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 Advice needed regarding soldering stations.
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 2:38:43 PM on 8 December 2018.
Labrat's avatar
 Location: Penrith, NSW
 Member since 7 April 2012
 Member #: 1128
 Postcount: 321

Hi Folks.

I want to buy a soldering station for my son, to kindle his interest in electronics.

I started out as a child using Birko Irons suitable for soldering the end plates of guttering.
For many years, I used Weller irons with the number 7 temperature tip.
My last two soldering stations have been the Dick Smith T-2200 station. The early version was relay switched. The second, and current one does not have a relay, and since it has not given any trouble, I have not opened it.

I am in the market for a suitable soldering station, but am confused by all the talk of Lead Free Soldering in the advertisements.
I do not wish to waste money. The newer solders are "sh** to work with". I shall continue to buy and use 60/40 solder, until a realistic alternative is produced.

Could the "collective font of knowledge," of our members, guide me to path of the right soldering station to purchase.

Many thanks.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 3:56:44 PM on 8 December 2018.
GTC's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6406

I also hate lead-free solder and won't use it.

I have a range of irons, including a Birko 100 watt which I've owned since I was a schoolboy.

Back then I also used a Mini Scope for some years. I still have a "maxi" Scope (and Scope parts are still available today). That 'maxi' Scope and my Birko are my "burners" for when I need some serious heat.

I have a Hakko 700C soldering/desoldering station that I got for a few dollars in a 'pot luck' box at an HRSA auction for $20. Bargain!

I also have an old Dick Smith temperature-controlled iron that I use for quick jobs that need medium heat and a sizeable tip (that was also in the pot luck box).

My Weller W-TCP Soldering Station (TCP-1 iron and PU1A transformer) stays on the garage bench at home. The rest are in my workshop.

My go-to iron these days for fine work is the Goot RX-802AS. It's expensive but it's very well made and heats up/cools down in a few seconds to the set temperature. I buy tips, etc, direct from Japan.


Not sure what I'd recommend for a beginner these days, except to say I'd aim to buy something that will last and can be used by Dad later on if interest wanes.

 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 5:59:19 PM on 8 December 2018.
Brad's avatar
 Location: Naremburn, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6851

Lead free solder is indeed crap. When I do repairs to DECT phones at work I 'contaminate' the joints I am working on with proper solder so they are easier to work with. Lead free solder hardens far too quickly and looks like a dry joint no matter how still one holds the leads.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 9:48:41 AM on 10 December 2018.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 2109

What he said! That's exactly what we do for any prototype, rework or repairs. We leave the lead free for the robots! Our contract assembler uses vapour deposition reflow soldering - requires great care in setup but generally gives good results and doesn't cook the parts.

We have a couple of Hakko 936 stations that are variable temp and heat in about 10 secs from cold. They have been in use for at least 10 years. And a Tenma hot air station for SMD reworks.

 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 9:52:41 AM on 10 December 2018.
Flakes's avatar
 Location: Adelaide, SA
 Member since 27 February 2010
 Member #: 630
 Postcount: 392

I have owned and used all the ones listed above. My Home DSE T-2200 Was on its last legs and couldn't source new tips so baught a new Iron.

I ended up with a Hakko FX888D, I use a few different Hakkos at work and seen reasonable for most things.

You can get about 20 different tips for them if you need.


Valve radios, They just don't make them like they used to

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