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Lowpuller

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I need to put my new Eggfinder together and want to get a new soldering station. I have several old school pencil soldering irons but I want something more high tech.

I found the Weller WESD51 on another thread but it is way over my budget.

Can you recommend a lower cost soldering station you own and are happy with?
 

amarillo_rocket

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I use a Hakko FX888D-23BY. I had never used a soldering station like you I have always used pencil and soldering guns. When I first used the Hakko I was amazed how great a tool it is to use. There are so many different tips available for every job. I bought mine from http://www.tequipment.net/ because they have really good service. You might be able to find them on Ebay or Amazon. Worth every penny in my opinion.
 

cerving

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Those are both nice stations, but if you aren't quite up to spending $100 or more on one at this point, you can get a Weller WLC-100 station for about $40. Lots of tips available, and it works well. It doesn't have the really nice digital readout so you'll have to play around with the knob settings to find just the right one, but it's a good iron at a decent price.

There are also a lot of temperature controlled digital readout stations on eBay from Chinese manufacturers for under $40. I don't know about the quality of them. I have one of those that also has a hot air rework tool, I don't use the iron only the hot air tool. I have a 60W Velleman station that they don't make anymore, but conveniently the Hakko tips fit just fine.
 

Onebadhawk

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I have a Hakko..
Once you use one it's hard to go back to a pencil...


Teddy
 

OverTheTop

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Hakko are good value for money usually.

Get some chisel tips of various sizes and you will be set. If you get the conical type the manufacturer will love you because you will buy more tips :) . This is because the tip life generally a little less, and the heat transfer a little slower due to a couple of geometry effects.

I prefer one with an analog knob for temperature adjustment, but I am fussy about joint temperature.

If they try to sell you a "lead free" soldering iron for more money than a standard one (otherwise the same) then buy the standard one. I suspect they are all "lead-free" these days anyway. The Marketing people have got onto the lead-free bandwagon and use it as an excuse to sell an iron with a higher temperature setting for more $, and encouraging people to upgrade. Lead based solder melts at about 183degC, and wets at about 30degC hotter (213degC). So normal soldering temperature for me is a bit above that at around 250degC. Lead-free solder is remarkably similar but about 30degC hotter again. So call it 280degC or so. Yet they will tell you an iron that goes up to 480degC is necessary. I guess it is good for doing the plumbing or cooking very small pizzas. Keep your temperatures down and the number of reworks you get on a PCB goes up greatly. Much less damage to the adhesive or the substrate. You might want to set it a bit higher to drive heat into a ground-plane if necessary.
 

cwbullet

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I have a Hakko and love it.
 

Cl(VII)

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I too have, and love, the Hakko FX888D. Once you use it you will have no regrets about spending the money.
 

neil_w

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I've spent many an hour at work using various Weller stations, and ultimately when it came time to buy my own I went with the WES51. I spent a good bit of time looking into the Hakko as well but ultimately my comfort and familiarity with the Wellers and the Fisher Price styling of the Hakkos just pushed me towards Weller.

Based on everything I've ever read about it, though, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Hakko.
 

dshmel

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I use a Hakko FX888D-23BY. I had never used a soldering station like you I have always used pencil and soldering guns.
+1. I purchased the Hakko a few weeks ago and now can't imagine how I soldered with the cheapy pencil's before. Best $100 I have spent in a while.
 

scsager

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I need to put my new Eggfinder together and want to get a new soldering station. I have several old school pencil soldering irons but I want something more high tech.

I found the Weller WESD51 on another thread but it is way over my budget.

Can you recommend a lower cost soldering station you own and are happy with?
You are talking my language!! :cool:

I know that the Big name-brands make good tools. Weller and Hakko are real popular for good reason. Unfortunately I have a hard time dropping $40 on a basic Weller WLC-100. I did pick-up the identical Stahl SSVT soldering station. It's the Same Weller tool without the name for $18.

I built my first LCD and TX with the Stahl, and it works fine. Eventually I decided to try something a bit "flashier". I picked up a "937d+" on Ebay for $30 delivered. This is a bit nicer than the Stahl. It heats up faster, and (I think) it uses the Hakko replacement tips.

For SMD parts, good lighting, and a couple of good magnifiers are just as important as a good iron in my opinion.
 

apburner

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Really good SMD soldering tutorial.
[video=youtube;b9FC9fAlfQE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9FC9fAlfQE[/video]
 

digitalastro

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OverTheTop

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I use an older version JBC iron, both at work and for home:
424-319.01_s500_p1._V837fb4de_.jpg

The current versions are push-button for temperature control, which in my opinion is a backward move.

