Best Soldering Gun??
Old 7th May 2010
  #1
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Best Soldering Gun??

I'm tired of my Home Depot crap gun. What do I need to buy once and buy right?? Whats the best soldering gun??
Old 7th May 2010
  #2
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I seem to recall I bought my Weller solder gun at Home Depot, and it's worked well for years. Be sure both screws that hold the copper tip into the two metal rods are well tightened.

Of course, I seldom use the gun...only when heating some really big contacts. My day to day irons are a Weller W60 and a Goot PX201.

Best,

Bri
Old 7th May 2010
  #4
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Old 7th May 2010
  #5
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Whatever you choose, don't get a soldering gun. I question why they even exist. I've never found a situation that calls for one. Soldering irons/pencils/whatever are really the only way to go.
Old 7th May 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minor_glitch View Post
Whatever you choose, don't get a soldering gun. I question why they even exist. I've never found a situation that calls for one. Soldering irons/pencils/whatever are really the only way to go.
I use a Weller gun to solder on the back of pots, especially when it's caked with old solder. Otherwise, I have a Weller WLC100 (great for turret boards inside tube amps) and a Weller WD1001 for pcb's. I also have a cordless Wahl that's great for soldering discrete amps and smd parts.
Old 7th May 2010
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+1 on the WLC 100
Old 7th May 2010
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A gun is only needed when you want to remove something that needs a whole lotta HEAT, like a solder terminal or anything that's soldered to a ground plane.

I use a Weller WP35 and it isn't worth the price. The tip holder gets loose too easily and it rusts. All of the "professional" WP series are like that. If you want to get a Weller, get a station like the WES51 or WESD51 if you want to work on Electrostatic sensitive components.

But generally you get around with a pen/stick iron. 25-40W will do it for general work. But in the industry, at least here at work we use Hakko soldering stations. Pull out tips, automatic temperature control, fast heat-up time, they truly are fantastic. A co-worker says they are the best. They ain't cheap either.
Old 7th May 2010
  #9
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Talking

Old 7th May 2010
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2N1305 View Post
But in the industry, at least here at work we use Hakko soldering stations. Pull out tips, automatic temperature control, fast heat-up time, they truly are fantastic. A co-worker says they are the best. They ain't cheap either.
They are at Fry's. The 936 is on sale for about $80. They sell the 808 for $160.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 7th May 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
They are at Fry's. The 936 is on sale for about $80. They sell the 808 for $160.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Uh, yeah... I guess I'm not surprised. Because what I meant was not Hakko, but Metcal... Boy do I look stupid now.

Hakkos are probably good, but the ones I used was pretty bad, I guess it was old and tired.
Old 7th May 2010
  #12
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You don't want a soldering gun. You want a soldering iron (pronounced "arn").
Old 7th May 2010
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris319 View Post
soldering iron (pronounced "arn").


"Arn Maiden"?

Last edited by 2N1305; 7th May 2010 at 10:57 PM.. Reason: trying to upload picture...
Old 7th May 2010
  #14
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I had to get the gun out the other day while soldering cables. A 40W Weller just won't heat #12 enough to tin well. Oh, I was making cables for a plasma cutter, audio is my night gig.
Old 8th May 2010
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris319 View Post
You don't want a soldering gun. You want a soldering iron (pronounced "arn").
That sounds like an Okie/Texan pronunciation! Phonetically, it's "So-derin' arn".

<g>

Best,

Bri
Old 8th May 2010
  #16
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Since the majority of my work is "in the field" versus at my bench, I prefer "arns" <g> that do not require a base station. That makes them smaller for my tool case(s), especially if I have to catch a plane to a client's site.

Eons ago, while attending training classes at Crown in Elkhart, IN, I was introduced to the Weller W60 pencil:

Catalog No. W60P3 Product Detail

It has a 60 Watt element, BUT the tip's temperature is controlled by what tip you choose. I use 700 degree tips. I've been using one of these irons since approx. 1975, and actually have two "handles" in my kit...one as a backup in case I have a failure when 2000 miles away. I hate to think how many XLRs I've done with my trusty W60, not to mention multiple ten-thousands of other projects.

But, even the smallest W60 tip is too big for work inside of newer gear, hence I bought the 70 Watt Goot:

GootPX-201 lead free soldering iron temperature controlled.

Its temperature is controlled by a small tweaker in the handle, and there are tiny, pointy tips available. We shall see how long it lasts, but I am optimistic.

