(Topic ID: 168018)

Best Soldering Irons?!


By Pinball-DOOD

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 128 posts
  • 60 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by balt
  • Topic is favorited by 17 Pinsiders

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    Topic index (key posts)

    4 key posts have been marked in this topic

    Post #10 What not to buy. Posted by Pecos (2 years ago)

    Post #96 Advice on using poor quality soldering equipment. Posted by terryb (2 years ago)


    Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

    There are 128 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 2 years ago

    I am very excited about receiving my first soldering iron and equipment for my birthday! I can't wait to finally reseat my header pins to fix my fidgety displays on Firepower! Any recommendation on the best Temp controlled Irons? What size tip is recommended?

    #2 2 years ago

    I am a fan of the Weller digital station; I have a WESD51 and like it a great deal. It heats up extremely fast and the temperature is both accurate and stable. The tips are interchangeable so you can have several for different purposes; I like a small, fine-point tip for board work, but something materially larger for soldering coil lugs and similar. The iron cord is a silicone material and resistant to heat damage (which does happen due to accidents) and finally the pencil is replaceable at a reasonable cost (about $40) if you DO damage it (or the heater burns out.)

    #3 2 years ago
    Quoted from Tickerguy:

    I am a fan of the Weller digital station; I have a WESD51 and like it a great deal.

    +1 You can spend a lot more money, but these are great. The Hakko seems to be favored as a slightly less-expensive alternative.

    #4 2 years ago

    Both Weller and Hakko (888D) make good products. You'll also want to add some additional tips and other extras (solder, flux, etc.), and nail your technique--good soldering equipment won't make up for bad technique. See the following.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/terrybs-soldering-guide-part-1

    #5 2 years ago

    I have a inexpensive Weller and use a fine tip when doing board work. I need to find some new tips soon, as mine have seen better days.

    #6 2 years ago

    Cool! Thanks, guys

    #7 2 years ago

    I have the Hakko model that allows temp setting as well as th Hakko desoldering iron. Love em man

    #8 2 years ago

    Sweeet, dude. I'll check it out. How much do they go for?

    Quoted from GPS:I have the Hakko model that allows temp setting as well as th Hakko desoldering iron. Love em man

    #9 2 years ago

    Hakko FX888D loaded with tips, etc. $140: amazon.com link »

    There is a pinsider discount at B&D: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vendor-introduction-and-hakko-group-buy

    I've bought both the FX888D and FR300 from B&D and couldn't be happier.

    #10 2 years ago

    Pinball-DOOD, I can tell you what NOT to buy. I bought a Yihua 3in1 solder station and I really liked it. Unfortunately, the heating element only lasted 4-5 sessions. The $12 replacement heating element from Australia lasted 45 minutes. A $5 heating element from China was the wrong size. Sometimes it costs you a lot more when you try to save money. Time to punt on the Yihua!

    #11 2 years ago
    Quoted from Pecos:

    Pinball-DOOD, I can tell you what NOT to buy. I bought a Yihua 3in1 solder station and I really liked it. Unfortunately, the heating element only lasted 4-5 sessions. The $12 replacement heating element from Australia lasted 45 minutes. A $5 heating element from China was the wrong size. Sometimes it costs you a lot more when you try to save money. Time to punt on the Yihua!

    Dang! I guess it's that way when buying a Pin too! Sometime the costs just keep adding up when you try to save money in the first place

    #12 2 years ago
    Quoted from lyonsden:

    Hakko FX888D loaded with tips, etc. $140: amazon.com link »
    There is a pinsider discount at B&D: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vendor-introduction-and-hakko-group-buy
    I've bought both the FX888D and FR300 from B&D and couldn't be happier.

    Awesome!

    #13 2 years ago

    amazon.com link »
    Hakko fx888d $99- shipped

    I literally just got this in and can tell you that having the right tool for the job changes everything.Yes,it is worth every penny!
    Mike

    #14 2 years ago

    Warning: Solder snob here.
    Nothing beats a Metcal off eBay. Heats in seconds and is esd compliant.

    Except maybe a jbc setup

    Now... if I can just find a decent rework scope

    -7
    #15 2 years ago

    The Radio Shack soldering station is just as good as the Hallo and the Weller stations mentioned earlier.

