How long should a soldering iron tip last?

Ok, you got your soldering iron and nothing is going to hold you back, but you have no clue where to start or what to build. There were others before you with the same questions... read them first.
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Rook
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Post by Rook »

mine is loosing the pointiness after just a few days. the tip it starting to flatten.

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Post by ckyvick »

50 grit sandpaper or a coarse metal file

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Post by Rook »

awesome thanks! i hav both of those things.

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Post by Rook »

wow. this thing is going back to radio shack in the morning. maybe i should have spent more than $6 on a soldering iron. the tip was loose so i tightened the screw down some.. snapped.

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Post by rocklander »

Rook wrote:maybe i should have spent more than $6 on a soldering iron.
I did.. and I'm tight as hell. it's not something one is likely to regret
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Post by Rook »

i still have the receipt and the original packaging so im gonna take it back tomorrow. the guy at the store is nice so it shouldnt be a problem. turns out the ONLY reasonably priced thing at that store wasnt even worth what it costs...

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Post by ckyvick »

the closest upgrade is a 25 watt weller, mine was around 20$ at sears and has a safety light that tells you when its on. This one:
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-SP23LK-Mar ... B0009ZD2AG
And get a holder if you dont already:
Image

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Post by Rook »

i just ordered a "helping hands" thing. its got one of those holders and a lighted magnifying glass too. for the last few days i have just been desoldering some old electronics to collect up some parts, but pretty soon that helping hands device will come in very handy. ive used one before and there is no substitute.

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Post by Greenmachine »

ckyvick wrote:the closest upgrade is a 25 watt weller, mine was around 20$ at sears and has a safety light that tells you when its on. This one:
http://www.amazon.com/Weller-SP23LK-Mar ... B0009ZD2AG
And get a holder if you dont already:
Image
2 cents:

That's the iron I started with; however, if you have any intention of keeping this hobby up, spend the money and get the Weller WP35. The reason is, those SP23LK's use tips that are sold in packs of 2 for $10 bucks and they wear out lightning fast. I'm sure I've purchased at least 5 packs of these in a year and a half and that would have easily paid for the WP35 - whose tips last exponentially longer! I've been using the same tip now for hours and hours, project after project without deterioration.
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Post by RnFR »

I absolutely love my xytronics 379. got it for a great price, too. it heats up in seconds, and I'm only on my second tip in 3 years. they are discontinued, but you can get the new model with a digital readout for around fifty bucks. also, circuit specialists make one called blackjack solderworks, that looks nice, for forty. I can't comment on their quality, but they look decent. I'll double the comment by rocklander. if you are going to do this for any length of time, get a decent iron. it's worth every penny.

as far as the helping hands goes, there definitely is a substitute. anything by panavise is going to blow away the hands. I can't stand them. they fall apart, shit slips out of them, and since I bought a panavise jr for around twenty bucks, I'll never use them again. :block:
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Post by DrNomis »

RnFR wrote:I absolutely love my xytronics 379. got it for a great price, too. it heats up in seconds, and I'm only on my second tip in 3 years. they are discontinued, but you can get the new model with a digital readout for around fifty bucks. also, circuit specialists make one called blackjack solderworks, that looks nice, for forty. I can't comment on their quality, but they look decent. I'll double the comment by rocklander. if you are going to do this for any length of time, get a decent iron. it's worth every penny.

as far as the helping hands goes, there definitely is a substitute. anything by panavise is going to blow away the hands. I can't stand them. they fall apart, shit slips out of them, and since I bought a panavise jr for around twenty bucks, I'll never use them again. :block:


I bought myself a T-2260 100Watt Temperature Controlled Soldering Station,from Dick Smith Electronics,about a year or so ago,to replace my old 48 Watt soldering station,to this day,my T-2260 is by far the very best soldering tool I have ever owned in my whole life,I remember my first soldering iron,it was a 25 Watt type that I got with a Dick Smith Funway Into Electronics gift pack,but,when I plugged it in to start building a kit wireless mic,the soldering iron did not work at all...... :)

