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Old 10-14-2013, 11:27 AM   #1
bustapr
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which soldering iron for amp building?

I just started building my preamp, but I noticed that the soldering iron I bought a few months ago (30w proskit) sucks. I just bought it on a whim in case I ever needed one, Id always been using an old weller station at my college which is great. I could finish my preamp at my college, but I figure Id be better off just buying a good soldering iron for myself.

Ive seen the term "...a weller of course" EVERYWHERE on diy sites. so I checked some wellers and found them at a decent price:

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WLC100...+soldering+iron

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-SP40NK...+soldering+iron

my question would be, is 40W enough? my 30W one just just outright bad. is weller really all that great or are there other brands that are worth checking out also?
ive never pulled the chord on a soldering iron, so Ive never experienced how it feels to have one fall on your leg. Im pretty careful with that always. but is a station really worth the extra money?
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:26 PM   #2
Invader Jim
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I've always done just fine with a 30 watt GE iron from Walmart (never really had the cash for a Weller). As long as you keep the tip clean you shouldn't really have a lot of problems. Really crap irons have inferior tips and are built poorly so the heater doesn't efficiently heat the iron so even though it doesn't heat as well, the filament still uses 30w or whatever so that's what they call it.

I used a Weller in college and loved it. Iirc it was 25w which was barely enough to solder two big 12awg stranded wires. A cheap 25w wouldn't come close. Cheap irons use solder plated tips that must periodically be filed clean. Weller and similar tips are plated with a special alloy that you must NEVER scrape or file.

30w is powerful enough for soldering bigger stuff like tube socket lugs but isn't so powerful that it kills smaller components and PCBs (a 20 or 25 would be better for that though). If you do a lot of soldering directly to the chassis (or work on old stuff that has this) you'll need a 100/150w soldering gun. My old Weller gun has been going strong for 40-50 years now.
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Old 10-14-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
TJHague
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The first one that you linked to is very good. It is the one that I use. I have used it to repair my amps before. I can't speak of other brands, but Weller is known for consistent quality.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:27 PM   #4
DLrocket89
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I usually use something in the 30-40 watt range. One of the things that is worth remembering is that if you have a higher wattage iron you can heat up the area in question quicker so you can pull the iron off sooner. In the end, you actually put less heat into the part because the thermal energy doesn't have time to conduct away.

Not saying a 2kW iron is the answer, it's just that you may have better results on the higher end of the scale.
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