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Old 11-15-2013, 01:32 AM   #1
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Default What's a good budget solder gun?

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Old 11-15-2013, 08:05 AM   #2
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what are you trying to solder? I can't imagine using a gun style woruld work for anything but large gauge wires without the need for presicion.

I use the WLC100, would probably like the WES51.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:41 AM   #3
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I've used the WLC100 and the SP23LK. Both have worked for me, but i haven't done more than one or two connections on say a megasquirt. Mostly just open wiring work.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:10 AM   #4
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Depends on the use.

I have a 40 year old Weller gun that is ideal for wiring harnesses, but would absolutely suck for doing PCB work. You need a pencil type for that.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
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The weller wes51 is my standard answer for "what's the best entry level iron?" It's durable, has a good tip selection, and is sufficiently versatile to do both delicate PCB work as well as splicing big heavy wires together in a harness.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:22 AM   #6
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WES51 here, had it for 4 years, still super-awesome.
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Old 11-15-2013, 07:18 PM   #7
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While I'm sure the Weller WES51 is a great entry level gun, if you're on a serious budget and have a Frys in your area, this is a very budget friendly alternative:

FRYS.com | VELLEMAN


Had mine for 8 years, still works great. Not as precise as a super fine tip iron, but there are ways to work around it once you build up your skills.
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:01 PM   #8
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At the cheapest level, there is the 20/40A Radioshack iron:

Soldering Work Station with Dual-Powered Iron : Soldering Tools & Supplies | RadioShack.com

The next logical step IMO, is the Hakko 888:

Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station FX-888D FX-888 - Amazon.com Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station FX-888D FX-888 - Amazon.com

The Hakko is funny looking, but it is the best bang for your buck iron out there.
EDIT:
Actually I take that back. Now that they changed the 888 to no longer have a ****, it loses some points. So idk.

Last edited by Full_Tilt_Boogie; 11-15-2013 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:02 AM   #9
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that radio shack unit is shitty because you cant get tips for it. What works it cutting off that iron and swapping in the $7 45-watt they sell.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:20 AM   #10
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It seems like every time we have a soldering iron thread, people post things other than the Weller WES-51, and I really can't understand why.

I am a broadcast engineer. I solder a lot. I have traveled the country and visited a lot of different radio stations doing installations and service work, and so I have also borrowed a lot of different irons from people.

The tip is the single most important part of the iron. Not just shape and size and ease of availability, but also the quality of the plating, the durability, how well solder flows onto it, etc.

There are many irons which are substantially better than the WES-51, but they all have prices with a comma in them. At the price range we are talking about, there is simply no alternative.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:37 AM   #11
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$90 is still hard to swallow for a lot of people.
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Old 11-18-2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:25 PM   #13
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that looks really nice for the price.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soviet View Post
$90 is still hard to swallow for a lot of people.
In general, I tend to assume that Miata owners have no problem swallowing.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:23 PM   #15
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But in that case money is earned, not spent
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
that radio shack unit is shitty because you cant get tips for it. What works it cutting off that iron and swapping in the $7 45-watt they sell.
Ive gotten replacement tips for mine in the past, but maybe that has changed recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
The tip is the single most important part of the iron. Not just shape and size and ease of availability, but also the quality of the plating, the durability, how well solder flows onto it, etc.
Hakko offers quite a few tips:


Ive never used any super expensive irons, but the Hakko is the nicest Ive used.
Its also recommended by Dave at EEVBlog

What is unfortunate is that it went from this:


to this:


The digital readout is gimmicky and the membrane buttons are super lame. I wish they had just stuck with a ****.
Attached Thumbnails
What's a good budget solder gun?-hakko-tip-options.jpg   What's a good budget solder gun?-fx888_lrg.jpg   What's a good budget solder gun?-fx888d-23by-hak-2.jpg  
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:17 PM   #17
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This one is still my favorite in the under $100 category. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707

Granted I havent soldered as much as Joe, I liked this one just as much as the weller I used and the units with a comma in the price that they have in the ece lab at school. The tip that comes with it is pretty solid, I believe it uses either weller or hakko tips, I cant remember.

Wait isnt the op about soldering guns? If I need more heat than 50w, I'm probably just going to use the propane torch.


And another thing, **** soldering sponges, brass scrubbies are the way to go.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Full_Tilt_Boogie View Post
Ive gotten replacement tips for mine in the past, but maybe that has changed recently.


The digital readout is gimmicky and the membrane buttons are super lame. I wish they had just stuck with a ****.
You have to order the tips from Radioshack and pick them up in store.

Yup. Black color option would also be nice, I'd buy another one immediately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
This one is still my favorite in the under $100 category. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707

Granted I havent soldered as much as Joe, I liked this one just as much as the weller I used and the units with a comma in the price that they have in the ece lab at school. The tip that comes with it is pretty solid, I believe it uses either weller or hakko tips, I cant remember.

Wait isnt the op about soldering guns? If I need more heat than 50w, I'm probably just going to use the propane torch.


And another thing, **** soldering sponges, brass scrubbies are the way to go.
I'm pretty sure that's a knock off Hakko 936.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tw34k View Post
I'm pretty sure that's a knock off Hakko 936.
Beat me to it.

Id almost buy one except I wouldnt want to support sprakrape.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:14 PM   #20
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Something that can do at least 10 watt, 20 watt,30,40, and 50 watt intervals. I find 20 watts to be perfect for soldering most stuff however i like the 40-50 max settings since it heats up quicker.

I'm using one from radio shack, it has the watt dial indicator on the handle. Very compact and so far 2 years, probably solder once or twice a month on average, an hr-2 hour each time. No issues yet.

If i was to do this more often i'd definitely look for something bigger and more professional but for my occasional soldering of boards here and there it works great.
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