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Which Soldering iron should I get please?

Discussion in 'Project Construction Technologies' started by mikehende, May 13, 2021.

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  1. mikehende

    mikehende

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    Dec 22, 2006
    Hey guys. Yesterday I went to Home Depot to look for a Soldering iron for my general speaker repair projects. I am confused about the "Standard, light and Medium duty" variations.

    This is the one I bought in the attached image.

    but this is the one I would like:

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Weller-40-Watt-LED-Soldering-Iron-Kit-SP40NKUS/204195330

    because it has the 3 tips option and the 3 lights which should make seeing what's to be soldered even better. My main question is does it mean the 60 watt version will heat up faster than the 40 watt version so should be the better option please?
     

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  2. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

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    Aug 11, 2014
    Yes, The 60watt should heat faster but will get much hotter. You should size your soldering iron on the temperature you need based on the application.

    For delicate soldering on small components a 15Watt iron may be ideal. If you used a 65watt iron it would burn the heck out of everything.
    For soldering of lead in stained glass you may want a 60watt or larger iron.
    For soldering plumbing fittings or mechanical joints you may need 200watts. If you tried to use the 15watt iron it wouldn't be able to heat the larger surface area.

    For soldering speakers wires that 40watt iron will probably serve you well.
     
    mikehende likes this.
  3. mikehende

    mikehende

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    Dec 22, 2006
    Thank you, what is worrying me about the 40watts is I have an old Radio Shack one which was taking forever to heat up the solder joint on a speaker connector yesterday which is why I had to go get that one. Can I expect this Weller 40watt to give the same results like the old Radio Shack one?
     

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  4. dave9

    dave9

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    Mar 5, 2017
    Wattage is only part of the story. The weller looks like it has better tips and using the chisel tip should work better for speakers than the conical tip on the Radio Shack. Plus the weller tips (at least 2 out of the 3, can't tell about the 3rd one) use a true iron tip which should get eaten up far slower than the nickel plated copper on the Radio Shack, so should stay consistent for far longer.

    It is probable that the main issue using the Radio Shack iron was the tip condition, 40W is plenty for soldering speakers unless you are using massive (low gauge) wire that is 'sinking the heat away. If that is the case, it's this powerful a system, I'd consider using spade connectors to the speaker instead of soldering if possible, in case the speaker gets blown out then it will be easier to swap out.
     
    HellasTechn and mikehende like this.
  5. mikehende

    mikehende

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    Dec 22, 2006
    Sometimes we need to solder 12 guage wires which is what we were working on yesterday.
     
  6. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

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    Apr 14, 2013
    What will it's use be ? I mean do you want to work on circuit boards or just solder wires ?

    I work mostly on PCB's and i bought this ATTEN SA-50 solder iron. It is a cheap one that can accept a variety of soldering tips to suit your needs and has a temperature control knob. Good value for money if you ask me. Plus there is a 220V and 110V version.
     
  7. mikehende

    mikehende

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    Dec 22, 2006
    No circuit board as I cannot do any sort of micro soldering, only for joining speaker wires and connecting to speaker terminals usually.

    You read my mind, I was looking at this one:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/164287247473?hash=item2640487471:g:Mm0AAOSwH-lfCy~x

    but I am thinking since the Weller 60 watt worked great then maybe just get the different tips for it if they should be available?
     
  8. bertus

    bertus Moderator

    2,062
    777
    Nov 8, 2019
    Hello,

    I am quite happy with the Antex TCS soldering iron.
    It has temperature regulation in the handle.

    Bertus
     

    Attached Files:

  9. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

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    Apr 14, 2013
    Sure, why not ?
    That is up to your personal taste, budget and availability. like everything else :).
    1 vote goes to the ATTEN from me :)
     
  10. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

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    Apr 14, 2013
    I am in love with the Bevel Tip !
    https://www.ellsworthadhesives.co.uk/selecting-appropriate-soldering-tip-application/
     
  11. dave9

    dave9

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    Mar 5, 2017
    For that isolated use on 12ga wire, I would consider a gun style iron, and then more wattage isn't necessarily a problem as long as you don't cook the terminal too long.

    https://www.amazon.com/Weller-9400PKS-Universal-Soldering-Lighting/dp/B00CLU255A
     
  12. WHONOES

    WHONOES

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    May 20, 2017
    Most speakers use spade terminals either 6mm or 4.8mm. You would be better off buying a crimp tool and the appropriate connectors.
    Soldering joints creates creates a fracture junction and in a high vibration situation may break.
    This is what I use and have done so for many years.
    The crimp tools are not horribly expensive these days particularly if you get a Chinese made one, and will probably be cheaper than a good solder iron.
     
