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Any decent soldering irons/guns?

Old 07-03-21, 05:40 PM
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Question Any decent soldering irons/guns?

Title says it all.

Now that Weller is manufacturing their products in Mexico seems impossible to find a quality, pro soldering tool.

Can any of you guys recommend one for XT90 connectors/12 AWG stranded copper wire?

TIA.

Last edited by andychrist; 07-03-21 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 07-03-21, 06:18 PM
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Is that a charcoal or LP soldering iron you were trying to buy?

We recently purchased some JBC CDB stations to replace a couple of older Pace stations we had. They are awesome, extremely fast heating and the tips seem to last forever.
We leave the Weller and older Pace stations out for our mechanical techs to use. They haven't destroyed them yet, even the new LCD display ones. I always love grabbing one of them and seeing it set to 999deg. Tells me all I need to know about the previous user.
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Old 07-03-21, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
Title says it all.

Now that Weller is manufacturing their products in Mexico seems impossible to find a quality, pro soldering tool.

Can any of you guys recommend one for XT90 connectors/12 AWG stranded copper wire?

TIA.
My Weller 100/140W iron was made in Mexico, and my Radio Shack 15/30W iron was made in Taiwan. Can we discuss specific problems, other that where this stuff is made?
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Old 07-03-21, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
My Weller 100/140W iron was made in Mexico, and my Radio Shack 15/30W iron was made in Taiwan. What ACTUAL problems do you think exist?
Recent reviews all say the new Wellers are crap. Insides rattle, trigger is difficult to hold and the guns donít last long.

Is the Radio Shack any good?
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Old 07-03-21, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
Recent reviews all say the new Wellers are crap. Insides rattle, trigger is difficult to hold and the guns donít last long.

Is the Radio Shack any good?
Mine do the job. Only complaint I have is that I have to check the tightness of the nuts on the tip more than my dad's Weller.
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Old 07-03-21, 08:58 PM
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I'm happy with my Hakko, we have some older wellers at work as wel as a few metcals etc. The hakko compares just fine for home work. Production soldering might be different.
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Old 07-03-21, 09:31 PM
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There is a guy over in San Antonio Tx that rebuilds old soldering irons. He's got allot of business. I would certainly consider it if I had not thrown away my old Weller...

Now if I could just find some real solder...
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Old 07-04-21, 06:18 AM
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For soldering power connectors a cheap Home Depot unit will be sufficient. Just remember to hook the male and female parts of the connector together before soldering to help dissipate heat and keep from distorting the connector

I used a Hakko unit on mine. They are very nice irons with a well deserved reputation.
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Old 07-04-21, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
I used a Hakko unit on mine. They are very nice irons with a well deserved reputation.
Which one? They make so many different models.

I already have a station whose soldering tip is fused and cannot be removed, so only need an iron.
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Old 07-04-21, 08:33 AM
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Sorry, didn't read your title carefully, mine is a station as well

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have a couple of irons, all like $10 40W units I could have used. The station worked fine, not sure why you would want to use something else.
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Old 07-04-21, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
The station worked fine, not sure why you would want to use something else.
Because the tip on the unit I have now is bent and worn out and canít be replaced.

Will consider Hakko, for some reason none of their products appeared when I searched Amazon before.

Thanks!
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Old 07-04-21, 09:47 AM
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I have a Weller WES51 station, a Weller 8200, and a Harbor Fright solder gun, The Harbor doesn't sell replacement tips. expecting us to replace the whole thing, but a Weller 7135 fits, except the HF gun puts out so much power, it burns them up quick. It's also unbalanced.

Real 60/40 lead solder is still available on amazon. Home Deport sells a Kestor lead free that is absolutely miserable for home electrical work, but they keep it in the electrical section. Probably good for plumbing.

If you're soldering XT connectors, you really should use one of those alligator clip stands sold by Harbor Fright. You can position the wire and connector in the stand and two hands to hold the solder and the iron. Beats holding the solder in your mouth, is that why it's lead free?
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Old 07-04-21, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Doc_Wui View Post

Real 60/40 lead solder is still available on amazon. Home Deport sells a Kestor lead free that is absolutely miserable for home electrical work, but they keep it in the electrical section. Probably good for plumbing.

If you're soldering XT connectors, you really should use one of those alligator clip stands sold by Harbor Fright. You can position the wire and connector in the stand and two hands to hold the solder and the iron. Beats holding the solder in your mouth, is that why it's lead free?
Yeah I already own one of those gooseneck stands, got it on Amazon. Am through with HF, everything Iíve purchased from them has been wildly poor quality/defective.

Havenít had any problems with lead-free solder so far.
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Old 07-04-21, 10:32 AM
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The higher temperatures for lead free solder is my problem. The leaded stuff allows my marginal solder gear to work better. I took home a 16oz roll of Kestor 60/40 from work 35 years ago, and it should last the rest of my life. except I keep misplacing it. I had to run out to get the new stuff that didn't work. Now I have a 12oz roll of Austor for when I can''t find the other roll.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:44 PM
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to Doc on losing his solder roll!

