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Your Opinion On Soldering Irons Or Guns

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KB9SDS, Mar 30, 2015.

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  1. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I used a Radio Schack iron for a little more than two decades. I never had any trouble with it. Then one day the element burnt out and I replaced it with a new Radio Schack one which was not so nice. So, I bought a Weller. But, I can solder with a nail and a torch if I have to. (Yes, I've done that).
  2. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Is it really MAPP or is it this new MAP/Pro junk?

    Did they start making MAPP again?
  3. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have a new Hakko I haven't fired up yet - waiting for the next project. I have a lot of old Wellers - somebody donated a potload of them to me many years ago, and I've used them with great success. Oddly enough, for very light work on circuit boards with reasonable sized traces, one of the rechargeable Wellers works pretty well. Waiting for the thing to recharge encourages me to set it aside and take my time, rather than rush through.

    For soldering big stuff, I have several soldering guns, but for coax connectors, I use an old fashioned 100 watt iron with a big tip - it will heat the body of the connector sufficiently, but takes caution to do the center pin. I've often thought that a resistance soldering iron would be the answer for soldering coax, but I've never tried one or seriously tried to build one. We used them to solder to large metal blocks at a company I worked for, and they were outstanding. They are also very useful for loosening stuck bolts and screws.
  4. KB9SDS

    KB9SDS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I do all that. Last time I used it, I cleaned and tightened it, but when I tried to tin it, it wouldn't melt the solder and Radio Shack doesn't (at least this one) sell replacement tip for that model.
  5. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, it sounds like the heating element may have degraded. That is probably the most common cause of them dying.

    In that case, I would definitely buy a new one. We can't count on Radio Shack to support anything anymore, so I would think about a Weller or other brand.
  6. AA9G

    AA9G Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You should probably understand the difference between solder gun and solder iron before you burn your house down. :p
  7. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I don't count on anyone to support anything beyond the warranty. I'd much rather not have to worry about whether they will support it or not. That's why I bought a Weller. If Weller goes out of business tomorrow, I probably still have a very nice soldering iron for the rest of my life.

    I used to think that until I saw some irons with ten times the power rating of my guns!
  8. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    No... they did not. You're correct. It's a Faux Mapp torch that I have. It seems to work OK though. Lights the grill quickly too! :cool:
  9. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you mentioned , I missed it , what kinds of soldering are you looking to do ?
    There is no such thing as one soldering tool will do all soldering jobs .
    With most any work being done , I've found that it can take more talent to get a poor tool to do well , then getting a quality to do well .
    Hakko is a good choice for a new unit and a good price starting around $75 - $120 and then up from there .
    Some good shopping can get you good used pro level also , maybe $100 - $250 , Weller , Metcal , JBC .
    Then what happens is getting fully equipped for most types of soldering & desoldering , lots of tips , desoldering guns , hot-air soldering systems , preheat , ovens etc.
    So I would say stay with known quality , and if you get into building , repairing most ham gear built up to about the last 10 - 20 yrs. , not so the most recent - components are getting very small , if at the best pricing , you could easily have $500 - $1,000 +++
    Admittedly I have a tool jones ;) - but I have been fixing almost everything I own for most of my life , so I think my tools jones has very little down sides .
  10. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    For PL-259 soldering, I'd recommend - not necessarily from Amazon; Lowe's carries Weller. They make a 40-watt version which is fine if you only do a few connectors. Very large in terms of mass compared to the mass of the connector - the iron doesn't cool down when you place the tip against a cool connector. Result: quick heating without baking the coax.
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