  13. adir figueiredo

    adir figueiredo

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    Apr 18, 2015
    weller ou hakko
     
  14. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

    2,168
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    Aug 11, 2014
    A common soldering mistake I have seen is when someone holds the iron and solder on simultaneously while the joint heats up....waiting for the solder to melt. The solder itself will draw the heat away.
    It is better to place the iron and then give the joint time to heat up. Then, dab the solder on the joint rather than the iron. If the solder does not flow, wait until the joint is hot enough.

    Not a bad plan to pre-solder the end of the wire first; before moving on to solder it to the terminal. A considerable amount of solder will get wicked into the wire if its stranded.

    I do agree a mechanical lug such as a spade connector is probably a better choice for connecting 12awg wire.
     
  15. mikehende

    mikehende

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    Dec 22, 2006
    All great advice guys, I appreciate it!
     
  16. Skippy64

    Skippy64

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    Sep 6, 2021
    For long term use in cars & trucks I have found standard crimp terminals to be a constant fail point. There's 3 options to solve this problem. 1.) Chose a crimp style the incorporates an insulation crimp as well. Like what the different car manufactures use. They are more expensive though. Both for the terminals, and the tool. 2.) Get none insulated crimp terminals. Then use a small amount of solder one the crimp connection. The use of a good quality marine grade heat shrink tubing will be needed as well. This not only keeps moisture out, but by using the appropriate length of heat shrink it will serve as a sufficient strain relief against vibrations. 3.) Learn to solder correctly. Don't over use the solder. Just enough to make the connection. This prevents the solder from wicking 2 inches up the wire. Proper heat control is needed. To little heat, and you get a cold joint with voids filled with acidic Flux. To much heat, and you oxidize the wire & connector. The right amount of heat will drive out the Flux, and leave no voids for unseen corrosion to occur. Oxidized wire and connectors corode quickly. You will need to use heat shrink tubing with this method as well.

    With both #2 & #3 if I feel a little extra strain relief is needed, after shrinking the tubing I will cut a piece of the next size up of heat shrink tubing cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch longer. Then shrink it over the top of it. This doubles the thickness, but adds a small section at the end that is more flexible. Since it's just a single layer at that point.

    Most solder joint failures in cars, and in the aerospace industry (even higher vibrations) is caused by oxidation (to much heat or heated to long) or by Flux filled voids (not enough heat to drive out the flux). The application of far to much solder can cause failures as well. As all that excess solder will wick up the wire creating a strain point that can fail over time. The solution is to practice on a few pieces of wire until you get the hang of it.

    There's a reason why the aerospace industry solders the connections on critical connections. When done correctly it's far superior over time. Not that they don't use crimp connections. It's just that thier crimp connectors are different, and require different tools to make the crimps safe to use in an airplane. Standard crimps lossen from vibration, or the wire breaks at the end of the connector. The nylon insulation that extends past the crimp provides little to no strain relief. If a standard crimp connector must be used in a car. Do your self a favor and use a piece of heat shrink tubing that extends past the nylon portion 1/4 to 1/2 an inch after being shrunk. This seals the connection preventing corrosion, and provides the needed strain relief. It also prevents the wire from being pulled out of the crimp if it gets yanked. Specialy with butt connectors.
     
  17. Audioguru

    Audioguru

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    Sep 24, 2016
    Many people have trouble with a cheap soldering iron that has no temperature control. Sitting there it gets too hot which oxidizes the solder and its tip, and incinerates the important rosin in the solder. Then when used to solder a joint it quickly cools down and makes a cold joint. I have always use a Weller temperature controlled soldering iron with its tip always at 700 degrees F.
     
  18. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

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    Apr 14, 2013
    Any temp from 650 to 700 would be good enough for average use. I sey mine to 660.
     
  19. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

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    Nov 17, 2011
    ° F or ° C ?
    600 °C would be way too high so I assume it is °F. 600 ° F is good for soldering components to a PCB. It can be a ta d low for some purposes, especially if you need to heat up large masses (thick wire, large copper area on PCB). I set my iron to up to 400 ° C (750 °F) in these cases.
     
  20. Audioguru

    Audioguru

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    Sep 24, 2016
    The tip on my Weller temperature controlled soldering iron is always at 700 degrees F.
    A soldering joint is finished in 1 second of time. Normal rosin-core 63/37% tin/lead solder is used.
     
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