The new lead free struff is crap. Dont buy it dont use it. You can still get good kester 60/40 rosin core solder for good electronics supply houses.

I see Weller 8200 guns all the time at flea markets. I still have the same one I bought as a kid. Ran through a few tips, but the gun is great.

For the smaller stuff I got a soldering station from Circuit specialists.
https://www.circuitspecialists.com/C...ation-Kit.html

Reliable, works great heats up quickly. The included solder is crap though.

-SP
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Old 07-11-21, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
Recent reviews all say the new Wellers are crap. Insides rattle, trigger is difficult to hold and the guns donít last long.

Is the Radio Shack any good?
Radio Shack is no more. I did grab one of their medium power irons just before my store closed for good. It's unopened. Free to a good home. My eyes aren't up to the soldering job I bought it for. I'm going to have to hire it out.
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Old 07-11-21, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
to Doc on losing his solder roll!

The new lead free struff is crap. Dont buy it dont use it. You can still get good kester 60/40 rosin core solder for good electronics supply houses.
The lead free stuff is not crap. It's different. Lead is BAD for you. That is why it is being phased out. For most of us it isn't a big deal. We don't solder enough for it to be an issue. You sound like you do. You should at least not encourage others to be careless with their health.
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Old 07-12-21, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Radio Shack is no more. I did grab one of their medium power irons just before my store closed for good. It's unopened. Free to a good home. My eyes aren't up to the soldering job I bought it for. I'm going to have to hire it out.
That is what I thought as well but The Shack is Back!
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Old 07-12-21, 12:11 PM
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So am vacillating between these three:

RadioShack Dual-Heat Soldering Gun

Wall-Lenk 150/100W Soldering Gun

Wall-Lenk LG400C 400/150W HD Soldering Gun (available on eBay for a lot less)

Which would you guys recommend for soldering 12AWG stranded copper into XT90 connectors? Donít want to melt the plastic but OTOH assume will need more power than for operating on a PCB!

TIA
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Old 07-13-21, 09:11 AM
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So I opted for the RadioShack 150/230W Soldering Gun. A little more powerful than Wall-Lenk’s 150/100W, but not the overkill of their 150/400W.

Will post back with results.
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Old 07-13-21, 09:27 AM
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I worked around lead solder for four years back in the 70's, touching it all day long. I've touched a lot of lead projectiles and had to wipe a bunch of it off my face since then. I have been tested for lead in several ways. I used to teach soldering. Maybe, I am getting old. I cannot solder with the new crap for the life of me. Soldering with the old stuff isn't so hard even with a mediocre iron.

Anyone ever see an outsourced product get better in quality after moving out of the USA?
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Old 07-13-21, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I worked around lead solder for four years back in the 70's, touching it all day long. I've touched a lot of lead projectiles and had to wipe a bunch of it off my face since then. I have been tested for lead in several ways. I used to teach soldering. Maybe, I am getting old. I cannot solder with the new crap for the life of me. Soldering with the old stuff isn't so hard even with a mediocre iron.

Anyone ever see an outsourced product get better in quality after moving out of the USA?
Maybe not ever better, but not necessarily any worse. The point is moot in any case. Neither you nor I can tell Weller what to do. IF the Mexican (or Chinese) factory makes inferior products going forward that is because those were the design specs they were given! They build what they are told to build, to the tolerances they are told to build to and with the raw materials that they are told to use. Everybody wants American made. It's all I see online ... I'm giving this one star because I just found out it's made in China! Big shock. Ya think? NOTHING is entirely made in the US anymore that you and I buy. You can't afford American made! Not even Harley-Davidson's were going to be affordable anymore at American labor costs. What you should have a problem with is the system that ALLOWS Weller to continue being traded on American stock exchanges, keep their corporate offices in nice American cities, pay ZERO taxes to the IRS ... oops that was getting dangerously close to P&R ... but so were you.
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Old 07-13-21, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
So am vacillating between these three:

RadioShack Dual-Heat Soldering Gun

Wall-Lenk 150/100W Soldering Gun

Wall-Lenk LG400C 400/150W HD Soldering Gun (available on eBay for a lot less)

Which would you guys recommend for soldering 12AWG stranded copper into XT90 connectors? Don’t want to melt the plastic but OTOH assume will need more power than for operating on a PCB!

TIA
Those will get the job done but in all honesty they are massively bigger than what you need. I used a 40 watt Radio Shack iron to solder mine. In fact, I melted the first XT90 connector I tried soldering with the 40 watt iron. Taught me to make sure I had the male and female connectors hooked up prior to soldering.
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Old 07-13-21, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
Those will get the job done but in all honesty they are massively bigger than what you need. I used a 40 watt Radio Shack iron to solder mine. In fact, I melted the first XT90 connector I tried soldering with the 40 watt iron. Taught me to make sure I had the male and female connectors hooked up prior to soldering.
What gauge wire were you using?
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Old 07-13-21, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
What gauge wire were you using?
Not sure, whatever came on the Bafang BBSHD. Tinning the wires prior to soldering is a great help. Think I used flux as well.
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