Time for a new iron

I've been using one of these for a few years:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062750&filterName=Price&filterValue=%2410.00+-+%2449.99

It's been OK for soldering wires together and light repair work but it's frustrating working on the smaller stuff I'm into now. Plus RS doesn't stock replacement tips.

I'm on a budget so I'd like to come in under $100. Anything would be an upgrade...

Any advise? I've looked at the combo iron/hot air deals on ebay but I'm not sure if I'd use the hot air part and it would just be taking up space on an already cluttered bench.

If my current project works out I may celebrate with a new iron :)

hakko fx-888 http://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX-888-Soldering-Station/dp/B004M3U0VU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342623626&sr=8-1&keywords=hakko+fx-888

Interesting modification; http://www.eevblog.com/2012/02/03/eevblog-242-hakko-fx-888-soldering-iron-hack/

The combo hot air/soldering iron devices, at least the cheap ones, do not have very good soldering irons.

I've got the radioshack butane soldering iron and it works great for me, its like 20$ and 10$ replacement tip, but if you wipe it clean after each use it'll last a long time

hakko fx-888

Absolutely.

After getting my Hakko FX-888 I will NEVER go back to anything less.

You will not believe how much nicer it is to use a real, high quality soldering station.

Metcal makes the best soldering equipment. I use a second-hand Metcal STSS power unit with a new MX-500 handpiece and cartridges, it wasn't expensive.

Looks like the Hakko fits the bill. I've seen the Metcal units used on youtube and they look very nice but a bit pricey.

I figured I'd hear some Weller recommendations.

I got a used a Weller ( a good one) in 1979 and still have the same one... They are great... but the cheap ones are not great.

Hakko fits the bill. It's my preferred iron now.

I have a Weller WE50, the predecessor to the current WE51. Never had a problem with it. It heats up fast and there is a good selection of tips. More than anything, tip selection seems to matter the most as far as I can see. But I an not an expert.

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-Analog-Soldering-Station/dp/B000BRC2XU

Is the Hakko really that much better than the Weller? Can anyone compare the two and voice a reason or two why the Hakko is superior?

The Hakko tip cleaner is certainly superior to the Weller sponge method. I've thrown away the sponge and use that area to keep tips and tinner.

http://www.frys.com/product/1563526

The butane one from radioshack heats up in about 3 seconds when you light it with aa blowtorch lol, though temperature regulation isn't so great

is that hakko really that great?

as im from germany the only ones i find r like with 40€ for shipping which is more then 50% of the cost for the iron, lol.

i just know that weller is superior as far my little knowledge goes

so if anyone could tell me why hakko should be better, plz tell me

OLD Wellers are very good. The new one are just cheap irons trying to masquerade using the Weller name.

The recovery time of the Hakko is far superior to Weller. This is of particular importance if you do a lot of repetitive soldering, or a lot of soldering involving heat sinks or ground planes, or such.

I have found that the heat up time, and temperature regulation, of the Hakko are first class as well.

While I would not trade my Hakko for anything, if you do not do a lot of soldering, the Hakko may be overkill for you and your budget. The one great thing about the Hakko is that it will be a one-time purchase. You will not find yourself needing to replace it in a few years because it wore out or stopped maintaining tip temperature. A new tip now and then is all that you will need for YEARS of faithful service with the Hakko.

kd7eir: OLD Wellers are very good. The new one are just cheap irons trying to masquerade using the Weller name.

My WE-50 is about 15 years old, I would say. Old enough? It's been nothing but a pleasure the whole time I have had it.

Definitely from the good days of Weller.

kd7eir: Definitely from the good days of Weller.

Sorry to hear their quality took a dive. That is the stupidest thing a company can do. Increase prices is bad but not a deal killer. Lowering the quality of a fine product will absolutely kill you because that is the one thing that people were buying your product for. In a lot of cases people will pay 100% more for a 10% better product, it's just the way it works at the high end.

What happened?

That is sad about Weller.

I'm in my 40's and I remember seeing some of my childhood friends dads Heathkit and HAM radio gear. Seems like they all had those really cool Weller stations and you knew they were the real deal.

My wtcp201 is definitely a good iron, but the temperature control on these old irons is based on the tip inserted in he pencil. It also does take longer to reach temperature and is slower to react to temperature loss from soldering... meaning sometimes you wait. I replaced my original with a newer Weller in 2003 but this unit had other issues the biggest of which was a ceramic heating element... which is fine until the day you knock over the iron onto a cement floor and it cracks. Having dial adjusted temperature setting like the hakko is a plus.

can i take that for granted with "cheap" weller?

idk but it was like someone said they r bad now and everybody took that as a fact, is it true?

when i look at this, that doesnt seem to be that cheap to me: http://tinyurl.com/7kxrr97

does anyone know this one ZD-931? http://www.reichelt.de/Diverse-Loetstationen/STATION-ZD-931/3//index.html?ACTION=3&GROUPID=555&ARTICLE=90918&SHOW=1&START=0&OFFSET=16&&SID=11UAdD3H8AAAIAAFIFTT44a7386fa39a90a63bae951f3ef79a3d3&LANGUAGE=EN

I have a WES51 and I love it.

I have never had a problem with it. I use a 1/8 inch chisel tip and it solders everything I want to.

You have to remember I went through 5 or 6 radio shack irons prior to buying this one in the same time frame.

They are not inexpensive. I want to say it is more a moderate priced item for a hobby type use. I purchased it for my use in my profession of repairing office machines but use it daily for my hobby.

As with any tool.

If this is something that you plan to use everyday, invest a little money into it and make your life that much easier. Good tools are a god send on your arms, mind and knowing your are doing things properly.

If this is a one off project and it will eind up in a drawer never to be used again, get the cheapest thing at walmart, kmart or harbor freight.

Tools that I use are one thing I am picky about. Soldering Iron, Volt meter and a screwdriver set.