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Old 03-27-2016, 11:21 PM   #1
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Default Soldering iron choice?

Okay, so my Weller TC202 shit the bed. Looks like the thermal switch is out and it's $33 or so to get another. Considering I bought it a decade ago for a princely $10 bill at the pawn shop, I can't bitch all that much.

Right now I'm looking for $100 or less, something entry level to mid range-ish. This is what I've come up with.

FRYS.com*|*AOYUE

This is one of my big finalists, it mentions closed loop temp regulation which is important to me.

FRYS.com*|*American Hakko

This is towards the higher end. Assuming it's closed loop. Has feature like a lock code for temp I don't think I'll use.

FRYS.com*|*AOYUE

This is about the same price says it has closed loop temp feedback. Also uses Hakko tips which is nice.

The Weller stations seem to be at $110-150 at Frys until you go high end. Any reason I should pay the premium besides the name? My goal is high value and I'm willing to pay a few bucks more for quality but I am a hobbyist who definitely uses their gear but not a pro. Application is PCBs, car wiring and likely some tube amplifiers.
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:23 PM   #2
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Amazon.com: Weller P2KC Professional Self-igniting Cordless Butane Soldering Iron Kit: Home Improvement

I use that guy because works awesome for automotive work which is mainly what I solder.
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:15 AM   #3
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Hakko. that's what I'd be buying if I was in the market for a new one. But, I find lots of free tools that get sent to the trash at work. Got a weller WTCPT last year that I really like. South bend lathe, Bridgeport mill, couple older snap on chests, oscilloscopes, more files wrenches and screwdrivers than you could shake a stick at.
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:02 AM   #4
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What'd you hammer out for a scope? I have a beat ass 932A currently.
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:10 AM   #5
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I couldn't even tell you the model number off the top of my head. it's some 80's ancient thing. Ive actually never used it, just found it so why not have it on hand
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:29 AM   #6
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Trade you a fith of whiskey for it, how I got my last one.
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:50 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikemtb999 View Post
Amazon.com: Weller P2KC Professional Self-igniting Cordless Butane Soldering Iron Kit: Home Improvement

I use that guy because works awesome for automotive work which is mainly what I solder.
I have the same one. I LOVE it. But it's going to be way too hot if you are doing anything circuit board related
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:05 AM   #8
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I have a TrakPower TK-950 digital iron for my RC car work. Not conducive to auto work due to its portability problems. But it has no issues with the 10 and 12 gauge wires I use on the RC cars.

Amazon.com: Trakpower TK950 Soldering Station: Toys & Games
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:46 AM   #9
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Screw those mini irons... I use sievert matic or the old timer hickery handle ones. And yes it works great on automotive stuff too.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Screw those mini irons... I use sievert matic or the old timer hickery handle ones. And yes it works great on automotive stuff too.
Not my use case but my god that is sexy.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:04 PM   #11
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Ended up bucking up for the Hakko. So far so good, I haven't even adjusted the temp up or down though. The tip options for it are huge even with what Frys has in stock. What I don't like so far is that the iron holder is separate from the power unit, I think I'd have rather ended up with something integral since it seems like I'm always soldering in weird spots.

The WTCPT you have uses the same iron as the one I had. I got 10 years of hard use out of it. If you decide you need some tips or you need some parts for yours, I have a few things laying around for it. The thermostatic switch seems toast but the element is still good and that's a $35 part by its self.
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:45 PM   #12
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The hakko 880D is one of the most highly recommended out there. I'm upgrading to one eventually...I currently have a Weller with an analog temperature knob.
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:20 PM   #13
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The hakko 880D is one of the most highly recommended out there. I'm upgrading to one eventually...I currently have a Weller with an analog temperature knob.
So far I like it, the one thing I'll say is if you're using a TC201 iron you'll think it's too thin initially. I'm super edgy about choking up too far on it tbh.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:42 PM   #14
 
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Hoping to order a new Metcal at work will full desoldering station.... Tired of using the dinky Wellers we have...
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:16 PM   #15
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use this weller at work, digital control is super nice

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Old 04-04-2016, 06:26 PM   #16
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what kind of work do you guys do with them?

I really don't use one often at work, home use I could get by with a $20 pencil. For me it's just something nice to have around, and it was free. I'll do some minor electronic work once in a great while, the rest is simple stuff you could handle with a crappy iron.
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:50 PM   #17
 
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We have to assemble some small through hole components onto boards and then conformal coat them for a customer. I had to go to a class and get certified for soldering both through hole and surface mount, but we only use through hole here.
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:57 PM   #18
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I used to have a great soldering iron that died a couple years back. It made soldering well a piece of cake... I really miss it. Sub'ing for an affordable replacement.
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Old 04-20-2016, 02:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OffshoreDrilling View Post
what kind of work do you guys do with them?

I really don't use one often at work, home use I could get by with a $20 pencil. For me it's just something nice to have around, and it was free. I'll do some minor electronic work once in a great while, the rest is simple stuff you could handle with a crappy iron.
Quite frankly I tend to flex the fuck out of mine. That means I'll end up doing stuff like circuit boards and car wiring.

I do want to get into SMD more. Any of you have experience with QFN-40s? I have a few AD9852s here I would eventually like to make an oscillator out of.
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