Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by dimitris89gr on Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:51 pm

Hello,

i have been involved with electronics for quite a time and i want to ask if I should invest in a good soldering station. (Hakko, Weller etc). Currently, I have a 50w weller soldering iron.
I want also to solder on sensitive motherboard parts (doing voltage mods, you can look it up on google). A friend of mine suggested buying a low-power 15w antex soldering-iron for such soldering, and using the 50w weller.

In your opinion, will I benefit more with a soldering station? What about those banned soldering stations (aoyue,ct and many more chinese)?

Thank you
dimitris89gr
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by adafruit on Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:18 pm

we like good value at a good price with great support and service, the hakkos are fantastic - we also like the wellers too! the super-cheap one can be ok, but with those you do get what you pay for.

cheers,
adafruit support, phil
User avatar
adafruit
 
Posts: 11503
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: nyc

Re: Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by dimitris89gr on Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:44 pm

Thank you for your reply,

the hakkos are indeed excellent, but unfortunately I live in Europe and 220v hakko models are overpriced. I have seen some cheap-braned soldering stations with very thin soldering irons and I would like to have one like that. Could you suggest a station with irons like that?
dimitris89gr
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by adafruit on Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:54 pm

dimitris89gr wrote:Thank you for your reply, the hakkos are indeed excellent, but unfortunately I live in Europe and 220v hakko models are overpriced. I have seen some cheap-braned soldering stations with very thin soldering irons and I would like to have one like that. Could you suggest a station with irons like that?


we do not have a suggestion for one like that, but others here in the forums may - great topic.

thanks,
adafruit support, phil
User avatar
adafruit
 
Posts: 11503
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: nyc

Re: Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by george graves on Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:24 am

I'm not sure what weller you have - but I'm really happy with my Weller wesd51 - but I hear great things about hakko too.

Coming from using a 35 watt (maybe it was 15 watt?) radio shack iron, the difference is night and day. With a quality/name brand iron...

- the tips last 5-10 times longer
- you can solder much heaver items like the tab of a SMD mosfet - or thick gauge wire to a large copper pad/plane.
- better tip selection (you want a screw-driver like tip - forget the conical tips - they are worthless - but usually included for free for some reason)
- Better iron stand (a nice heavy stand that is well engineered so that you can pick up and place the iron back in with out even looking is a huge plus!!!)
- Tips are available everywhere
- Temperature setting - it's kinda counter intuitive, but I find that a higher heat, for a shorter amount of time is *much* better for sensitive components than a low heat for a long period of time (you'll see that reflected in the data sheet of parts as well)
- You can solder faster, better
- with the better heat control, it activates the flux quicker. The temp of the tip doesn't droop down and then pick back up - so the flux works better, and you get less splashing of the flux. So you get better joints, and less clean up.

One "tip" - always use distilled water (you can get it at any grocery store) on your sponge. Your tap water might have too many ions in it, and at high temps, they attack the coating of the tips, slowly eating it away.

Also - pick up some "tip tinner" - Not sure what's in that stuff - or how it works (I assume it's magic) - but it freshens up your tip like nothing else. Oh, and learn how often you need to clean your tip - you'll be surprised how much better your joints are with a clean tip.

Hope that helps.
George Graves
New blog - www.digitalunderpants.com
User avatar
george graves
 
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:10 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by dimitris89gr on Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:55 am

Is the hakko soldering iron thin (for example, a little bigger than a pencil)? If I buy the 110v and use a 220-to-110v power converter will I have any problems?
dimitris89gr
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by dimitris89gr on Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:49 am

For example in the following video, which soldering station is this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=XtBpkSlC3Dg#t=188s
dimitris89gr
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by losthorizonmba on Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:38 pm

I've been using my FX-888 with generic setp-up/step-down 110/220 transformers with no problem
User avatar
losthorizonmba
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:41 pm

Re: Investing in a good branded soldering stations

by ennbr on Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:31 pm

The soldering station in the video looks like a Metcal
ennbr
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:17 am