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  1. #1
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    Question Soldering Iron Recomendations?

    Hey,
    I was wondering about which soldering iron I should get. I donít have a soldering iron, but Iíd like to get one that I will not be disappointed with. It needs to do all regular RC stuff like bullets, battery connectors, etc. I donít want it to be too terribly expensive. Hopefully around $40, but I donít know how much a good one costs.
    Thanks for the help!
    (P.S. if there is a better category to put this is, please let me know. This was the closest I could figure)
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  2. #2
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    you will need one around 60w....should be able to find a decent one in your pricerange on amazon or ebay

  3. #3
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    Spend the money and get a good dual heat unit... I spend good money on one 30 plus years ago it was held together with duct tape but still worked great.. it just got replaced with another good dual heat from one of my customers... they thought my gun was funny.... buy good once and you will have it for life

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireSlashRacer View Post
    Hey,
    I was wondering about which soldering iron I should get. I donít have a soldering iron, but Iíd like to get one that I will not be disappointed with. It needs to do all regular RC stuff like bullets, battery connectors, etc. I donít want it to be too terribly expensive. Hopefully around $40, but I donít know how much a good one costs.
    Thanks for the help!
    (P.S. if there is a better category to put this is, please let me know. This was the closest I could figure)
    I've got a Weller 140/100 watt iron i bought at a discount from a Ace Hardware that was closing. It heats up fast. It keeps from getting too much heat into whatever you're soldering on.

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  5. #5
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    For anything 14ga and bigger (battery/motor connectors), 60w is really the minimum you want to go.

    I use a Trak Power TK-950, it is a very good soldering station, and has more than enough power to do what I need done. But, it is about double your budget.

    https://www.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?I=LXATBK

    Looking on Amazon, there are a number of choices, and the ratings really tell the tale. The station linked below looks good, and if the ratings are correct, should do a good job for you.

    https://www.amazon.com/Vastar-Solder...-3-spons&psc=1

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  6. #6
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    OK Thanks for all of the help. Looks like we'll be getting a soldering gun that a friend recommends.
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  7. #7
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireSlashRacer View Post
    OK Thanks for all of the help. Looks like we'll be getting a soldering gun that a friend recommends.
    Honestly, for RC, I'd probably recommend against a soldering gun, and get a soldering iron. A soldering gun is great when dealing with things that don't require any amount of precision, such as soldering speaker wires together, soldering large electrical components, etc. Additionally, they area a bit on the "heavy" side, making them more difficult to handle, especially when dealing with smaller items.

    On the other hand, a soldering iron is much smaller, lightweight, as considerably easier to hold steady, this making it perfect for soldering smaller electrical components, such as those found in RC vehicles.

    Show me an RCer who uses a soldering gun on his/her vehicle, and I'll show you a person who probably uses a sledgehammer to hammer a nail into the wall.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Honestly, for RC, I'd probably recommend against a soldering gun, and get a soldering iron. A soldering gun is great when dealing with things that don't require any amount of precision, such as soldering speaker wires together, soldering large electrical components, etc. Additionally, they area a bit on the "heavy" side, making them more difficult to handle, especially when dealing with smaller items.

    On the other hand, a soldering iron is much smaller, lightweight, as considerably easier to hold steady, this making it perfect for soldering smaller electrical components, such as those found in RC vehicles.

    Show me an RCer who uses a soldering gun on his/her vehicle, and I'll show you a person who probably uses a sledgehammer to hammer a nail into the wall.

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    I would not have put it so bluntly, but it is a somewhat valid analogy.
    Some people like butane soldering irons too, but I don't see the appeal.

    Having owned a few soldering irons and guns, I'll assert that a good, mainstream brand soldering station is the way to go.
    I like a Weller WES-51 or a Hakko FX-888D. Getting replacement or additional types of tips will be easier with the Weller (my current station) than with most others. The Trakpower TK-950 Greatscott mentioned is a good unit, but I'm not going to buy much from a company that kicked Traxxas to the curb. I know that seems a bit provincial, but there you are.
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  9. #9
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    I'm sorry to be such a Neanderthal with my Weller 8200 but it fit's the o.p.'s budget. I've own and have used the little pencil type but I prefer to get the solder joint heated quickly. I don't expect anyone to impose there preference on others, that's why it's called a recomendation.

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  10. #10
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    I own a Weller 8200 as well and it has been trouble free for all these years. Only issue I have is the stores that sell them don't have replacement tips so I have to purchase from Amazon.
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  11. #11
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksb51rl View Post
    The Trakpower TK-950 Greatscott mentioned is a good unit, but I'm not going to buy much from a company that kicked Traxxas to the curb. I know that seems a bit provincial, but there you are.
    In my defense, I did buy it when Traxxas and Tower were simpatico.

