.
the thing about the Weller stations is that they last a long, long time, and you can always get replacement parts. You can still get parts for stations you bought in the 80’s! I bought the WESD-51 and it rocks.
It’s a good thing Weller tips are available everywhere you’ll need a lot of them.