    #16 2 years ago

    The Hakko FX888D is the top of the line soldering station, at least for this hobby and the arcade hobby. I have one and LOVE it. Does everything I need it to and keeps it's temperature. Hell, even if it loses temperature somehow, it's a live updated display so it will let you know. (It has never happened to me but I know from when it is heating up/cooling down after changing the setting)

    I highly recommend it. So worth the money. I plan on hopefully getting the desoldering gun one day when I have the funds.

    #17 2 years ago

    Also, for soldering on coil lugs and EM stuff I have used it and it worked great, but for very big stuff where you need a soldering pen without temperature control, I highly recommend the one they sell at Wal-Mart for $10. Seriously, this thing has come in handy more times than I can count and when the tips (comes with a spare too) wear out you can just buy another one.

    [Newbies (or ANYBODY), do NOT use this for board work though!]

    Comes in handy for spots under a playfield the station won't reach or if I'm just lazy. However I did actually maneuver my station so I can use it on a score motor repair and it was lovely. It will pretty much reach anywhere you want it with a little effort, even under a playfield, but sometimes the pen is just nearby and easier for a quick fix on a heavy lug. Again, not board work.

    #18 2 years ago
    Quoted from Ronnie1114:

    The Radio Shack soldering station is just as good as the Hallo and the Weller stations mentioned earlier.

    The only thing that might turn people away is the fact that down the road tips might be more difficult to find. But seriously this thing is pretty Damn good.

    #19 2 years ago

    Solder stations ONLY? (not multi stations for electronics work)

    Weller.
    From low end to high end.
    WES51 all the way up to WMRP-MS

    http://www.weller-toolsus.com/soldering/systems

    Pick your price and features, and if given proper maintenance, last forever.

    Any other brand are a second rate products for amateur enthusiasts.
    Don't be cheap.
    This is the most important tool in your inventory for this hobby.

    #20 2 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    Any other brand are a second rate products for amateur enthusiasts.

    #21 2 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    Any other brand are a second rate products for amateur enthusiasts.
    Don't be cheap.
    This is the most important tool in your inventory for this hobby.

    Not Metcal. Used by the Computer industry for years.
    ebay.com link
    Only recently fell out of favor in place of JBC.
    ebay.com link

    #22 2 years ago
    Quoted from Zitt:

    Not Metcal. Used by the Computer industry for years.
    ebay.com link
    Only recently fell out of favor in place of JBC.
    ebay.com link

    The computer industry is not the pinball industry. I can ramp up if one wants a high end "all in one station" but rarely does a pinball owner need this unless they are performing PCB repair. Not including any type of surface mounted work, which is independent and completely different tool sets, which you are aware.

    #23 2 years ago

    You said others were second rate. I was just saying that not everything mentioned here is second rate.
    RadioShack, Hanko... I tend to agree.

    #24 2 years ago
    Quoted from Tickerguy:

    I am a fan of the Weller digital station; I have a WESD51 and like it a great deal. It heats up extremely fast and the temperature is both accurate and stable. The tips are interchangeable so you can have several for different purposes; I like a small, fine-point tip for board work, but something materially larger for soldering coil lugs and similar. The iron cord is a silicone material and resistant to heat damage (which does happen due to accidents) and finally the pencil is replaceable at a reasonable cost (about $40) if you DO damage it (or the heater burns out.)

    I switched to this Weller model a while back, and love it. A friend of mine had been using them for years, and I did some work in his shop. After using it for a few days, I bought one. Very worth it.

    #25 2 years ago

    I had a digital Radio Shack one for a long time and it worked perfectly well for many years, BUT the cord fell apart (literally) on the iron and they had changed the model -- so no more replacement irons!

    The reason you buy the Weller or similar is because the pencil portion IS a consumable; the heater will eventually fail, and if it doesn't the CORD will fail. When it does you can either buy a $30 replacement or you can buy a new $100+ soldering station. Which do you prefer?

    #26 2 years ago

    Another recommendation for a Hakko 888

    #28 2 years ago

    The Hakko 888 has the DUMBEST temp control ever put on a soldering station.

