Economical soldering station

I think I am in the right forum (?) to ask for help in deciding on a decent soldering station. Not too long ago I ran across this topic with suggestions in prices around $20. I was tempted at that time to buy one but declined after reading some negative reviews amounting to “getting what you pay for”, or receiving a good one as (in so many words) “luck of the draw”. Being that I am budget minded, I do love a deal but I am leaning toward spending more to “hopefully” purchase something more consistently reliable. Is there a higher quality station with extra tips commonly used here at BLF for $50 or so? I am open to spending more for a great bargain.

I am slowly reading my way into modding and would like to at least get the required tools and supplies right :slight_smile:

Thanks for your help

I'm using this one these days and am happy with it. It doesn't come with extra tips, but it takes those good Hakko tips that are widely available. A hot air gun may not seem like something you'll need. But if you get into this hobby, you'll likely want one after awhile.

(NOTE: The links in the pics below are just the first ones I could find. Don't know if they are the best prices or with good vendors)

Nice dual station. I hear they work really well. :slight_smile:

Damn forgot about those dual stations, now I’ve bought a normal soldering station…

Lots of people use hakko solders they are expensive but they will last a long time. The cost will depend on what model you want I found this one on amazon.*AC_UL300_SR300%2C300*&refRID=1BXQZBDCFQQ9ZVGB11GK

Compared to my made in Spain venerable artifact legendary JBC 3×1’5mm tip and soldering iron (which isn’t the original one: the tip outlasted the body/heating element), Hakko stuff is a joke: that tip was being used by my brother when he was studying electronics… around the mid-eighties! That sh1t ought to be made from Star Metal (or close to)…
Of course, it has not been used a lot per unit of time but, 30 years old… :person_facepalming:

Take a look at this terrific deal: «Hakko style “936d” soldering pen»: Page Not Found -
For an extra handful of bucks ($10-20), you can also look for the higher powered A-BF GS90D/GS110D (90/110W).


P.S.: JBC tips are goddamnedly expensive… :person_facepalming:

I’m really pleased with my Bacon^w Bakon soldering station from Banggood:

or if you only need a massive tip (the one included) and a normal sized one:

They show up on sale quite often if you can wait and want to save a few bucks.

I don’t think the tips works on a genuine Hakko, and I don’t think genuine Hakko tips work on the Bakon. But, together they work really well. Heats up fast and holds the temperature well.

Thanks for these suggestions everyone. I have to ask if there is any advantage to having a separate station from the iron, such as cooler running while in use and therefore longer life of the unit? This is all new to me and it “seems” there would be a longer life for the internal components when they are not confined to the small interior of the iron itself.

Also it would be nice if I could order everything the first time and from one source if possible. So another question (?) For most soldering jobs on EDC lights, is there a couple of commonly used tip sizes that I should be sure to order? It doesn’t seem like any big tips would be needed.

Then the question of solder choice confuses things further for me. Subjects like this that are simple knowledge for a lot of members here but becomes even more confusing to me, the more I read about it. Am I correct in thinking the higher the silver content the better the solder for EDC’s? Here again, I don’t want to spend extra money if it isn’t necessary but I’d rather spend more when it makes sense.

Ohhh, so much to learn, and then begins the actual soldering experience. If I can eliminate any mistakes in equipment and supplies, then I can concentrate on the human factor, me and my ability to do it right.

I am obviously still on a steep uphill learning curve trying to get some traction :slight_smile: And enjoying the experience. Quite honestly it is a type of therapy for me when I can find time to pursue it.

Thanks again for your help.

PS. What would the hot air be used for relating to flashlights?

Don’t know the answer to your first question. What you say “seems” makes sense, but probably more important is the quality of the components and other design/build factors. Those Hakko units are supposed to be pretty good stuff.

Tip sizes. I tend to use the smallest 2 sizes most. Then probably the biggest for items that need a lot of heat (soldering thick LED Leads to a Copper Emitter Base). Once in awhile, I use the 3rd from smallest tip.

Solder. Heat is the enemy of many of the components in our lights. So most of us use the lowest melting point stuff. It’s also harder to solder with lead-free solders. I prefer this solder for most situations:

Just grabbed first add listed on ebay search. I don’t know off hand if I have used that the vendor before.

I do use silver based solder on things that are more heat tolerant like soldering copper MCPCB’s to copper pills. I use HVAC stuff because I have it. It’s flux is not compatible with electronics. So I have to clean off the flux residue afterwords real good.

Hot air gun. The type I linked to above is handing for building/modding drivers. Can also be used for reflowing emitters onto MCPCB. You can get by using a big cheap hot airgun from Harbor Freight, but it’s like using a very big hammer for a delicate nail. You can use one to change a couple components on a board, but everything on the board will also be exposed to reflow temperatures.

+1 on the eutectic solder stuff, RoHS shite sucks big time.

