Does anyone have any recommendations for a decent hobbyist electric soldering iron? Don’t mind spending a few quid to get something that is better than my nasty maplin butane thing.
I have had good luck with Weller soldering irons and they were only about $20.
I actually quite like butane soldering irons, the freedom they give you is liberating. I have a Dremel Versatip ( which admittedly I don’t use half as much as I should do ) which is great, the only complaint I have is that it’s really hard to temperature control and it tends to get so hot that EVERYTHING melts. I think it’s aimed more at jewellers and hobbysts than electrical tinkering. But damn does it ever look good and come with a lot of attachments.
I also have the Maplin 50W soldering station which, crusty looking though it may be, actually works pretty well. It takes what seems like an age to heat up, but once it’s there it does a pretty neat job, and the hefty-base + combined solder stand make for a secure place to store your iron. It’s not bad for £25, anyway.
With any iron, I’d heartily recommend throwing out your janky solder sponge ( if you still use one ) and replacing it with a good tip cleaner, like this one: http://shop.pimoroni.com/products/soldering-tip-cleaner
I think you’ve probably already outgrown the Antex ER-30 we sell. If you really want something that will last ( but costs about 4x more than Maplin’s entry-level workstation ) the Hakko FX-888D or similar is great.
These are the irons we use in-house, and we’d stock and sell them if the boxes didn’t take up so much room! They’re temperature controlled, so you can set and forget, and we leave them turned on all the time so we know they’re reliable.
You are the third people to recommend that Hakko station, if only the UK distributor guy replied to my emails! They are like gold dust in the UK, where did you get yours?
This won’t replace a standard 50w station but I use this mini-station 99% of the time:
… I was very skeptical originally and acquired it to do light work only, but the convenience of fast-heating tip and lightweight non-twisting cabling is just too much to resist.
Only downside is that my more ‘pro’ soldering iron is sitting duck on a shelf now and when I do need it it takes an extra minute to dust off the tip and rid it off the cobweb ;-)
I can see why you were skeptical… it… what… the… I laughed out loud. It looks like a computer mouse? Why? The wheel I can understand, sort-of, but the buttons? Does it have a ball in it? :D Haha, man we should totally stock these just for a laugh :D
@findon we get our Hakkos from Grosvenor: http://www.grosvenor-group.com/Products/Hakko-Soldering-Iron-soldering-station
Proto-PIC have the bling silver version for £120: http://proto-pic.co.uk/hakko-fx-888d-silver-digital-solder-station/
I think the idea is that you can pretend you’re working on the report you were supposed to hand out yesterday if the boss drops by your office… of course the smell of burning flesh coming from your closed palm may give it away a little, but still worth a try right?
Does anyone know if you can get a Antex XS25 Soldering Iron with a US plug?