(Topic ID: 195222)

Soldering irons

By Damien

4 years ago


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  • 47 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by cfh
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 years ago

    Hey guys,

    About to buy my first soldering iron (been borrowing a friend's) and wanted to know if you guys had any suggestions?

    I see a bunch of cheap kits on Amazon, but wanted to get opinions before purchasing.

    Cheers

    #2 4 years ago

    I love my Hakko FX-888d

    #3 4 years ago

    I had an older high end Weller.. very nice. The pen is on the fritz, i didn't want to drop $500+ so I went with an ersa icon nano. Little less power, but tips are cheap and it goes from zero to melting in around (I think less than) 10 seconds. Made in Germany, I'd say it's a solid mid range iron.

    ersa-i-con-nano-loetstation (resized).jpg

    #4 4 years ago

    Buy one like your friend has if you like it. You are already familiar with it.

    LTG : )

    #5 4 years ago

    I got the Weller for about 40.00 on Amazon.
    amazon.com link »

    I have had it for a few years now and it has been great.

    #6 4 years ago

    Hakko FX-888D is the BEST! Makes repairs a whole lot easier

    #7 4 years ago

    Weller WESD51. It's the digital version of the station. Costs a bit more (120-140 ish), but is just awesome.

    #8 4 years ago

    $20 copy Hakko from China. We use several in the factory all day long and replace them about every six months. For hobby use they would last 10 years or more and do the job just as well as an expensive station.

    Save your money for bourbon and beer..LOL

    #9 4 years ago
    Quoted from Damien:

    About to buy my first soldering iron (been borrowing a friend's) and wanted to know if you guys had any suggestions?

    The most important thing is being able to get tips you like. I loved my first solder station which I bought cheap on ebay. But had to switch due to tips becoming hard to find.

    I have an analog temp readout right now (Temna) which saved me a lot of money and it works great for both boards and playfield swaps. Now I think if you get into a desolder station, it is much more important to be accurate with temp so I would go digital over the Hakko 808 which I have.

    #10 4 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Buy one like your friend has if you like it. You are already familiar with it.
    LTG : )

    His is a million years old... He's had it since his days in the Soviet Union!

    #11 4 years ago
    Quoted from fiberdude120:

    I love my Hakko FX-888d

    This one?

    amazon.com link »

    Does it have enough length to work under the pf?

    #12 4 years ago

    It depends on how you'll be working too. If you're planning to basically pull games into a work bay setup with everything then a station is a super nice thing. If you're doing board work on a bench, a station is pretty much required.

    I've got my station for bench work but since I almost never work on playfields in a controlled environment I've gone cordless with an ulteatorch iron for under the playfield. Still getting used to it but starting to think I'll never go back to dragging a station over to a game again.

    I am in the market for a new station myself though... current one has lasted 20 years now but I think its time for something that includes desoldering.

    #13 4 years ago

    If you're going for a pencil iron I LOVE MY WELLER!

    th (resized).jpg

    #14 4 years ago

    I bought the Hakko fx600 a while ago and have been very happy with it. It uses the same tips as the fx888 station. I was going to get the fx888 but I don't use it all that often and I didn't want to take up work bench space when I'm not using it.

    amazon.com link »

    #15 4 years ago
    Quoted from Homepin:

    $20 copy Hakko from China. We use several in the factory all day long and replace them about every six months. For hobby use they would last 10 years or more and do the job just as well as an expensive station.
    Save your money for bourbon and beer..LOL

    Do you happen to have a link to where you can purchase a copy Hakko? Feel free to PM me if you like.

    #16 4 years ago

    I've been using a Aoyue 701A++ for a while now with no real complaints. However, I gather it doesn't get as hot as the better machines (tops out at about 500 degrees), so I might be upgrading. But, if you are going to be doing any de-soldering it's REALY nice to have a desoldering gun. Since I was just starting out a couple years ago, this made sense for me from a price perspective since it is both a solder/desolder station. But, if you have the money, it's probably worth it to by a high quality (read HOTTER) iron.

    #17 4 years ago

    I have the hakko for bench work but have one like this for when I need to fix something at the game or when I go to fix something at a friends house. Have been using it for about a year with no issues.

    http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/21-19160?scode=GS401&utm_medium=cse&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=google&scid=scplp21-19160&sc_intid=21-19160&gclid=Cj0KCQjwn6DMBRC0ARIsAHZtCeNdSQY2_fgf-ofVW7G9O-CvEn7iRCm9vzqVRlKg7W99LXubAnwkgyUaAtreEALw_wcB

    #18 4 years ago

    My biggest gripe about cheap/inexpensive soldering irons/stations is the cord itself.
    I find most cheap irons (like the Tenma's and other knock-offs), the cord between the base & the iron are semi-hard rubber/plastic and they never unbend/unkink. And they fight you as you move around the board.

