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Thread: Soldering Iron

  1. #1
    Senior Member Andaho's Avatar
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    Soldering Iron

    Any electronics engineers here that can giveme a recommendation for a soldering iron?

    Here are my requirements:

    I'm not a highly experienced solderer, but I do like to have a go at fixing some surface mount soldering. Wether it's work related e.g. soldering wires onto contacts to retreive data from a crushed USB pen drive, or hobby e.g. console mod-chipping or pulling apart and rebuilding my £10 remote control helicopter lol.

    I currently have a low heat 11W iron that cost around £15 but I have in the past misused it by burning holes in plastic and the tip is in a mess. I figured rather than buy a new tip (and I wouldn't even know which tip would be compatible for this iron) , It's a good time for me to buy an adjustable iron - so I can have low heat for delicate surface mount, and high heat for heavy soldering.

    Can anyone recommend me an iron?

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    Re: Soldering Iron

    You can sometimes get reasonably priced Metcal irons on ebay, they automatically set the temperature depending on the type of tip you fit.

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    Re: Soldering Iron

    Andaho

    Maplin currently have these quite cheap:

    Maplin > 48W LCD Screen Solder Station

    Will allow you to tweak tip temperature quite nicely.


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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Re: Soldering Iron

    the main advantage of an adjustable temp iron, is for when your soldering different materials.

    I'd go for a £~20 antec soldering iron, 10-15W range. Will do you fine, and are the staple of uni engie labs all over.
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    Re: Soldering Iron

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    the main advantage of an adjustable temp iron, is for when your soldering different materials.

    I'd go for a £~20 antec soldering iron, 10-15W range. Will do you fine, and are the staple of uni engie labs all over.
    LOL I searching google to see where I could buy one, and in typing "antec soldering iron" this page is the first result on google already!

    It sounds good, so where can I buy one?

    EDIT-----

    nevermind... I found them... it's Antex
    Last edited by Andaho; 22-11-2007 at 12:55 PM.

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    Re: Soldering Iron

    searching on ebay I like the price of the antex soldering irons... how does wattage effect heat? e.g. for surface mount soldering will an 18W or 25W be ok?

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    Re: Soldering Iron

    You want an Antex XS25. About £15 from Maplin. If you want to safely solder electronic components, and have a versatile soldering iron, then there is no other IMHO.

    I have two!
    Try to make each and every day the best it can be.

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    Re: Soldering Iron

    A fixed temp iron is fine for 'large scale' soldering - ie convential components, but a variable temperature iron is better for surface mount devices. Obviously you need a very fine bit, (and a magnifying glass and a steady hand!) You can do it with a fixed temp iron, but there is always the danger of over-heating the device you are soldering. A variable temperature iron will be more versatile for the variety of jobs you described.

    Antex do make variable temperature irons (strictly speaking temerature controlled irons - they keep the tip at a constant defined temperature) - another well known make is Weller.
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    Re: Soldering Iron

    I decided to buy an Antex 18W CSwith an additional 0.5mm pointed tip and a 25W XS from ebay, won them for only a little over £10 each

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    Re: Soldering Iron

    but there is always the danger of over-heating the device you are soldering
    Eh???? YOu shouldnt be touching the device with the iron anyway, unless you are a poor solderer.

    Temp controlled irons are best for surface mount.
    Basically touch the wire with the iron and let the solder flow to the joint. Easy.

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    Re: Soldering Iron

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen View Post
    Eh???? YOu shouldnt be touching the device with the iron anyway, unless you are a poor solderer.

    Temp controlled irons are best for surface mount.
    Basically touch the wire with the iron and let the solder flow to the joint. Easy.
    No - but if the iron is held on the connection point for too long heat travels up the wire to the device! Surface mount devices have VERY short leads. And that can happen if the iron is too cold (because it takes longer to melt the solder) or too hot (more heat than required) In production environments very hot air is sometimes used to melt all the pads at once but the exposure to the heat is short enough not to damage the device or cct board. Not an option for use at home though - don't get out the Black and Decker hat air gun!
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