good soldering iron/guns???

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by fenderbluesdude, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. Mobay45

    Mobay45 The artist formerly known as "Big Daddy"

    Apr 28, 2004
    Irving, TX
    That will get plenty hot enough to solder about anything you're going to want to solder. Just get some small guaget solder and heat up what you're going to solder and let the heat from that melt the solder, don't melt the solder with the tip. I always prefer a low wattage iron. You're less likely to melt things around what you're soldering.
  2. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    I don't use mine that often...if you're gonna be using it regularly, then put the money into it. But if it's for small side projects, then Wal Mart brands would be fine.
  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001

    I wonder- does that cold heat thing do anything? anybody know what I'm talking about? they have it on
  4. After years of cheap soldering irons, I finally splurged for the Weller model from Parts Express, the economy desk version for a tad under $50. (I forget the model number but it's the orange one). Much better than a handheld one: it has adjustable heat, a built-in stand, and the sponge for cleaning the tip. Every time I use it, which is pretty regularly, I'm glad I got it.

    The really really nice Weller models, unfortunately, are over $100. If you're into major soldering, like full-time amp repair, they would be worth the extra moola. But the economy $50 version is great and should last a long time. I heartily recommend it.
  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I will check it out. Thanks.
  6. yeah, i was going to ask about that one too...i see infomercials on it all the time...does it really work? and more importantly, HOW does it work?
  7. i have heard people say that it dosnt heat solder very well, but does actually cool down in 2 or 3 seconds! one guy said that he fried a couple of chips.
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Weller is the industry standard "good" soldering iron. If you're doing work with a PC board, probably target the 25-30 watt range. Point to point wiring will work with this power level too, although some of the bigger junctions might solder better with slightly more power (40 watts). If you're doing chassis grounds and that type of thing, I'd recommend a small torch as distinct from a 100-watt "gun". It would be best to have several soldering instruments at your disposal, if you intend to be doing lots of electronic work with your amps. In this area, one size definitely does not fit all. A 100 watt gun will completely destroy a PC board, and a 25 watt pencil tip won't be adequate for lifting a chassis ground. There are some variable temperature irons, but generally they're expensive, and it's usually more cost effective to get two regular irons with different power ratings.
  9. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I have been an electrical engineer since 1986 and before that I worked a few summer jobs as an electrical technician. In the electronics industry, we NEVER use solder guns. They are too inconsistent. You can fry boards and components very easily with a gun.

    If you are like me and do a lot of soldering, you will need a temperature controlled station. Then you can adjust the tip temperature to match the work that you are doing. I have one from Xeltek that works well and is cheaper than Weller.

    As for temperature, you actually want the iron fairly hot. Lower temperatures and longer soldering times can lead component damage. If you are only soldering wires to wires or wires to pots, then you are fine, but if you are working around temperature sensitive components, then you can easily overheat the components soldering that manner. Instead you want high temperatures and faster soldering times to reduce the amount time that the component is exposed to the heat.

    I know that people prefer not to spend a couple hundred bucks on an iron, but if you plan to do a bunch of soldering, then it is worth it.
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Like Bob, I have a temperature controlled station. I didn't know about Xeltek at the time, so I have the Weller.

    The one @ Thinkgeek looks cool, but I do wonder how good it can be for the money?
  11. My roommate has a butane soldering iron. It's the shiznit. $20
  12. thanks for the help every body, i will probably buy the radio shack iron i posted since i wont be doing ALOT of soldering, and probably mostly wire to wire and wire to pot connecting and some mother board stuff.
  13. well i stumbled apon a soldering GUN and it came with the gun, solder, flux, and the case and it was only 5 bucks brand new, sop i thought i would give it a try. well this sucker gets hot, to hot actually, its 180 watts and it goes over 1,000 degrees. the tip actually turns red hot it is actually RED!!!. when i get ready to tin the tip of the gun the solder just drip of the gun beacause it is so hot. i think need the radio shack one!
  14. Head Creep

    Head Creep

    Nov 6, 2004
    Los Angeles
    If I understand correctly, guns are complete overkill for what you're doing, to the point where you shouldn't be using it. They aren't as accurate to use for small jobs. I bought a soldering iron from Home Depot for $15, 40 watts, and it works fine for small jobs (such as repairing an audio cable).
  15. actually i am kind of getting used to the gun now, just to make sure i am doing everything right you wet the tip of the gun with solder and then touch the joint and then just feed solder, right?
  16. No, that's not how you solder.

    Don't put any solder on the tip. Put the tip against the connection and let the connection heat up. Then put the solder to the connection, if the connection's hot enough, it'll melt the solder and the solder will flow into the connection. (You can actually see it wick up into twisted wires.) Then remove the iron and let the connection cool on its own. Don't blow onto the connection to speed up the cooling. Don't let the connection move while it's cooling either.

    Solder isnt' glue. If you heat it up on the tip of the iron and let it flow onto the cold connection, it won't join with the connection. This is what we refer to as a cold solder joint. Cold solder joints=bad.

    Practice on a couple of scrap wires before attempting critical stuff.
  17. well you have to tin the tip dont you?

    thats what i ment by wetting the tip.

    i know your not spost to just tack the solder on so it will look like bird droppings, my solders flow right into the joint.
  18. emor


    May 16, 2004
    I've always heard that you're not supposed to touch the solder to the tip of the iron.
    How do you "un-solder" a previously soldered connection?
  19. i think you can use one of those pumps but i saw this wire stuff at radio shack that would suck up the solder.