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Best Soldering Iron

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  • Best Soldering Iron

    I have struggled for years with finding the right iron which gives consistent results. I have tried many from HD to Amazon, but the one I have had the best luck with is the Hobbico 60w iron. But even with this one I do not have consistent joints, I make sure to clean the tip every use and also use flux regularly, but sometimes I cannot get the joint hot enough for a good flow, most of the time is great, and flows instantly. I use both the thick 1/8" as well as the thin electrical solder which does make a difference and helps. Just wondering what other irons are out there you have had good luck with.

  • #2
    Depends what you are soldering and which solder.

    Lead free needs more heat than the old standard 60-40 lead-tin I'm not sure how much hotter.
    Silver bearing solder also should use more heat.

    You can moderate heat with a hot iron by applying for less time so I chose a high temp iron.

    Then there's the size of copper wire and whatever you are trying to solder. A heavy wire makes you need a heavy iron. We are commonly using 12 and 10 gauge wires and sometimes getting into 8 gauge. I use 4 gauge sometimes. So I use a BIG heavy iron.

    You need to frequently clean the tip and reapply a bit of solder to it (tinning the tip) Dip the HOT tip in paste flux, then quickly wipe across a slightly damp soldering sponge to clean. It should look like very shiny wet melted solder on the tip.

    Acid core solder is bad. It eats the tip of your iron and it will promote corrosion of electronics. Its virtually impossible to clean off well enough. You WILL get "black wire disease" if you use acid core solder. That will eat your wire and go down the wire to eat your ESC and battery. Ensure you use rosin core solder and a rosin based paste flux.

    Do not use plumbing solder or flux The flux for plumbing is water soluble so it can flush out of the pipe with just running the water for a minute and electronics don't like it.

    Weller SP80NUS Heavy Duty LED Soldering Iron

    The Hobbico iron is a low end overpriced Weller light duty iron.
    FF gliders and rubber power since 1966, CL 1970-1990, RC since 1975.

    current planes from 1/2 oz to 22 lbs


    • #3
      Hello Chris,
      There is no "one " best soldering iron. Soldering is all about immediate(almost instantaneous) heat to the applied subject.
      Buying an iron based on the advertised wattage is incorrect whereas the user should be concerned of the operating temperature range.
      A low temp iron is not going to provide enough "heat" to a 10 gauge wire like a higher temp iron will.
      All the lower temp is going to do is heat up about a 6 inch length of the wire before the end that is actually being soldered is sufficiently heated to be flowed.
      On the reverse side of the analogy a high temp iron would toast most components on a 20 gauge scale of wiring.
      Your struggle for consistency deals with the ol' adage of "you get what you pay for".
      The $8 Hobbico 60W iron you reference is basically a glorified wood burning iron.
      Now the $80 TK950 Heavy Duty 60 Watt Soldering Station sold by MRC is more in line with some of the equipment that is used in the aerospace industry because it has variable temp ranges from 392- 896F.
      I'm not advocating any brands but if I was in the market this would be a pretty decent one based on the specs.
      Hope I've provided some insight to your inquiry.
      Warbird Charlie
      HSD Skyraider; FlightLine: Sea Fury; FMS 1400: P-40B, P-51, F4U, F6F, T-28, P-40E, 1700 F4U & F7F and a Fox glider; Freewing: A-6, P-51; VQ: P-39; Dynam: ME-262, FW-190, Waco; ASM A-26; ESM F7F-3; LX PBJ-1 EFL CZ T-28, C-150


      • #4
        I've used Weller products for years and love them. I would recommend a soldering station model with an adjustable heating element.


        • #5
          Thanks for your input guys,
          I just ordered the TK950 from MRC and look forward to using it. Chris


          • #6
            I've been using the tk950 for a few years now and love it.


            • #7
              There is one iron which is exactly what you need for this hobby. It's the Weller WESD51. I use mine all the time. You often see these in production environments as well.

