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Old 11-28-2006, 08:57 AM
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Soldering station - good quality/price compromise?

Hi folks,
I read the old post about soldering stations and irons, to try to get an idea of what's good to use to do a good wiring job. I read Docvette's post about getting a temerature controlled soldering station. I looked online and saw that Radio Shack stuff gets really bad reviews - not relaibale and no way to get new tips, etc. I know Weller is a good name for soldering equipment, but it seems that temperature controlled stations are kinda expensive (I'm not going to be wiring cars every other day). Normally I have access to pretty full stocked shop, but I have a couple of weeks where I can't get to the shop, I'm short on cash, but I got most of the supplies for wiring. I want to do it at home, but I'd have to get a soldering iron/station.
What models do you suggest?

Thanks for any advice,
Ran

Last edited by kick_the_reverb; 11-28-2006 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 11-28-2006, 09:14 AM
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Google names like Weller and Ungar to find some choices. Here's a Weller model 3S5-300 for about $65:

http://www.ceitron.com/solder/station.html
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Old 11-28-2006, 12:01 PM
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Thanks...although the website was last updated in 2003 and I can't seem to find that model number anywhere but on that specific site, leading me to believe it has been discontinued. Also, AFAIK, Ungar has been assimilated into Weller.
Any other suggestions (less than $100)?
Thanks,
Ran
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Old 11-28-2006, 03:28 PM
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Here are a couple of good choices.

This one is just wattage control, works for simple things (wiring and simple circuitry) just fine and is only $50. http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=372-120


Here is one for $130 that has temp control and is more suited to heavy continuous use. http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=372-145
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Old 11-28-2006, 04:11 PM
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Doc here,

I have used Weller's for years, and they always seem to do the job just fine..

I would go to the Weller site, and chose the one best suited to your budget, just be sure the station IS temp controlled AND it is an ISO tip..(So you don't have shorts on a ground, from the tip power..Or static discharges on C & HMOS Circuits)..

Another plus is see if the tip is 12 VDC powered..and the reason for this, Is IF the controller EVER does burn out, you can remove the pencil Iron and run it from a bench supply OR from the battery of the vehicle your working on..You still have a working Iron this way that is portable (if you have 12 VDC available to you) Most folks just toss the whole thing..The Iron will still work fine!

Doc
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Old 12-02-2006, 09:33 PM
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I have to agree with Doc....Weller will do the job for 99% of the people needing a good soldering station. I've also used them for years.

BTW Doc, thanks for pointing out that you can use the iron on 12 volts....never thought about doing it. Guess I'm gonna have to start Dumpster
Diving!!
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Old 12-02-2006, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jray
I have to agree with Doc....Weller will do the job for 99% of the people needing a good soldering station. I've also used them for years.

BTW Doc, thanks for pointing out that you can use the iron on 12 volts....never thought about doing it. Guess I'm gonna have to start Dumpster
Diving!!
Doc here,

Not all are 12 volts, (that's why I said, be sure it is) some are 110 Volts..you have to look in the iron body where the iron goes into the plastic handle, where the two pieces meet, there is a data plate, with three screws on it..It will either say 12 volts, or 110 volts..the 12 volter's are the ones you want.

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Old 12-03-2006, 04:46 PM
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BTW, I realized that getting a station was out of my budget, and since the temperature controlled ones are more important to sensitive electronic components (which I don't have in the van now), I went and got 2 Weller simple soldering irons - a 40w one (SP40LK) for most of the connectors, and a 100/140w gun (8200PK) for bigger wires. Of course, really big wires (4 and 1/0 gauge) will probably be soldered with a torch. I tried borrowing my buddy's station, but he instead lent me a small butane solder gun (that hardly worked). I tried borrowing his ratchet crimper and "automatic" stripper, but instead he gave me one of those cheap crimpers/strippers. I said thanks, and got the soldering irons for $18 and $30, a plier type crimper for 10-22 gauge and a self adjusting stripper for 8-22 gauge. I'll leave the big wires for last and get help doing them.
I also found "dual wall adehesive lined moisture resistant" shrink tube assortment at Fry's Electronics for $13.
I would have loved to get a Weller station, but all the temp controlled ones are over $100, and needing to buy other tools made that expense impossible.

Thanks for all the advice, tomorrow it's time to make the living room floor a mess with all the wires (no room for 4'X8' boards).

Ran
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Old 12-03-2006, 05:01 PM
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Doc here,

For the Big terminals, go to ACE, and get a handful of these:



Just strip your wire, and slide it into the collar, then ratchet it down good and tight..If you try to solder the big cables, chances are they will turn out "Cold" or you'll melt the insulation. This is better, and quicker, AND replaceable.

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Old 12-03-2006, 05:08 PM
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Thanks!
Ran
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