What Soldering Iron for Modding

Anybody know what’s a good soldering iron for torches, I’ve some fairly biggish ones but the tips are large and not best suited to small appliances …. I did a search for thin tipped soldering iron but there’s virtually nothing that comes up.

I did find this one (there’s an 18w version as well which I’m guessing would have a slightly larger tip but may be better??? )


which I’m guessing as it’s lower wattage it’d have a smaller tip but is 12v’s enough for most flashlight soldering?

Any comments or any other suggestions much appreciated !!!

I would vote for a Hakko clone from a local seller

search the forum for this topic, the Hakko clone can be had from Hobbyking as well or the regular auction platform. It has good reviews.

I got a Weller WSD81 station
80W and you can switch the tip with hands when the iron is hot
temperature control so you get enough energy in the material with no risk of too high temperature

lots of tip sizes availiable

Depends. You want lower wattage and a narrower tip for smaller and more sensitive electronical critters, but for soldering to pills, stars, other big donks, you want more wattage and a larger chisel-point tip.

Iron-ically (haha), a lower wattage iron could cook an LED/driver/etc. and ruin it before it even melts the solder. You want to hit it hard, and fast, with a large tip that has lots of thermal mass, and a flat surface you wan press solidly against for maximum and fastest heat-transfer. Get in, hit it hard, get out.

I just recently got an AEIOU soldering station for ~30bux or whatever, to replace my favorite 30W-ish iron which I kinda lost. (Don’t ask…) Takes Hakko tips, so should be good for replacements for some time. My old iron was only 30W, but I always kept a nice big chisel-point tip on it, so it had lots of thermal mass to do the job right quick.


Looked up my orders. This one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MCVCHJM/ .

The key is to get an iron that has a lot wattage and temperature regulation.
On idle it uses only a few watts, but if you stick it to a massive heatsink it poweres to its max wattage to keep the tempearature

I use a simple 35 watt iron with a pointed tip.

I got a genuine Hakko a while ago. Wasn’t cheap, but I wish I would have spent the money a long time ago.

I also have a Radio Shack 230W soldering gun for heavy lifting.

OK this is the third time I’ve posted this today, I promise I’m not a shill. I echo keithd’s comment above that I wish I had bought a good soldering iron a long time ago. I bought a slightly bigger Aoyue 9378 just yesterday and am thrilled with it. The 469 model you linked is equally good based on reviews, just fewer bells and whistles. And it’s on sale right now for $25, look for the coupon on the Amazon page linked above.

There's three threads on this today, lol. Yeah, I've used everything low power, high power, cheap, hakko. For most things I find it all works fine. Sometimes higher power helps (but holding the tip in the air for a minute on an unregulated lower power one will build up quite a lot of heat in it). I could care less about regulation, but not much less.

I hear good things about Aoyue.
But the name sounds like you hold it at the hot end :smiley:

Hakko, spend the money once! :wink: :THUMBS-UP: The Weller WSD81 is a nice one too!! :wink:

It’s been suggested low watts is best. This isn’t the case if it has temperature regulation. High watts will not harm small electronics, high temperature will. A 500 watt iron with temperature regulation can be used for small electronics just the same. The wattage just determines how well it will maintain the set temperature. This high watts is always better. This way, if the iron needs watts the controller will send it if not, it won’t.

I’m probably going to go for the Aoyue 469 as I’m not planning on making a career out of modding but just want it for the occasional use … that said something I hadn’t thought about was using different tips and I may see if I can find some for the basic soldering irons I currently have … it’s only the small detail work I’m struggling with.

A big thank you to everyone for all their input and suggestions … much appreciated!!!

I have a simple 25W Antex solder iron with pointy tip for circuit board soldering, and a scary 80W beast (also Antex) with a huge chisel tip for chunky stuff near copper. They are next to each other in a holder, those are all I need.

Yeah, I got a set of Hakko-compatible tips, just to have a big honkin’ chisel-point tip and the like. 10bux fot about as many tips.

Even with an 80W Weller station and medium tip its not easy to solder AWG20 wires to a good copper MCPCB
I had to go up over 400 degree C tonget enough heat fast enough to heat up the solder

Soldered this baby today, as usual very easy to desolder thin wires on an aluminium board before replacing with good stuff

Is 20awg supposed to be hard?
I use 16-14 AWG for my LEDs and 10-12 for other stuff…
And I have a pretty crappy 30W soldering iron with no temp control or anything.

You probably keep your tip clean and put some fresh solder on it before doing that.

I solder from 10-28 AWG and have the Hakko 936 clone off of ebay. The correct type of solder and type/amount of flux makes the process a whole lot easier.

Well yeah, it definitely needs solder on it for the heat to transfer, but the tip itself is crap.
The more I use it the more the metal starts to degrade so every now and then I just take a file and grind it back down to copper and then re-tin it with solder xD