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Thread: Expensive solder irons/stations worth it?

  1. #1
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    Default Expensive solder irons/stations worth it?

    Wonder what the electrical gurus think about expensive solder setups vs cheapo. For the last year Iíve been using a cheapo variable temp 30w iron. Itís been working what I think to be fairly well but I wonder if Iím missing something the more expensive irons might get me?

    For car wiring (audio, lighting) is there any advantage to the more expensive irons? Maybe better temperature control?

    Been really starting to enjoy soldering even just for the benefit of making aesthetically pleasing harnesses vs the ghetto looking crimp connector harnesses I used to make.

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    for car stuff, [car wiring, non ecu/can] in my opinion no.. but if you work with sensitive Electronics than yes..

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    Quote Originally Posted by silvercivicsir View Post
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    for car stuff, [car wiring, non ecu/can] in my opinion no.. but if you work with sensitive Electronics than yes..
    Thanks, I was kind of thinking that might be the answer. What is the benefit for sensitive electronics?

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    way temp control for one - better tips - able to use better solder

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    I don’t know what you consider expensive, but I love my Hakko iron. It’s great for shop use when it’s ready to go in like 10 seconds.

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    For large cables a better iron has better heat capacity and thermal recovery.

    You could even go to something like this and buy some genuine T12 Hakko Tips, or whatever if you want:
    KSGER T12 Soldering Iron Station $70 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07F61BSF6/..._upVdCbC777C9J

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darell_n View Post
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    I don’t know what you consider expensive, but I love my Hakko iron. It’s great for shop use when it’s ready to go in like 10 seconds.
    I have 2 Hakkos, a 936 and a 951 all kinds of awesome.

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    Are hakkos kind of the benchmark?

    Heating up quick would be nice, my cheapo takes a long time to heat up, which generally results in me getting distracted and forgetting the hot iron sitting there for a bit haha.

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    I got an FX-888D for home projects and I like it a lot. Heats up way faster than the giant pace one at work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonsey737 View Post
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    I got an FX-888D for home projects and I like it a lot. Heats up way faster than the giant pace one at work.
    I have a clone and no issues or regrets.

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    The hakko fx888d is pretty much the minimum standard iron. You can also get a Weller wesd51.

    The t12 I linked above is nice because it uses heated tips instead of the entire shaft being heated. It also uses the hakko t12 tips.

    Check out voltars review:

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    I think hakko's are just the go to brand for many people because they are wildly available,reliable, and reasonably priced. Having the proper tip is a integral part to getting good results. I started off with a 936D but got fed up switching tips(they heat up fast but still take awhile to cool down) so I purchased a 888d to compliment it. Loaded a 1mm ball point tip in the 936D(60W) for fine electronic work. Use a 3mm Chisel tip in the 888d (80W) for the bigger stuff.

    I ended up also buying a weller D550 cause the 80W from the 888D just wasn't enough for some of the bigger jobs.

    Had a pretty good side hussle going building custom flashlights. Was good practice since you are soldering lots of little tiny components like current regulators and 0805 sized resistors and capacitors to circuits boards that are the size of a quarter. Then I would solder the wiring from the driver to the battery and LED using the bigger chisel tip. Then came the big job of soldering the driver and LED to the heatsink which even the 888D would struggle with.

    Heres a 0603 and a 0805 sized component compared to a dime to get an idea of "fine" electronics.


    If all your doing is soldering <16g wire for automotive use all you would really need is one of those butane powered ones. There nice because they heat up fast and are very portable.

    Some of my soldering based projects

    First drones.


    Couple Batches of flashlights



    Wrecking a 9$ LED due to poor soldering (Ended up de-doming it and saving it)


    Endurance Night Vision Drone and Race Quads.



    Office Desk Lighting.



    Truck Interior Leds



    Truck Rock Lights (camera makes them look blue but they are actually neutral white... rear wheels to be completed this weekend)

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    ^dude thats badass haha holy shit

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    I do quite a bit of soldering for various projects including car wiring, RC vehicles, small electronics repair etc, and I love my Hakko 936. It heats up way faster than a standard stick iron, has way better temperature control and the different tips make it really easy to work on huge or tiny wiring. I also find the tips last way longer and when tinned properly conduct heat much better than the cheapies. Would definitely recommend one for anything beyond the casual solderer.
    dv/dt

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