Do ANY GOOD soldering stations even exsist??? EVEN ONE!! PLEASE TELL ME!

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vestureofblood
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Do ANY GOOD soldering stations even exsist??? EVEN ONE!! PLEASE TELL ME!

Ok, I will be the first to admit some of the many irons, guns, and stations I own are cheap.  However even some of the most famous brand names have yet to do anything that impresses me much.

I also admit that I do use mine much more often the the average joe, so some premature failure is expected, just not anything like what I am getting.


I would like to know if anyone has a soldering station that has PROVEN to be DURABLE and USEFUL.

By that I mean something you have had more than a year, and use on a regular basis.



Just if anyone is curious I will tell you part of the list of many I have tried that are CRAP in varying degrees. (pun if you like one).

Starting with some of the most lame. 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/OLC-100-ADJUSTABLE-SOLDERING-STATION-5-50-WATT-/...

Good for about 1-2 days.   Then the handle breaks.   Using some JB weld secures this, but the tip holder comes out all the time and even if you manage to pinch it back in its effectiveness is moderate.


Just as bad.   The ceramic ring that holds the top half to the bottom breaks even easier than the last one.    Having a few extras on hand extends life to about 90 days until electronic failure.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/251740348829?lpid=82&chn=ps

 

 

Some of the name brands.  
Rado Shack.    Not bad for the money, but the screw in type tips always come loose.


Weller
Things got a hair better here.  At least the necks dont break.    Just stay away from the stupid gun type.  Had 2 of those and both were junk.  



I would actually consider a weller again if someone recommended something they had tried and proven, AND it had the tip holder threaded and NOT where the tips just screw into the end.




I would be VERY VERY GRATEFUL   for any help you guys have to offer.   I AM SOOOOOOO Tired of buying these over and over.

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nitro
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I have a

Weller Soldering Station Model WESD51 Digital

and i had it for about 2 years and still works as new, i bought it for around $90 new

and i use mine every day Smile

alexvh
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Check out the Hakko fx-888d.

My firmware for nanjg attiny13 flashlight drivers: https://github.com/alexvanh/basic_off_time_driver

Discussion: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/36932

Off-time mode switching on stock drivers (no off time capacitor mod necessary) and ramping withou

HKJ
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vestureofblood wrote:
Weller
Things got a hair better here.  At least the necks dont break.    Just stay away from the stupid gun type.  Had 2 of those and both were junk.  


I would actually consider a weller again if someone recommended something they had tried and proven, AND it had the tip holder threaded and NOT where the tips just screw into the end.

 

What are you talking about?? I have always been using Wellers and never been able to wear them out. I had to give my old Weller away, before I had an excuse to buy a new one: WP80 and a WP120 with a large tip.

Only complain I have is that the transformer is missing a light, I do sometimes forget to turn the iron off and it burns for a couple of days (My tips survives this).

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

Crux
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I have a Metcal STSS-002 (search ebay) They are not cheap by any means. Nor are they adjustable, the tips have the heating element built in, so you select different tips for different temperatures. And no, the tips aren't cheap either. But it heats instantly and pumps up to 60W into the tip to maintain the rated temperature no matter what you touch it to.

At work, however, I've adapted to a Weller WES51. Lower cost and it works fine, and is adjustable too.

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alexvh wrote:
Check out the Hakko fx-888d.

+1

Great bit of kit.. I love mine.

Plus.. if you ever mess one up at all with the settings, and it just doesn’t get hot enough or something is far from right..

Factory reset..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecH4c6NdBuo

Bucket
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I have this one and love it.  The soldering gun is a little on the cheap side, but replacements are inexpensive and readily available.

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/hot-air-rework-soldering-station-csi90...

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I think I’ll try the edsyn 951sxe next time. Made in USA, 95W. not really “budget” though.

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I know you said owned over a year…. And I havent, so ignore this….

I did a lot of research on this because I wanted a new machine to replace my pencil type one.

I bought an AOYUE 9378 Programmable Digital Soldering Station (60 Watt) off of eBay about a month ago for 80 bucks. I love it, It heats up so quickly and it just works. It came with 10 extra tips and an extra heating element. They have it on amazon too, but it’s a little more expensive there. There’s a lot of good reviews out there for it.

I initially was considering a Weller station, either analog or digital but the Aoyue was cheaper and had as good of reviews as the weller machines. This is BLF after all, so I went with the budget machine.

Hakko machines had a pretty good reputation as well.

