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Author Topic: Cordless soldering irons?  (Read 3517 times)
N0IKD
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« on: April 28, 2013, 11:51:41 AM »

Anyone have any advice or experience with rechargeable, cordless soldering irons. I need one for kit building, component soldering. I don't plan on using it outdoors on wire antenna's or for PL 259's and such. I did check the archives but didn't find anything helpful.   Thanks, Doug
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KE3WD
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 12:24:16 PM »

If you don't have to use it outdoors or where there is no AC available, why go cordless? 

Having tried the cordless rechargeable irons, I find that they are not all that good. 

One time, the battery died while soldering to a PCB and the iron tip ended up soldered to the PCB copper when the solder hardened rather suddenly.  Had to hold the iron up there carefully while using the other hand and a screwdriver to remove the tip to prevent damage to the PCB. 

For portable iron today, I prefer the use of butane soldering pen. 

But in the house, the AC powered iron is my first choice.


73
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WB5TFV
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 12:49:07 PM »

Unless you have a specific need for a cordless soldering iron I would avoid them. The rechargeable one I had several years ago created more frustration than good solder joints.


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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 08:50:00 PM »

Doug:  Understand this..... I REALLY hate the way this sounds but, I've been melting solder for over 50 years..... using the very same iron for 45 of those years. 

I just bought a new Hakko variable temperature soldering station that was on sale.  It was one of those spur of the moment, knee jerk, spontaneous....call it what you will.....things.  You know, like a woman spending $80.00 because she can save $10.00.  I really didn't NEED a new iron, especially at 77 years of age.... but....

I was so blown away by the Hakko after using it for just a couple hours that I've been mentally kicking myself for not buying a variable temperature iron years ago. 

My advice?  Forget the cordless, rechargeable 'toy' and get a nice iron that heats up fast, has the variable temperature option and tips of various shapes and sizes readily available.

Enjoy your building with a good iron. It will infinitely pay for itself.

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KA4POL
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 09:32:34 PM »

Evan though the general tendency is quite clear, let add that I also vote for cord powered soldering iron. In case you need one outside you most of the time will have your car close by and could use an inverter for powering it.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 05:38:29 AM »

As others have said, if you don't need a cordless try and use a corded...  However...  If you do need a cordless for inside/outside work try a Weller Portsol.  They can be found everywhere, just Google the name... It works really well outside, has various tips, and will do a coax connector outside in the wind...  It is fed by propane lighter fluid.  You just fill it up, and you are good for maybe 10 minutes of heavy duty soldering.  The only problem I have seen is the heat venting can allow for burned desks, and fires outside, so you have to be aware of that.  When I install the vents to the side, and not up and down, it appears to work for me without that "feature".  I have used it outside in a light winter to solder a coax connector in the wind, and it works...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
AA4PB
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 05:50:11 AM »

Beware of those "instant heat" cordless irons. They work by passing electric current through the joint. If you are soldering anything with solid state devices connected you may damage them.
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W4OP
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 05:57:08 AM »

I have a couple of the Weller butane irons. Very nice and ideal for tower work.
For the lab I use nothing but Hakko- the cordless or even the gas irons are very crude compared to the Hakko, Pace etc.

Dale W4OP
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K0JEG
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 06:08:34 AM »

I use a Master Appliance ultratorch for routine connectorizing and tinning audio lines at work:

http://www.masterappliance.com/heat-tool-products/butane-powered/ultratorches/ultratorch-ut-100si

However, it's not made for working on PCBs or fine detail. Much better for working on racks where you don't want to get tangled up in a power cord (I found it after melting the AC cord on an iron and making sparks fly!), or out at the tower.
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W5FYI
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2013, 06:25:12 AM »

Since you asked about cordless irons, my vote is for Wahl. I was given one nearly 40 years ago and used it for quite a few projects where a plug-in iron couldn't go. Push the button, wait about five seconds, then solder away.  I don't recommend that you keep it on constant charge, though; its battery will dry up within a year or so.

You might also want to consider a 12V soldering iron for use when away from AC power. eBay lists various models, some with cigarette lighter plugs and others with alligator clips, and some with just a bare end.

Nowadays, my portable iron is a butane model I bought at Radio Shack. Actually, I had a PortaSol butane iron prior to getting the RS one, but its seal wore out over time and it wouldn't keep a charge very long. GL

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N0IKD
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2013, 06:05:04 PM »

Thank you all very much for your well thought out advice. I need a new iron and thought a cordless model sounded like a good plan because of the amount of time I am away from the ac grid. I will look at that Hakko unit. Whatever corded iron I get, I'll plug into the inverter when the batteries are full and the forecast is for sunny skies.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2013, 08:26:00 PM »

That's good thinking.  An inverter for getting 110 volts from a car is superior to a battery soldering iron.  I had a Wahl cordless years ago, and I got so fed up with it that I got rid of it.  It wasn't that it didn't heat--it did, but the tip was so small that it was near useless if you had to to anything but a quick solder melt on a PC board.  Connecting wires together?  Not enough heat--unless you held the button and the iron onto the work for 20 or so seconds.  It just wasn't powerful enough.
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K0EKL
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 07:55:24 AM »

I have a Wahl cordless reachable soldering iron and it does work but it is only suitable for circuit board work and small components as the heating element is tiny and has little thermal mass.

I second the vote for the Master Appliance Ultratorch. It's great for outdoor work, installing connectors while at the top of the tower, etc.

As for a soldering station, I really like my Aoyue 937. It's probably not quite as good as the Hakko, but it's also considerably less expensive.
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