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Author Topic: Soldering Station Component Recommendations  (Read 5435 times)

KC9TNH

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Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« on: May 08, 2013, 02:57:26 PM »
As the Gil's sub-title of the forum says:
If it involves a soldering iron, it belongs here!


Don't go nuts, just looking for ideas for a basic kit-building station, preference given to things which have actually been used by those here, and widely available. Use will be basic (baby-step above Neanderthal) kit-building. If there's some really cool place that has a basic kit (imagine with a 15-20w iron w/several tips) that might include an accessory to hold a board or 3rd-hand,etc., fire away.

Sufficient base & portable equip on-board; may start building some simple things for the grand-kids. (Already have a couple kits in mind.)
Anyway, your thoughts & recommendations, please, based on things you've USED.

Thanks!  8)

KK0G

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2013, 03:26:20 PM »
It depends on your definition of basic. You can buy brand new el cheapo soldering irons for about $10 or less all day long on the internet, I've used a few of them and they're all pretty much the same. Look for a grounded tip to help prevent ESD sensitive components. Weller is a little better quality name brand plus better replacement tip availability for not much more money. One of those plus rectifier type or dimmer switch type controller (Plans are in the ARRL Handbook or do a Google search) to help control tip temperature would work pretty well for a basic set up. My current set up is a homebrewed rectifier type controller powering a Weller 30 Watt iron but I'm looking to upgrade to an actual temperature controlled soldering station. My problem is that even by cutting the power in half with a rectifier, I solder enough and have the iron idling for such long periods that I quickly burn through tips. I'd love to have a new Hakko soldering station but they're not cheap and truthfully I'd rather direct that money else where.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

KC9TNH

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2013, 03:59:26 PM »
KK0G, thanks; on-point & to topic.

gil

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2013, 04:08:08 PM »
I am very happy with the Hakko...

Gil.

Quietguy

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 06:10:38 PM »
I have had a Weller WES51 for several years and I'm happy with it.  Currently around $90 on Amazon, it is temperature controlled with an analog dial and the tip is protected against static discharge.  The same thing is available in a digital version, but I didn't see the need for the extra precision in my hobby work.  For years I used a Radio Shack two-speed iron my wife got me for Christmas one year, and it is ok, but I definitely like being able to dial in the temp based on what I am doing.  I keep the Radio Shack iron around for quick and dirty stuff, but the Weller gets used when circuits are involved.

I have never used a Hakko, but they are supposed to be good stuff.  Adafruit has a digital Hakko for $110 at https://www.adafruit.com/products/1204

Wally

gil

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 06:38:19 PM »
My Hakko is not digital, but it works great. The soldering iron base looks like plastic on photos but is all metal. It comes up to temperature very fast. The tips seem to last forever.. The wires are long, which is great when you're not working near an outlet.

Gil.

KC9TNH

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 07:04:33 PM »
Continued thanks, trackin'.
Favorite accessories for the table, e.g., something to hold a small (QRP-kit size, use your kit-fu) board whilst working on it, etc.?

Joe

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2013, 07:22:23 PM »
I have a basic helping hand, it has LED's under the magnifying glass, and bi-focal glass. It's not the most expensize, and the base is plastic. But it has worked great for building my RockMite and other projects. I paid $10.00 for it.

I use a small pair of needle nose pliers, and small diagnal cutters. I pulled them from a Cornwell Tool set I bought for work. I also have a large pair of tweezers and a toothbrush. I keep a sharp a sharp knife in my kit for opening bags. I use a basic Weller 25 Watt iron.

73 Joe

KK0G

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2013, 07:49:45 PM »
Continued thanks, trackin'.
Favorite accessories for the table, e.g., something to hold a small (QRP-kit size, use your kit-fu) board whilst working on it, etc.?

Honestly, I just lay the board down on the bench and go at it, sometimes I'll prop it up on whatever's handy at the moment if need be.

Definitely get a helping hand type tool of some kind, it's indispensable when soldering connectors to cables. If you're really on a budget you could homebrew one out of a chunk of wood, a coat hanger and a couple of alligator clips.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

gil

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2013, 08:44:12 PM »
Quote
Honestly, I just lay the board down on the bench and go at it, sometimes I'll prop it up on whatever's handy at the moment if need be.

I use a piece of foam for through-hole components, pressing the board onto the form while soldering. It holds the components on the board...
For surface-mount kits, I tin one pad, solder the component on, solder the other side, then touch-up the first one..

Gil.

KC9TNH

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2013, 09:23:45 PM »
Joe thanks for the pics and Chris, I'm actually visualizing your homebrew version. Neat. (I made some pin stations out of left-over hockey pucks for working on a couple of particular revolvers and one for 1911's.) I like your helping hand. I'll likely get one like Joe's pic. I just let one go not that long ago part of an extra fly-tying kit I had to a vet needed a hobby.

I'm getting a picture of what's needed (literally, too). Never bothered with having a decent iron with a controller but I can see it's definitely worth having. Looking at a couple of the kits from the links when you were discussing SOTA tuners and found a little receiver that might be fun with the grand-daughter.

Thanks all for jumping on with the feedback.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 05:25:00 AM by KC9TNH »

KK0G

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2013, 11:41:59 PM »
The rectifier temp controller I built is dirt simple, it's nothing more than a 1N4001 diode in series with the hot side of the iron which will rectify the current allowing only half of it to reach the iron. To switch to high power a switch on either side of the diode shorts it out when turned on. I mounted it all in a small NEMA box I had in my junk box and finished it all off with an on/off switch and LED to indicate power.

The fully adjustable version uses a standard light dimmer switch instead of a diode. Personally I prefer the rectifier set up, with the dimmer switch I had a position marked for low/idle which was probably close to half power. Basically I was always fiddling with it to find the just the right spot. With the rectifier I just flip the switch to low power when I won't be soldering for several minutes then flip it to high when I'm ready to solder again.

Neither one of these methods is true temperature control but it does increase tip life compared to a straight full power iron when used for relatively long periods of time.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

KC9TNH

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Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 07:48:41 PM »
Thanks again all for the leads, tips, etc. And a headslap later I realized I had an unused Home Depot gift card in my wallet (birthday maybe), although I detest going to the big city to use those things and try to avoid online shipping when I can. But there's one 40 miles away, and the card makes a Weller station they have really affordable so believe I'll go with that.

 The crude gun and cheapo iron & such can continue their duty doing what they've been doing but this will be for other stuff.

Muchas gracias.

Radio Preppers

Re: Soldering Station Component Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 07:48:41 PM »