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Soldering Iron


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Basically I'm in the market for a soldering iron/station and I figured I'd troll you guys for a little info. Really just need to fix minor problems, cable shorts, replace leds, minor mods/fixes to consumer electronics. Perhaps some mad science if it piques my interest. I'd prefer something safe to do minor work on PCBs where possible.


Question is, do I need a thermal controlled iron, or should I just grab any old low wattage iron?


Any other advice or recommendations would be equally helpful. Couldn't really think of a better section on the forums for this, support maybe? I dunno, move it if it bothers you lol.

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At home I have normal, 15W and 45W common low quality irons, with no stand and no thermal regulation, price was about 10-20$ if I remember correctly. 45W one has big tip so mostly I use 15W one. They work fine and are expendable, I don't even bother to clean them. It gets kinda messy when you have to pull outlet cable along with iron around. If you can afford, you should get one with controls and those ones usually come with a nice stand where you can put a sponge in it for wiping iron and you aren't constantly afraid to burn something or set something on fire. Those kind my college uses and I'd say it's worth the price (I think they were around 150-200$).

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weller is #1 brand for irons.


the sears brand ones are pretty good too.


if you're just doing electronics work you prob. don't need anything bigger than 40w, and a 15w would probably be safer to use for a novice =D

if you have to work with nyleze or other nylon-coated wire you will need a 750-800 degree tip and at least 60w iron to burn off the coating though.. that's the sort of wire that electro-magnets are usually wrapped with. you CAN use a hotter iron like this for PCB but you have to be very fast ( and careful ) so as not to burn them up lol.



you SHOULD clean them tho - you can't make clean solder joints with a dirty iron, and they last much longer if taken care of.


at work i scrape dust off of a sal-ammoniac block into a cup of water and dip my iron into it to clean it instead of using a sponge - works just as well and is faster.

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