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Solder station mainly for electronics - recommendations sought

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James Harris

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Feb 20, 2024, 11:28:20 AMFeb 20
to
My gas soldering iron has sprung a leak and I need to replace it but it
turns out that the range of choices these days is huge so I'd appreciate
some recommendations - either on specific products or on what to look
out for.

Usage would be occasional, mainly on PCBs and Veroboards.

My preference is a cheap temperature-controlled soldering station. But
there are still very many to choose from at astonishingly low prices.

Best match I've seen so far is what this person explained (though the
videos are lengthy):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIab66EgfHM (936)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrUjhFUm8OM (936D, i.e. digital)

He spoke about things such as temperature control, temperature
calibration, tip grounding and inexpensive replaceable low-voltage irons
with standard fittings. But the reviews are a bit old now and I see
Yihua model numbers up to 939 - later, improved models?

Fast heat up, power efficiency and auto off would be nice to have to
keep running costs down.

On modern 936Ds the digital displays seem to have been replaced by a
dial - which would be OK if the temperature were easy to set accurately
and calibrate, and still well regulated.
For example, here's one on Ebay for £23:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/256365970892.

But those are just examples. The basic query is: What would be a
low-price but reasonably good soldering station to go for?

As I say, recommendations would be most welcome!


--
James Harris

Ralph Mowery

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Feb 20, 2024, 11:55:20 AMFeb 20
to
In article <ur2juu$2isdf$1...@dont-email.me>, james.h...@gmail.com
says...
>
> My gas soldering iron has sprung a leak and I need to replace it but it
> turns out that the range of choices these days is huge so I'd appreciate
> some recommendations - either on specific products or on what to look
> out for.
>
> Usage would be occasional, mainly on PCBs and Veroboards.
>
> My preference is a cheap temperature-controlled soldering station. But
> there are still very many to choose from at astonishingly low prices.
>
> Best match I've seen so far is what this person explained (though the
> videos are lengthy):
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIab66EgfHM (936)
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrUjhFUm8OM (936D, i.e. digital)
>
> He spoke about things such as temperature control, temperature
> calibration, tip grounding and inexpensive replaceable low-voltage irons
> with standard fittings. But the reviews are a bit old now and I see
> Yihua model numbers up to 939 - later, improved models?
>
> Fast heat up, power efficiency and auto off would be nice to have to
> keep running costs down.
>
>
>

If you are only going to use it on PC boards and maybe once every 2
weeks or less I would spend a little more and get a hot air rework
station. They are on Amazon for about 60 pounds ( think that is what
that funny looking L is) . About twice the price of just the soldering
iron but you all so get a hot air gun that can be used on the SMD and
to install the heat shrink tubing. I have had one for about 10 years.
I do have a soldering gun for higher heat if I need it. The soldering
irons do heat up very fast compaired to the Weller irons I have used.

John Larkin

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Feb 20, 2024, 12:52:06 PMFeb 20
to
The Metcal units are fabulous. You can find used ones on ebay, and
there are 2nd source tips now. The tips last forever.

Metcal+Mantis really works.

Theo

unread,
Feb 20, 2024, 1:20:06 PMFeb 20
to
In uk.d-i-y John Larkin <j...@997pothill.com> wrote:
> The Metcal units are fabulous. You can find used ones on ebay, and
> there are 2nd source tips now. The tips last forever.
>
> Metcal+Mantis really works.

+1. They use RF heating rather than a heating element. Probably beyond the
OP's budget but second hand might work. I've also seen projects to make a
DIY solder station (RF generator) to use the official handpiece and tips.

Bit surprised there aren't any knockoff Chinese clone RF soldering irons by
now. I see Hakko has the FX-100 series but I had a brief look around and
didn't see any no-brand RF irons.

Theo

Jan Panteltje

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Feb 21, 2024, 1:15:55 AMFeb 21
to
On a sunny day (Tue, 20 Feb 2024 16:28:14 +0000) it happened James Harris
<james.h...@gmail.com> wrote in <ur2juu$2isdf$1...@dont-email.me>:

>My gas soldering iron has sprung a leak and I need to replace it but it
>turns out that the range of choices these days is huge so I'd appreciate
>some recommendations - either on specific products or on what to look
>out for.
>
>Usage would be occasional, mainly on PCBs and Veroboards.

I have been using this now for 20 years or more:
https://panteltje.nl/pub/soldering_iron_LCD_display_IMG_5456.JPG
probably no longer available, 3 adjustable temperature presets.

Never failed, tips last many years too, just 2 new tips in all those days.
Used a lot, last time was 2 days ago.


Phil Hobbs

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Feb 21, 2024, 8:40:18 AMFeb 21
to
Looks like the original sponge, too. ;)

Cheers

Phil Hobbs



--
Dr Philip C D Hobbs Principal Consultant ElectroOptical Innovations LLC /
Hobbs ElectroOptics Optics, Electro-optics, Photonics, Analog Electronics

ehsjr

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Feb 21, 2024, 2:59:43 PMFeb 21
to
Until you really need a high-end soldering station, this $12.98
kit on Amazon will work fine for you:
https://www.amazon.com/Liouhoum-Auto-Sleep-Adjustable-Temperature-Thermostatic/dp/B08PZBPXLZ

LCD, adjustable temp, fast heat up etc.

There are others similar to that one, too, that
should be ok.

