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Soldering iron watts?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Dallas, Mar 11, 2008.

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  1. Dallas

    Dallas Guest

    I'm going to put an electronics kit together that consists of soldering
    components, including ICs, onto a PC board.

    I have a new cheapo pen type 30 watt soldering iron. The last time I used
    it I couldn't even get it hot enough to solder a couple of thin wires
    together and had to resort to a 120 watt gun to do the job.

    My question is, what is the preferred tool for the job here (without
    purchasing professional equipment). My fear is getting something so hot I
    could damage the electronic components.

  2. Sounds more like a 3 watt iron.

    What you need is thermostatically controlled iron with variable temperature
    and interchangeable tips.
  3. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    You're doing something wrong then !

  4. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    In reasonably skilled hands it doesn't really matter. For years I used a
    cheapo Radio Shack 40W soldering iron, then later I bought a temp controlled
    soldering station. If a 30W iron was not hot enough, you weren't doing it
  5. Maybe the tip has become FUBAR and you can't solder with them anymore.
  6. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    I'm going to disagree with other respondents who are faulting your
    technique. It might be, but it could well be the cheapo iron. You do not
    need to spend $600 to get a decent soldering iron. Get a basic Edsyn or
    Hakko or even Weller if you must, for little more than $100.
  7. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    I used a cheap iron for years, yeah the Edsyn I have now is nicer, but if
    the cheap iron is not doing the job then something is being done wrong.
    Basic soldering can be done successfully with virtually any soldering iron
    or gun.
  8. Les Matthew

    Les Matthew Guest

    Always keep your tip well tinned.

  9. There would be no point in a soldering iron that can't solder two thin
    wires so it must be faulty? A good 15 watt iron is more than adequate for
    most electronics.
    Damage can be caused by the time taken to solder so the actual heat of the
    iron isn't the only cause. You should remove the iron as soon as the
    solder flows properly. Practice on scrap components.

    Like all tools it's worth getting something decent as that should last a
    long time. And there are plenty of reasonably priced ones out there these
    days. A thermostatically controlled one is always a good idea. Then it
    will have enough power for larger jobs without getting too hot when left
    for a while.
  10. I often have that problem with my soldering irons. It's always a loose
    or dirty tip. :)

    The only soldering iron I have ever owned I would say was defective
    in design was a Black and Decker cordless iron I bought around 1976.
    No matter what I was doing, it always ran out of "juice" with one
    joint left to solder. :-(

  11. GregS

    GregS Guest

    Perhaps its also technique. I bought a RS dual wattage iron for a remote
    project, worked fine for $11. I do like my 80 watt controlled iron as well
    as my 250 watt RS gun for the big jobs. Used to use the Ungar
    unregulated irons with about 45 watts, does most jobs. I've made dual heat
    irons using a diode, as well as using a lamp dimmer for control. You don't
    need expensive items.

  12. Dallas

    Dallas Guest

    Thanks for the responses guys... sorry, I was too down with the stomach flu
    last week to get back here. I suspect the iron, but I'll devise to tests to
    see if it's fluky.

  13. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Just spend a few bucks and get a new iron, last time I bought one a 40W from
    Radio Shack was under 10 bucks. If you plan on doing any serious work, pick
    up a temperature controlled soldering station with a wedge tip, it's what I
    used for most of my work.
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