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(Topic ID: 232644)

Best soldering tool for pinballs?


By Daditude

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 44 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by jrcw
  • Topic is favorited by 13 Pinsiders

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    #1 1 year ago

    I need a new soldering kit. What is the best one to get for pinballs?

    Separately, what is the best budget soldering kit? I don't really need a $3,000 soldering kit...even if it is the ABSOLUTE best.

    #3 1 year ago

    amazon.com link »

    I've had one of these for 20 years. Works great for soldering stuff under the playfield. I don't recommend it for board work but is great for other things.

    #4 1 year ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    I need a new soldering kit. What is the best one to get for pinballs?
    Separately, what is the best budget soldering kit? I don't really need a $3,000 soldering kit...even if it is the ABSOLUTE best.

    The hakko 888 is the best 'price concious' balanced product for most pinball work. It's a good quality product and affordably priced. The weller digital temp controlled station is also good, but more expensive, and slightly larger.

    Get the hakko and a chisel tip to go along with the pencil tip. Get brass wiping pot to clean the tip with amazon.com link »

    Get a spring powered desoldering pump.. and some solder wick - both used for removing solder and components.

    With that setup, you will be able to do both basic board work, and wiring work. Future upgrades would be to get a vacuum powered desoldering gun. (~300) and a more portable iron.

    But unless you are out on location... just moving your solder station and having one that does both types of jobs is fine.

    #5 1 year ago

    I will 3rd the hakko fx-888. Bought mine on Amazon with a 5 tip package. It works great. I also bought the 301 desoldering gun which is definitely pricey but does a fantastic job. Pick up some flux and some good solder, and you will be good to go.

    #6 1 year ago

    +1 for the hakko. Love mine. Made me instantly better at soldering. Transfers sufficient heat for anything ive needed to do. Mostly just use it for board work and bench top flipper assembly rebuilds. At a machine for under pf work i use a 35w corded weller iron but only since i owned it first. No reason why you cant use the hakko under there as well.

    #7 1 year ago

    Everyone loves the Hakko. If you want to go cheaper than that, check out this Weller for $39.

    amazon.com link »

    #8 1 year ago

    When I started, I bought the Hakko FX888 and some wedge tips as suggested here and it is fantastic for the price.

    I’ve been meaning to get a regular iron as well for under playfield work as it can be a pain taking a soldering station to a machine.

    I also strongly recommmend the Hakko FR300 desoldering gun for board work. Using a tool like this is so much faster, easier, and safer than the other cheaper methods. It pays for itself in time savings in no time.

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from Gorgonzola:

    When I started, I bought the Hakko FX888 and some wedge tips as suggested here and it is fantastic for the price.
    I’ve been meaning to get a regular iron as well for under playfield work as it can be a pain taking a soldering station to a machine.
    I also strongly recommmend the Hakko FR300 desoldering gun for board work. Using a tool like this is so much faster, easier, and safer than the other cheaper methods. It pays for itself in time savings in no time.

    Yes to all of this -- Hakko rukes!

    #10 1 year ago

    One more vote for the Hakko.. and a link.

    Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station FX-888D FX-888 (blue & yellow) amazon.com link »

    #11 1 year ago

    +1. I use the same for all of my mod work. Works great and is ready to use almost instantly.

    #12 1 year ago

    Hakko FTW!

    #13 1 year ago

    I chose JBC for alot of reasons, but maybe the best pinball related one is its optional 10 foot handpiece cablelength.
    It is very conveniant to be able to solder under the playfield while the solder station remains on the bench and not wobbling on the head, lockbar receiver or on te bottom of the cabinet where you just cannot reach the flippercoil lugs.

    #14 1 year ago
    Quoted from cudabee:

    I chose JBC for alot of reasons, but maybe the best pinball related one is its optional 10 foot handpiece cablelength.
    It is very conveniant to be able to solder under the playfield while the solder station remains on the bench and not wobbling on the head, lockbar receiver or on te bottom of the cabinet where you just cannot reach the flippercoil lugs.

    In the cab and under the playfield is where I use a Weller W60P hand held iron instead of dragging out a whole bench station.

    The Hakkos are great stuff, I convinced our shop to switch to them from the Pace just to try them out. We are using the FM-206 3 port station. The tips are easy to change on the fly and last a long time with the auto shutoff stands. Heats up really quick too. We do quite a bit of soldering all day long with multiple people sharing the same station.

    #15 1 year ago

    Oh cool. I was just about to start a similar thread when I came across this. I got $100 in Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket and a cheap Radio Shack soldering iron that looks like it had a born on date in the 80's. I want to get something decent for under $100.

