easement PRO 5:08pm, 17 November 2005
Right now I have a 15Watt ceapo from radioshack that i have to use rocks to weigt down te base so it doesn't tip over.

I'm looking to upgrage to something better. Does anyone have and recomendations in the 50-100 range?
TheThompsonFive 11 years ago
I've been very happy with my Weller, like this: www.testequipmentdepot.com/weller/solder/wlc100.htm

They usually go on sale around the holidays too. I think I paid about $40 for it.
RBerteig PRO 11 years ago
The gold standard in industry (or at least the bits I've seen in 20-odd years) is Weller. They do everything from free-standing pencil irons to fully regulated and adjustable temperature controlled stations.

We have several around my lab with the oldest over 20 years old.

They all still work.

I'd recommend any of their products, but if you can afford it then get one of the models that is temperature controlled. It will be worth it in the long run, especially if you plan to hand assemble surface mount parts. At that point, you just need enough wattage to heat the tip up quickly, and to hold the set temperature when you add the load of the board and components. Once you get used to it, you'll never go back to a fixed wattage iron.

I don't work for Weller, I simply have used them for a long time.
mrbill 11 years ago
I got a Weller WTCPT station for less than $30 off eBay (just needed a bit of cleaning and a new tip that cost me $5). I've used it for almost ten projects so far, and love it. List price is around $150, so $30 is a great deal.
Super J Dynamite Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Super J Dynamite (member) 11 years ago
I use this station. I don't have any experience with the Weller's, so I can't compare, but I purchased the MPJA station as a replacement for those cheapo Radio Shack irons and it's a substantial improvement on the cumbersome pencil type iron.
Rob Cruickshank PRO 11 years ago
This one is a very good deal:
They are pretty solidly built, and I like them a lot. If you want something really bullet-proof go for the WTCPT. Some wellers that have variable temperature use ceramic hybrid chips that break when the station is dropped. (and yes, I've found this out the hard way) The WTC series uses a nifty magnetic temperature control-you buy different tips that have different magnetic strengths for different temperatures. Like the others say, you won't regret spending the extra bucks for a weller.
vrogy 11 years ago
Thompson, that's the same one I use. It doesn't seem to be intended for small wire, but nothing I do on it is less than 20-22ga, and the largest has been about 9-11ga.
TheThompsonFive 11 years ago
I melted a few components at first, but I do ok with a fine tip and the dial set to 3-1/2 - 4.
pekar Posted 11 years ago. Edited by pekar (member) 11 years ago

I've purchased the Hakko, and have NO complaints.
jamesbastow 11 years ago
Try finding a used Metcal MX-500 or SP-200 on eBay. Best soldering iron you will ever use.
tmod 11 years ago
Check out this thread on head-fi.org. They're pretty high on the Hakko 936, which convinced me to get one. I have no regrets. It's very well built unit that heats up very quickly and the cord is burn proof and very flexible. You can get it on ebay for about $90 US.
tlrobinson Posted 11 years ago. Edited by tlrobinson (member) 11 years ago
I love my Weller WESD51. It was a little on the pricey side (but it's all relative... ~$120) but I figure I'm young and it will last me a long time...
DOOMTROLL 11 years ago

I use this one...its been a real trooper and you get alot for the money
jdoege 11 years ago
Wellers are nice, as are most console irons. However, until you have used a Metcal soldering iron you just don't know how nice a soldering iron can be. They respond to heat sinks much more effectively than ordinary resistive heating elements meaning you can effectively solder to a huge ground plain with no problem, even with a smaller tip. They are quite pricey, however, with a standard model going for around $650 or more and the tips are around $20.
fredboness 11 years ago
A good step up from Radio Hut would be one of the red Wellers. They make a 40W WLC100 and an 80W WLC200.

