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Old 10-04-2010, 05:31 PM   #1
Boerderij_Kabouter
 
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So I have searched far and wide and I could not find a single good and to the point discussion of electrical soldering supplies and what should be used. So I figured I would start one.

I recently ordered a Weller WES51 station: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ef=oss_product

It has good reviews and should be a joy to use. I got it for $89.98 but it retails for around $100 at several places. I choose this model over the smaller hobby stations or pens because you can dial in actual temperatures, and it seems like it maintains that temp rather well.

I have done most of the soldering in my life with a simple cheap radio shack pen iron. It works mostly, but the heat is pretty inconsistent IME. I am hoping this nice station will make soldering more enjoyable and higher quality.

I trust Weller as a brand (I have a nice solder gun from them) and think this will be a great station.

I also highly suggest a third hand for making your life a million times easier. Here is a cheap one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ef=oss_product



Let us know what equipment you use or recommend. Reviews, anything that could be helpful.

.................................................. .......................

Other than that, what solder do you all use for electronics. I have heard "Kester 44" is kind of an industry standard, but haven;t used it.

I have always used random cheap flux, and whatever rosin core solder was around. What fluxes do you use? Do you not even use flux? What products do you keep in stock or love to use?

.................................................. .............................

Any good soldering videos or tutorials to recommend?

Let's get some good info posted up!

 
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
IrregularPulse
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Those stations are so nice if even for the wet sponge alone. It's amazing the difference a clean tip can make. Couple that with the power adjustment and the iron holder and they really are worth it.
I have the same extra hands clip as well. Handy to say the least when I'm not too lazy to pull it out.

Also I recommend the Braided copper wick over those suckers any day.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:29 PM   #3
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When I was working in the electronics business (been retired a few years now) Weller was pretty much the standard brand used anyplace I worked.

+1 to the copper braid - the plunger type solder suckers are pretty worthless IMO, though it is nice to have an electric one with a heated tip and suction at the press of a button, but probably not worth the money for the occasional home user.

Might want to get a couple of surgical clamps which can be clamped onto the leads of heat sensitive components to act as a heat sink during soldering (clamp between the component body and the solder point). Use on transistors, diodes, etc.

Of course a good meter - I have a Wavetek Meterman 27XT that I've been very happy with - measures volts, ohms, amps, (micro)Farads and (milli)Henrys. Don't get one of the cheap Radio Shack ones (speaking from experience here)!

 
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:32 PM   #4
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I have 3 identical weller stations, the MT1500. Coupled with the MT302 tip, you can do just about anything (I solder fine-pitch SMT under a microscope). I also use a Metcal dual station. Metcal irons can supply much more heat than that weller. My Metcal also has a tweezer iron for taking off 2-terminal passives, as well as spade attachments to remove SOIC type ICs.

My buddy has the absolute best iron I have used for SMT work. Weller WD2000M. Dual supply, small pencil and small tweezers. Feel great in hand. You won't fix your car with this, but great for SMT work. Here's a pic.

http://www.cooperhandtools.com/_cach...359dbfbb6d.jpg
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrregularPulse View Post
Those stations are so nice if even for the wet sponge alone. It's amazing the difference a clean tip can make.[/IMG]
I haven't touched an iron to a sponge since I got one of these:

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Old 10-04-2010, 09:44 PM   #6
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I have a weller wcc100 that is going on 8 solid years. it's a little more compact than the 51. Both the guts and the iron holder are one piece. The only drawback is I can't change irons. I only have the one.

The boss has a couple of these that have gotten me out of trouble. (ever try soldering a circuit board 20' up a ladder?)
http://www.tracysworkshop.com/p-1964...iliateid=10050
He's got the older version, but the temp adjust is great.

I gave up on those 'extra hands' years ago when I got my pana vise. Well worth the cash. I have the wide opening jaws and the low profile base. Picked it up used for $20.
http://panavise.com/index.html?pageI...ECTIONSword=ww

I still dig the 60/40 solder from RS. It might be that I've been using it for 20 years, or maybe it's all the lead. . . but I can't work as fast or as clean with any other solder. I have told myself when I'm done with these two rolls, I'm going lead free. RoHS for me from then on.

B
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:17 PM   #7
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I feel kinda sad but I picked up a Pace vacuum soldering station for 50 bucks at an auction for a small electronics company done in by the economy. The station didn't look like it was used all that much. I would have much rather kept my $50 and had the company still in business.

It is great for through hole work. It's not much good for surface mount stuff. For that I use an old toaster oven as a crude reflow machine.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawdustguy View Post
It's not much good for surface mount stuff. For that I use an old toaster oven as a crude reflow machine.
I did some boards this past month in a toaster oven. 324-ball BGA processor and a pair of BGA SDRAMs on there. So, if you are careful and have some temp control, you can use a toaster oven to do just about anything!
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:00 PM   #9
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It might sound a little crazy, but I have the Ultratorch butane soldering iron. http://www.masterappliance.com/selfign.html. I bought it when I was in the A/V industry. It's hard to get 110 when you're on a catwalk 200' up or up on a ladder. It lasts forever on one fill (From a refill can), is ready in about 20 seconds, and is fully adjustable from about 20 to 80 watts.

I've always wanted a proper soldering station, but I keep getting that thing out and it works great.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:12 PM   #10
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I've got the Weller WES51 station as well. I try and solder connections for any electrical farkels I put on my motorcycle and/or truck. For the longest time I was struggling with regular soldering wand from Radio Shack until I stepped up and bought this station. Life is so much better now. I do need to get one of those holder thingamagiggies.

 
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