Page 1 of 1

Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:47 am
by Wera
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

Thanks.

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:38 am
by Bigbloke
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.

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:51 am
by SecretSquirrel
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.

--SS

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:58 am
by derFunkenstein
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.

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:01 am
by Chuckaluphagus
I've had a Weller WLC100 for ten years now, and it still works great. Definitely my recommendation for a cheap iron.

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:50 am
by Waco
Another vote for Weller.

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:33 am
by notfred
And another vote for the Weller WLC100

Re: Cheap, but good, soldering iron

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:43 am
by ludi
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.

https://www.amazon.de/s?k=weller+wlc100 ... _sb_noss_2