    Good irons/stations have soft, supple rubber cords that do not affect your positioning as such.

    Another vote for the Hakko FX-888D.

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from fish1975tx:

    I got the Weller for about 40.00 on Amazon.
    amazon.com link »
    I have had it for a few years now and it has been great.

    I've used this for a while and for basic pin/vid repairs you won't need much else. Get a few different tips and you should be set.

    #20 4 years ago

    Two things I wish someone told me before I started soldering:

    #1 Don't buy a crap iron. I teach a lot of people and they all come to me because they struggle with poor joints due to an underrated iron. The Hakko FX-888D is a fantastic iron for the price. If only it didn't look like it was made by fisher-price. (nothing a sharpie marker or spray paint can't fix)

    #2 Don't wipe the tip before putting it in the cradle, load it with fresh solder instead. This is a bad habit many people have with irons. This will make your tips last way longer.

    #21 4 years ago

    I'll basically be pulling up the pf and working under, with things like flipper and switch repairs.

    So what's the best unit for this kind of stuff?

    #22 4 years ago

    I prefer cordless, runs on butane and gets nice and hot! Just be careful where the vent is pointed, you could melt off the insulator on all sorts of wires before you knew it! amazon.com link »

    #23 4 years ago
    Quoted from EricHadley:

    I prefer cordless, runs on butane and gets nice and hot! Just be careful where the vent is pointed, you could melt off the insulator on all sorts of wires before you knew it! amazon.com link »

    Haha, yea I'm going to stay away from butane!

    Can anyone comment on whether the Hakko FX-888D has enough reach for me me to have it on a table near my machine and be able to go under the pf and work?

    #24 4 years ago

    \

    Quoted from Damien:

    Haha, yea I'm going to stay away from butane!
    Can anyone comment on whether the Hakko FX-888D has enough reach for me me to have it on a table near my machine and be able to go under the pf and work?

    You need a stand to set the 888d on right next to the game or put it in the cabinet to use. I would get a stand alone hakko wand for work in games and the 888d for bench top soldering.

    I use my fx-888d hours a day 7 days a week. No problems for years, great great tool. The Hakko tips last forever too.

    #25 4 years ago

    Cordless is best for under playfield work. Imo.

    #26 4 years ago
    Quoted from Timerider:

    My biggest gripe about cheap/inexpensive soldering irons/stations is the cord itself.
    I find most cheap irons (like the Tenma's and other knock-offs), the cord between the base & the iron are semi-hard rubber/plastic and they never unbend/unkink. And they fight you as you move around the board.
    Good irons/stations have soft, supple rubber cords that do not affect your positioning as such.
    Another vote for the Hakko FX-888D.

    Thanks for pointing this out. I need to upgrade my soldering setup. The cheap cord is like working with frozen rope.

    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from Kneissl:

    Cordless is best for under playfield work. Imo.

    Yep. There's lots in a game for a cord to snag on. One time while pulling back from soldering a joint the cord snagged and I lost my grip on the iron sending it bouncing around. Thank goodness I didn't try to grab it by reflex and it didn't land in/on wires. Ever since then no cords for me under the pf.

    Butane is fine, i love my ultratorch. One cool trick is if you're working with shrink tubing, once you solder the joint just crank up the regulator to max and use the exhaust to shrink the tubing without switching tools.

    #28 4 years ago

    Look for a used Metcal on Ebay.

    Metcal.JPG

    #29 4 years ago

    Just ordered an 888d. Had a Xytronic analog Auto-Temp 136esd iron thats died after nearly 20 years of service. It's probably repairable but figure its had a good life and its time to move to digital.

    I was pleased that the 888d in the manual appears to use the exact same handle and heater element.

    A pic of a couple handles for the Xytronic

    IMG_5886 (resized).JPG

    #30 4 years ago

    Is something like this good for working under the pf?

    IMG_20170816_161719 (resized).jpg

    #31 4 years ago

    25 watt is all you need for under pf work. Just pick up a screwdriver tip if ones not incl with the iron for better heat transfer when soldering larger connections (coils, etc).

