Soldering Iron Recommendations

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Antares JS

Well-Known Member
I'm looking to get into Eggtimer products since I can get a complete GPS system for under $200 from them, but the problem is I've never soldered in my life. I figure it's a useful skill to pick up either way though, and I've picked out a couple of little learner's kits to get started (one with through-hole, and one with surface mounting), but when I went to look for a soldering iron, I found myself overwhelmed with the number of choices. I may be overthinking the whole thing, but I would like to ask those who have successfully built Eggtimer products to recommend me a soldering iron. I'm hoping not to spend too much more than$50.

CalebJ

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Check out the hot air rework stations. You can get one for about the price you listed and they're incredible for surface mount work.

PokerJones

Well-Known Member
I would also highly recommend the Hakko FX888D. I have assembled dozens of eggfinder kits for myself and friends using it. I have a hot air station as well but rarely use it, mostly to remove soldered parts. It works for surface mount but you will need to solder just about everything else so you may as well learn.

cwbullet

Obsessed with Rocketry
Staff member
Global Mod
I would also highly recommend the Hakko FX888D. I have assembled dozens of eggfinder kits for myself and friends using it. I have a hot air station as well but rarely use it, mostly to remove soldered parts. It works for surface mount but you will need to solder just about everything else so you may as well learn.
I agree to agree the Hakko FX88D is a great iron.

Jeff Lassahn

Well-Known Member
I've always had good luck with Weller.
Make sure whatever you get has temperature adjustment, and easy to replace tips in different sizes.

A non-soldering-iron tip: the number one thing you can do to make your soldering go well is to use the right amount of the right flux. Flux makes the difference between solder almost magically going exactly where you need it, and solder balling up and sticking everywhere you don't want it.

n27sb

N27SB
TRF Supporter
I bought a Hakko about 10 yrs ago. You get what you pay for. Many people go through a series of cheaper ones only to come back to Hakko. I usually use the 1/32 spade tip.

There are some excellent tutorials on Youtube.
This guy is really good

g.pitts

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I bought a Hakko about 10 yrs ago. You get what you pay for. Many people go through a series of cheaper ones only to come back to Hakko. I usually use the 1/32 spade tip.

There are some excellent tutorials on Youtube.
This guy is really good
You're so right - you get what you pay for. I have a pretty nice Weller setup with a good working range of temperatures, but if I were buying today I'd likely go with Hakko. Why? I know both Weller and Hakko are quality brands that produce a great product, but the aesthetics of the Hakko are a bit more to my liking.

n27sb

N27SB
TRF Supporter
You're so right - you get what you pay for. I have a pretty nice Weller setup with a good working range of temperatures, but if I were buying today I'd likely go with Hakko. Why? I know both Weller and Hakko are quality brands that produce a great product, but the aesthetics of the Hakko are a bit more to my liking.
I agree, The Hakko is more convenient to use.

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
I would suggest Hakko as good value for money. I personally would stay away from hot-air systems and just use a regular iron. They are capable of doing many things, including very fine pitch components. Temperature-controlled is a must, as it makes it so much better on the PCB when you are soldering. If you learn to solder with a cooler tip you can get many reworks out of a PCB if needed. I suggest somewhere south of 300degC (600degF) is where you should be traveling IMHO. There is rarely any need to go above 600F.

Hot air is good if you have an IC with a pad underneath that needs soldering, but otherwise a regular iron can do wonders. I do down to 0402 size by hand (40mil x 20mil), and fine pitch integrated circuits down to 16mil pitch, all with a regular iron. I personally run a JBC but \$500 would probably be out of your budget . I do a lot of soldering so it was a birthday present to myself about 15 years ago.

Make sure you grab yourself a flux pen. I prefer an Electrolube pen like this:

BTW, always wash the board after using a flux pen, especially if it says "No clean".

XrayLizard

Well-Known Member
I strongly recommend either the Weller WE1010 or Hakko FX888D29BY.
Hakko here too. Elect tech for nearly 40yrs.
Another suggestion... save bucks over time to get an amscope setup with Barlow lens. 300 ish bucks... if u plan on working with SMD a lot.

Antares JS

Well-Known Member
I appreciate everyone's input; you've all been very helpful. I've decided to go with the Weller WLC-100 for now. The Hakko sounds good but it costs more than I'm willing to invest at this point. If I end up doing a lot of soldering in the future, I'll reconsider getting the Hakko, but for now I'm just looking to assemble a few Eggtimers and don't expect to need the iron for more than that at this point.

Greg Furtman

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I appreciate everyone's input; you've all been very helpful. I've decided to go with the Weller WLC-100 for now. The Hakko sounds good but it costs more than I'm willing to invest at this point. If I end up doing a lot of soldering in the future, I'll reconsider getting the Hakko, but for now I'm just looking to assemble a few Eggtimers and don't expect to need the iron for more than that at this point.
Does the Weller have different size tips? You'll need small chisel type tips.

Antares JS

Well-Known Member
Does the Weller have different size tips? You'll need small chisel type tips.
I'll need to buy it separately, but there is a correct tip available.

CoAz2k

Member
I have the "5 in 1" Aoyue 738H from SRA Soldering products. It has served me well over the past few years. It has a soldering iron, hot air heat gun, vacuum pickup tool, smoke absorber and soldering tweezers. The digital controls are easy to use and it heats up quick.

I like the soldering iron. It has a vacuum tube above the soldering tip that captures most fumes.