    Nothing could be less intuitive.

    Nothing could take longer to adjust when you just want to crank up the heat to solder a single connection to a ground plane.

    -

    Even if you can still find the older 888 with the actual knob to adjust the temp, most had no indicator light.

    You could leave the thing turned on for days and not know it.

    Burn your kids, burn the house down, burn yourself.

    (there was even a brief moment where the 888 with the knob did have a LED light, but it only turned on when the element was heating up. Otherwise it was dark, even if the iron was hot.)

    If you can find a used Metcal (especially their combo soldering/desoldering stations), I'd take that over anything.

    #29 2 years ago

    I use a WES51 for soldering. For desoldering, I use a Hakko FR-300.

    #30 2 years ago

    Pace - 2 heads for soldering irons(I use one thin and one thick) and 1 head for desoldering

    PACE (resized).jpg

    #31 2 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    The Hakko 888 has the DUMBEST temp control ever put on a soldering station.
    Nothing could be less intuitive.
    Nothing could take longer to adjust when you just want to crank up the heat to solder a single connection to a ground plane.
    -
    Even if you can still find the older 888 with the actual knob to adjust the temp, most had no indicator light.
    You could leave the thing turned on for days and not know it.
    Burn your kids, burn the house down, burn yourself.
    .

    Amen to that

    #32 2 years ago
    Quoted from Otaku:

    The Hakko FX888D is the top of the line soldering station, at least for this hobby and the arcade hobby.

    Weller > Hakko

    My WESD51 refuses to die. Have a playfield fall on it? No problem, works fine even tho there is a piece of the back case missing.

    It is easy to use. Temp control is excellent. Parts supplies are more readily available. Fry's, Microcenter, etc all stock parts for weller. So if I needed a new tip (5 years and my original is still mint oddly enough, do need to invest in some small tips for smt) I can buy it locally on a weekend. Hakko just doesn't have the parts availability.

    If you love your Hakko great, but it is not top of the line. I won't even pretend my WESD51 is top of the line, but it is a better choice for the money.

    Now, if you want to talk desoldering stations and weigh price vs features Hakko is a good choice though my tenma ripoff does an amazing job for less than 100 spent.

    #33 2 years ago

    For my portable toolbag, this is the iron I carry around. Temperature adjustable, heats in less than 30 seconds and very portable. At home I use a Tenma soldering station, but this would work well at home too if you buy a better stand for it.

    http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/TENMA-21-19160-/21-19160

    #34 2 years ago

    I've had several high-end Pace and Weller stations but switched to JBC.
    I'm very happy with that choice. For instance,it has a handpiece with 10 foot cable, no more soldering stations dangling in pinballs or placed on the head waiting to fall off. For every solderproblem there is a tip available, even soldering out a 2" connector in one move in 4 seconds is possible with a wide tip. Heats up in 4 seconds and cools down when you put the handpiece in the holder.It's very expensive but to me it was worth every €.

    #35 2 years ago

    I may go with Weller

    #36 2 years ago

    best portable one, had mine for 3 years and still works great
    Weller P2KC Professional Self-igniting Cordless Butane Soldering Iron Kit

    best stationary
    hakko FX-#####
    tip gets hot in like 5 seconds, these help tremendously when working on pcb's

    get a $5 table fan, can of butane, kester solder and go to town

    #37 2 years ago

    A lot of people seem to reference the time it takes for their solder station to heat up (not just in this thread). Am I missing something? Sure it sounds impressive for an iron to heat up in a couple of seconds but does it really matter? People make it sound like they are doing formula 1 style pit stops with PCBs on their bench.

    If I'm doing a cap kit my iron is going to be on for a minimum of an hour. If I'm replacing an IC it's going to obviously be less but I'm still going to turn it on and leave it on until the job is done and tested. It's not like I'm flicking it on and off every minute. What's important is that it maintains temperature, the handle doesn't heat up, the handle wire is flexible, etc. I would never avoid a soldering station because it took 20 seconds longer to heat up versus another one.

    #38 2 years ago
    Quoted from brad808:

    A lot of people seem to reference the time it takes for their solder station to heat up (not just in this thread). Am I missing something? Sure it sounds impressive for an iron to heat up in a couple of seconds but does it really matter? People make it sound like they are doing formula 1 style pit stops with PCBs on their bench.

