[dorkbotlondon-blabber] soldering irons for workshops?

Mike Harrison mike at electricstuff.co.uk
Tue Jan 4 17:54:06 EST 2011

On Tue, 4 Jan 2011 20:22:01 +0000, you wrote:

>On (09:38 04/01/11), evan.raskob [lists] wrote:
>> Hello,
>> We're looking at buying some soldering irons for some upcoming workshops and could use some advice.  We need a batch of soldering irons that can be left on for long (4 hours or more) periods of time and stand up to abuse (e.g. they take replacement parts).  Hopefully, they're not super-expensive either.  Does anyone have any advice on brands/models to get?  Personally, I like the Wellers but they might be too expensive for our purposes (I see them for about £60 each for the cheaper ones).
>I've had one of those low voltage Weller irons with a transformer base for
>almost 20 years and have been very happy with it. There will have been
>plenty of times when it's been on for 10+ hours too.
>Where advising other people I tend to suggest Antex if they consider Weller
>to be too expensive. IIRC you can get a reasonable iron with a base and
>sponge for about £25 from Maplin, and for perhaps less elsewhere.
>I realise that you can now pick up LED display temperature controlled irons
>and the like for next to nothing. However, the cheaper ones tend to look and
>feel a bit insubstantial and I share the concerns of others with regards
>spare parts.

Antex are pretty crappy these days. 25W is really not enough , especially if you're using crappy
leadfree bullshit solder. Most of their mains irons, even the temp controlled one,  have PVC (i.e.
meltable) cables which is not very safe for beginners. 

You really need a temperature controlled iron - even a crappy one with cheap, available tips
replaced regularly  will be better than any non-temp controlled one. 

Silicone/burnproof cables are highly desirable.

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