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  • Soldering Iron

    Hi,

    I'm new to speaker projects and soldering in general. I did a search and didn't come up with anything, so I figured I's ask:

    Can someone recommend what to look for when purchasing a soldering iron? What wattage is best or should I be looking for something with variable wattage? Is there anything else I should consider?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Look at Hakko, you will have it for decades.

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    • #3
      I think I mostly use a hundred-year-old $7 "pencil" - from RadioShack.
      I can get pretty good results if I keep the tip cleaned/tinned and occasionally "shaped" a bit w/a file.

      Comment


      • #4
        This thread has me curious - I know using a low powered iron is not recommended due to having to leave it on components for too long (causing damage); but is using a high powered gun a bad idea, say 200w?

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        • #5

          I bought the 120 dollar one back when I had a tool allowance. An older model with a knob and flashing LED. Pictured in the header. The avionics guys like the 58 dollar one because it is one piece and easier to manage in a tight cockpit.

          https://www.parts-express.com/brand/...randSelected=t

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          • #6
            Too small an iron means you wind up on the connection for too long, heat soaking further up the terminal, wire, or if a PWB, lifting pads.
            I use my 40 year old Weller 60W station I have fine point tips for PWB work and bigger fatter tips with more mass for heavy terminals. Back when I was in the factory, it was Weller or Hexicon. I am sure there are newer ones. Be sure you can get new tips. That is what would worry me about a Chinese e-bay special no matter how well it worked. The one most useless and likely to cause damage is the old 25W pencils. My old Weller is not safe for work on CMOS though as it is the old magnetic control. I keep an old Weller 600W gun handy if I need to solder a buss wire to a chassis. As we don't build point-to-point tube sets any more, pretty obsolete. I also rewire all my old cars, so there are times I need that kind of power like soldering the lugs on 6 or 8 gauge alternator wires. 200W seems like too much as the tip will be too big.

            ( BTW, I took the NASA soldering certification classes back when I was a tech many years ago. We also had to know the differences between MIL and NASA. Different, believe it or not. )

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by clang View Post
              Hi,

              I'm new to speaker projects and soldering in general. I did a search and didn't come up with anything, so I figured I's ask:

              Can someone recommend what to look for when purchasing a soldering iron? What wattage is best or should I be looking for something with variable wattage? Is there anything else I should consider?

              Thanks
              a 60 watt iron should work fine for most speaker or crossover jobs.
              I have a variable temp Parts Express cheap one, and never turn it down from max temp.

              The standard moist sponge works ok, but brass shavings work much better, since they don't cool down the tip:
              https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-599B-02...s%2C152&sr=8-3

              Get some tip thinner. Sometimes, you can't get the iron to work right, and it's almost always because the tip needs to be tinned.
              https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltronic...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

              Hope this helps!

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              • #8
                I would by this one, but I use my iron on something several times a week, everything from surface mount, to speakers to my cars. https://www.parts-express.com/weller...-safe--372-146
                I also have an ISO-tip I grab when I want something quick in some very inconvenient place, like under the dashboard.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chris Roemer View Post
                  I think I mostly use a hundred-year-old $7 "pencil" - from RadioShack.
                  I can get pretty good results if I keep the tip cleaned/tinned and occasionally "shaped" a bit w/a file.
                  Basically the same with me, but the Radio Shack soldering iron I have is a rebranded Ungar, which I really, really like. You can use a lamp dimmer circuit to throttle back a simple soldering iron, since the heating element is resistive. Ungar was bought up by Weller and I was able to buy several replacement tips, so no need to file anything.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by donradick View Post

                    a 60 watt iron should work fine for most speaker or crossover jobs.
                    I have a variable temp Parts Express cheap one, and never turn it down from max temp.

                    The standard moist sponge works ok, but brass shavings work much better, since they don't cool down the tip:
                    https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-599B-02...s%2C152&sr=8-3

                    Get some tip thinner. Sometimes, you can't get the iron to work right, and it's almost always because the tip needs to be tinned.
                    https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltronic...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

                    Hope this helps!
                    Yes, a Tip Tinner is a great idea. I use Sal Ammoniac. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salammoniac

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tvrgeek View Post
                      200W seems like too much as the tip will be too big.

                      Does the tip size worry you or an excessive amount of heat applied to crossover parts?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jd12 View Post

                        Does the tip size worry you or an excessive amount of heat applied to crossover parts?
                        They have clip on heat sinks just for soldering, in circumstances where excessive heat could damage a component or driver I get out my soldering heatsinks and use them.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tvrgeek View Post
                          I would by this one, but I use my iron on something several times a week, everything from surface mount, to speakers to my cars. https://www.parts-express.com/weller...-safe--372-146
                          I also have an ISO-tip I grab when I want something quick in some very inconvenient place, like under the dashboard.
                          Agreed, I have been using the precursor to this model (the WESD51) for the last 8 years. I use it regularly, and I have never had an issue with it. The digital temperature control is nice to have. At the time I purchased it for $145 so the price has come down for the same quality.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the recommendations Gents. I appreciate it.

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                            • #15
                              Yes, yes, and yes heat sinks are good. Of course, skill can overcome a lot of issues. In most instances, you should be so fast on and off, a heat sink is not needed. The cleaner the terminal the easier etc .

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