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Cheap soldering iron recommendations around 20£ or so

4 minutes ago, AndreiArgeanu said:

I'm looking to get a cheap soldering iron for around 20£ or so, ideally under, I plan to use it to replace a laser on a drive and maybe modding a console at the moment. Preferably from Amazon.

 

These 2 I found look pretty decent have good reviews.

Vastar Soldering Iron Kit, 60W

Soldering Iron Kit, Tabiger 60W

20 pounds isnt cheap for soldering iron IMO

 

get the tabiger one, its on sale and looks more easy to use.

 

- Renata Bliss

hi, im renata bliss and am ur freestyle dance teacher

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Recently I've been looking for a soldering iron too, for some mechanical keyboard projects and these sits of kits are well recommended in that scene.

The only thing an iron like this is missing is a control for how hot it runs. It's either on or off, with no inbetween.

 

One I came across recommended too was this one from Draper: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Draper-61478-40W-Soldering-Station/dp/B010823P38/

Which it's more of a soldering station rather than just an iron, with the main advantage being that power control.

To be honest though, I've gone for a substantially more expensive unit, with power control and I haven't used it so far, so probably not that necessary of a feature 😛 

 

One thing I do not see in those soldering kits is flux, which I would say is a great thing to have when desoldering things.

I don't see any mention of solder tin included either, but usually any tin comes with a rosin core (a core of flux), which makes things a lot easier to clean.

Because of that flux/rosin, you might want to have some alcohol or similar cleaning agent too.

 

60/40 solder tin (which means 60% tin, 40% lead) is easier to work with, but because it contains lead it's sometimes harder to come by in Europe. Because it contains tin, you don't want to ingest it (not that ingesting tin is any better of course), so make sure to clean your hands thoroughly after soldering.

I have set up a little area specifically for soldering, with tools I know I can touch while soldering and avoid at other times.

Plus, the fumes that come from flux aren't great either, so work in a well ventilated area (like outside, or inside with a window open and a fan blowing the fumes away from you).

 

Other than that, these kits seem quite complete and should get you started nicely on some soldering projects.

 

I am still quite a novice when it comes to soldering, but if you have any questions I'd be happy to help 🙂 

"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

Sorry if my post seemed rude, that is never my intention.

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4 minutes ago, minibois said:

Recently I've been looking for a soldering iron too, for some mechanical keyboard projects and these sits of kits are well recommended in that scene.

The only thing an iron like this is missing is a control for how hot it runs. It's either on or off, with no inbetween.

 

One I came across recommended too was this one from Draper: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Draper-61478-40W-Soldering-Station/dp/B010823P38/

Which it's more of a soldering station rather than just an iron, with the main advantage being that power control.

To be honest though, I've gone for a substantially more expensive unit, with power control and I haven't used it so far, so probably not that necessary of a feature 😛 

 

One thing I do not see in those soldering kits is flux, which I would say is a great thing to have when desoldering things.

I don't see any mention of solder tin included either, but usually any tin comes with a rosin core (a core of flux), which makes things a lot easier to clean.

Because of that flux/rosin, you might want to have some alcohol or similar cleaning agent too.

 

60/40 solder tin (which means 60% tin, 40% lead) is easier to work with, but because it contains lead it's sometimes harder to come by in Europe. Because it contains tin, you don't want to ingest it (not that ingesting tin is any better of course), so make sure to clean your hands thoroughly after soldering.

I have set up a little area specifically for soldering, with tools I know I can touch while soldering and avoid at other times.

Plus, the fumes that come from flux aren't great either, so work in a well ventilated area (like outside, or inside with a window open and a fan blowing the fumes away from you).

 

Other than that, these kits seem quite complete and should get you started nicely on some soldering projects.

 

I am still quite a novice when it comes to soldering, but if you have any questions I'd be happy to help 🙂 

get one with a knob, you'll thank me later.

(also, at 20 bucks, expect it to be a propper piece of shyte)

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6 minutes ago, manikyath said:

get one with a knob, you'll thank me later.

(also, at 20 bucks, expect it to be a propper piece of shyte)

At 18-20 GBP (about 25-28 USD) these irons won't be much more than a heating stick, but it would suffice for simple projects (although I would always recommend first practicing on some throwaway boards and never on irreplaceable items).

