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General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: Artisan on December 04, 2018, 04:59:50 PM

Title: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Artisan on December 04, 2018, 04:59:50 PM
 :helpneededsign:

I want to get a soldering iron but I see that there are many types. Could someone suggest what specification would be suitable for soldering wire to track for power connection and also recommend a suitable solder?

As you can see I know little about this subject!!
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Papyrus on December 04, 2018, 06:14:24 PM
As another inexperienced and cack-handed solderer, I can recommend this:

https://www.rapidonline.com/Anvil-AV-A48W-Adjustable-Analogue-48W-Solder-Station-85-5900?IncVat=1&pdg=pla-301834897630:kwd-301834897630:cmp-757438067:adg-44804851896:crv-207912323492:pid-85-5900:dev-c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsZTTyuKG3wIVluJ3Ch12mgOmEAQYAiABEgLxhvD_BwE (https://www.rapidonline.com/Anvil-AV-A48W-Adjustable-Analogue-48W-Solder-Station-85-5900?IncVat=1&pdg=pla-301834897630:kwd-301834897630:cmp-757438067:adg-44804851896:crv-207912323492:pid-85-5900:dev-c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsZTTyuKG3wIVluJ3Ch12mgOmEAQYAiABEgLxhvD_BwE)

It's cheap as chips but still has temperature control and is fine for occasional use.

I don't know much about solder except to avoid lead-free!

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Chris
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: ntpntpntp on December 04, 2018, 06:25:58 PM
Soldering stations are great for bench work on electronics etc.  but for general soldering around the layout I'd suggest an Antex or Weller iron of around 20-25 watts power, with a couple of alternative sized bits including a small 2mm and a larger bit.   My weapon of choice for the last few decades has been a trusty Antex 18 watt job.

Use standard electrician's tin/lead solder with a flux core (not plumber's solder) and avoid the lead-free stuff as it's it's not fun to work with. Have a tub of flux paste available (though you won't usually need it for electrical joints, a tiny amount is good for things like soldering rail to screws or copper strip at board joints etc.).  Use something like a brass or fibreglass cleaning pen to clean the work before you solder.   Have a damp sponge available to clean the tip regularly in between making joints.

Get a decent weighted stand to hold the iron in between joints. Avoid the frustrating cheap lightweight stands which fall over or move all over the place!

Oh, and a solder sucker is a useful tool for when you need to remove solder from a joint!

(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/72/5885-041218183318.jpeg) (https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view&id=72092)
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Lawrence on December 04, 2018, 08:17:56 PM
I would give the same advice I have always given @Artisan (https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=profile;u=7078) buy a Weller soldering iron, the best you can afford. I have used them all throughout my career and never been disappointed, I realise they are not cheap but quality comes at a price. Get one with variable temperature settings
As for solder, get yourself flux cored, colophony free solder, there are many varieties.
Some folks prefer the little mesh ball for tipping cleaning but I have always used a proper sponge, well dampened with tap water.
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: themadhippy on December 04, 2018, 08:40:14 PM
As above either antex or weller, im an antex fan.One tip avoid pvc flex ,silicon rubber is much more flexible,and doesn't  melt so easily  if the hot tip and flex accidentally  make contact
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: PLD on December 04, 2018, 08:59:56 PM
Antex is the preferred brand for me, but a Weller won't disappoint.

Go for a 25 watt as a good all-rounder - good for general wiring, soldering droppers to track etc, thin etched brass kits. Any flux cored solder should do, don't worry too much at this stage about different types and melting points.

Finally, if you're new to soldering practice - practice - practice on bits of scrap wire and track before getting too ambitious on the layout.
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Yet_Another on December 04, 2018, 09:36:34 PM
+1 for 25W Antex with silicone lead.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: stevewalker on December 04, 2018, 10:24:14 PM
I have both an Antex CS and a Weller (similar to the WTCP51 but older).

Both are good. I prefer the Weller (only a little), but the Antex is more portable, as it is a simple mains iron, while the Weller is 24V and has a separate 240V base station.

Both have lasted - I've had the Antex for about 25 years, while the Weller is at least 35 years old (the one my father has is older than me - and I'm 52!).
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Chrisn on May 01, 2019, 09:01:41 AM
Hi New to N Gauge. Sorry to Jump onto the end of this thread. I've done a lot of soldering in the past with gas and electric soldering irons. Never have I used them for model railways. I'm after a bench with variable control. I want to scratch build make etched brass kits and wiring. Any recommendations for which iron to go for? Thanks in Advance
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Malc on May 02, 2019, 06:53:43 PM
I bought one similar to this a few years ago.
WEP 939D+ PROFESSIONAL 75W DIGITAL SOLDERING IRON STATION ESD SAFE LEAD FREE UK įF /įC https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0748L82C1/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_I5YYCbZK4MJ1Z (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0748L82C1/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_I5YYCbZK4MJ1Z)
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Lawrence on May 02, 2019, 07:02:12 PM
One word - Weller
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: JanW on May 02, 2019, 08:50:41 PM
Weller is good but avoid the wp1 (wp1002) 80W station.
I have used Weller stations professionally for more than 25 years and the older 50W versions are much better than the new ones. The new ones simply do not transfer the heat fast enough when needed.
But for the layout I very much prefer my Ersa tip 260 16W iron (similar to an Antex) over the Weller 50W station.
It is only when I need more heat (bigger metal parts) that I use the Weller.

Jan
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Dorsetmike on May 02, 2019, 09:53:31 PM
I've still got a temp controlled Weller I gqt in the early 1980s, built white metal kits with it, soldered wire to track, built a few controllers among other things.
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Chrisn on May 03, 2019, 07:39:25 AM
Thank you for the feed back. I'm guessing Antex isn't any good these days? I will have a good look into what's best for myself using the advice.
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: ntpntpntp on May 03, 2019, 08:48:10 AM
I'm guessing Antex isn't any good these days?

Nothing wrong with Antex, my trusty 18W iron is still my weapon of choice for track laying and layout wiring work, but on my workbench I have a Maplin temp controlled station for working on electronics etc.

I've also got a little Parkside (Lidl) rechargable iron (£10 or £15 something like that), I was pleasantly surprised how well it it works so that now travels in my toolbox to exhibitions instead of the Antex in case of emergencies! I bought some additional tips from Germany, they cost me more than the iron!
Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Izzy on May 03, 2019, 08:50:29 AM
Hi New to N Gauge. Sorry to Jump onto the end of this thread. I've done a lot of soldering in the past with gas and electric soldering irons. Never have I used them for model railways. I'm after a bench with variable control. I want to scratch build make etched brass kits and wiring. Any recommendations for which iron to go for? Thanks in Advance

All I have used for the past 10 years or so is a small 15watt Antex along with Ersin multicore tin/lead solder (not lead free- ugh), + phosphoric acid as flux. The small size of the iron makes it easy to use for both construction and wiring. With a few different sized tips itís all I find I need. Be aware you donít need huge amounts of heat to put etched metal or scratch built rolling stock together, so itís mostly done with a 1mm tip.

Izzy



Title: Re: Soldering Iron - What To Buy?
Post by: Chrisn on May 05, 2019, 07:51:15 AM
Thank you for your help
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