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Author Topic: recommend soldering station  (Read 13047 times)
KB2HUK
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« on: July 29, 2012, 12:44:59 PM »

Hello, I am ordering my 1st electronic kit .  I need a recommendation for a good soldering station to get so I can put together some kits . Any Ideas ?  How much power or heat will be needed ? preferred soldering iron end point or screwdriver etc.everything I now have is too big and used mostly outside .   thanks  John kb2huk
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AC5UP
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2012, 02:14:51 PM »

You can pick this up at your local Sears for $10 less than RadShag. Same item. Read the reviews at the link below:

http://www.sears.com/cooper-tools-soldering-station/p-00954054000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1#reviewsWrap

If money is an issue a 25 watt pencil iron will do what you need for about $15 or less, but a soldering station like this is more flexible without going overboard on bells & whistles. Should last many years with the tips easy to find. Poke around the Sears site and you'll be amazed at the variety of specialized soldering and electronic tools available through the web site with free shipping to your local store.....    Cheesy

BTW: What's the deal with solder prices? Kester 44 is like $30 and up for a one pound spool. $40-ish at Sears? Used to be $10 retail, even less at Hamfests and swaps. Woof!

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=kester%2044&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Akester%2044&page=1
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KE3WD
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2012, 02:20:55 PM »

That Sears unit costs 50 bucks.

You can get the same thing from MCM Electronics for $25. 

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/TENMA-21-7945-/21-7945

OR -- that 50 bucks at MCM can get you a full-featured adjustable 60 Watt Soldering Station with Digital Readout and many other features: 

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/TENMA-21-10115-/21-10115

•High contrast LCD
•Lead free and ROHS compliant
•Temperature range: 392~896°F
•Temperature lockout
•Three programmable presets
•F or C selectable readout
•ESD safe
•Lightweight iron handle
•Long-life ceramic heating element (Replacement iron assembly: 21-11435)
•Includes one tip and soldering stand with cleaning sponge


TENMA brand of tools and test equipment from MCM Electronics has proven to be of very good quality and extremely cost-effective on my test benches over the years, where they perform day in and day out. 


73
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AC5UP
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2012, 02:39:23 PM »

If this looks like the same thing:

http://www.amazon.com/Stahl-Tools-Variable-Temperature-Soldering/dp/B0029N70WM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343597082&sr=8-1&keywords=soldering+station

The price is even better.    (but the reviews for the Stahl are much less positive compared to the Weller)

On the Sears site you won't get exact pricing unless you give it your Zip code. Otherwise it defaults to Wasilla, Alaska or some other worst-case location....
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KB2HUK
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2012, 04:36:52 PM »

I just ordered the Tenma Part # 21-10115  that was suggested for 50 bucks .  It looked well made and I see that Tenma makes all kinds of things for the electronic community . I have a question , how do I determine what temp to set it for ? thank you John kb2huk 
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KF6QEX
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2012, 09:44:08 PM »

Quote
how do I determine what temp to set it for
Short answer: Around 600 F

Plenty of fun here (RE: Soldering Iron Temperature ) :
http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,74427.0.html
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KA4POL
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2012, 09:47:24 PM »

I was going to give a recommendation for a Weller soldering station. As facts are different I hope you also can exchange tips with your iron. Anyway see http://www.astro.umd.edu/~harris/docs/WellerSoldering.pdf for some interesting information. The temperature setting should be around 750° F according to that writeup.
Let me add, it's good to see a new member of the home brewing community, Welcome!
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KE3WD
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2012, 01:44:58 PM »

MCM sells a complete line of tips for their Tenma soldering stations, so that's not a problem. 

I've dealt with the company since the early 80s and have always enjoyed great customer service and satisfaction with what they sell.  (Or I would not have recommended em!) 

600 degrees F is a good starting point, don't be afraid of 650 and if what you are soldering is larger than "normal" you can go to 700.  For things like the dreaded PL-259 plug, don't be afraid to turn it up all the way.  (and don't try to solder one outdoors if you can possibly avoid it, as the wind, even a slight breeze, can cool the darn plug faster than you can heat it!) 

If you do find any problem with your new soldering station once you receive it, do not hesitate to contact MCM Customer Service, they make good on their stuff, at least, that's been my experience, but over the years I must say that we have not experienced more than a couple of orders where something was in need of calling them on it. 

I replaced all the aging and expensive Fluke DMM's on all three benches with TENMA DMMs almost ten years or so ago, they are still turning in yeoman's service every day.  Good stuff, good savings.  I do have a couple of more expensive meters around, we keep them calibrated and save those for the heavy hitting cal work.  For every day use at the troubleshooting benches, those Tenmas rock. 

I also use their Soldering Stations and Desoldering Stations as well. 

This stuff is very likely the same stuff used in the "orient" countries where much of the electronics we use today are manufactured. 


73
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K0IZ
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2012, 02:52:52 PM »

Buy several sizes of tips.  I recommend either a .50mm or .80mm for the real small stuff, about 1.6mm for most things, and 3.2mm for larger stuff (vintage equipment, PL259's, etc).  The 3.2 has enough mass to heat up the larger joints.  Re solder, I have always used 60/40 (60% tin, 40% lead), but have recently switched to 63/37.  Do not, ever, use lead free or acid core.  Buy several sizes as you need it (.015 or .020 or so for real small stuff, probably .032 for medium, and .050 or .062 for the bigger stuff.
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W9GB
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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 07:29:29 PM »

John -

What would you like.  I have been repairing soldering stations since 1975.
I am sure I have a high quality temperature controlled station (restored), in your price range, at the same price or cheaper than the what as been offered so far.  

