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Soldering Iron recommendation

 
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Capn Trips
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Joined: 03 Oct 2003
Posts: 3953

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Soldering Iron recommendation Reply with quote

Rob,

You have frequently discussed your soldering adventures and offered recommendations on how to get the best results. I seem to recall a thread about a "cold" (or was that "cordless") soldering iron, even.

Without resorting to a search that will return MANY hits (I already did it), what is your recommendation for an inexpensive, but effective and reliable iron for occassional (read: infrequent) domestic electronic project/repair use?

Every search for soldering iron reviews results in any number of sites, which provide "reviews" touting their own brand, and I'm not smart enough to glean the wheat from the chaff.
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Remotes:Atlas OCAP URC 1056, Harmony One, OFA XSight Touch, AR XSight Touch
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18562
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't remember what wattage my regular iron is, but it's a Radio Shack model. I'm guessing that it's a 15w iron. This is perfectly good for modifying remotes, etc but sometimes it's not hot enough for other jobs. I have a 30w iron that works when the 15w doesn't.

Here's a 25w model at RS for $9...
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062737

and here's a 40w model for the same price...
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062738

they also have an $11 model where you can switch between 15w and 30w...
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062730

If you prefer ebay, here's a 30w model for $5 shipped...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320367578114

and a 40w model for $5 shipped...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320367578121
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xnappo
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Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 849

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do yourself a favor and buy a nice one:

http://www.amazon.com/product/dp/B000AS28UC?tag=j0df-20

This guy is a great deal and will last you a lifetime. It is VERY nice to have a real soldering setup - and this Amazon price is a steal.

You will want to buy an 'ST7' tip too.

xnappo

P.S. The 'cold' soldering irons are not recommended for use on sensitive electronics
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
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Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using my cheap little Radio Shack iron since we started the JP1 effort back in 2000 and I still love it. I do have a stand also, somewhat like this one ($8 shipped on ebay) ...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280341516035



Whichever iron you get, if you're going to be soldering things like small surface mount EEPROM chips into remotes, i strongly recommend that you get an iron with a "pencil" tip.


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zaphod7501



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 528
Location: Peoria Illinois

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have temperature controlled irons and stations, but I use them professionally and may leave them on for hours on end. Temperature control helps tips last longer but may give a false sense of safety to the occasional user, thinking they won't overheat components. Too low of a temperature often results in much longer contact times.

For home use I use basic small wattage irons like Rob describes. They are over 20 years old and work fine.

A propane iron (for automotive and remote use) repairs is handy and mine includes a hot air tip for heat shrink tubing.
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