    #16 1 year ago

    It seems that hakko is the clear choice for a high end soldering tool (around $100)
    Several people have spoken for Weller as a mid-range soldering iron (around $40)

    Does anyone use a soldering iron under 20 bucks? Any good budget soldering irons you can recommend?
    It seems that all the best sellers on ebay and amazon are under 20.
    Are they any good?

    #17 1 year ago

    This tool is also great for working under playfields. 398C610F-46D1-4ADD-90B2-96367653FDB1 (resized).jpeg
    It holds the wire and you can feed solder with wheel in center.

    #18 1 year ago
    Quoted from JoeinNJ:

    This tool is also great for working under playfields. [quoted image]
    It holds the wire and you can feed solder with wheel in center.

    What part # is it?

    #19 1 year ago

    Hakko with extra chisel tip ordered. Thank you, pinside!

    #20 1 year ago

    I haven't really received any answers yet about budget soldering irons, but the tabiger keeps popping up on internet searches.
    Does anyone have any experience/opinions on the tabiger soldering iron?

    #21 1 year ago

    If you’re doing ANY kind of boardwork whatsoever, invest the $100 and get a good quality temperature controlled iron. That aforementioned Hakko is probably the best bang for the buck, and tips are readily found. My only gripe with it is that it’s tricky to adjust the temp with only 2 buttons.

    For that reason, I’ve been using an older Weller unit. Still works great and tips are easy to buy, and it’s easier to adjust the tip temperature.

    The key is to find an iron that has a sensor to keep the tip a constant temperature. That’ll keep it from overheating, which can lift traces, and it’ll keep it from going cold when soldering larger grounding planes. Both the Hakko 888 and the Adjustable weller units have this.

    For under $20, you’re not going to find much in the way of properly controlled units, BUT they are good for soldering wires under the playfield or for EM games, where super stable temperature control isn’t necessary. Plus they’re smaller and easier to tote around. Just don’t use them for boardwork.

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    What part # is it?

    Part No. EZSOLD

    #23 1 year ago

    I love my Weller WESD51 ...

    amazon.com link »

    I don't use the sponge, though. I use this Hakko brass wire cleaner ...

    amazon.com link »

    #24 1 year ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    I haven't really received any answers yet about budget soldering irons, but the tabiger keeps popping up on internet searches.
    Does anyone have any experience/opinions on the tabiger soldering iron?

    The first budget iron (14 USD) I purchased was this one (I subsequently purchased the FX888D as well as the hakko vacuum desoldering gun):

    amazon.com link »

    I still use it and it works great for working on a game when I don't want to drag out the larger station. The tips are ok but a set of hakko tips are much better.

    #25 1 year ago

    I have an older metcal sp200 works great. If you watch ebay you can grab one for under $100. The tips set the temp and control the temp. I watch ebay for deals on the tips too. I have just about every one in the 7xx series.

    ebay.com link

    #26 1 year ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    I haven't really received any answers yet about budget soldering irons,

    This should tell you something.

    #27 1 year ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    I love my Weller WESD51 ...
    amazon.com link »
    I don't use the sponge, though. I use this Hakko brass wire cleaner ...
    amazon.com link »

    I'm old school but I love the wellers soldering irons. The older Hakko (made in Japan) are good too but the newer Hakko are made in china and feel cheap to me. As for the sponge vs brass wire cleaner it's a toss up. The sponge works very well. Just give it a few seconds for the iron to heat back up. The brass wire doesn't remove heat from the iron so that's the advantage. I would highly recommend the Hakko tip cleaner though.

    amazon.com link »

    Also, before you turn off your iron clean the tip thoroughly with a sponge and the tip cleaner. And buy real plated tips.

    #28 1 year ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    It seems that hakko is the clear choice for a high end soldering tool (around $100)
    Several people have spoken for Weller as a mid-range soldering iron (around $40)
    Does anyone use a soldering iron under 20 bucks? Any good budget soldering irons you can recommend?
    It seems that all the best sellers on ebay and amazon are under 20.
    Are they any good?

    I am placing this here for future reference on the subject:

    hakko is the clear choice for a high end soldering tool (around $100)

    Several people have spoken for Weller as a mid-range soldering iron (around $40)

    Tabiger seems to be the best budget soldering tool (around $20), according to numerous publications found through research.

    #30 1 year ago

    I just tried out my new Hakko 888d. Wow! It got up to 750 F in a few seconds. That beats my old Radio Shack one that took about 5 minutes. I wish the controls were more intuitive though. Luckily, there are pretty clear YouTube videos for how to use it.

    9 months later
    #31 12 months ago

    For playfield coils and switches I use a cheap portable Weller like this one:

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Weller-WLC100-40-Watt-Soldering-Station/19281561

    This should be all you need for now.