    Quote Originally Posted by dgechrgr469 View Post
    I'm sorry to be such a Neanderthal with my Weller 8200 but it fit's the o.p.'s budget. I've own and have used the little pencil type but I prefer to get the solder joint heated quickly. I don't expect anyone to impose there preference on others, that's why it's called a recommendation.

    Sent from my VS996 using Tapatalk
    It comes down to preference. A lot of us who do a lot of soldering just don't like soldering guns, they tend to be a bit unwieldy, and particularly difficult to use in smaller and tighter areas such as PCBs packed with components. A gun would work for things like LED wiring in our rigs, but again, it is like using a 10lbs sledge hammer to drive in a thumb tack.

    But, a gun is perfect for soldering up larger items like battery connectors, they are normally at least a 100w, which heats up the work very quickly, preventing wicking.

    With that, the Weller 8200 is no longer made, here is the updated version on Amazon priced right at the OP's budget.

    https://www.amazon.com/Weller-9400PK...dp_ob_title_hi
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  12. #12
    Marshal ksb51rl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatscott View Post
    In my defense, I did buy it when Traxxas and Tower were simpatico...
    My comment was not meant as a criticism or indictment in any way. If it read like that, it was not my intent.
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  13. #13
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Something I'm surprised no one has mentioned is the possibility of a rework station w/ hot air. Yes, they cost a bit more, but, considering they combine two different units into one, typically for a price that's less than the cost of buying the to separate units, it would be a better, and smarter, purchase.

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  14. #14
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatscott View Post
    With that, the Weller 8200 is no longer made, here is the updated version on Amazon priced right at the OP's budget.

    https://www.amazon.com/Weller-9400PK...dp_ob_title_hi
    Interestingly, that Weller soldering gun looks almost exactly like the Radio Shack soldering gun I have, right down to the color. The only noticable difference is that, instead of "Weller", it doesn't have any brand marking. Just as Costco's "Kirkland"-branded items are made by other well-known companies, I always suspected that many of Radio Shack's "Radio Shack"-branded gear (at least in their later years) was made by other companies.

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  15. #15
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    I ended up getting a friend who builds guitar pedals to do the soldering I needed, and it seems good. He said his iron was only a 20 watt, but it did a great job on the battery connectors. I will still be looking around to find an iron to use for future projects, and thanks to everybody who has suggested different items.

    What are the major differences and advantages and disadvantages of an iron compared to a gun?
    Last edited by Double G; 01-23-2019 at 01:58 PM. Reason: merge
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireSlashRacer View Post
    What are the major differences and advantages and disadvantages of an iron compared to a gun?
    A gun will be higher wattage which allows the joint to be soldered quicker without introducing a lot of heat into whatever you're soldering. I believe it's best for soldering motor wires on, however they are bulky/heavy. More delicate jobs I would use an iron. I have both but rarely use the iron as most of what i do are motor and esc wires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double G View Post
    I own a Weller 8200 as well and it has been trouble free for all these years. Only issue I have is the stores that sell them don't have replacement tips so I have to purchase from Amazon.
    I ran into that myself, my first Weller i had for decades needed a tip. Bought one online and made it fit but it must have been for a higher wattage gun, it caused the transformer to melt through the case during some prolonged soldering. When i bought my latest I also got spare tips for it.

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    Last edited by Double G; 01-23-2019 at 01:59 PM. Reason: merge

  17. #17
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    So for what I'm doing a gun would be better. I looked and on Amazon.ca the soldering gun that was suggested was 70 CAD, which is 53 USD. Does any one know why there would be that price difference? It looks like I can order it from amazon.com if I want...
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  18. #18
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    The price difference is due to our CDN dollar being roughly .30 cents less then the U.S. dollar. If you have a pawn shop close by they usually have some nice ones kicking around and you can plug it in to test it, just make sure you can get replacement tips before you buy.

  19. #19
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireSlashRacer View Post
    I ended up getting a friend who builds guitar pedals to do the soldering I needed, and it seems good. He said his iron was only a 20 watt, but it did a great job on the battery connectors. I will still be looking around to find an iron to use for future projects, and thanks to everybody who has suggested different items.

    What are the major differences and advantages and disadvantages of an iron compared to a gun?
    REALLY do not recommend using a 20W iron for wires that are 14g and larger. To get the solder to flow you have to put A LOT of heat over time in to the wires, the longer you have the iron on the wires the more heat is transferred up the wire, breaking down the insulation, and that will also allow the solder to wick up the wires, which becomes a strain point susceptible to breakage. When you use a higher wattage iron, it heats up the area you are working on very quickly, allowing for the solder to flow quicker, the less contact time with the iron means less heat transferred up the wire.