I have the WLC200 because I do stained glass work and find myself soldering together substantial chunks of lead with 50/50 solder. For general work the WLC100 would be just fine.
twodotone 11 years ago
The stores I go buying electronics sell Weller, Velleman (a belgium manufacturer of quite good/cheap tools) and ERSA.
My choice was ERSA, as that was my first soldering iron I bought with my own money when I was 14.
Now I'm the happy owner of an ERSA soldering station which costed me about 300 Euros, but totally worth it.

this is it
www.ersa.de/en/produkte/loetwerkzeuge/view-article.php?id... Stations
remmelt 11 years ago
I have Ersa's Analog 60. It's a great station.

If you are in the States, I hear good things about Xytronic (www.xytronic-usa.com/). Good price/quality.

The solder of choice is 63/37 but I can't locate that in Germany. I now have 60/38/2, from Stannol. Pretty decent stuff.
jamesbastow 11 years ago

The new Metcal PS-800 is under $200
bjheinley 11 years ago
Anybody have any opinions on the 'cold' solder?
coloradocrim 11 years ago
I wondered about the Cold Heat iron, too. I had a 'soldering gun' and it got too messy and was impractical. It was supposed to be 'safe' because you pull the trigger and it heats up. However, it took so long to re-heat I couldn't use it. Decided to go back to the basic iron from Wal-mart for $10. Works so much better.
fnatmed 11 years ago
Cold heat is a resistive soldering method. It basically crams a good chunk of current between the two parts of the split tip which heats up the joint allowing solder to flow. The tip appears to be a conductive ceramic of some sort, so while it conducts, it doesn't heat up.
sinisaja 6 years ago
I have 50 wats WESD51 Weller soldering iron and it works great. It is temperature controlled soldering iron . Electronic temperature control means you'll always know if the tip of the soldering iron is hot enough for the material you are soldering. It makes your soldering task a whole lot easier. In addition, electronic temperature control allows precise control of the heat level at the tip of soldering iron. This means that you can rest assured that your soldering iron is hot enough and ready for soldering, and at same time you know that it is not too hot to burn some temperature-sensitive components on circuit board.
fantasio4 PRO 6 years ago
for your money a used weller is the best. i used a large scale of stations. all cheap is cheap. a regulated solder iron is a must. if there is no thermal reserve, you have to work very slow.

you need the right thermal power for the right part. for smd low power or a small hot air pen. 15-25 W for normal soldering 50-150 or a heat fan for pipes or larger parts.

the best proof is the flow of your solder material. it is hard to work with low lead solder wire. you need a higher temperature and that means more power.
closed December 2010 [deleted] 6 years ago
Invest in a soldering station:

-50 Watts for fast heating
-LED scale for temperature display (+ regulation)
-Availability of spare tips? Even long-life tips wear out after a while.
-How easily can the tip be exchanged? Are tools required? Can it be exchanged while it is hot?

Cheap soldering station for instance using a TRIAC, and no display, are not much fun to work with.

Over the years I used numerous cheap irons however right now I am more than happy with my soldering station. It is worth it!

And there are good tips for SMD!
50 Watts is OK for SMD- ICs are not soldered using an ultra fine needle tip, all the pins are soldered at once, and then the solder ball is drawn off into one direction.
Fine needle tips also tend to wear out quickly and don't heat up properly.
tetsu-jp * photostream closed [deleted] 6 years ago
solder station box

poppy sees 4 years ago
I'm personally a fan of JBC Tools. I use the T245-A Handpiece along with the JBC Tools CD-1BB Soldering Station. I bought it from these guys for about 380.00 www.janelonline.com/product-p/jbc-tools-cd-1bb.htm

it's a complete gem to work with. no other iron has such a thermal response like jbc tools - you can solder such a large area so fast at a really low temp.

ah, talking about it i think i'm going to buy more 245 tips today. and for those of you guys that think it's pricey, well it is - but these stations are built to last! and these guys seem to have the best prices online not to mention i've seen they will give you a free demo! pretty cool.

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