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+1

Crux wrote:

I have a Metcal STSS-002 (search ebay) They are not cheap by any means. Nor are they adjustable, the tips have the heating element built in, so you select different tips for different temperatures. And no, the tips aren’t cheap either. But it heats instantly and pumps up to 60W into the tip to maintain the rated temperature no matter what you touch it to.

At work, however, I’ve adapted to a Weller WES51. Lower cost and it works fine, and is adjustable too.

I use a Metcal MX500UF Solder/Rework station at work with the desolder unit as well. Very nice unit. Heats up super fast and instantly cranks up the amps when the tip is “heatsinked”.

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What do you mean when the tip is “heatsinked” ?

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alexvh wrote:
Check out the Hakko fx-888d.

I use a Hakko fx-888 (analog one) and am very pleased with it. I haven’t replaced the original tip yet but haven’t done a ton of soldering with it and I keep it tinned. It’s done all of my soldering since late 2012 though.
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AlexGT wrote:
What do you mean when the tip is “heatsinked” ?

you know when you are soldering and you solder something with a large heat capacity and it sucks the heat out of the tip? sometimes even sticks it for a moment. it kind of acts like a heatsink on the soldering pen.

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I got a used Hakko 936 15 years ago and it still works like new. If I ever replace it I’ll probably look at another Hakko. If you really use a soldering iron that much why not consider dropping some real money and get something REALLY good.

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We use Hakko irons at work, they are used daily, 5 days a week, sometimes 10 hours a day.
Rarely would one fail, as long as the tips were tinned, we had no problems. The finest point tips tended to “oxidize” from being set too high, but 1.2 mm and larger would usually last for months before they needed to be replaced. I use a 12+ year-old Weller at home, it was a “throw-away”
when we converted to Hakko. I believe the Hakko is the model #936.

Formerly known as “cscosx”

LED Boatguy
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I have an 85 watt Hakko 921 iron. It is preset for 700 degrees F. Must have had it 15 years now, and have done thousands of operations with it, including leaving it on overnight more than a couple times. It heats up super fast (85 watts), but still regulates at 700 degrees. That 85 watts is good to have if you need to heat up something with some bulk—like a Noctigon.

I also had a full-on Weller soldering/desoldering station—the kind with the vacuum pump. I only had this $500+ station because it was a gift from Cooper Industries (Cooper Tools) when they bought a company of ours. I used it (the iron part) a lot, and it never missed a beat. I gave it away because of its bulk—I hardly ever desolder, and the Hakko took up way less space on my bench.

Hakko and Weller. Both are top notch IMO.

AlexGT
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Ford Prefect wrote:
AlexGT wrote:
What do you mean when the tip is “heatsinked” ?

you know when you are soldering and you solder something with a large heat capacity and it sucks the heat out of the tip? sometimes even sticks it for a moment. it kind of acts like a heatsink on the soldering pen.

Oh, that! H)

You got me goggling the term and found out that some people put some sort of thermal grease on the base of the soldering tips to maximize heat transfer from the heating element to the tip. haven’t heard of this before, and haven’t read much if it would be OK for the tip or the heating element in the long run…

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/soldering-iron-tip-heat-transfer/

This is the thermal compound some were suggesting, it is rated at up to 1000 Celsius.

http://www.mrmoly.com/html/copaslip.html

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AlexGT wrote:
Ford Prefect wrote:
AlexGT wrote:
What do you mean when the tip is “heatsinked” ?

you know when you are soldering and you solder something with a large heat capacity and it sucks the heat out of the tip? sometimes even sticks it for a moment. it kind of acts like a heatsink on the soldering pen.

Oh, that! H)

You got me goggling the term and found out that some people put some sort of thermal grease on the base of the soldering tips to maximize heat transfer from the heating element to the tip. haven’t heard of this before, and haven’t read much if it would be OK for the tip or the heating element in the long run…

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/soldering-iron-tip-heat-transfer/

This is the thermal compound some were suggesting, it is rated at up to 1000 Celsius.

http://www.mrmoly.com/html/copaslip.html


At a guess, Id say its primary purpose is to keep the bits free and removable without too much hassle, a bit like exhaust bolts on a car. The heat transfer is no different to heat transfer here re: LEDs and thats been overly discussed already. Better than nothing, maybe, and less is more, sure, but in the end its best use is to keep stuff that heats and cools reasonably easy to remove.
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Well, I can only report on what I've actually used. I started with one of the cheap HobbyKing Hakko 936 and I am still using it today despite heavy use. I also have an FX-888D. The genuine Hakko has a better (more comfortable)  iron and iron holder, but besides that it really isn't very much more powerful. 

