what soldering iron did you buy for your grid kit?

  • what soldering iron did you buy for your grid kit? just curious what gets the job done vs overkill...

  • if you're a beginner, and plan on actually soldering stuff for a few years, spend $100 on an iron. it's a great investment.

    if you're a practiced solderer, you can make do with whatever iron, but it'll be annoying and you'll have to fix things from time to time.

    if you're going to do one project, i'd almost consider not doing just one project and getting something assembled. definitely do not buy a cheap iron and think it'll be good enough. you'll get frustrated and possibly just wreck the kit in the process.

  • what tehn said.

    i got a hakko fx-888, and it's like night and day compared to the radio shack iron i had before. that model (https://www.adafruit.com/products/303) is discontinued, but there's a new model with a digital temp display, fx-888d: http://www.adafruit.com/products/1204

    the hakko has a very solid stand, which i now think is essential.

    i'm sure there are other decent soldering irons in this price range, but don't know them -- weller is a name i hear sometimes.

  • thanks. this'll be my first time in about 20+ years, but if it goes alright i can see doing some other projects.

  • Got a Weller WES51, never worked on a grid kit but for my other projects I've had no issues. :]

  • +1 Hakko (10 years old now, never dies)

  • I have a cheap one a friend gave me as a gift. I went for it because he would kinda follow what I was doing and would be heartbroke to notice I needed to get a better one. Had no problems because of it so far with 4 Synth kits. You need to match the solder if you have no regulator (no lead free). Probably better to invest some money if you plan to do some stuff.. Listen to the Pros above.

    Edit: I certainly needed to practice quite some bit, the first joints were absolutely terrible.

  • if you're going the $100 route i'd recommend hakko over the weller wes51. using the weller at the moment - the temperature regulation is not as good and feels a little flimsy compared to the hakko.

    yahua makes a clone of the classic hakko model for about $40 which is fine if your ethics agree w that.

  • i have had the weller wtcpt now for 6 years and it is wonderful. my brother even got one as well and also loves it. it's around 150/160, but totally worth it.

  • thanks all. i'm gonna get the hakko. it comes with a medium tip, is that an acceptable size for the grid project?

  • i've been using a fine tip, T18-S4, but i think i'd probably have gotten away with the medium tip. note that i'm only halfway done. tehn will know the right answer -- he's done a lot of this. if we were on muffs i'd insert the little bowing-down-i'm-not-worthy emoticon here.

  • medium is fine, perhaps even easier.

  • nice, thanks! will try it for the rest of the board.

  • I've been using a Weller WTCPT for around 10 years now. Has worked for everything I've used it for including numerous synth DIY projects. I did the grid kit with a medium screwdriver tip, quick and no problems.

  • Hakko now, started circuit bending in the 90's with the Ratshack iron, god it makes a world of difference with the right iron. A smaller tip will take longer to warm up pads. Just remember to tin your soldering iron tip when done to extend it's life. Also you can't mix lead free irons with leaded solder and vis-versa...They will corrode quickly.

  • i used a medium tip, the only tip i've had on it too and i've built tons of stuff with it. a tip can go a long time as long as you keep care of it.

  • Wow that yahua clone is mad cheap.

  • we have 2 hakko 936. they are the best.

  • (^same model here :)

    sheeit, i didn't know about not mixing lead with non-lead irons...
    i think i used lead-solder long ago when i first got it :p
    ah well, it'll never happen again anyways, but good to know, thanks, @c1t1zen!

  • @citizen can you elaborate more on the mixing leaded and un-leaded solder thing? I've never heard that before after watching many soldering tutorials. Are you just referring to the tip or will the whole iron corrode if the wrong type is used? I've been using 62/36/2 lately anyways because I really only do SMD. but have leaded solders too.

    Anyways I've been using a Hakko fx-888d as well. I had two RadioShack irons that worked for only a few projects and when I tried to change the tip the heating element broke. So I went for quality and am not upset. It's good to know the iron is actually at the right temp, the stand is sturdy and you can always get different tips. I use a well tip head for SMD work, is amazing for dragging across all those tiny pins.

  • I think it really is about temperature. Lead free needs higher temperature..

  • Yes, it's about the temp and and the solutions used in each solder. It's not going to destroy anything right away but the different tips react differently to the chemicals...I haven't seen this myself, just advice from the wise gurus on the SynthDIY email list.

  • I also use a Hakko-951

    Any iron that is temperature controlled and of reputable quality will work perfectly. Some people just get attached to these little yellow and blue bastards.