    #32 12 months ago
    Quoted from Pin_Guy:

    For playfield coils and switches I use a cheap portable Weller like this one:
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Weller-WLC100-40-Watt-Soldering-Station/19281561
    This should be all you need for now.

    That does look nice. I'm assuming it is only sold online?

    #33 12 months ago

    probably, the same one is available from multiple vendors for around the same price.

    amazon.com link »

    This is not a high end solder iron so it does take several minutes to warm up. The one I use on my workbench is ready for use 15 seconds after turning it on, but it's also cost 10x as much.

    #34 12 months ago

    The temperature control on the cheap irons is absolutely terrible, it is going to fluctuate like crazy. Do not use them on circuit boards. Coil lugs I guess is ok, but I wouldn't touch one.

    #35 12 months ago
    Quoted from kermit24:

    The temperature control on the cheap irons is absolutely terrible, it is going to fluctuate like crazy. Do not use them on circuit boards. Coil lugs I guess is ok, but I wouldn't touch one.

    I would like to get better at soldering so maybe I might buy the Hakko. I use a $25.00 one right now and it gets hot that it almost melts the coil lug off. If I get the Hakko how do I know what is the right temperature to use?

    #36 12 months ago
    Quoted from marksf123:

    I would like to get better at soldering so maybe I might buy the Hakko. I use a $25.00 one right now and it gets hot that it almost melts the coil lug off. If I get the Hakko how do I know what is the right temperature to use?

    It depends on how much solder surface area you need to melt, etc. The default is 750 but if I am doing board work I may dial it back to 650. The Hakko is great.

    I would also watch all these videos. They are old school but VERY good.

    #37 12 months ago
    Quoted from marksf123:

    I would like to get better at soldering so maybe I might buy the Hakko. I use a $25.00 one right now and it gets hot that it almost melts the coil lug off. If I get the Hakko how do I know what is the right temperature to use?

    Check this thread out. Lots of great information:

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

    I love the Hakko. Definitely worth the investment.

    #38 12 months ago

    I have the Weller WES 51, I like it a lot. The one Cheddar recommends looks fine. You will want one that has the temp display. I still have my old Hakko 808 for desoldiering. You will want something to do that job. Yes, you don't need to spend a million, but cheap stuff will only piss you off and more than likely you will replace it with something better. I'd say if your serious about fixing pinball machines including board work, skip the bottom feeder crap and go for the stuff recommended here. Just ran across this: amazon.com link » It looks good too. Sticking with Weller or Hakko is a good idea.

    #39 12 months ago
    Quoted from Daditude:

    That does look nice. I'm assuming it is only sold online?

    I bought this exact model at Home Depot about a week ago, works great

    #40 12 months ago

    The WLC-100 mentioned above is not a temperature controlled iron. This one would be good for coils but I would not recommend it for PC board work.
    I have the WESD51, similar to the WES51 -- nice iron. You can often catch the WESD51's on sale at about $120.
    The WE1010NA mentioned above is a temperature controlled iron from Weller - looks promising at < $90.

    #41 12 months ago

    This is a tool area that is pretty simple... if you buy the right stuff you'll only buy it once for a long long long time.

    I have a WESD51 - bought it probably 15+ years ago and have done nothing but swapped the default tip to a chisel style. I use the hakko 559B tip cleaner and have a Hakko 300 desoldering gun with multiple tips. I also use a butane powered portable iron mostly for heat shrink applications. You won't need the desoldering gun unless you want to make board repairs regularly... start with solder pump and solder wick if someone is just going to do one or two components in a blue moon.

    With some brush on solder flux... solder pump.. solder wick.. and a decent controlled iron like the Hakko FX888 or the Weller WESD51... someone should be set for bench or home work. Don't forget your 99% alcohol and brush for flux removal.

    #42 12 months ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Don't forget your 99% alcohol and brush for flux removal.

    I recently replaced my brush and alcohol with an ultrasonic cleaner big enough to hold a WPC98 Power Driver board.

    pasted_image (resized).png
    1 month later
    #43 10 months ago
    Quoted from G-P-E:

    The WLC-100 mentioned above is not a temperature controlled iron. This one would be good for coils but I would not recommend it for PC board work.
    I have the WESD51, similar to the WES51 -- nice iron. You can often catch the WESD51's on sale at about $120.
    The WE1010NA mentioned above is a temperature controlled iron from Weller - looks promising at &lt; $90.

    Oop's I have the WESD51 in use. I still have the WES51 for back up and road trips.

    #44 10 months ago

    For mobile soldering, I always keep a TS100 soldering iron in my toolcase. It works anywhere, any temperature and it's fast.
    I heard the TS80 is even better.

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