Ed

Harry Bloomfield Esq

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Feb 21, 2024, 5:11:52 PMFeb 21
to
On 21/02/2024 19:59, ehsjr wrote:
> Until you really need a high-end soldering station, this $12.98
> kit on Amazon will work fine for you:
> https://www.amazon.com/Liouhoum-Auto-Sleep-Adjustable-Temperature-Thermostatic/dp/B08PZBPXLZ
>
> LCD, adjustable temp, fast heat up etc.

No good in the UK - it's 110v, UK is 240v.

ehsjr

unread,
Feb 21, 2024, 10:53:54 PMFeb 21
to
Good observation. But consider the last line of my
post which said:
"There are others similar to that one, too, that
should be ok."

The point is that for only occasional use as the OP
described, there's no need for anything top of the
line or high end. Get a cheap one that will do the
job and use it until you need something a lot better.
It'll be a big upgrade from a gas soldering iron he's
been using.

Anyway, check out ebay.co.uk - you'll find many to
choose from similar to the one I mentioned.

Ed

James Harris

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Feb 22, 2024, 3:54:08 AMFeb 22
to
On 20/02/2024 18:19, Theo wrote:
> In uk.d-i-y John Larkin <j...@997pothill.com> wrote:
>> The Metcal units are fabulous. You can find used ones on ebay, and
>> there are 2nd source tips now. The tips last forever.
>>
>> Metcal+Mantis really works.
>
> +1. They use RF heating rather than a heating element. Probably beyond the
> OP's budget but second hand might work. I've also seen projects to make a
> DIY solder station (RF generator) to use the official handpiece and tips.

Thanks for the feedback from everyone. I eventually went for a 45W 937D
like this one:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Soldering-Station-Welder-Rework-Repairing/dp/B074Z84TDL

Amazon UK show it as £46 but some of the sellers on Ebay were selling at
£29 so I bought one of those.

Apparently a few years ago the 60W 937D+ could be bought off Ebay for
the same price, but no longer.

In case it helps someone else, here are some others worth mentioning.

https://cpc.farnell.com/multicomp-pro/mp740841-uk/soldering-station-with-holder/dp/SD02936
is at £18 + postage but that may be an economy too far.

https://cpc.farnell.com/multicomp-pro/mp740842-uk/soldering-station-lcd-with-holder/dp/SD02937
at £26 + postage

For some stations it may be the power rather than the temperature which
is regulated, such as for some even cheaper ZD-99s as mentioned at
https://chinese-electronics-products-tested.blogspot.com/p/zd-99-soldering-station-tested.html,
though they still sound good value.


--
James Harris


James Harris

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Feb 22, 2024, 4:34:32 AMFeb 22
to
On 22/02/2024 03:53, ehsjr wrote:
> On 2/21/2024 5:11 PM, Harry Bloomfield Esq wrote:
>> On 21/02/2024 19:59, ehsjr wrote:
>>> Until you really need a high-end soldering station, this $12.98
>>> kit on Amazon will work fine for you:
>>> https://www.amazon.com/Liouhoum-Auto-Sleep-Adjustable-Temperature-Thermostatic/dp/B08PZBPXLZ
>>>
>>> LCD, adjustable temp, fast heat up etc.
>>
>> No good in the UK - it's 110v, UK is 240v.
>
> Good observation. But consider the last line of my
> post which said:
> "There are others similar to that one, too, that
> should be ok."

Yes, recommendations from elsewhere were fine. I can translate!

>
> The point is that for only occasional use as the OP
> described, there's no need for anything top of the
> line or high end.  Get a cheap one that will do the
> job and use it until you need something a lot better.
> It'll be a big upgrade from a gas soldering iron he's
> been using.

Am curious at this. Why would such an electric iron be an upgrade from a
gas one? Until it sprang a leak by gas iron was very convenient and
heated up quickly.


--
James Harris


whisky-dave

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Feb 22, 2024, 7:38:04 AMFeb 22
to
Nah no problem you'd just get twice the power in the UK ;-D

I can't advise on a cheap one we use the antex 690D ~£180.
Which are really good. We have 45 of them.
Safety is a highinportant the silicon lead less likely to melt if the student rests the iron on it.
And even if they do and it shorts it's just 24V.
The only accidnet we've had was when one studetn switched it on waited five mins and then grabbed the tip to see if it was hot enough yet.
And at ~350C he soon found out ti was hot enough to hurt.
which is why I have these safety notices.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/PUB59YC6Dh81LmcL7

Seen a few cheapies and the actual lead can be cheap meaning not very flexable and twists or won't twist, as you want it to
or the handle gets warm.

Theo

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Feb 22, 2024, 8:31:25 AMFeb 22
to
In uk.d-i-y James Harris <james.h...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Am curious at this. Why would such an electric iron be an upgrade from a
> gas one? Until it sprang a leak by gas iron was very convenient and
> heated up quickly.

I don't use a gas iron, but the main thing is temperature control. The
basic irons, and maybe the gas too, are power limited - the iron puts out
maybe 25W no matter what it's doing. With a temp controlled iron the tip
can sense if the tip is too hot or cold and adjust the power (which can
usually go a lot higher when called for - 60W+).

eg if you're trying to solder a big metal thing, when you touch it the iron
will suddenly go cold and the solder will solidify too fast. With a temp
controlled iron it'll spot that and ramp up the power so that it keeps the
temperature more constant. Result is you make better solder joints because
you use the solder at its appropriate working temperature, rather than cold
joints because the solder didn't melt properly or the flux didn't activate.

Theo
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