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  1. #1
    Wammer
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     Hamish
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    Anyone recomend a decent soldering station?

    WAnt to treat myself to a new soldering station as my soldering iron has seen better days!

    Any one got any recomentations?
    Cheers - Hamish.

  2. #2
    Price Discovery Bitch i_should_coco's Avatar
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
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    how much do you want to spend?
    CD players - computer audio for dummies.

  3. #3
    Wammer
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
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    £50 to £100. Happy to buy used.
    Cheers - Hamish.

  4. #4
    Banned
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
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    The Maplins 48 watt one is perfectly adequate, tips are cheap from germany, not Maplins, and it has very good temp control and an lcd readout.

  5. #5
    Wammer
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    Metcal all the way, and you should be in budget for one off ebay.

  6. #6
    Super Wammer captains log's Avatar
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     Ref 3A Episode
    In the Hi-Fi industry?
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    There can be only 1... Weller.

    Regards

    Log
    Regards Log
    I AM DEEMED AS..... HIGHLY Unsafe and Unpredictable around Humans.

  7. #7
    Acc shut see Purité North
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    Quote Originally Posted by captains log View Post
    There can be only 1... Weller.

    Regards

    Log
    Seconded - best DIY investment I made, and wish I'd listened when starting-out and avoided wasting money on toytown rubbish several times over!

  8. #8
    Too many turntables Beobloke's Avatar
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     Adam
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
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    Thirded. I have two as my company keeps throwing them out as they seem to regard a change to Metcal as an upgrade.
    Instant human being - just add coffee. Do not stir.

  9. #9
    WYLD STALLYNS JPG's Avatar
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
     No
    Weller or Oki/Metcal all the way.

    Having used both at Uni (studying electronics):

    A Weller TCP is a bit old fashioned, a bit chunky, and takes a while to reach temperature, but is fixable and should last forever with an occasional tip, element and temp stat (all are service items). Parts are widely available and should remain so - it's been in production for years.

    The Oki/Metcal RF kit is supeiror in almost every way: it heats faster, directs the heat better, maintains control better, the tip is slimmer and lighter, and it's generally brilliant to use. The element is part of the tip, and is guaranteed for as long as the tip (which is the only service item) lasts. That said, it is less maintainable than the Weller - if the power supply dies (not likely, but not unheard of) it will be easier and cheaper to replace it outright than have it repaired. Parts supply is good, but anything more than tips gets expensive.

    The temperature of both types is controlled by the choice of tip. It's much easier to swap the tips on the Metcal, so you could have a low-temp fine tip for PCB work and a chunkier higher-temp tip for bigger stuff. With the Weller switching the tip is fiddly, so you end up with a compromise. Some people (i_s_c for example) prefer the more recent (and expensive) variety of Weller with a temperature control dial, but personally I find that an iron with decent temp control and reasonable output power is fine at a single temp for most jobs

    I have used a "Precision gold" station just like the £50 48w Maplin one, and it was awful: avoid like the bubonic. The iron is a poor design, so much of the power is wasted to the surrounding air, and for the stuff I was soldering (capacitors in a small amplifier) I had to have the temp pretty much at maximum and use the thermal mass of the tip to melt the solder: I had to wait for the temp to go up again between each joint. If I didn't manage to de-solder a wire in time, the solder would re-solidify as the iron cooled down. With a Metcal I wouldn't even have needed to think about the iron's temperature: it would have done it straight off, every time.
    Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!

  10. #10
    Wammer Fatmarley's Avatar
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
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    If you want to make soldering enjoyable, get a Metcal. If you're one of those types that enjoys pulling your hair out, get one of those Maplin jobs.

  11. #11
    Price Discovery Bitch i_should_coco's Avatar
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
     No
    I have a Weller WSD81. One of the best investments for DIY that I made. No need to swap tips as temperature is set by the station and it warms up in <30 secs.
    CD players - computer audio for dummies.

  12. #12
    In the trade Wammer BobC's Avatar
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     Usually guilty
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    Oh how I dream of a 48W maplins iron, I only have a 40W one. I thoroughly enjoy taking 20secs to heat up a tag on the back of a speakon, praying to the solder gods that the solder will flow before the plastic of the speakon melts....

    Time to buy a proper one me thinks

  13. #13
    Wammer Sir_Franc's Avatar
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    Another Weller user here. They've been the tool of choice for several companies that I've worked for & usually very reliable.
    Karma means I can rest easy at night knowing all the people I treated badly had it coming.

  14. #14
    WYLD STALLYNS JPG's Avatar
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
     No
    Oh yes - only use leaded solder (which can still be bought, although it's harder to find since RoHS came in). Lead free solder is a royal pain in the hole.
    Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!

  15. #15
    Wammer Sir_Franc's Avatar
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    Lead free is like soldering with jelly if you don't complete the joint within a few seconds of heating. Plus it's a real shit if you have to use it to solder modern cheap wire as the heat needed soon starts to burn the sleeving back if you're not careful. Try to avoid if you can!
    Karma means I can rest easy at night knowing all the people I treated badly had it coming.

  16. #16
    Banned
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     Simon
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    In the Hi-Fi industry?
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    If you use the small tips on the Maplins job it's crap, you need the wide tip then it's easy. I never run mine over 230'degrees.

  17. #17
    Acc shut see Purité North
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    Good advice re. unleaded solder gents - horrible stuff, and I really wonder how it'll affect longevity and reliability of WEEE-compliant kit made with it.

  18. #18
    WYLD STALLYNS JPG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    Good advice re. unleaded solder gents - horrible stuff, and I really wonder how it'll affect longevity and reliability of WEEE RoHS-compliant kit made with it.
    Fixed for you. WEEE is just the crossed through wheelie bin, RoHS is to do with lead etc.

    EDIT: WEEE is also to do with funding recycling of waste, making sure the manufacturer is traceable, etc. Doesn't restrict the materials being used though.
    Last edited by JPG; 07-06-2012 at 07:55 PM.
    Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!

  19. #19
    Acc shut see Purité North
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPG View Post
    Fixed for you. WEEE is just the crossed through wheelie bin, RoHS is to do with lead etc.
    Oright smartarse

  20. #20
    Pac67
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by sq225917 View Post
    If you use the small tips on the Maplins job it's crap, you need the wide tip then it's easy. I never run mine over 230'degrees.
    I use the intermediate tip on the 48 watt digital station. It keeps temperature to plus/minus 5 degrees and for most soldering using quad eutectic silver/copper/lead/tin solder, higher temperatures are always a safer bet IMHO to minimise contact time. I set it at 325 degrees and leave it there. For ordinary leaded solder, I use around 300 degrees.

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