Personal computing discussed

Moderators: askfranklin, renee, emkubed, Captain Ned

Gerbil In Training
Topic Author
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:39 am
Location: Frankfurt

Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:47 am

So I have like no budget.... but I want a reliable soldering iron. I would prefer about 80 watts.....

I have an iron now, but the tip is all gross and black, it wont tin.... it is jsut nasty, and solder wont stick to it, needless to say, it is very difficult to solder with it

And I know you get what you pay for.... I just don't want to spend a ton, and I want relative quality..... the cheaper, the better

Last edited by Wera on Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:36 am
Location: UK

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:38 am

Welcome to the forums! Herzlich willkommen!

It's difficult to make a suggestion without knowing what sort of soldering you are wanting to do.Big stuff like power or audio cables? Smaller stuff like connectors to PCBs? Or really fiddly stuff like surface mount tiny components? If you are looking to do all then you'll need a temp controlled iron with changeable bits (and learn how to look after them so they don't end up black and untinnable!). For a starter iron pick a simple fixed temperature branded iron, like Weller or Antex, for your first and you should be OK. Irons are definitely a case of experience different types and find which one you like especially if you use it often. I love JBC professionally, but they are expensive.

If you just need a quick soldering job then just file all the black crud off your existing iron and re-tin the bit with solder, wiping the flux and crud off quickly after each joint. It won't last many years without it's plating but can get you through some rougher bigger solder jobs.
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2722
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: North DFW suburb...

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:51 am

Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

My go to iron for almost 20 years. Get the tips you need for the work you do. Now, its only a 40W iron, so there is that. The WLC200 is the 80W version.

Amazon carries a range of cheaper Chinese knock offs too. Many will be just fine, quality wise. Some won't and you probably won't know until you buy.

As others have said, some idea of the intended usage would help us better target recommendations.

Gerbil God
Posts: 25403
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2003 9:13 pm
Location: Comin' to you directly from the Mothership

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:58 am

SecretSquirrel wrote:

I bought this one for retro console repair. I've replaced save RAM batteries in SNES and Genesis cartridges, an NES expansion audio mod, TSOP flashing an original Xbox, and other things. It works great. I think I got it based on your recommendation in the "have you repaired anything lately" thread.

Just based on what I've used it for, it's paid for itself and the other tools I bought (solder sucker, desoldering braid, some resistors, the batteries, and some nice 60/40 solder) a couple of times over already. If I had to ship those cartridges off to get a battery replaced it's around $8 + shipping for each one from some sketchy guy on eBay.

I've also bought some three-prong CR2450 and six Japanese Mega CD backup carts on Amazon, replaced the batteries, and put them in replacement region-free shells and sold them on eBay myself. Made a tidy little profit, since original US ones go for $60 each. I sold them all for $45 + shipping in less than a day. After my costs and eBay fees I made around $150 for an hour of work.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Twittering away the day at @TVsBen
Gerbil Elite
Posts: 906
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 4:29 pm
Location: Boston area, MA

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:01 am

I've had a Weller WLC100 for ten years now, and it still works great. Definitely my recommendation for a cheap iron.
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
Posts: 3647
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:14 pm
Location: Los Alamos, NM

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:50 am

Another vote for Weller.
Desktop: X570 Gaming X | 3900X | 32 GB | Eisblock Radeon VII | Heatkiller R3 | 4K 40" | 1 TB SX8200 Pro + 2 TB 660p + 2 TB SATA SSD
NAS: 1950X | Designare EX | 32 GB ECC | 7x8 TB RAIDZ2 | 8x2 TB RAID10 | FreeNAS | ZFS | Dual LSI SAS
Maximum Gerbil
Posts: 4610
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:10 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:33 am

And another vote for the Weller WLC100
Lord High Gerbil
Posts: 8638
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm
Location: Sunny Colorado front range

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:43 am

Same recommendation. Pretty sure the Weller WLC100 is the most affordable temperature-regulated station you can buy from a quality brand, and the replacement tips are widely available. ... _sb_noss_2
Abacus Model 2.5 | Quad-Row FX with 256 Cherry Red Slider Beads | Applewood Frame | Water Cooling by Brita Filtration

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests