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Soldering Irons


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I was just wondering if anyone could recommend a good soldering iron.

My fairly low powered unbranded one has packed up and I have decided to treat myself to a decent one to last me years of tinkering to come....not sure of what to budget, but was thinking around £50-60. Is that realistic? i know I've seen stations over £200 in the RS and farnell catalogues!

Suggestions of good quality solder and flux also welcomed as I'm almost out of the ancient leaded stuff.

I'm thinking that a soldering station might be a good move, or would gas be more flexible and give me the added luxury of a small heat shrink air gun.

Anyway...I humbly await some expert(s) input.

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You can still but leaded solder and for DIY I would stick with it...

Multicore available at Rapid

This stations OK but out of stock at the moment and a little bit more than you want to pay ...


I have recently had to scrap a Pace Rework satation (about £1500 back in the early 2000's) as I cant get elements for the tools anymore :D


Edited by Psychobilly
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Cool, thanks for that.

Is there much difference between analogue and digital stations in terms of performance? Am I right in assuming digital are generally more expensive?

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My suggestion would be to get something in the 30 Watt - 50 Watt range. You'll also need a stand for it, although my preference is for a soldering station which includes a stand and a temperature controlled iron. Maplin is selling soldering stations for £15 at present (part number N78AR), they're not brilliant quality - basically a light dimmer circuit attached to a soldering iron, no temp. control. I've had a couple - one died soon after the warranty ran out and the other's still going.

You should also consider getting a solder sucker. This is a plunger type tool that operates in the reverse of a bicycle pump. You push down the spring-loaded plunger and apply the nozzle to a soldered joint you want to remove the solder from. With your other hand use your iron to melt the solder, then press a button on the sucker and the piston pops up, creates a vacuum and sucks the solder off the joint - brilliant!!!

Apropos solder. Use electronics grade 22 SWG solder that comes with a non-corrosive flux built in. Basically any "high street" grade stuff is fine.

I'd stick with an electric iron for home use. Though I do have a gas powered one for use "in the field". It's not very powerful, but has paid for itself on a couple of occasions when a wire has detached from a connector during an observing session.

Edited by pete_l
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Cheers pete... I think my previous iron was from Maplins (or similar) around 15 years ago...maybe older and around the 25-30watt range. Am certainly looking for a higher powered iron this time around.

As for suckers..yup, have one of those and it's really handy, although I have started to use wick where I need to desolder as it is easier to manipulate and the tip doesn't melt!!!

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I have gone through about 6 N78AR base stations and 30-40 bits in the last 18 months... if you turn the temp right up then the coating on the bits fails within a few hours... we regrad them as disposable items... but each one does about £100K worth of product so I aint that bothered...

Digital is ok for precise temp setting but heres nothign wrong with a good analog solder satiton.. give me a decent weller magnastat station anyday...


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