              Get yourself an assortment of tips and some extra sponges along with some tip cleaner. Then use the correct tip and temp for the job, and clean your tip on the sponge EVERY SINGLE TIME you go and put solder to it.

              You can find them on ebay and other places like digi key for about $150.

              Also get yourself a piece of wood, drill some holes in it to put your bullet connectors in while soldering them. A heat sink clamp of some sort and a set of pliers also help.

              Run 650F and a big chisel tip for soldering bullet connectors.
              Run a pointy tip and temp just above solder melt point for soldering LED leads.

              Don't want to sound all know-it-all. Just trying to give some good advice.
              Meridian Aeromodelers, Meridian MS


              • #8
                I think Weller is best. I am using this last 1 year & it's performing well. If you want to learn more then check out how soldering iron works cause it's help you lot.
                Want to learn how to use a soldering iron?Then you are definitely in the right place. First, you have to know the definition of a soldering iron and what it is used for before we proceed to learn how to use it. The soldering process uses the soldering iron as its tool. It consists of …


                • #9
                  Also, you can check making soldering iron guide cause it's help you more.


                  • #10
                    I have soldered thousands of specialty connectors; XLRs; RCAs; terminal strips; 1/4 Inch patch connectors and lots of tinning and bonding for 27 years in Broadcast technical using a Weller P60 iron with either the small tip or the mid-size screwdriver tip with excellent results. You can get a bigger tip for bigger wire, but then you may want to use a Weller P100. I think you could solder eavestroughs with one of those, lol. Only use small gauge Kester 60/40 Rosin core-electronic solder for wire down to 20 gauge. The bigger solder is for big terminals or big wire tinning. I learned to use a "Flick Box" to keep the tip wet and coated in bright solder. Just find a shoe box or plastic bin and apply solder to the tip and create a small blob and then flick it into the box. That way, you lose the rosin that gums up the tip and it gives you a clean wet iron. Always pre-tin your wire ends or connector terminals first; then, bring the wet iron tip to the tinned end of the wire or joint and apply the solder at that point so that you have all three items happening at that moment. The idea is to apply a lot of heat for a short time. BTW: You don't need a ton of solder!!! Some guys use so much it looks like a "Chernobyl meltdown"..Use a wet sponge to clean the tip often and it's good to use a solder stand. Ultimately, the Weller adjustable temperature solder stations are the best, but they aren't cheap. Not worth it if your only using it once in awhile and RC electronics for the most part has "big wiring"...You get what you pay for...Don't buy a cheap 35Watt iron with a blunt tip! Useless....


                    • #11
                      Having worked professionally in the electronics field for over 40 years now, Weller adjustable solder stations are pretty much the industry standard for consistent, reliable soldering. Most have easily changed tips, allowing for different sized and shaped tips for different types of soldering jobs.

                      As stated above, no, they're not cheap, though you can sometimes find them at surplus stores when factories upgrade to the newest model. I do enough soldering, though, that I picked up a surplus Weller unit for home use. The satisfaction of money saved evaporates quickly when trying to do a job with inferior tools.


                      • #12
                        Weller 1010NA 70 amp digital soldering station.


                        You may find it on sale sometimes, but worth the money.

                        Heats up insanely quickly and the actual handle/iron portion is very light with a flexible cord.


                        • #13
                          weller is a good brand but I prefer Hakko products. but beware that hakko irons are often counterfeit so it's important to buy one from an authorized retailer. the FX-888D is a favorite among hobbyist with a huge selection of tip sizes and shapes. I got mine on Ebay from an authorized retailer for around $90 shipped.

                          the TK950 is the old Hakko station the FX-888 replaced. now everyone is using it's old design. including other companies besides trak power. if you need tips you may be out of luck. which is why you should have bought an actual Hakko


                          • #14
                            the TK950 is the old hakko station. if you want one it can be purchased here for $61.