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Old 12-27-18, 02:58 PM   #1
CrankyDoug
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Default Cost effective soldering station

I've owned everything from dollar store irons to 500W 15" long monsters for soldering stainless sheet to high dollar temperature regulated soldering stations.

At present I am using a 25W Weller I bought from McMaster for $35. When the tip erodes I'll end up throwing it away like the rest because the tip costs almost as much as the iron.

The last high dollar device was an Ungar station with closed loop feedback. When it quit in two months my tech looked up the replacement parts which were about $100. After cutting the wires and chucking the iron I had a pretty good base for my cheap Weller.

I do some board level repair and a lot of CNC machine wiring. No surface mount or microscope stuff at my age.

I ran soldering training classes at Panasonic some years ago, so I know how to take care of a tip. They had $600 stations with tips that cost $40-$60. That's OK on a surface mount production line. I'm not going there for what I do.

Can anyone recommend a good general purpose iron or station that has sensibly priced tips available? I like the Weller for field repair but want something a little better for bench work. Reasonably priced tips would be nice.

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Old 12-27-18, 06:38 PM   #2
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This is my vote. Arcuate temp control, tips are not expensive.
I have done lots of board work with it. It has lasted for years. I have an analog one for quick soldering and field work.
Weller WESD51

http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/we...SAAEgJFcfD_BwE

You may be looking for a higher end one.
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Old 12-27-18, 09:32 PM   #3
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Any of these tips work for what you've got?
Solder Stations | MPJA.COM
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Old 12-27-18, 11:11 PM   #4
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TS100 is a great choice and easily runs from batteries for portability.
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Old 12-30-18, 11:01 AM   #5
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Thank you all for your suggestions. I was surprised how inexpensive the Weller tips were on the site Pinball brought up. I've used the Weller WESD51 and liked it so that's my choice.

I never even considered a battery powered iron. The TS100 looks ideal for small field repairs. I hate having to drag out an extension cord every time a wire breaks in a vehicle or machine.

What the hay - Christmas isn't over yet! I'll get them both, plus enough tips for the Wellers (new and old) to last until I croak.
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Old 12-30-18, 03:17 PM   #6
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Question for Mike;
I see the TS100 on ebay under several brands - Uy Chan, Sainsmart, Ykey, Usmile (really), Novellife, etc. Are they all about the same or is there one you prefer?
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Old 12-31-18, 05:42 PM   #7
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I also recommend what pinball did for an all purpose bench rig. I have a couple of the old school wtcps ones as well. They use a tc201 pencil and pt series tips. Main difference is that the one pinball cited is variable temp and the wtcps has tips with a built in thermostat. ESD station takes et tips, old school takes pt series.

I know one of my PT series stations was built in the 70's. Been dropped, submerged in water, frozen, and has never skipped a beat. The other two are newer, but still pre Y2K. I had to replace a pencil on the pt, the contacts for the thermostat fused together and tips end up red hot. I use that pencil for cutting and welding plastic now. Along with the old pt series tips that lose their tin.
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Old 01-02-19, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiHaoMike View Post
TS100 is a great choice and easily runs from batteries for portability.
I like the idea having a battery powered field soldering iron.

What battery do you use with yours?

I ordered a TS100 off eBay $42 shipped from Hong Kong so it will take a while.
I ordered a power cable connects to a battery $6.50 shipped.
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Last edited by pinballlooking; 01-04-19 at 01:21 PM..
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Old 01-07-19, 09:25 AM   #9
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I don't have a TS100 yet, but several of my friends like them. The best battery to use is a 5S or 6S pack with built in BMS, for example external battery packs for laptops and power tool batteries.

Review video from a friend:

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