[hackspacebristol] Soldering iron recommendations?

John Whittington hackspace at john-whittington.co.uk
Sat Jan 9 09:48:53 UTC 2016


Another vote for Metcal. I use them at work and they have changed my option
of soldering. The 'SmartHeat' is second to none in my option. It uses RF to
generate the heat at the tip, so the iron heats up almost instantly to
temperature and tips can be changed on the fly:
http://www.okinternational.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/applications/hand-soldering/what-is-smartheat

Don't be put off by the buzz words - it actually works! They are expensive
but if you're doing a lot of soldering they more than pay for themselves in
time saved.

John.
On Sat, 9 Jan 2016 at 01:57, Tom Gardner <tggzzz+hs at gmail.com> wrote:

> I have one of these, but I only paid half price :) And had to faultfind it
> :(
>
> http://uk.farnell.com/tenma/21-10130-uk-eu/rework-station-900w-220v-uk-eu/dp/2062633
>
> It is a rebadged Chinese thing, so alternative tips and hot air
> accessories are easy to buy on fleabay. The only thing I haven't been able
> to fnd at a reasonable price is a "hollow tip" soldering iron tip which is
> apparently ideal for for drag soldering SMD devices.
>
> It works well enough for me, but I'm sure if you pay a lot more money
> you'll be able to get something that is better in some way or other.
>
>
> On 9 January 2016 at 01:07, adam armfield <adamairmailed at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> there is an antex combined solder/hot air station that maplins sell at
>> £50 off rrp
>>
>> http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/antex-760rwk-50w-mains-solder-station-n75ds
>>
>> those 2 nozzles are the only ones they do - i asked about big square ones
>> for chips, man at antext pointed me to some square rework tips for a
>> soldering iron (not sure if it's the one above ) - datasheet attached
>>
>> All the best Adam
>>
>>
>> On Saturday, 9 January 2016, 0:26, Tom Gardner <tggzzz+hs at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>> I’d like to buy a decent soldering iron for soldering components onto circuit boards and other bits and pieces. Does anyone have any recommendations?
>>
>> That will depend on what components you want to solder, and how much you
>> have to spend, and how long you are prepared to wait to get a bargain.
>> If you are not soldering professionally, then the requirements are far
>> less stringent that people would have you believe. The quality of your work
>> will be almost certainly limited by your skill, not by the tool.
>> OTOH, if you are soldering professionally, then familiarity with using
>> your tools is the most important factor, followed by an iron that allows
>> you to have repeatable results. What's your budget :)
>> Different classes of components:
>>
>>    - through hole semiconductors and passives
>>    - surface mount devices
>>    - thermally big joints
>>
>> For PTH on a 0.1" pitch, I managed without any problems for 40 years with
>> a 25W Antex iron (and a red hot poker on a gas stove for thermally really
>> big stuff :) ). That is perfectly adequate.
>> For SMD, that is inadequate. For SMD you need a range of tips and a
>> variable temperature iron - which is much cheaper than a temperature
>> controlled iron. Get a small round tip (<=0.8mm) for fine work, and a
>> chisel tip for drag-soldering.
>> Note that if you need to use two different tips on components on one
>> board, then you will waste a lot of time swapping tips. Seriously consider
>> getting two cheaper irons, having a different tip on each; and you'll also
>> have higher availability because the probability of both irons failing
>> simultaneously is lower.
>> SMD boards are best fabricated using the sand-in-saucepan method (see the
>> hackspace wiki) or a reflow oven (Hackspace has one, but I haven't used it).
>> For SMD rework and/or soldering the odd component, you will eventually
>> benefit from having a hot air gun, but that's outside the scope of your
>> question.
>> If you are soldering things that are thermally large then you will need a
>> higher power tool (unsurprisingly), but equally important is the thermal
>> mass of the tool itself. You can - to a limited extent - use a smaller tool
>> if you run it at a higher temperature.
>>
>> Be aware that there are a large number of Hakko clones sold on fleabay,
>> and some of them are apparently internally dangerous.
>>
>>
>>
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