Poll: Butane or electric?
Poll Options
View poll results: Butane or electric?
Butane
4 13%
Electric
26 87%
Voters: 30.
#1
I need a new soldering Iron. I've basically always used electric Irons but its time for an upgrade.

A buddy of mine recommended a butane one he said he used to work in telecom and repaired pcbs with it and loved it.

I think its time for me to buy a quality iron, as I do a lot of electronics work. from the way he made it sound the butane was the way to go. they seem a tad more expensive, but I'm going to buy a quality one that will last.

A lot of my work is pedals though so Id like some opinions!
Last edited by somekid413 at Sep 21, 2010,
#2
Butane is good because it's mobile, sometimes you don't want a cable, but they both work the same so if you work at a bench you don't really need it.
#3
I tend to be fairly mobile, the ability to do repairs in my car is tempting... the less clutter of cables would be nice too... but iI mean from a pure usability stand point. I know the holes in the tip can give off a very hot exhaust so is it toughter to do more precise soldering?

Im not talking like tiny surface mount stuff, but just smaller boards.
#4
I would not use a butane soldering iron as my main iron. It can get expensive to have to keep replacing the butane cartridges.

Butane soldering irons are great supplementary irons for when you are away from a wall outlet.

Good quality ones do allow you to use different tips, and they certainly have enough wattage to quickly melt solder and not have to heat up the whole board like cheap soldering irons tend to do.
#5
Ive never used a butane iron, but i dont think i'd like it (keeping it full would start to cost alot).

if you go electric, get a Weller, preferably with a replacable heater and a nice temp-controlled soldering station. temp-controled is great because it'll save you killing alot of PCBs and semiconductor devices. you'll probably also want some sort of auto-off feature. I always forget to unplug my iron, so i wired it to a 15min timer. since i have to keep resetting the timer, i'll remember to unplug the iron. even if i still forget, it'll never stay on longer than 15min.

we had one at my college that went so far as to have a vaccuum pump for desoldering/fume removal as well (it was a soldering station and a workbench all in one, chest-high when standing up). quite advanced. probably cost thousands.
#8
Do keep an eye out on ebay or craigslist for metcal/oki soldering stations. Lots of tech companies use metcal and oki (same company), so you often see them being sold from liquidation sales.

I got a brand new Oki soldering iron for $20, normally they go for $200.

They don't use simple resistive heating elements, so they heat up almost instantly (within 5 seconds of turning mine on, it melts solder) and only fluctuate in temperate 1-2C. No resistive soldering iron can maintain temperature like that.
#9
Electric, low wattage is best for guitar, a butane is WAY to hot for soldering guitar parts, you will burn up the pots.


(from a RadioShack employee)
ESP Eclipse Standard Series W/ PRS Santana II Pickups
PRS SE Soapbar II
Peavey 5150 120w Head
Avatar 412 Traditional Cab(v30's+G12H30's)
Malekko, Rocktron, T-Rex and MXR/Dunlop pedals
#10
Electric - Weller 40w.


^and you trust a radioshack employee why?
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#11
I use a butane one. It takes a while before you need to refill it. Doesn't cost that much to fuel up either.
Just call me Bobby
Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list
Quote by mikeyElite
you build guitars worthy of sexual favors

Quote by Invader Jim
if this party gets any livelier a funeral is gonna break out.
#12
Quote by oneblackened
Electric - Weller 40w.


^and you trust a radioshack employee why?



Because we do wiring for people at the one I'm at, I know most RadioShack people aren't the most intelligent, but all of us at mine are guitar/bass players and builders.
ESP Eclipse Standard Series W/ PRS Santana II Pickups
PRS SE Soapbar II
Peavey 5150 120w Head
Avatar 412 Traditional Cab(v30's+G12H30's)
Malekko, Rocktron, T-Rex and MXR/Dunlop pedals
#13
Quote by Invader Jim
I always forget to unplug my iron, so i wired it to a 15min timer. since i have to keep resetting the timer, i'll remember to unplug the iron. even if i still forget, it'll never stay on longer than 15min.

we had one at my college that went so far as to have a vaccuum pump for desoldering/fume removal as well (it was a soldering station and a workbench all in one, chest-high when standing up). quite advanced. probably cost thousands.


That's a good idea, I've left mine on sometimes for hours without noticing. They should all have auto off, it should actually be a requirement.

A vacuum would be great, I really dislike the fumes. Probably not too hard to make one cheap.
Last edited by Tempoe at Sep 22, 2010,
#14
Quote by Arch1119
Electric, low wattage is best for guitar, a butane is WAY to hot for soldering guitar parts, you will burn up the pots.


(from a RadioShack employee)


Right, a low wattage iron... So you want to heat up every component in the circuit while you wait for the solder to melt? Contrary to popular belief, a low wattage iron is not necessarily ideal for delicate equipment.

If you're experienced with soldering, a higher wattage iron is what you want. It will heat up the solder to melting point fast, so you don't end up heating every other component too. Plus if you're using the back of the pots for your ground points, you need a lot of heat.
#15
Quote by earthwormjim
Right, a low wattage iron... So you want to heat up every component in the circuit while you wait for the solder to melt? Contrary to popular belief, a low wattage iron is not necessarily ideal for delicate equipment.

