Recommend a good soldering iron?

i_r_beej

Well-Known Member
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981
My Hobbico/Trakpower 60W soldering "pencil" ceased being able to maintain temperature last night, making for a very frustrating attempt to add EC3 plug to a set of battery leads.

I don't know if it just got too hot or what (it's light stayed on) but I wound up wasting half an hour struggling with it and never got to add the plug.

I don't mind spending money on something that is quality and reliable and will allow me to get soldering work done quickly and correctly the FIRST time.

I welcome any suggestions for a good soldering iron/station. Thanks!
 

i_r_beej

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981
Thanks, @WoodiE

I plugged in my soldering iron this AM and after 6 minutes it was still cold. Light was on, but no heat. It must have burned out last night. I can't see any easy way to open it up.
 

X

Conspiracy of One
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Supporting Member
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If you are willing to make an investment, Weller makes great solder workstations. I personally use a WD2M. Have had it for ~6 years using it pretty much 5 days a week.

441-861.01_s500_p1.jpg
Unfortunately this model is older now, but they make a new version of it. The WX1 or WX2, depending on if you want single or dual outputs.
 

xlDooM

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682
I use Weller at work but it's expensive. At home I only solder electrical things, not small electronics so I buy the cheapest 30W thing with a flat point I can buy and I use the two year warranty to get a new one when it breaks. My current one is only a few months old and I paid less than $20.
 

X

Conspiracy of One
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Supporting Member
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That's pretty sweet, @X, but wayyyyy outside my budget. :)
What kind of price range did you want to stay in? If on the low side, that Weller that Woodie mentioned is a good buy. Another option, though more moderately priced is Metcal. I've used their MX-500P quite a bit and it's a powerhouse of a solder iron. They have a lot of options.

http://www.okinternational.com/metcal
 

i_r_beej

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Messages
981
Thanks for all the recommendations, guys. I did some calling around locally and wound up buying a XYTronic LF-389D "mini station" and a chisel-type tip to go with it. It was US$65 which was a bit more than I was hoping to spend, but cheaper options (available locally) were CHEEEEEEAP and janky looking. This XYTronic seems to be a quality unit and was certainly nice to use. Despite the cost, using a good tool, the right tool for the job, is always a joy. "Buy right or buy twice (or more)."
 

i_r_beej

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Messages
981
Me either! After getting your recommendations I started calling around and doing some Google-Fu. Not surprisingly the local hobby shops only had cheap-o pencils or the expensive Weller or Hakko stations. My back-up plan was to drive down to the local Frys (ugh). I discovered a cool store (surplusgizmos.com) just minutes from my office and I was able to check out their stock online first. They were selling soldering tools by XYTronic. Apparently XYTronic has been around for quite a while and I found some favorable reviews online and mentions of people having XYTronic solder stations that were still working after 20-ish years! Plus Surplus Gizmos had a selection of tips available so I was able to get a small spade tip at the same time. Plus the ower was really cool and talked with me about the XYTronic stuff for a good 15 minutes.

I spend about 45 minutes using the tool that night desoldering and re-assembling new battery leads and the tool was fantastic. The handle never got even warm, but I was able to dial the tip up to 730 degrees for quick solder work. It was nice to be able to dial down the temp for finishing heat-shrink tubing without scorching it. The actual pencil features a ceramic heating element that slides up INSIDE the tip.

After I do more work with it I'll post a review and photos in Tools.
 

HattyDamp

New Member
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1
Hi everyone...i am an electronics hobbyist. In my work i used Weller at work but it's expensive. At home I only solder electrical things, not small electronics so I buy the cheapest 30W thing with a flat point I can buy and I use the two year warranty to get a new one when it breaks.
 

WithinU

Well-Known Member
Messages
242
Location
Land of Oz
Thanks for all the recommendations, guys. I did some calling around locally and wound up buying a XYTronic LF-389D "mini station" and a chisel-type tip to go with it. It was US$65 which was a bit more than I was hoping to spend, but cheaper options (available locally) were CHEEEEEEAP and janky looking. This XYTronic seems to be a quality unit and was certainly nice to use. Despite the cost, using a good tool, the right tool for the job, is always a joy. "Buy right or buy twice (or more)."
@i_r_beej, did you ever review this soldering station?
Thoughts?
 

i_r_beej

Well-Known Member
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981
Good grief... 3+ years later and I never got around to it!

I use the soldering iron occasionally (for my RC projects) and it's performed just fine. It heats in in about 1 minute-- very fast! I discovered that I could easily use Hakko tips on the XYTronic pencil-- in fact the Hakko pencils look quite a bit like the XYTronic models (or is that the other way around?). I note that they're currently US$60 on Amazon (June 2019). If you want a good, robust soldering iron with adjustable heat, I'd highly recommend the XYTronic LF-389D.
 

WithinU

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Messages
242
Location
Land of Oz
LOL, sorry @i_r_beej, I didn't mean to raise an old post from the dead, but I may be looking for a new cheap soldering iron. Mine (5?) are so old and seem to take forever to heat up. I read this post and then started looking for a review, and didn't find anything.
Thank you for replying, I almost bought one on Ebay, but wanted to ask first incase you had issues with it.
Thanks again!
 
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