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Cheap but good soldering station?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by big_teee View Post
    I may be late here, but there are tons of cheap stations between 25-50 bux.
    Some have great reviews on Amazon.
    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=soldering...-iron_k0_1_6_1
    I have always liked weller stuff.
    I'm tempted to buy for myself the cheap weller Wlc100 40 watt analog.
    I have some tips that might fit it.
    T
    Actually the last Weller gun bought from Germany was Mexico made, so may be a good opportunity to buy Weller stuf more cheaper than in Europe perhaps...
    ...and even for an original German product there are still big chances to be manufactured by Mexicans, as I remember mother Merkel chancellor had years ago the idea to develop an immigration program for Vietnamese and Mexicans. Los Lobos rules. Mexico products are as good as German ones.
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    Last edited by catalin gramada; 11-23-2022, 09:40 PM.
    "If it measures good and sounds bad, it is bad. If it measures bad and sounds good, you are measuring the wrong things."

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    • #32
      Originally posted by catalin gramada View Post

      Actually the last Weller gun bought from Germany was Mexico made, so may be a good opportunity to buy Weller stuf more cheaper than in Europe perhaps...
      ...and even for an original German product there are still big chances to be manufactured by Mexicans, as I remember mother Merkel chancellor had years ago the idea to develop an immigration program for Vietnamese and Mexicans. Los Lobos rules. Mexico products are as good as German ones.
      Click image for larger version Name:	20221123_221543.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.31 MB ID:	973654
      This thread is about cheap solder stations, not where they are made, or about immigration.
      If the station is less that $50, you can bet it is not built in the US., or the EU.
      "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference of the Devil in the House of Commons." Winston Churchill
      Terry

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      • #33
        If the product says "Made in Germany" it must have been assembled and tested in Germany. Otherwise not.
        - Own Opinions Only -

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        • #34
          For me, many cheap solder stations are let down by the quality of the iron (or handpiece, as they are increasingly known). Often the leads are inflexible vinyl rather than slinky silicone, and are way too short. The supplied stands can be lightweight and unsatisfactory. Maybe there are some good inexpensive units on the market, but for me I would need to handle the iron and know it had a good feel to it. Apart from that, there's the performance of the station itself to consider against what will be expected of it. Something that's fine for soldering up some components for a pedal circuit may really struggle to effectively solder ground wires to the back of a CTS guitar pot. Quoted wattage can be misleading and thermal control and recovery can be very poor. As far as quality goes, Xytronic is an excellent, well-made and reliable mid-priced brand, although over here in the UK many analogue models have now been discontinued and prices have risen dramatically.

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          • #35
            Of course. You may do a simple temp control with a cheap light dimmer.
            "If it measures good and sounds bad, it is bad. If it measures bad and sounds good, you are measuring the wrong things."

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            • #36
              I couldn't believe the prices that people are asking for used Hakko stations! Although it looks like it's been through a war, my old 927 is still going strong. I bought it used in the mid-nineties at a local flea market for I think ten bucks. The case is held together with pipe wrapping tape that's been on there for at least fifteen years. They're hard to kill. It's too bad yours got away from you.

              I have one of these Velleman stations. It's more of a hobbyist type tool but has all of the right features. I use it when working remote, and it's been fine for the three or four years I've had it. The tip has held up well. It heats up quickly and adjusts easily. Fifty watts, so it'll handle most anything. The iron doesn't get overly hot to hold. They're not expensive. I'd buy another.

              Velleman VTSS5U Low-Cost Soldering Station 50W 150-480C — EIO.com

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              • #37
                I bought one of those kits and built myself a soldering station. I am using it with a laptop power supply since 4 years and didn't have any problems. Cheap and good enough for me.

                https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000...21ef1802blQWdU

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by aiyiadam View Post
                  I bought one of those kits and built myself a soldering station. I am using it with a laptop power supply since 4 years and didn't have any problems. Cheap and good enough for me.

                  https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000...21ef1802blQWdU
                  That looks like the same kit Mick mentioned in post 21. So that's a second endorsement for this kit.

                  I'm surprised no vendor includes a solder pen base with this kit. Sort of a PITA when you build it and then realize you have no where to put your iron. Parts Express sells what looks to be a decent base for under ten bucks. Whatever base one buys though, the cost is added to the station unit price.
                  "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                  "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                  "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Chuck H View Post

                    That looks like the same kit Mick mentioned in post 21. So that's a second endorsement for this kit.

                    I'm surprised no vendor includes a solder pen base with this kit. Sort of a PITA when you build it and then realize you have no where to put your iron. Parts Express sells what looks to be a decent base for under ten bucks. Whatever base one buys though, the cost is added to the station unit price.
                    True.. It is a similar one.. Those kits don't seem to be very popular anymore.. Last month I had difficulty buying a second kit in aliexpress. The new irons have become smaller.

                    I had the soldering base, scrap aluminium, laptop ps and the time. So.. Building a soldering station made sense to me.

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                    • #40
                      Those kits can be found on *bay. Making any east Asian ordering and shipping specifics someone else's problem for a couple of bucks
                      "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                      "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                      "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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                      • #41
                        That's pretty much identical to the one I have. At the time I bought a PSU and dedicated case because they were dirt cheap, but If I was doing this again I'd go for a Hammond case. I have a spare Xytronic iron which I can adapt to take the T12 bits. It has a nicer feel than the one supplied with the kit, plus the cable is longer and heavier duty. Having said that, The iron I got with the kit has been fine and I've done a lot of amp, guitar and general audio work with it.

                        I've bought a few cheap bases off Aliexpress - all of them fairly poor. I have an old but good one I've had for years that's just right. I find it a real bind if I have to fiddle with a base - often the angle of the iron is wrong, or doesn't easily locate, or it skates across the bench due to lack of weight.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Mick Bailey View Post
                          I find it a real bind if I have to fiddle with a base - often the angle of the iron is wrong, or doesn't easily locate, or it skates across the bench due to lack of weight.
                          "bind" is a bit of an understatement. My Radio Shack unit has the base fitted into the station which is weighted. They can be separated and I tried it that way. Once. That angle off and skating thing, while in the middle of a project, made me grumpy enough that I could have punched a baby.
                          "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                          "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                          "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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                          • #43
                            After reading this thread I took a look around and ran into one of those crazy deals that pop up on Amazon but disappear if you blink. This thread made me NEED a new station so I jumped in this time. Minutes after I bought the price went up 30 bucks and when I looked just now it is sold out. My half price Weller WE1010NA soldering station got here yesterday. All I need now is something to work on.

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