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Recommend a soldering gun

Old 05-31-2007, 10:16 AM
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saleen308
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Default Recommend a soldering gun

I have an old cheap-o I'd like to replace. I'm tired of waiting for the thing to warm up. Anyone have a recommndation?
Old 05-31-2007, 10:56 AM
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LtDoc
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

saleen308,
The 'size' of the soldering iron depends entirely on what you intend to solder. If it's 'small' stuff, a small iron works fine. 'Larger' stuff requires a larger iron (as if you didn't know that). For building models I've found that a fairly large soldering 'gun' is handiest. They get hot faster than most others, and usually have higher heat ratings. 'Weller'(sp) is a good brand, and there are lots of others. (Being naturally 'cheap', I pay attention to cost as far as brands go.) Not much help, but so what, neither am I.
- 'Doc
Old 05-31-2007, 11:02 AM
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piper_chuck
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

My Weller soldering gun is at least 25 years old, but still works fine. When I find it's not warming up quickly it's usually due to the wires of the tip being bent too close. I don't know why this is, it's just what I've found. Either that, or that it's time to change the tip. When the gun isn't enough, I just get out the propane torch.
Old 05-31-2007, 11:15 AM
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-pkh-
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

I've got three "consumer" grade Weller irons for different applications:
[link=http://www.cooperhandtools.com/onlinecatalog/images/WM120_300.jpg]WM120 12W Fine Point Iron[/link] for fine soldering on PC boards (ESCs, servos, etc.)
[link=http://www.cooperhandtools.com/onlinecatalog/images/SP23L_300.jpg]SP23 25W Iron[/link] for soldering most wires and connectors.
[link=http://www.cooperhandtools.com/onlinecatalog/images/SP40L_300.jpg]SP40 40W Iron[/link] for soldering batteries and large power connectors.
Old 05-31-2007, 11:18 AM
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Maggster
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

I have one of the ones linked below. For the price, it works awesome. It takes just a few seconds to heat up and it gets HOT! I just got mine, so no idea on how long it will last.

[link=http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=4328]HERE[/link]
Old 05-31-2007, 06:26 PM
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

One note about Weller, they are a good company to deal with. I had a Weller soldering gun that my dad gave me. About ten years ago (it was 20 years old at the time), it started giving me a shock. You could litterally rake it across a metal bench and it would arc. Not expecting anything, I returned it to Weller just for the fun of it. Low and behold, two weeks later I get a package in the mail: a brand new complete Weller soldering gun kit extra tips, cutting wires... the works! I didn't even call them and the note was simple: "Hi, you'll get a jolt out of this one".

Great company.
Old 05-31-2007, 09:40 PM
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ob nut
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

I'm still using my Ungar Race Station that I bought 20 years ago. Can't go wrong with these, they heat very fast and mutiple tips to use. My bad, this is a soldering iron, not a gun..
Old 05-31-2007, 10:11 PM
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

If you are looking for a heavy duty one see the link below I got mine for $60 and haven't had any problems yet. I used to get the cheaper ones and burn them up in a month or two. I use it to do almost any thing. It is too big for circuit board work though. I installed car stereos as a side job for about a year and a half and used it almost every day. It has 3 different sized tips for different applications, I have used it on PC boards (with a custom tip) but I wouldn't recommend it. The irons are so much better for finer work. It will get so hot the tip will glow and it will get to that point very quickly. This is kind of a cross between a gun and an iron, the idea is great and works well.

Oh I almost forgot it has a life time guarantee
But I have a Snap On dealer that stops by my shop. There is a mechanic that we share a building with at work.
[link]http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item.asp?P65=&tool=all&item_ID=13907&group_ID=785&store=snapon-store&dir=catalog[/link]
Old 05-31-2007, 10:14 PM
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Rc1racing
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

Flabum, you never know whats going to happen. Its always worth a try.
Old 05-31-2007, 10:32 PM
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Flabum
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun


ORIGINAL: Rc1racing

If you are looking for a heavy duty one see the link below I got mine for $60 and haven't had any problems yet. I used to get the cheaper ones and burn them up in a month or two. I use it to do almost any thing. It is too big for circuit board work though. I installed car stereos as a side job for about a year and a half and used it almost every day. It has 3 different sized tips for different applications, I have used it on PC boards (with a custom tip) but I wouldn't recommend it. The irons are so much better for finer work. It will get so hot the tip will glow and it will get to that point very quickly. This is kind of a cross between a gun and an iron, the idea is great and works well.

Oh I almost forgot it has a life time guarantee
But I have a Snap On dealer that stops by my shop. There is a mechanic that we share a building with at work.
[link]http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item.asp?P65=&tool=all&item_ID=13907&group_ID=785&store=snapon-store&dir=catalog[/link]

Snap-On does not provide a lifetime warranty on electric hand tools.
Old 05-31-2007, 10:43 PM
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Rc1racing
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

[sm=thumbup.gif] Your right, thanks for pointing that out. I don't know way I put that there. Its only 90 days I think???
Old 06-01-2007, 12:28 PM
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capn gary
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Default RE: Recommend a soldering gun

Soldering irons and soldering guns each have their uses. For splicing wires (12 ga. and smaller), soldering on a circuit board, and other small work, a 30 or 35 watt soldering iron is your best bet. Due to the fact that a lot of the new electronics are static sensitive, make sure the iron has a three-prong plug. If you're going to be soldering something to your ESC, which routinely have FET outputs, you might want to invest in a grounding strap (that ties to your wrist) and a soldering pad. As for makes, Weller is, in my estimation, the best. Ungar runs a close second. The cheapies that you find at Radio Shack, etc., work, but not very well.

If you can afford it, a Weller 'controlled heat' soldering station is the best. It has a temperature sensor and keeps the tip of the iron at whatever temperature you set it for. (Most electronics solder melts at around 660 degrees). THey are a little pricey, but they're worth it. Thanks to the controlled heat, it takes less time to heat up the pad/leg on a circuit board. The lower the amount of time a component is hot, the better.

For bigger jobs, a Weller 220 will do just about anything. THat's a soldering gun with a two position trigger switch.

As for a soldering iron or gun not getting hot fast enough, tighten the screws on a gun and the tip-retainer on an iron. THe reason the soldering tip isn't getting hot is because it's become a 'high resistance'. Tightening it up will fix the problem.

Last tip: Always tin the soldering iron/gun tip before you put it away. (Melt a glob of solder onto the tip, turn it off and let it cool with the glob of solder hanging there.) The reason for this is that the tip is made of copper, and oxidizes, and then goes away. An oxidized tip will also make it difficult to solder with, especially if it has a bunch of carbonized crap on it. (If the tip is black, it's carbonized.) If the tip gets oxidized or carbonized, you can sand it until you see copper again, and it'll be as good as new. For what it's worth, I've had the same 30 watt Weller iron for nearly thirty-five years now, and I've never had to change the tip, and it still looks like brand new.

gary

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