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Author Topic: soldering iron recommendations  (Read 9293 times)
PATRICKKOMAR
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« on: March 20, 2013, 01:43:33 PM »

I have to install PL-259's on some belden 9914 RG8 coax and I know my little 35 watt iron isn't going to work, so how big of iron should I be looking for, and do you have a favorite that's still in production you would recommend?
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K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 02:15:08 PM »


Weller SP120.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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N4CR
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 02:20:59 PM »

I bought one of the IL6 for the very occasional work that I do that needs to dump big heat fast. It works fine and I've used it a dozen or more times over the years I've had it.

http://www.mcgillswarehouse.com/solderingirons

Hard to go wrong at 13.69 + shipping.

I suspect the IL3 would be adequate for PL-259 soldering at 8.82 + shipping.

I can see buying a nice one if I used it every day, but not to store it in a drawer for months or years at a time...
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73 de N4CR, Phil

We are Coulomb of Borg. Resistance is futile. Voltage, on the other hand, has potential.
K2OWK
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 02:35:43 PM »

An iron or gun at 100 watts should do the trick. I use a dual heat Weller.

73s

K2OWK
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W9PMZ
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 02:57:52 PM »

Metcal.

Get the correct tips and you will never need another.

73,

Carl - W9PMZ
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K1CJS
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 07:03:49 PM »

An iron or gun at 100 watts should do the trick. I use a dual heat Weller.

A gun will work properly only if it has a big enough heat sink at the tip.  The new Weller soldering tips made of bent wire will not work properly--not at 100 watts.  I too advocate for soldering guns, but you have to use the proper one for the job, and the proper one for the job of soldering PL259s is not the smaller 100/140 watt Weller 8200.  You need the bigger gun, the Weller D650.  At 300 watts max, it will do the job if you use the cast type tips with the enlarged tip.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 07:10:22 PM by K1CJS » Logged
KA4POL
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 10:49:08 PM »

My favorite: http://www.arrl.org/multimedia#
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K1CJS
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2013, 06:14:24 AM »


Just a heads up--the link won't work unless you're an ARRL member.
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AD4U
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2013, 06:27:20 AM »

No matter how many watts the iron is rated, you need a tip large enough to transfer those watts (heat) to the PL259.  When my 40 year old iron finally burned out last year, I bought a 250 watt soldering iron with the proper tip slightly used off ebay for $8.00.  I see them listed there all the time with few bidders.  Apparently very few people want them.

Dick  AD4U
« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 07:24:28 AM by AD4U » Logged
AC2EU
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2013, 06:44:51 AM »

I used to have a Wen 100W and Weller which both died after many years use. I bought a radio shack 100/200 gun because I needed one quick. It feels off balance and awkward to use compared to my previous "weapons of choice", but gets the job done.

Bottom line... you need a big a$$ solder gun to do a proper job of soldering a PL259
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W8JX
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2013, 08:15:36 AM »

No matter how many watts the iron is rated, you need a tip large enough to transfer those watts (heat) to the PL259.  When my 40 year old iron finally burned out last year, I bought a 250 watt soldering iron with the proper tip slightly used off ebay for $8.00.  I see them listed there all the time with few bidders.  Apparently very few people want them.

Dick  AD4U

That's because they are meant for soldering cooper flashing and gutters and cooper prices has greatly reduced demand for them. They are over kill for any PL 259
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2013, 09:58:27 AM »

I bought one of the IL6 for the very occasional work that I do that needs to dump big heat fast. It works fine and I've used it a dozen or more times over the years I've had it.

http://www.mcgillswarehouse.com/solderingirons

Hard to go wrong at 13.69 + shipping.

I suspect the IL3 would be adequate for PL-259 soldering at 8.82 + shipping.

I can see buying a nice one if I used it every day, but not to store it in a drawer for months or years at a time...

That's a very good deal.

The advantage of such an "iron" is its thermal mass is very large, much larger than the PL-259 connector body you're soldering, so heat transfers from iron to connector very quickly.  These take a long time to heat up, but also a long time to cool down, and that latter feature is a great attribute when you're soldering large items like PL-259 connector bodies.

Using an iron similar to this (I usually use a Weller SP-120), I can touch the iron to the connector body and start flowing solder to the body immediately -- in less than one second.  The job is "finished" about 3-4 seconds later, and the heat source (iron) is removed.  This goes so quickly it doesn't give the soft cable materials chance to reflow and deform.

This is completely inappropriate for delicate circuit board work, or small connector pins; but it's a really good choice for bigger stuff.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2013, 10:14:10 AM »

A hot air paint stripping gun will get a 259 hot enough to melt the solder and then a 40 watt Weller will keep it hot enough for you to finish the job. It's also good shrinking heatshrink sleeving.
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W8JX
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2013, 11:20:34 AM »

A hot air paint stripping gun will get a 259 hot enough to melt the solder and then a 40 watt Weller will keep it hot enough for you to finish the job. It's also good shrinking heatshrink sleeving.

Problem is you do not want to heat soak the hole connector at once nor cable inside it. You want proper heat only to joint you are soldering at that moment
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AD4U
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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 11:22:36 AM »

No matter how many watts the iron is rated, you need a tip large enough to transfer those watts (heat) to the PL259.  When my 40 year old iron finally burned out last year, I bought a 250 watt soldering iron with the proper tip slightly used off ebay for $8.00.  I see them listed there all the time with few bidders.  Apparently very few people want them.

Dick  AD4U

That's because they are meant for soldering cooper flashing and gutters and cooper prices has greatly reduced demand for them. They are over kill for any PL 259

I disagree.  When soldering the coax shield to a PL259 through the 4 holes in the connector you need to transfer a lot of heat quickly to melt the solder but not melt the plastic insulation between the center conductor and the shield.

Granted someone with almost 50 years experience can do it with a 100 watt Weller soldering gun, but people without that experience cannot.

Since becoming a HAM in 1965 I have successfully soldered more PL259's than I can count by using a large iron with a big tip.  

Dick  AD4U
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