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Personally, I use a Hakko 936 station. I bought it because I was in college and I didn't have too much cash to spend on it, but it's still working really well 10 years later. It's adjustable, but there's no readout. I don't think they still make it, I wasn't able to find it on Amazon.
A similar one that is highly recommended is the Hakko FX888D. It's the one Big Clive uses, so it's not an obscure model. For the price, I don't think you can get better than that.
Both these models are ESD safe, so you won't fry your electronics, the FX888D has a digital readout, and the cord between the soldering iron and the base is incredibly flexible. Cheap models tend to have a very plastic-y cord that always pulls on the iron and restrict dexterity, but the Hakko cords are really great.
Get some replacement tips straight from the start in multiple sizes. Some large tips, some medium tips and at least one ultra-fine tip for these hard to solder flat packages. Soldering straight-through packages like DIP is super easy with a medium tip, but when you have a random SMD component or, worse, a QFP chip, you'll be glad you have a super fine tip.
Get flux, use flux, don't put your trust only in the flux-cored solder and apply your own, it'll make a much better job. Practice on old wiring to get the proper temperature and feel for the time it takes to heat a piece and when to apply solder. Ideally, the tip only heats the piece to be soldered and the pad, it never touches the solder. The solder is only melting on contact with the piece and the pad, giving you a good clean contact instead of a super brittle cold solder. If you only melt the solder on the iron and drip it out, it'll never be strong and it won't be a good contact.
Hope this helps!
Is 80w and 15 second warm-up time not enough incentive?
We got one for our robotics club out at school, and all of the other irons we had have since been donated to needy humans. Literally it's a whole new level of iron.
I highly recommend a high power soldering station with adjustable heat output.
This one is absolutely fantastic from what I've seen/read. The only problem is that you're on Europe, but neverthless you should definitely get a station with temperature control. I'd also recomend you to find a digital one.
I got this soldering station last christmas. It's been really good to me so far through a few pedals and other projects. Would definitely recommend it. The wire cutters it comes with are really nice too.
The only soldering iron I have ever used or needed was a Hakko: Bundle Includes Soldering Station and CHP170 Cutter [link]
It has great temp controls and easy to use.
Ideally, you'll be purchasing a temperature controlled iron. You really don't want one of these static temperature cheapo pencil types. Being able to adjust temperature a little bit higher, or lower, makes all the difference in the world. I like 650F as a starting point.
This is a great choice here.
Use leaded solder as much as possible. 63/37 is considered standard.
Regarding extra tips, having a multitude of tips on hand makes it easy to use the right one. A beginners mistake is to use a tip that is too small. There's not enough mass to hold enough heat, and if you find you have to jack the temperature up to get any result, or "it's simply not working." then your tip is too small.
If you are doing surface mount work, especially soldering dense packages, you'll want to get what's called a Hoof-tip and use the drag-soldering technique. Otherwise, use a chisel tip.
For technique, look at Dave Jones from eevblog
He has three or four videos on soldering. They are all really good, as long as you can get passed his accent/voice.
Just remember that you need to heat up the JOINT BEFORE applying solder. You don't apply solder to the iron, and then put the solder on the joint.
Use a good multicore(Multicore is also the brand name) solder that contains flux. The little puff of smoke you see when you apply the solder directly to the tip is flux burning off, ideally you want that on that joint at the time you're soldering. Many places only sell it by the pound which is a ton of solder. Use thinner solder rather than thicker for most applications. If you need more, then just apply more. I think I use 0.6mm or 0.5mm stuff. This is great for most things.
Use more flux than you think you need. This makes a WORLD of a difference. Get a flux pen.
Amazon is NOT the best choice for much of this stuff, for what it's worth.
I've learned my lesson in buying cheap tools --- I usually end up re-buying a more expensive tool later, and the first money is wasted. A lot of this stuff is expensive to begin with, but once you have "stock," then future endeavors are "free."
Get some solder wick too (I might have buy this today!) :)
The specs have a mistake, saying that the length is 1.5mm, it's actually 1.5 meters!
This would definitely get you off to a good start.
The Hakko FX-888D runs $100 on Amazon.
I bought this one for $30 and found temp settings in the reviews. Setting marker 3.25-3.75 gets you right around 350°C, coincidentally.
I also bought that cheap-ass Valstar solder sucker with free wick. From what I read about the wick, it needs flux to get the solder flowing into it. The solder sucker sucked. I ended up taking a Dremel deburring bit to create a divot in the metal housing to capture the little arms so it wouldn't spring apart when I hit the plunger release. After that, it worked pretty well, though I usually got a pretty good seal right over the solder and switch leg - no desoldering controllers. I did have one switch leg that was bent over the contact, which required some physical assistance to move while the solder was melted before I could clear it.
Desoldering wick looks like it works great and would work for your situation, if you use it right.
I have a Hakko FX-888D and love it. I got this exact bundle from Amazon. It comes with wire cutters which I use all the time.
Edit: There is also an amazing reference on Geekhack called "The Living Soldering Thread" which I used to get started soldering. It has lots of information and recommendations:
I got the Hakko from amazon:
If your budget allows, get a Hakko FX-888D. It makes soldering a zen-like expereince. If not, get a cheap chineese knock-off of the Hakko. At all cost, avoid constant wattage pencil irons.
For the multimeter, the Extech EX-330 is awesome. It won the $50 multimeter shootout over at EEvblog (which is an awesome source of info if you haven'talready discovered it).