I use genuine Hakko tips with both irons and am satisfied with both of them. To me, the tips are more important than the iron. 

I never expected the $21 iron to last for thousands of hours, but it has. The Hakko is a little more comfortable to use, but it was $70 more. 

I think that the Hakko will serve you well, but many others probably would as well. 

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oh my gosh V.O.B. I will freely admit I read none of the replies. But I have been using this station heavily for at least 8 years, probably more without a hicup.
http://www.weller-toolsus.com/soldering/systems/wes-series/weller-wesd51...
And it’s only a 50 watt unit. Money well spent.

VegasF6
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nitro wrote:

I have a

Weller Soldering Station Model WESD51 Digital

and i had it for about 2 years and still works as new, i bought it for around $90 new

and i use mine every day Smile

Yes. This.

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I have the Second one you linked. I thought the wand would break right away but it still works fine. It was delivered with a cold joint in one of the connections to the heating element (kept displaying E5) but after fixing that it’s held up well. Two minor complaints; the tip holder comes loose and the wand base needed a loop of Romex to hold the pen up. I use tip #1 for most things but like #3 for making flat joints on mcpcb’s.

Note, I said flat not fat.

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I used to work for Metcal aka OK industries we though our were the best built. we were catering to PCB production rework but the machines were still for individual stations.

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I have a Pace ST115 for maybe 10 years now, never had any problem with it.

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I have a Aouye Int3210 soldering station. -> http://www.aoyue.com/en/product/default.asp?id=39
Not the cheapest one (85€ in germany), but I have it now for ~5 Years and never had a problem with it.

very flexible cable, fast heating, digital display, shuts itself down if you forget it – and the tip is still the first one.

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This is one of several. I made the enclosure as I had a 36’ Pexto shear and a 24” Pexto box and pan brake at the time. The tube that holds the iron is electrical conduit pipe. Metal this time. Inside, connected to the switch is a simple diode that allows me to switch to half power. The other side has another switch so that I can run 2 irons at a time. 1 on full and the other on half. The panel lights are old school Neon. I made this 45 years ago.

The handle is an Ungar and the heating element I got years ago at Radio Shack, back when they sold QUALITY. The RS part number is Archer 64-2082, 33 1/2 watts, really an Ungar part though. The tip is an Ungar “iron clad”. I remember the copper ones didn’t last long, but these iron clad ones seemingly last forever. They can be found on EBay

I also have a Weller soldering gun, several large irons and a Black and Decker iron and station. The B+D station is JUNK.

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I just remembered, it was Letraset lettering.
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vestureofblood
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Here is a bit of an update.    I have been looking over all of the options suggested and greatly appreciate all of the help guys.    Thank you.

2 of the main ones I have been looking at are the genuine Hakko, and the  Weller.  

Right now I am leaning toward the WES51.   It has the type of tip holder I like and keep seeing it come up good in reviews.    I would sort of like to have one that is more than 50 watt, but as best I can tell to bump up to the next level you get to pay 3x times the price..    $300+ range.

This is what I was thinking in the 50 watt
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Weller-WES51-Analog-Soldering-Station-with-Chise...

Comes with a few tips.

 

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My preferred tip is ETU for tiny work. It's length is short (compared to the ETS), so the path from heater to tip is short. I think its the same length as the ETA,B,C and D - just pointier.

Also look into getting a little tin of soldering tip tinner. I like the tin I have, but the label has been off for years so I don't know what to recommend! (I don't like MG Chemicals Tin/Silver FWIW) Just be sure to wipe off the residue left from the tinner (it is corrosive), you don't want that stuff left on your board. I fear that what I have pre-dates the No-Lead era and that's why it works so well.Laughing

Anyone have a suggestion for tip tinner?

EDIT: perhaps eBay # 291288300550

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i love my weller ws40 its not that pricy and it does very wel have light to medium soldering (you maybe could do some havy soldering, but i dont think is has enough power to do that)

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I use ETS for most projects. I will have to look at ÉTU. Just tin the tip with solder.

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I’ve got this constant temperature Weller WTCPT 60W station http://www.amazon.com/WTCPT-Temperature-Controlled-Soldering-Station/dp/.... Got it in like new condition on ebay (fingers were crossed) several years ago for around $80 (had to wait a bit). It’s been good to me, but no real reference to other stations other than a not so hot WLC100. Prices have gone up for new ones I see, from when I was looking.

Kent

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