    The amount of time it takes to heat up from cold does give an indication of the recovery time of the station, which we do care about.

    It also takes longer for the entire system to come up to temperature than it does for the probe to hit the set temperature (just like with an oven). I always give my station a few minutes for everything to equalize at the set temperature before soldering.

    #39 2 years ago

    Anyone have any tips when reseating header pins?

    #40 2 years ago

    no, I didn't mean heat time was the reason it helped with pcb's that's just a plus. the tip's are a lot finer then regular run of the mill soldering irons and its a lot easier to vary the heat to a specified temperature. lets just say I've used one and I won't ever go back.

    #41 2 years ago
    Quoted from Pinball-DOOD:

    Anyone have any tips when reseating header pins?

    I use polyamide tape to hold things like sockets and header pins in place while beginning to solder them in. It's special heat resistant tape that doesn't melt from the heat of a soldering iron.

    #42 2 years ago

    I use a Pace ST50 with a TD100 soldering iron and have to say this is hands down the best soldering iron I have ever used. The tip and heating element are all one piece which contributes substantially to the heating times and small penlike size of the iron; from room temp (65F) to operational and stable at 600F, is less than 6 seconds. I can solder with this all day without fatigue and there is no heat transfer to the handle portion of the iron ... best part, it's actually made in the USA, I simply love it.

    pace (resized).jpg

    #43 2 years ago
    Quoted from Pin_Guy:

    use a Pace ST50 with a TD100 soldering iron

    ?? Why is the price sqwabbled over??
    If it's a good deal we would like to know.
    Mike

    #44 2 years ago

    There are lots of choices.

    Weller and Hakko have excellent low end stations that will do everything a lot of collectors use.

    Weller and Hakko have higher end stations, but they are not often discussed.

    I use JBC.

    Metcal and Pace make great quality stations as well.

    Pick your poison. The fact that we are having a ford vs chevy argument about what is best kinda cracks me up.

    I spent a grand on my last desoldering station. That's not gonna get me into heaven over anyone else, and doesn't mean I turn out better work than anyone else. But it does mean that I use my desoldering station enough that I justified buying the one I wanted - and haven't looked back!

    My impact wrench - which I use on my cars, which is my hobby, was $85 at Menards. I use $25 sets of harbor freight impact sockets. My mechanic spent $500+ on his. I use mine a couple hours a week on a good week. He uses his all day.

    A professional chef has better knives than I do as well.

    #45 2 years ago
    Quoted from Grizlyrig:

    ?? Why is the price sqwabbled over??
    If it's a good deal we would like to know.
    Mike

    This is going to cost the same no matter where you buy it.
    amazon.com link »

    #46 2 years ago

    Thanks for the link
    I like having options and love made in the USA stuff.Helps our own work force.
    Mike

    #47 2 years ago
    Quoted from Pin_Guy:

    This is going to cost the same no matter where you buy it.
    amazon.com link »

    $305 for a good soldering station isn't unreasonable at all if you use it enough to justify the expense.

    #48 2 years ago

    Careful where you purchase your Hakko 888 soldering stations, there are conterfeits being made. If you got a really sweet deal (less than $130 Canadian Dollars) you might have a fake.

    #49 2 years ago

    I bought this Tenma soldering station probably going on 8 years now when it went in sale for around $69. Only issue was the heating element went bad in the iron about 2 years after I had it. Replacement irons were about $6 so I just got two and haven't needed the second one yet.

    http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/TENMA-21-1590-/21-1590

    M150-217935-main (resized).jpeg

    #50 2 years ago

    If you want the best,and priced doesn't matter then I would have to put JBC at the top.
    And Metcal and Pace would be tied for 2nd.
    Hakko would be 3rd and Weller would be 4th. Just never been a fan of Hakko's color.
    But I would choose Hakko over Weller.

    Stay away from any chinese soldering irons. Quality tools don't come cheap.
    Although u can get some used Metcal on ebay for good price.
    I don't know why but it's pretty darn hard to find good deals on used JBC or Pace unlike Metcal.

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