I am currently using this solder wire, cheap and great quality: “Sincon” 0’8mm (0’031inch) 3’5oz reel

I’ve never had a soldering station and, for my needs, I see no point in going after one nowadays as there are pretty good temperature controlled portable pencil soldering irons. Also, if you’re beginning on this stuff, no need to “start driving on a Bentley”.
My $0’02.


I have this from Lidl:

Parkside, regulable station.

Love tips that save money. :slight_smile:

Ordered some. Thank you Barkuti.

That Banggood station looks very interesting. Any other feedback on it?

i read about solder alloys a few times…

the OLD stuff was better, as in easier to master soldering electronics. I WANNA remember 60/40 was the old fashioned standby mix, and MAYBE i wanna remember 64/37 as the “perfect” stuff ?? from memory without going looking… i hate the new stuff.

theres 2 temperatures that matter when soldering…

1) “solidus” - the temperature BELOW which the solder is solidified.
2) “Liquidus” - the temperature ABOVE which the solder is liquified.

when you got the old lead based solder? with the “perfect” mix? (maybe that was 63/37, i dont remember…) the solidus temperature AND the liquidus temperature? were the SAME TEMPERATURE. Basically there was one “magic temperature” aove which the solder melted, below which it was solid.

this made soldering easy… unless you ran your iron too hot, or, held the iron way too long? when you retracted your soldering iron, the solder joint almost instantly solidified.


when you move away from the “perfect” mix, or… the “new stuff” RoHS crap… the solidus and liquidus are two different temperatures.

the liquidis is a little or a lot higher temperature from the solidus… meaning? you heat it up… it flows… you retract your soldering iron? and you W-A-I-T for it to cool down to solid.


i tend to get “balls” of solder that “ride” instead of flow and puddle… i guess i need to buy a flux pen to get puddles and flow.


my advice? just DO IT… you soon learn to get SOMEthing working, and if youre like me? it will be UGLY and take forever… but “works”.

you get better at it over time, its an acquired skill.

just resist the temptation to melt the solder, instead concentrate on heating up the PIECE, and letting the solder melt when the piece is hot enoug to do it for you.


i like to keep some fine abrasive paper handy, and will “sharpen” my pointed soldering iron tip before using… then i like to “tin” the soldering tip… put some solder on it to cover it, and let it cook and flood the tip over.

then it works better. “tinning” the two pieces you are going to join first? makes them join more easily. I will tin the WIRE, then tin the “pad” by puddling solder there and cooking the puddle… then heat up the wire touching the cooled pad until it cooks together and retract.

shrugs easier to SHOW someone, it loses something talking about it.

PS - i am no expert… my soldering is a “hot mess”, pun intended… but it WORKS, if its a little bit ugly.

I bought one of these ($35) HERE and so far (about 4 months)
it has performed flawlessly. USA company also. It says “lead free” on it, but it IS suitable for either lead free or leaded solder.

Nice thing you all mentioned here but this should be more than enough for you:,searchweb201602_1_301_10034_507_10032_508_10020_10017_10005_10006_10021_10022_401_10018_10019,searchweb201603_9&btsid=34d60bcb-fe3a-4ce0-962c-c71ccf9a2148

+ order 2 spare handles so you can quick change between tips(plug other one with other tip when needed) without need for cooling time if only one handle is used and fiddling with tips is pain in the air.

Why RoHS and Tin Solder Sucks :person_facepalming:

As sedstar said, tinning the hot iron’s tip is key because it maximizes the heat transfer surface. The key to make a good solder joint is keeping the surfaces to be joined at about the same temperature, which is when the solder flows overall easily.
Keeping the tip clean is key also. You may have heard of moistened sponges for tip cleaning and that works very well but, it can seriously add thermal stress to the tip (i.e.: it won’t last long). Better do that with one of those wire meshes, or just carefully do it like me with a screwdriver’s tip LOL!

Cheers :partying_face:

Please do not do this with a quality or semi-quality tip. They are plated and once the plating is gone the solder starts to leach the copper core away. Tips can last for decades if well treated.

63/37 (eutectic) solder is definitely the way to go for most applications. Nice bright, solid joints without much effort.

A-BF GS90D for just $28
I really like those (and my venerable JBC). :heart_eyes:


I am prone to over-analyze things I know little about, and this new hobby start-up is turning out to be no different. I thank you for your help and hope to make a decision SOON so I can get on with my life after everything arrives in the mail and I can start playing. :slight_smile: I am learning alot about how to best use and treat the equipment and I REALLY appreciate the education. You folks are great.

I can understand the advantages of a pen and I am leaning that way although it will need to be 110V with US plug.

I am curious what the general temp setting is, for example when doing the spring bypass on maybe a BLF A6? If the good solder melts around 360 degrees, do you set the pen at 400 or so? I know there isn’t just one correct answer to this, as many variables will play a role.