Also get a flux pen or other means of applying flux independently of solder. Make sure to use high quality leaded solder. The lead-free stuff is much more finicky.
Also get a good wire stripper and a pair of flush-cut snips
Get and use safety glasses.
>will this soldering iron do:
>is this a good power supply:
>will this one do?
Do you have a soldering iron yet? If you are looking to make it a long term hobby, start with something decent like this [link]
Generally speaking, those irons suck - don't maintain temp while soldering.
If this isn't just a one off mod & you think you'll be likely to do your soldering in the future, consider getting a soldering station. Makes a world of difference.
This one is awesome. Pretty popular among people that make box mods (as well as other electronic hobbyists from reddit ) -[link]
If that is over your budget, search Amazon for soldering stations. You can find some that are less expensive. Try to get one with replaceable Hakko style tips & make sure the station is well reviewed.
Small wires, switches, pins - set the temp to around 600C or maybe just a little higher.
Larger wires, 510s, battery clips - set the temp around 700-750C
Some recommended flux core leaded solder - [link] (if you have flux core leaded solder from radioshack that will work, but this is nicer)
Some additional flux - [link]
After soldering, clean up any flux residue with qtips & isopropyl alcohol (even if the solder / flux says no clean).
Some videos on soldering:
Also get some flux, some good solder, and desoldering wick.
I use the Hakko FX888D:
And this solder sucker:
I heat up the solder and suck it up with the solder sucker one pin at a time.
probably more.. but all i can think of right now..
Thanks. I have a Hakko 888D and a big ass magnifying glass. I just ordered a USB microscope (non-cheap, it has a bed for raising and lowering height). Thanks for the videos.
AND - check THIS out! I just used a thinner stencil, and followed your other instructions. Ignore the blobs to the left, I wasnt concentrating on those. This is really exciting.
Don't cheap out on an iron. It's one thing if you absolutely can't afford something from hakko or weller, but if you're going to be doing any amount of soldering a better iron is going to be worth the money, even if you've got to save up a bit.
For someone who anticipates doing a decent amount of electronics, I'd generally recommend the Hakko FX888.
I think if you're able to financially, you should try and get something more in the mid-range. I have a feeling that this 15 dollar iron is going to be wildly inconsistent in keeping it's temp up and make it extremely difficult for you to get good solder joints. I would recommend something like this.
As far as other accesories go, I would grab a "Helping Hands" a head band magnifier and some nice small tweezers.
For low current & low voltage tasks, a $3-$4 multimeter can do (for mains, it's dangerous). E.g. measuring resistance, currents on your breadboard and such. Useful for finding problems! :-)
While an adjustable soldering station is ideal, for occasional wire-joining a cheap one will do. But a bad soldering iron is frustrating. I tried to avoid soldering for long because I always sucked at soldering. Turns out, just my soldering iron did. Soldering can actually save time and be fun :-)
[link] (Though there are a bunch of <$30 that are OK-ish, too)
While Arduino tutorials introduce you to a few basics (resistor use for LEDs) it helps to have knowledge on how circuits actually work;
Simple, not only for kids: Gives a very intuitive understanding on why electrons do what they do :-) [link]
More background, sill easy to understand [link]
continuing my response...(was too long, had to break it up):
> HD Recording Camera- I’m on board with the Mobius. Quick question though- A few of my friends have GoPros and I love the quality and the fact that you can see a live (kinda) stream via wifi on your phone with the go pro app. Does the Mobius have an app for this or wifi features? I heard the Mobius also has more recording features, do you like it based on your experience?
As of this weekend, I kind of hate my mobius. I liked it at first...but it's just not capable enough at the speeds I'm flying. I'm going to get the $130 GoPro Hero basic, or a SJ-4000 (gopro knockoff, but very very capable and half the price at $70). Most likely I'll end up with the SJ-4000 from what I've seen in side by side tests.
> Soldering Iron- I havn’t solder’d in a couple of years. Do you have a suggestion for an iron or type of solder?
Yes, This. Hands down. Amazing iron and can be had at Frys Electronics for $69.99 regularly. Get 60/40 rosin core solder. DON'T FORGET ROSIN CORE FLUX TOO. Practice a bit before soldering your components.
>ESC programmer- Based on the ESC you recommended above (DYS SN20a), What type of ESC programmer would I get?
No Idea....I'd have to research a little bit but I'd get the BLHeli firmware on the SN20a ESCs for sure over Simonk
I think that should answer just about everything you asked. Let me know if you need clarification/more info! And most of all, welcome to the hobby :)
Dont buy a Weller, buy a Hakko 888D
Edit: Reason the cheap Wellers are pretty shitty, and the Hakko is a little workhorse.
So something like the Hakko Digital FX888D ?
Hakko is a HIGHLY respected brand in soldering. I made the same choice after way too many hours of analysis, including professional recommendations... Watch nightflyer's youtube video for technique.
Also, make sure to get the right solder for your purposes.
General work size solder is .031, apparently smaller is needed for some tiny work
Kester 44 Rosin Core Solder 63/37 .031 (contains lead; read warnings, lead is dangerous):
"pro grade" desoldering braid/wick to remove old/excess solder:
Cheap "helping hand" clamps/magnifying glass
Well I just bought this one that I haven't tried yet. It has amazing reviews and although it looks like a pre-K toy it most certainly isn't.
Get a real soldering station. $100 or so for a nice Hakko.