 

A colleague of mine got that Draper station I linked for some IoT related soldering projects and it has worked well for him. Admittedly, he went from a 20 year old "plug in" iron that couldn't melt the solder, to this budget station that at least had the power to melt the solder in his components.

I knew I would do a lot more soldering, so I thought spending more was worth it, but I've found it quite difficult to find a consensus on the cheaper irons and budget stations. Some say they're fine, others hate it.

"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

Sorry if my post seemed rude, that is never my intention.

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27 minutes ago, minibois said:

The only thing an iron like this is missing is a control for how hot it runs. It's either on or off, with no inbetween.

Both soldering irons I looked at do have some kind of adjustment knob on the iron itself. Not sure how effective they might be though.

 

27 minutes ago, minibois said:

I don't see any mention of solder tin included either, but usually any tin comes with a rosin core (a core of flux), which makes things a lot easier to clean.

Both say that they have a 'tin wire tube' not sure if it's the same thing as solder tin but I think it probably is.

27 minutes ago, minibois said:

60/40 solder tin (which means 60% tin, 40% lead) is easier to work with, but because it contains lead it's sometimes harder to come by in Europe. Because it contains tin, you don't want to ingest it (not that ingesting tin is any better of course), so make sure to clean your hands thoroughly after soldering.

I have set up a little area specifically for soldering, with tools I know I can touch while soldering and avoid at other times.

Plus, the fumes that come from flux aren't great either, so work in a well ventilated area (like outside, or inside with a window open and a fan blowing the fumes away from you).

I don't exactly have a fume hood, and I don't really want to mess with lead at all, I'd rather struggle a little bit more with just 100% tin solder.

 

 

So which one should I get? I am more lenient  towards the one with a multi meter since it's a little cheaper. Would the draper one last longer or be a better choice? I'm unsure on which one to choose.

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Just now, minibois said:

At 18-20 GBP (about 25-28 USD) these irons won't be much more than a heating stick, but it would suffice for simple projects (although I would always recommend first practicing on some throwaway boards and never on irreplaceable items).

 

A colleague of mine got that Draper station I linked for some IoT related soldering projects and it has worked well for him. Admittedly, he went from a 20 year old "plug in" iron that couldn't melt the solder, to this budget station that at least had the power to melt the solder in his components.

I knew I would do a lot more soldering, so I thought spending more was worth it, but I've found it quite difficult to find a consensus on the cheaper irons and budget stations. Some say they're fine, others hate it.

i used to have a prehistoric soldering station that was basicly "on paper" the same as what you listed. 40 watts, analog dial, but they had the bright idea to mark the dial with a °c notation from 180ish to 350ish too.

 

once i realised those numbers have no actual relation to the temperature of the tip at all.. it was a decent station.

BUT.. i ended up replacing it with a €100 knockoff hakko design, with propper temperature control, 100 watt iron, and a propper chisel tip.

once you've soldered with a chisel tip... you'll never use the pointy ones again.

 

-----

what i should probably explain for whoever ends up scrolling past.. there's 3 ways to control a soldering iron's temperature:

- a PTC resistor (positive temperature coefficient) - essentially will draw less power as the iron heats up, so will sort of float around a certain temperature. this is what the crappy "plug in" irons use.

- an analog dial (like in the cheap stations) -- they essentially 'PWM' the iron, so you can set the amount of power you want to use, rather than really setting temperature. learning to control your temperature is pretty essential to making these work, but they *are* cheap for sure.

- 'propper' digital temperature control -- these essentially have a microcontroller that lets you set a temperature (dial, buttons, touchscreen, ..), and it will use a temperature sensor in the iron to turn the power *on* when it's lower than the target, and *off* when it's above the target. the beauty of these is that they essentially crank out full power the moment you need to send heat into a big PCB, but dont overheat when you are doing fine stuff.

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1 minute ago, AndreiArgeanu said:

I don't exactly have a fume hood, and I don't really want to mess with lead at all, I'd rather struggle a little bit more with just 100% tin solder.

 

 

So which one should I get? I am more lenient  towards the one with a multi meter since it's a little cheaper. Would the draper one last longer or be a better choice? I'm unsure on which one to choose.

get the one @minibois linked, it'll be a world of difference compared to the garbage they include with those sets.