If you're experienced with soldering, a higher wattage iron is what you want. It will heat up the solder to melting point fast, so you don't end up heating every other component too. Plus if you're using the back of the pots for your ground points, you need a lot of heat.


Anytime I've used about 45 watt it's toasted the pcb and I only had it on for long enough to barely get a good joint, but if you can do it and you don't mind the risk, then go for it. Heating everything isn't as bad, considering it won't get near as hot as if you use the 45's.

On topic though, the butane is still to much for guitar wiring regardless (Typical butane irons are around 100 watt), though it is small and portable.
ESP Eclipse Standard Series W/ PRS Santana II Pickups
PRS SE Soapbar II
Peavey 5150 120w Head
Avatar 412 Traditional Cab(v30's+G12H30's)
Malekko, Rocktron, T-Rex and MXR/Dunlop pedals
#16
Quote by Tempoe
That's a good idea, I've left mine on sometimes for hours without noticing. They should all have auto off, it should actually be a requirement.

Yeah, but the only drawback is the inexorable ticking...
#17
Quote by Arch1119
Electric, low wattage is best for guitar, a butane is WAY to hot for soldering guitar parts, you will burn up the pots.


(from a RadioShack employee)

Hell no. I'd never use anything less than 30W. It's better to melt that solder fast like earthwormjim said. Obviously if it is way too hot that would be a problem as well. But with 30-50W that isn't an issue.
#18
Quote by Arch1119
Electric, low wattage is best for guitar, a butane is WAY to hot for soldering guitar parts, you will burn up the pots.

Exactly the reason, especially for guitar. Butane's nice for mobility, but it just gets too hot when you're working around those small, sensitive parts.
#19
Yea, I'm thinking Weller has an adjustable, up to 45 watt station for like 45 bucks... the wlc100... seems like a solid bet. I liked the fact that the butane ones didn't need a whole base station, but if I want an adjustable Iron without paying a fortune that seems like the way to go.
#20
Electric works perfectly for me, and since I do all my soldering at my workbench, I really don't have a use for a Butane. But if you need to move around more, maybe it would be better to have the Butane iron.
***Guitars***
Epiphone Les Paul Custom AP (w/ 2 Seymour Duncans)
Jackson Dx10D Dinky (w/ DiMarzio PAF Bridge)
Epihpone Hummingbird

***Amps***
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100 (Voodoo Modified)
Custom 4x12 Halfstack (w/ Veteran 30's)
Last edited by the1967mustang at Sep 22, 2010,
#21
Quote by somekid413
Yea, I'm thinking Weller has an adjustable, up to 45 watt station for like 45 bucks... the wlc100... seems like a solid bet. I liked the fact that the butane ones didn't need a whole base station, but if I want an adjustable Iron without paying a fortune that seems like the way to go.


Butane is adjustable, you can change the air/gas mixture. There's no metric though for how hot the tip is. You just have to eye ball it based on the flame.

It's too expensive though as I said earlier to use a butane iron as your main soldering iron.

Weller makes good stuff, but watch ebay and craigslist for metcal or oki irons.
#22
I checked out ebay for metcal/oki when you mentioned it but they are far out of my price range. its pretty tough to get a deal there these days it seems.
#23
Quote by somekid413
I checked out ebay for metcal/oki when you mentioned it but they are far out of my price range. its pretty tough to get a deal there these days it seems.


Yes people ruin auctions by getting into bidding wars.

You can't go wrong with a weller though as others mentioned.
Last edited by earthwormjim at Sep 23, 2010,
#24
Quote by earthwormjim
Yes people ruin auctions by getting into bidding wars.

You can't go wrong with a weller though as others mentioned.

Isn't an auction a supposed to be a bidding war?
#25
Alright Im going with the crowd on this one, Just ordered a weller wlc100, should come tomorrow. kinda excited except I went on a little nerdy shopping spree of components, books and the like...
#26
Quote by cedricsmods
Isn't an auction a supposed to be a bidding war?


An auction should have people bidding what they actually want to pay for the item, and not have people interested in simply beating someone else.

Case in point, I have seen numerous auctions for video cards end at prices tens of dollars higher than to buy the same exact video card on Amazon. People obviously got caught up in the bidding thinking, "OMG I'M GOING TO WIN SOMETHING," or "YEA I'LL SHOW THAT OTHER JACKASS TRYING TO OUTBID ME."

Quote by somekid413
Alright Im going with the crowd on this one, Just ordered a weller wlc100, should come tomorrow. kinda excited except I went on a little nerdy shopping spree of components, books and the like...


You should be very happy with it. I have a Weller soldering gun, the thing is older than I am and it still works like a charm. The tips are very easy to find for Weller equipment too.
#27
if your using butane be careful of the exhaust port. It can damage your paint
Gear's : Peavey Vypyr 60 Tube | MicroCube | Noisy Cricket | Ibanez S470DXQM Blue Burst | Takamine EG440C
Pedals : MXR M-108 EQ | Digitech Bad Monkey, Sanpera I, GFS Tuner

Seref : Cali would put a health warning on celery if they could
#29
Does TS = OP? my apologies for not being up on today's lingo. do people still say lingo?