Why don't you get a proper soldering station? If you have a workbench that is a great thing to have.
I am going to look at those.
As long as I can get a pretty slim / non-bulky iron and tip, I'm good. I like the ultra-fine tips and I like a really skinny iron that doesn't get in the way. I assume that a true soldering station will allow the iron itself to be a fair amount smaller, so that's definitely a good move for me!
I had one of those *phew* moments last summer. I was pouring gas into my lawnmower from a 5 gallon can with a lit cigarette in my mouth. I wasn't thinking at all. Nothing happened but if an ash or amber fell I'd be dead right now.
Life's a journey, pack a lunch!.
-Blasphemy is a victimless crime
These days, so many manufacturers are spec-ing poorly engineered pc boards. Often, you only get one good crack at it, before you start to wipe out thin copper traces on thin as hell pc boards, with the higher temp Pb free (lead free) solders.
Trying to tackle soldering with a crusty POS tip might actually wipe out a solder trace. People who mod pedals need to control the heat put to pc boards, because repeated heating from installation/re-installation of various components can stress a pc board to failure (copper trace lifting).
These units are rock solid. I bought my own home unit on ebay for $50 a few years ago. For well under $100, a standard Hakko 936-12 is fantastic! It is an industry standard. The -12 designation means it has the medium wand/tip, and that means it has the hugest selection of tips available. Hakko 900M tips for 936-12 will last you a lifetime, for casual users.
These better Hakko units use a rapid ceramic heater, rather than a pissy and slow resistive heating element, ala Radio Shack.
The standard tip is far less chunky-clunky than any embarassing POS Radio Shack unit, and the chisel tip is precise enough to be turned 90 degrees for much finer work. Hakko build tips that are far beyond Radio Shack trash. This crusty Hakko tip on the right...was used for 7 years, even after being left "on" for weekends at a time:
After use, the chisel became rounded...but the underlying layers of the metalurgical build quality still made it a viable tool, until it could no longer transfer enough heat.
Also, this unit has 50 watts of temp controlled power, so it has heat reserve beyond a simple "iron", which has a max temp, and diminishes as soon as it used.
try and work out how much electricity that cost you
Awesome stuff on the soldering stations!
Hakko 900M tips. Awesome selection. I can't think of much reason for anyone to need more than two sizes for pedal mods, pickup replacements, and pickup cover removal. It shows how much they are depended upon worldwide, for a reasonably priced unit:
One of the things I really like about the Hakko, is the solid metal iron holder. It is heavy, doesnt move, and does not flop around like a spring holder, or some completely ignorant sheet metal stand, that is supposed to hold a hot Radio Shack iron.
Weller (Cooper Tools) sells all variety of well built solder gear, as well.
Last edited by Sludgenutz; 04-22-2010 at 10:47 PM.