Weller: TCP series, WSD81, WD1 w/iron, EC1002, WLC100;  
Haako 936, might have a Pace unit.

BTW, my restorations look new, unless I comment on cosmetic issues with the unit I received.
Quote
MCM sells a complete line of tips for their Tenma soldering stations, so that's not a problem.  
I have repaired a few MCM Tenma stations .... OEM Solomon (Taiwan) units.  Limited tip selection, no replacement heaters, if iron fails you have to buy an entire new iron.  Solomon won't ship replacement parts to USA, and MCM refuses to deal in their repair parts (heater).
==
The 650 degree is a good recommendation, with Weller TCP series use the "7" tips (700 F).
Temperature setting does depend on:  SOLDER Formulation and TIP Profile/Size.

I set ALL my solder stations at 700 degree as default.

w9gb
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 07:42:55 PM by W9GB » Logged
KA4POL
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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2012, 10:04:40 PM »

What would you like.  I have been repairing soldering stations since 1975.
I am sure I have a high quality temperature controlled station (restored), in your price range, at the same price or cheaper than the what as been offered so far.  

He already ordered a station  Sad
Good homebrewer, he couldn't wait to get started.
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KA5IPF
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2012, 10:58:25 AM »

FWIW

I have been using the same Weller EC-1000, EC-1201 handle, and ETA tip for about 20 years now. The tip gets changed about every 3 years ($4). It's on 8-10 hours a day 5-6 days a week. I also have a EC-3000 with the EC-1301 handle for fine work. It's on as needed. I also use a Pace MBT 101 desoldering station with the SX70 desoldering handle and extended nose .040 tip. It's on the same hours as the EC-1000. My only complaint is the $10 tip for the Pace needs to be changed about once a month. Erosion destroys it from the inside and the hole grows large. All are set at 750 deg.

Years ago I changed from the wet sponge tip cleaner to the gold brillo pad type and that is what's responsible for the long tip life on the Weller. My opinion.

With the Weller track record you would be hard pressed to get me to try anything else for soldering.   

Clif
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W9GB
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2012, 03:35:12 PM »

Quote from: KA4POL
He already ordered a Tenma station.
Here is the Solomon web page (SORNY ROONG INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD.), Taiwan --
that is OEM source for many Tenma models.
Solder stations
http://soldering.com.tw/soldering-station.htm

AOYUE is the big China clone mfg. of Hakko stations.
The Chinese ceramic heaters don't hold up as well as the Japanese mfg. Hakko part.
Aoyue now ships a spare heater with new stations -- easier than improving quality?
http://www.aoyue.com/en/Product.asp?BigClassName=THROUGH-HOLE%20SOLDERING

5 months before Tom Hammond, N0SS (SK) passed away (Aug. 2011), he finished these schematics and PC board layouts of the popular Hakko 936 ... so that anyone can repair.
http://www.n0ss.net/hakko_936_schem-pcb_&_mod_v1r7.pdf

Quote from: KA5IPF
Years ago I changed from the wet sponge tip cleaner to the gold brillo pad type and that is what's responsible for the long tip life on the Weller. My opinion.
Clif -

You were "ahead of the curve" ... Hakko switched to gold Brillo pads about 10 years ago.
Weller uses them for their newest stations (e.g. WD-1) for past five years.  :-)

I have found that over 70% of my solder station repairs are attributed to operator abuse (no training, factory floor vandelism, lack of proper training, Burn up tips due to excessive heat settings, illiteracy --> can not read English instructions).

The remaining 30% are:  age related (heater/switch failures; cable wear out) and a handful of power surges, faulty OEM parts, improper original assembly.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 04:28:59 PM by W9GB » Logged
KE3WD
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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2012, 05:19:11 PM »

Wellers are, of course, excellent stuff. 

I still use one that I bought many years ago and love the fact that parts, etc. are still readily available, the knowledge base on the Weller irons is extensive, etc. etc. etc.

But a word about the Tenma stations is in order.  I have found that the purchase price of them is typically so low, plus the fact that we get at least a year or two good service out of them, if and when they do need a part that is not available, the savvy technician can just toss the entire soldering station and order another and still be monetarily ahead of the game!  YMMV


73
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WB6DGN
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2012, 01:44:32 AM »

The thing that I don't like about the "offshore" soldering stations is that, instead of tip mass, they depend on the quick response of that ceramic heater to keep the tip temperature nearly constant during high thermal demand.  Theoretically that's great but practically, at least in my experience, it just doesn't seem to work like it should.  The Weller PT series tips still have adequate mass to do the job even with their 42 watt heater in the TC-201 handpiece.  I just bought a Metcal that is supposed to be the best of both worlds but, as yet, I haven't had the opportunity to really put it through its paces to see whether they've got it right.  It does go from room temperature to rated temperature VERY quickly (<10 sec.) but, again, that's just because of the very low tip mass.  Now, whether it can maintain that performance under actual soldering conditions remains to be seen.
Tom
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