    Generally you can get a higher wattage gun for less money than a pencil-style iron. Guns are harder to use in tight spaces, and for most of us, more difficult to control.
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  20. #20
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    For my motor and ESC wires, I use a $20.00 Weller SP80NUS 80-Watt LED Soldering Iron.

    https://www.amazon.com/Weller-SP80NU.../dp/B00B3SG796
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  21. #21
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    So should I re-solder the connections with a better iron? The 80 Watt Weller that Squeegie suggested would probably be ideal, and the pictures show it being used in an RC car
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  22. #22
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Anyone have experience with the following soldering stations?

    X-Tronic 3020-XTS or 6040-XTS
    Aoyue 888A or 9378
    Hakko FX888D

    These are currently my top considerations

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Anyone have experience with the following soldering stations?

    X-Tronic 3020-XTS or 6040-XTS
    Aoyue 888A or 9378
    Hakko FX888D

    These are currently my top considerations

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    I have the Hako FX 888D and I can say it's been an awesome soldering station, it heats up very fast and I have had no problem soldering up 6 gauge wire it goes straight up to 899 F. Just make sure if you order one of these you order from a reputable place so you don't get a nock off, I ordered mine from a CDN distributor of Hako's.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Dawg View Post
    I have the Hako FX 888D and I can say it's been an awesome soldering station, it heats up very fast and I have had no problem soldering up 6 gauge wire it goes straight up to 899 F. Just make sure if you order one of these you order from a reputable place so you don't get a nock off, I ordered mine from a CDN distributor of Hako's.
    Amazon lists the following sellers:

    Kimco Distributing, T equipment, B&D Enterprises, Ness Electronics, R.P. Electronics, & Jensen Tools

    There are others, but they're all over $100.

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  25. #25
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    The thing that gets me about the Hakko is the odd shape (made of plastic, as opposed to meets like the others), as well as the strange blue & yellow color combination.
    Last edited by Panther6834; 01-23-2019 at 09:28 PM.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Amazon lists the following sellers:

    Kimco Distributing, T equipment, B&D Enterprises, Ness Electronics, R.P. Electronics, & Jensen Tools

    There are others, but they're all over $100.

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    I purchased mine off of Amazon sold by Electro-5 for $139.95 CDN in April last year so the price hasn't changed much if any. I started out looking like everyone else in the 40.00 to 60.00 range and after alot of research settled on this and couldn't be happier and I have no regrets worth while investment.
    When I purchased mine only Electro-5 and R.P.Electronics were sellers and Electro-5 was 10.00 cheaper I think in Ottawa. I hope this helps.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Interestingly, that Weller soldering gun looks almost exactly like the Radio Shack soldering gun I have, right down to the color. The only noticable difference is that, instead of "Weller", it doesn't have any brand marking. Just as Costco's "Kirkland"-branded items are made by other well-known companies, I always suspected that many of Radio Shack's "Radio Shack"-branded gear (at least in their later years) was made by other companies.

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    When I worked at Radio Shack back in the mid-90s, we got a shipment of soldering guns that had "Weller" stickers on them.

    The area manager almost stroked out when he saw them on the shelf.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Beavis View Post
    When I worked at Radio Shack back in the mid-90s, we got a shipment of soldering guns that had "Weller" stickers on them.

    The area manager almost stroked out when he saw them on the shelf.
    Mine still works...and, quite well, I might add. However, for more "delicate" hobby stiff, I decided to order a soldering iron/hot-air rework station.

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  29. #29
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    This one appears to be adequate:
    https://www.amazon.com/QUICK-EA-H00-...dering+station

    Just kidding. I have the Weller WES51, which is a 50 watt iron. It has been adequate despite its 50 watt rating for my needs, but I've only used it on wires to 12ga. That said, it seemed to heat them right up without having a long dwell time. My memory is that I paid about $50 for it. I could be wrong, though, since they seem to be over 100 on Amazon now.

    You should get one with variable heat, so that you don't zap smaller wires when you're trying to change a balance plug or a receiver connection.

    You will find that once you learn to solder, you can fix all kinds of stuff you previously declared broken. I have saved many a toy from the trash by having a look at the connections and finding a bad solder joint. I have also failed to save many a toy, but those that came back from the dead made daddy a hero.

  30. #30
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Don't need one, as I received my new soldering rework station a couple weeks ago...but, I just came across this, for those who might be interested:

    https://hitecrcd.com/products/charge...harger/product

    It seems that Hitec replaced their X2 AC Plus (a dual battery charger), with the X2 AC Pro, which is, essentially, the same charger, with an added but-in 60W soldering iron. I haven't read up on it, so I don't know if you can charger 2 batteries AND use the soldering iron at the same time, if you can charge 1 battery AND user the soldering iron at the same time, or whether charging & soldering have to be done independently. Hitec chargers are known for being among the best (I've been using their X2 AC Plus Black Edition). The point is, for anyone needing a soldering iron AND a charger (especially a dual charger), this could solve both "problems", and might very-well be worth checking into.

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