Soldering Iron suggestions?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Tone, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. Tone

    Tone Member

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    Hey guys, just looking for some soldering iron suggestions. I've searched but just wanted to make sure. For general guitar electronics, pickups, pots, caps, etc. is 25-40watts still recomended? What about solder? 60/40 rosin core? What diameter would you suggest for pickup work?

    I'm not really looking at the anything too expensive since I'm not really going to use it a whole lot, but one of those adjustable wattage ones would be cool. I was thinking of just getting something from Radio Shack. Anyone have opinions on cheapies like those?

    Thanks!:JAM
     
  2. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I have two small fairly cheap Antex irons, a 15W with about a 1/16" tip and a 25W with a 1/8" tip and a 1/4", which are perfectly good even for professional work. The little one is better for really fiddly stuff like repairing coil connections in pickups and sometimes push-pull pots where the tags are small, but you'd have trouble soldering to the back of a pot with it, so I'd probably get a 25W and two or three different sizes of tips - you can get them as kits including a stand, sponge, solder etc. from places like Radio Shack.

    I use standard 60/40 rosin core solder, I have several sizes. There's no real 'best' size, just what you feel comfortable working with.
     
  3. Liquid Quarter

    Liquid Quarter Member

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    23-25 watts. $13 to $15 for the Iron and $19 to $21 in kit form with some different tips. I've used many irons, but this one works best for me for the type of work you describe.
     
  4. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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  5. ccoker

    ccoker Supporting Member

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  6. Richard Guy

    Richard Guy Member

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    63/37 Solder doesn't have that 'semi-liquid' state. It works great.
     
  7. teefus

    teefus Silver Supporting Member

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    the hakko 936esd is fantastic and pretty reasonable at around $75. you can get them from hmc electronic. it reaches its 800 degree temp in about 10 seconds and has some great interchangeable tips. it makes soldering fun, well, kind of.
     
  8. Tone

    Tone Member

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    Thanks for the info guys!
    guitslingertim and ccocker, thanks for the links! Gonna check them out now! :)
     
  9. Tone

    Tone Member

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    Does anyone have pictures, or know of a site that has pictures to show all the soldering to pots and stuff? I'm trying to see where most people ground their caps to. I need two caps in the wiring that I will be using, and I don't think they're long enough to reach the back of the volume pot where the all the pickup wire grounds will be?

    What do you guys prefer?
     
  10. Ray Gianelli

    Ray Gianelli Member

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    A cheap soldering gun is also useful for temperature intensive tasks like soldering a ground lead to the back of a pot. For basic electronic work you shouldn't need anything over 25-30 watts. I really can't make any recommdations there because I'm still using my rather expensive soldering station purchased back in the late '80's. But I recently bought a gun at Harbor Freight Tools for $15 for higher temp work. Believe it's 150 watts.
     
  11. K-man

    K-man Member

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    Can't go wrong with this one. It's worth the extra bucks to have the temperature control (especially if you will be soldering to the back of pots):

    http://circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/7501

    It also comes with a stand for the iron and a tip cleaner that works great.

    I also highly recommend the 63/37 solder. Melts like buttah.

    If you order the iron, the solder and some spare tips you should get up to $50 anod get a nice DVM for free (don't forget to enter the promotional code when ordering).
     
  12. K-man

    K-man Member

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  13. Dave C

    Dave C Gold Supporting Member

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    I've been using Weller stations for years , they hold up well, parts are available and easily obtained, large and varied selection of tips too. I've got EC2002,WES50 and WTCPS models. Some were bought new, some used off Ebay and I found one in a pawn shop for $25.Hakku , Pace and a few other brands are very good too but Weller seemd to be the industry standard. I'd rather see you get a good tool that'll last for years than get a cheapie that doesn't hold up. Who knows......you might end up using it more than you think !
    Dave C
     

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