Note that both my Weller and Goot have relatively high wattage elements...BUT, both have some sort of temperature control. Having a higher wattage heater available means the iron can react more quickly to a "load"...quick temperature recovery that is also under control.

Now for the times when I need a monster, I DO carry a Weller 8200:

Catalog No. 8200 Product Detail

..as well as extra "tips". Ya never know when you need a blast furnace LOL!

For desoldering, I retired my bulky, ancient Pace system in favor of:

Goot TP100AS portable desoldering gun

MUCH smaller to pack than my antique Pace, and it "will suck the chrome off a trailer hitch", as we say here <g>. Seriously, that is an excellent desoldering tool, and I like the fact the "solder catcher" inside is a ball of steel wool...easy to replace.

Best,

Bri
Old 8th May 2010
  #17
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The Hakko 936 has been the default good quality hobbyist and entry level pro soldering iron for a long time. There are a whole range of similar quality irons. Personally I have found Weller irons to not be as well made as I would have hoped. But as always YMMV.

A point about power (i.e. wattage.) If the iron is properly temperature regulated - which any good iron is - the higher the power rating the better (within reason.) The reason is that a higher power iron will heat the item to be soldered up to soldering temperature faster - as it can inject heat faster. This means that you can get in - get a good joint done - and get out faster than with a lower power iron. This means that there is less time for heat to soak into the surrounds, and paradoxically, a higher power iron leaves the rest of the work cooler than a low power iron. This leads to less problems, fewer failures, and less damage from heat. In general most useful irons are around the 50 watt mark. For very small (SMD) maybe lower, and for chassis and big item work maybe more. But it is surprising what a good 50W iron can let you do.
Old 9th May 2010
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Francis, your comments regarding an iron with a high-ish wattage and some form of temperature control is dead on, and better than my quick remarks.

As for the Wellers, mine are both 20+ years old. Maybe they were of better quality back then??? I went with the W60's because it was what Crown was using on their assembly lines in the mid-70's, and recommended by their service/training departments. I certainly can imagine there are better choices now (perhaps like my newer Goot), but I still use the W60 regularly. You know the saying about "old dogs"... <g>.

Best,

Bri
Old 14th March 2012
  #19
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I'm sure that there is a 'best', but for the occasional hacker like me, a cheap solder station was what I needed and has worked for me for over 20 years. I have a Weller and a cheap little 30 watt iron, but neither get much use. I think I paid $50 for the no-name solder station with adjustable temp and a sponge cup, and I bought a handful of replacement tips at the same time... you never know about no-name products. Being able to adjust the temperature to the job is a good thing.
Old 14th March 2012
  #20
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I'm sure that there is a 'best', but for the occasional hacker like me, a cheap solder station was what I needed and has worked for me for over 20 years. I have a Weller and a cheap little 30 watt iron, but neither get much use. I think I paid $50 for the no-name solder station with adjustable temp and a sponge cup, and I bought a handful of replacement tips at the same time... you never know about no-name products. Being able to adjust the temperature to the job is a good thing.

I've had the Weller since probably 1968. Until I bought the solder station, it got a lot of use. On the road, building kits, modifying stuff... all that adventurous junk I did when I was young and excitable.
Old 14th March 2012
  #21
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Just get a metcal and never buy another soldering tool in your life or anyone in your lineage's life. They never die, work flawlessly, heat up fast as hell, and are great to work with. I do professional soldering during the day of tiny surface mount resistors once in while and the metcal's make it easy. They can have a variety of tips to do larger or smaller projects. Get a used on one ebay.
Old 14th March 2012
  #22
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I have had my new Hakko since Jan and boy what a treat!
Old 14th March 2012
  #23
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Hakko 936 it's one of the only decent irons out there that have enough tip choices.Try finding a bent conical tip for a standard weller iron without getting into there smd $400 plus stations
Old 15th March 2012
  #24
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I use both soldering guns and pencils. The guns are great if you need more heat transfer such as soldering connectors on coax cable or repairing tube type equipment where the component leads are wrapped around barrier strips. The pencil irons are used for all other general repairs or cable make-ups.

I use all Weller products as well as IsoTip irons.

Dennis
Old 15th March 2012
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Old 15th March 2012
  #26
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I've been using an Aoyue 2702 for years. If your a hobbyist it's got everything you'll ever need.
If you use brass wool to clean your tips instead of a sponge the tips last for ages.
Old 15th March 2012
  #27
+1 Weller WLC100
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