How powerful should soldering iron be for pill soldering?

I already have some decent, simple heaters and some better temperature controlled ceramic soldering irons at home those I use on PCB’s without any problems. The most powerful is the Chinese 60w temperature controlled iron I had from Dx but I don’t really find it that powerful for soldering springs to brass etc. My rather smaller irons start with a good blob of solder but then the pill soaks all the heat and the tip almost sticks to brass.

As I have a couple of Japanese Goot soldering irons, PX201 (250 - 450C) and PX232 (320C) already, I thought I could be happier with something more powerful from the same brand. The simple Nichrome heater KS/KX series soldering irons look like some good solutions for cheaper high power irons and they extend to 100W.

Now that I don’t have anything up to that power level, and if Goot says I believe it would be an efficient 100W iron, I aim for the 100W one. But would this iron be just overly hot to solder driver to brass pill? Should I have the 80W one? Or tell me if I’m totally off and that I shouldn’t be using anything higher than xxxW for jobs including a PCB.

I’ve found my 40w temp controlled iron from the local electronics shop ( jaycar) is just sufficient when on full temperature and has a minute or 2 really heat up past the normal temp i use for everything else its a challenge but it works, though I have only really worked on p60 hosts.

I did it well with 30W soldering iron (XP-G PCB), but it is 230V. Does it matter?

No the voltage doesn't matter, it is still the same wattage. But to answer the question, I generally use a 60 watt one which works fairly well.


I have a 40W Solomon iron that worked well for P60 for some time but it is a PCB burner if used for delicate work. I don’t expect a non-temperature controlled iron to act different but even with its over heating nature it isn’t working that well for brass pills bigger than a p60. Yeah, I guess 40W is at the limits.


60W should work better of course. I know I need just a bit more powerful iron for connectors, big wires etc. And which tip do you prefer for securing drivers to pills? I guess chisel tips should give the fastest heat transfer but they also loose their heat if the iron behind it is weaker than the job.

I use a temperature controled 60 W. It can be adjusted from 200 to 400°C.

I have a simple Weller Soldering Iron Gun Thingamajig.

Got it from Bunnings (local hardware store) and it's 30W, which I find plenty, but it's got this boost trigger which makes an awesome pewpew sound. I mean it gives a quick 130W boost which is real handy when I use it as a hot knife to cut Techflex/foam/etc. Or I solder massive 6AWG cable. That stuff's a real b....each to handle.

No temperature regulation.

this might not help, but I remember someone saying to pre-heat and pre-tin the pill to help the process and prevent too much heat going into the driver.

I also have something like that. Well it isn’t a Weller but a Chinese copy of a Japanese soldering iron, maybe a Goot or Hakko for sure. It is 20W unregulated but boosts up to 130W. A nice ceramic iron I had locally for $7 or so. But unfortunately it doesn’t seem to push that much of a power with its rather thin tip.

Pretinning the pill should help I guess. I use some paste flux for better solder adhesion and seem to work. I guess an iron as powerful as possible should help on bare brass, right?

BTW, is there a thing like a powerful iron can solder in shorter time without heating the whole pill and electronics, or does it just mean that a powerful iron heat the total faster?

+1. I pre-tin both the ground ring and the pill if need be. Also, even a blow dryer can provide preheating in a pinch. The new iron I use is 50W adjustable but for some things I use a small torch.

Pick up a lamp dimmer from the hardware store, you know the ones with a slider. Turns any plain pencil-type iron into a fancy adjustable one for about $3. Then you can use the same big wattage iron for everything big to small, just change the tips to suit.

The one I have has the female socket & male wall plug molded into one unit, and the slider box is on a ~3ft cord, so it can be remote mounted on your desk/workbench. Works great!

Did just like that :slight_smile: I built myself a dimmer and tried this on my 40W. It really prevents its tip from burning so quickly. BTW there is another trick using a single diode to bring power consumption to half. A single diode should make a half wave. I may build a simple switch to halve the power quickly.

And just got the 100w one from eBay.