If anyone is contemplating buying themselves a soldering iron,or some kind of soldering tool,may I say this...do not skimp and buy a cheapie,save your money and buy a decent temperature controlled station,yes I know they cost a bit,but once you start soldering with one,you will never want to go back to using a cheap soldering iron,you will produce very few dry solder joints with a temperature controlled soldering station,and your tips will last a long time,also,never use the type of solder as used by plumbers,it is not designed for electronic work,buy yourself a good roll of 60/40 Resin Cored Solder of at least 1mm,or .8mm diameter,the one with a copper additive is good too since it will prolong the life of the tip... :)

Once again,do not skimp on your soldering tools,you want to maximise your ability to produce electrically,and mechanically good solder joints,barring mistakes,good solder joints guarantee that your pedal builds have a very good chance of working first go.... :)
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Post by minnow »

I'm using a Hakko. Anyone came across this brand before? :scratch:
It works great for me though, no complaints so far!

Edit: And I totally agree with Simon on the Temp Controlled soldering stations!

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Post by ckyvick »

minnow wrote:I'm using a Hakko. Anyone came across this brand before? :scratch:
They are one of the more popular better quality brands along with xytronic :thumbsup

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Post by minnow »

ckyvick wrote:
minnow wrote:I'm using a Hakko. Anyone came across this brand before? :scratch:
They are one of the more popular better quality brands along with xytronic :thumbsup
Whoah. Lucky me I guess, cos I got it for a bloody reasonable price!

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Post by dai h. »

I have a temp. controlled Hakko which is pretty good, but IME the cheap kind can work okay. You just need to adjust the temp. by (usually) lowering the voltage. I use a variac, but I've seen people using a low value (8ohms-ish or whatever does the job) power resistor (be careful if you do this since it's AC wiring). I don't I've had a tip last for such a short time, so I wonder what is going on there (overheated? used correctly? or just a crappy product?).

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Post by ckyvick »

Either way, before that iron all i had was a terrible soldering GUN from radio shack that was old and a piece of crap. The one i use now was a MASSIVE improvement over that, but im going to obviously upgrade once i can afford to get a nice station :blackeye

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Post by timbo_93631 »

RnFR wrote:I absolutely love my xytronics 379. got it for a great price, too. it heats up in seconds, and I'm only on my second tip in 3 years. they are discontinued, but you can get the new model with a digital readout for around fifty bucks. also, circuit specialists make one called blackjack solderworks, that looks nice, for forty. I can't comment on their quality, but they look decent. I'll double the comment by rocklander. if you are going to do this for any length of time, get a decent iron. it's worth every penny.

as far as the helping hands goes, there definitely is a substitute. anything by panavise is going to blow away the hands. I can't stand them. they fall apart, shit slips out of them, and since I bought a panavise jr for around twenty bucks, I'll never use them again. :block:
+1 on both comments!

My Xytronics 379 is a workhorse and only set me back $45 from RSR Elctronics:
http://www.elexp.com/sdr_y379.htm
If you are going to be doing alot of modding and/or component harvesting from junk boards a solder/desolder station is the way to go. This Xytronics package looks great, about 1/3 to 1/4 the price of a comparable Weller:
http://www.howardelectronics.com/xytronic/988d.html

"Helping hands" are glorifed roach clips. And even then, I think if you put more than one doobie on one it would fall apart. Panavises aren't super cheap, but for how much trouble they save you it is well worth it.
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Post by CRBMoA »

Another vote for the xytronics 379. Bought mine used from a fellow FSBer. I could not be happier!
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Post by RnFR »

yes, the 379 was an awesome bang for the buck deal. now that hey are discontinued, you might even find them for cheaper. I did a bit of searching on the blackjack, and someone said that hakkos and blackjacks are the same rebranded products. there is a great deal on them that gets you an exhaust fan and a dmm for free. I believe it wascircuit specialists. that might be worth a try.


edit-

now I see electronix express still has them! anyone know what's up with the fume extractor attachment?
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Post by DrNomis »

minnow wrote:I'm using a Hakko. Anyone came across this brand before? :scratch:
It works great for me though, no complaints so far!

Edit: And I totally agree with Simon on the Temp Controlled soldering stations!

Hakko is a very well known brand amongst service technicians,we used Hakkos when I was enrolled in a Basic Electronics Certificate course at uni.... :)


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