I picked up this Stahl soldering station for work. I would say that it is up to temp in under 3 minutes.
The JBC is on temperature in a little under 10 seconds, from cold :cool:

These are the best irons IMHO, even better than them Metcals. Only drawback is they are $450USD.
Here is the contemporary equivalent to my iron:
http://www.jbctools.com/cd-b-soldering-station-product-505-category-1-menu-1.html

Check out the technology here:
[video]https://youtu.be/MKYGg2E1LUA[/video]
 

waywayanda

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A good solder station is a long term investment. If taken care of, it will last a lifetime and your solder skills will improve greatly. I have a WES51 that I bought over 15years ago and use it almost daily. Hide any cigar-tip solder irons <shudder> they have no place near electronics.
 

Lowpuller

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Tip recommendations for the Eggfinder assembly?

I have Chris's recommendation from the instructions, just curious about other opinions.
 

OverTheTop

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Tip recommendations for the Eggfinder assembly?
I like to use the largest tip I can that doesn't cause me to short pins together. Go for chisel tips for better heat transfer and tip life expectancy too.

You will probably need a fairly chunky one for the ground plane on the RF module (or was it the GPS? Can't remember.).

Just checked out the EggFinder instructions. They are surface mount components now so smaller tips are needed. You would probably consider my choice of tip outrageously large, so I will temper my suggestions a little.
3mm chisel: This will be for the chunky pads that need a good dose of heat transfer.
1mm chisel: You will think you need this one, so get one for a sense of comfort
2mm chisel (maybe 1.5mm): This should do most of your soldering of the SMT parts

I will try to find a document with tips on how to solder. I have one tucked away somewhere that I wrote a while back.

Hint 1: Tweezer technique is king!
Hint 2: Do the assembly in a tray or dish or something, so when (not if) the SMT resistors go flying out of the tweezers you can find them. I quiet workspace can help with this also as you can hear where they land.

Note that I said heat transfer. You need more heat into the joint, not necessarily a higher tip temperature :wink:
 

Lowpuller

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Chris recommends conical you recommend chisel.

Does the conical tend to give you more pin point accuracy, and the chisel more heat sooner?

APBURNER, thank you for the video, very helpful.
 

OverTheTop

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Rationale for Chisel tips over Conical
Chisel tips have a little flat area on either side which assists in conducting heat from the central copper core of the tip to the joint, via a thin iron plating. Even on the fine chisel tips, the tip is two-dimensional, rather than just a point, to assist driving heat into the joint. Conicals have only one point mostly in contact with the joint (picture the side of a cone), with the parts further away having to conduct the heat through the solder between the tip and joint parts.

Conicals are also geometrically challenged. Consider that the tips are typically a copper core (very good thermal conductivity) with an iron plated coating, for extended tip life, but with much less thermal conductivity.
Jhtd9.png
Looking at the image you can see that the very tip, just due to geometry of the cones, has a long distance between the last pointy bit of copper (compromised for heat flow anyway) and the actual tip. Longer distance equates to slower heat transfer. The pointier the tip, the worse this effect is. More will probably go out the sides to the joint than from the very tip.

Thermal conductivity of iron is nearly five times worse than copper. Solder is nearly eight time worse than copper. So you need the copper, and as much of it, next to the joint to make a good joint in a short time.

The other effect that kicks in is that the joints take longer to flow, so the operator turns the iron temperature up to compensate for lack of heat flow. Tip life suffers and results in more profit for the parts suppliers.

If you are going to solder some 0.4mm pitch IC legs one at a time (that's the hard way) then a conical might get you out of trouble. The chisels are always a nicer tip to use, IMHO.
 

Micromeister

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a couple years ago I purchased a Tenma Digital soldering station from MCM electronics www.mcmelectronics.com for about 35 bucks.
I've been pleased as punch with this unit from the very start. It's been used on all types of soldering applictions from laying down tiny PC board trace paths to Heavy duty Stainless steel Metal work soldering. I highly recommend this unit.

Tenma Digital Soldering Station_06-11-2014.jpg
 
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byoungblood

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I got a Hakko 888 last week. Just the couple of things I sat down and soldered (cluster whip, couple of other small repairs I had sitting on the bench) makes me wonder why I didn't get a soldering station 15-20 years ago.
 

Lowpuller

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Hakko 888 ordered, thank you for the advice and help!
 

Lowpuller

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Did my first project with the Hakko tonight, great instrument worth every penny.
 
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