    #32 4 years ago

    Also don't forget to get something to clean the tip (i prefer the brass sponge thingy, others might say wet sponge to wipe tip on), some flux, desolder braid, crap like that. Sayal - if you have one near you has everything you need in one aisle.

    #33 4 years ago

    Good luck with that 25watt iron. I would have to disagree.

    Check out the hakko fx600/601.

    I haven't used all that much yet but I do like it. Just wish the cord was a couple feat longer.

    #34 4 years ago

    The built in led's is kinda nifty... but yeah 25W is probably going to be underpowered.

    #35 4 years ago

    More like 50 or 80 Watts

    #36 4 years ago
    Quoted from gmkalos:

    If you're going for a pencil iron I LOVE MY WELLER!

    Yep! Get a 15 watt with a pencil tip, a 25 watt with a medium tip and a 40-50 watt with a fat flat tip. For $45 or so you'll cover ever conceivable application you'll run into. Wellers are decent enough and will last a decade or more. Plus they are more portable than a big base station one. Now if you solder for a living then perhaps an expensive adjustable one like Hakko would be a better choice.

    #37 4 years ago

    I use the Weller 35W Pro and it works great. I can't speak to the quality or construction of the Weller standard duty one in the pic but the LED's i think would be handy. TerryB's guide to soldering is a good read on this forum and is what inspired me to get the hakko 888D soldering station for board work. Probably one of the best investments i have made for the hobby but never needed it for under pf work.

    #38 4 years ago

    I got one of these here 60W adjustable things for coils and wires and such. It was like $12 with shipping and a batch of extra (Hakko compatible) tips. The thing glows red when turned all the way up so I set it to melt solder and put tape on the dial to keep it there.

    cheapiron (resized).jpg

    #39 4 years ago

    This has always been my favorite photo for soldering
    http://makezine.com/2016/03/08/beautiful-woman-soldering-stock-photo-wrong/

    ... sorry for hijacking.
    Ed

    #40 4 years ago

    I purchased this Hakko clone about 6 months ago:

    amazon.com link »

    I have to admit, Ive been pretty happy with it. I fit it with a fine tip for board work, and a broad tip for work under a playfield. It works out pretty well for me.

    Edit: I just noticed it's on sale for $49.80. That's a pretty good deal.

    #41 4 years ago

    I have the Weller 25 watt posted in the above picture and I've been having a lot of problems going through tips. They keep oxidizing at the end and then the tip doesn't get hot anymore. I suppose I'm not cleaning them correctly. I've tried using a damp sponge and the scrubby side. Any suggestions.

    #42 4 years ago
    Quoted from trk12fire:

    Any suggestions

    One tip is to flood the tip with solder just before unplugging or turning off. Don't wipe it clean.

    My son complained about tips on his Weller station as well. ????

    #43 4 years ago

    Some irons use tips that are crap and don't last long (Weller included, at least their lower end gear). I solder hours every day and the hakko tips can last a year, so any good tip should last most people at least a year of moderate use. I usually end up accidentally dropping the iron on the cement work shop floor mangling its form it before it starts to pit and corrode.

    #44 4 years ago

    Thanks for the reply. I've never tried to flood the tip with solder. I'm always wiping it clean. Hopefully this helps. When I go to buy new tips at the hardware store, they only have 2 kinds you can buy. The pinpoint and the flat style. They are probably both cheap. Should I order them on line?

    #45 4 years ago

    I use this Chinese soldering station:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/EU-US-Plug-110-220V-HAKKO-936-Soldering-Station-Digital-Solder-Iron-with-A1321-Ceramic-Heater/920335654.html

    It's probably not as good as a Weller or Hakko, but I think it's good. One thing that wasn't good: very soon it stopped working: turned out a wire inside wasn't soldered well and didn't make contact all the time. So I had to re-solder it, and since then it's worked fine. Kind of ironic though that you need to repair a badly soldered wire in a soldering station .

    #46 4 years ago

    What do you guys think of this to seal any exposed wire?

    IMG_20170821_165259 (resized).jpg

    #47 4 years ago

    that 25 watt home depot Weller SP25 with the LEDs is all you need. I use it all the time, every single day, for nearly everything. It works fine for anything on the playfield (and i do mean anything.) i even use it for circuit board work on the road. For $18 it rocks and the LEDs are very helpful when under a playfield (where it tends to be darker.) Just don't use the solder that comes with it, throw that away (it's silver solder, you need 60/40 rosin core lead solder.)

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