 

having that said... there's nothing wrong with 60/40 tin/lead solder. the lead doesnt evaporate, it never enters your body.

the 'smoke' you see when soldering is the flux core in any decent spool of solder. it's essentially a mix of chemicals or natural rosin that helps the tin stick to whatever you're soldering onto. for obvious reasons you dont want to breathe chemical fumes, and i can confirm that the rosin smoke is great if you want to make your pollen allergy go haywire.

 

if you dont want to invest in a fume extractor (understandable..) you should still use whatever desk fan you have, pointed away from you, to pull the fumes away. and ofcourse do this in a well ventilated room.

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14 minutes ago, manikyath said:

they had the bright idea to mark the dial with a °c notation from 180ish to 350ish too.

once i realised those numbers have no actual relation to the temperature of the tip at all.. it was a decent station.

That's the main reason I called it a "power control" knob and not a "temperature control" knob, as on the cheaper stations it just doesn't consider the temperature.

18 minutes ago, AndreiArgeanu said:

Both soldering irons I looked at do have some kind of adjustment knob on the iron itself. Not sure how effective they might be though.

 

Both say that they have a 'tin wire tube' not sure if it's the same thing as solder tin but I think it probably is.

I don't exactly have a fume hood, and I don't really want to mess with lead at all, I'd rather struggle a little bit more with just 100% tin solder.

 

So which one should I get? I am more lenient  towards the one with a multi meter since it's a little cheaper. Would the draper one last longer or be a better choice? I'm unsure on which one to choose.

The Draper just gives you a lot more options, as you can adjust the power it uses (and thus influence the temperature) it gives more flexibility.

As for the solder, I have only used leaded solder, which I've found quite easy to work with, but I don't have experience with unleaded solder, so I can't exactly shun that either.

 

With either type of solder, you'll want adequate ventilation (I just solder in front of an open window, with a desk fan blowing the fumes away from my face towards the window).

Keep in mind the fumes have chemicals in them because of the flux (so this applies to any kind of solder)

You want to wash your hands after soldering, because of the flux and the lead that may be in the solder (plus, you can't exactly 100% avoid leaded solder either, as the devices you work on might have it too. Just gotta take the right steps to keep yourself safe).

 

Of course if you're getting the Draper, you would need some more accessories too. At the very least I'd get:

- Solder tin (60/40 is my preference)

- Solder wick

- Flux

- Tweezers (preferably ESD safe with a coating so you don't burn your hand when accidentally touching them with your iron)

- A solder pump can be helpful in certain scenarios, mainly with through-hole components

- A multimeter (at least with continuity mode, to test there are no bridges in the solder joints you made)

- (side)cutters, to cut off the legs of components you soldered in

 

I am not really well versed in budget multimeters, so can't help much with those, as for the other items you're basically lookin for equivalents to what you might get with a kit like the ones you listed.

"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

Sorry if my post seemed rude, that is never my intention.

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2 minutes ago, minibois said:

- Tweezers (preferably ESD safe with a coating so you don't burn your hand when accidentally touching them with your iron)

Does this count as ESD safe? It came in a screwdriver kit and has a coating on it.

IMG_20210403_235316.thumb.jpg.199d48c7be9db69eda75be85fff1e0eb.jpg

9 minutes ago, minibois said:

- Solder tin (60/40 is my preference)

- Solder wick

- Flux

image.thumb.png.34d4f8176d1a44e1a22aa8f737730b5e.png

Would this selection be ok? At least for now. I chose solder tin, wick and flux since I feel like these are the minimum needed at the moment.

 

For reference I'm planning to replace a laser in a CD drive which requires me to remove a solder blob that is there for ESD safety during transportation and also modding a xbox 360, of course I'll be using the iron for more at a later date but these are the main uses I have for it for now.

18 minutes ago, minibois said:

you can't exactly 100% avoid leaded solder either, as the devices you work on might have it too.

I will be cautious of this, but considering that I don't plan to work on old devices it's unlikely I'll come across since EU law to my knowledge prohibits sales of electronic devices that have above something like above 0.03% lead content in them.

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13 minutes ago, AndreiArgeanu said:

Would this selection be ok? At least for now. I chose solder tin, wick and flux since I feel like these are the minimum needed at the moment.

I don't have experience with non-leaded solder, so I can neither comment positively nor negatively towards it.

The other two look fine.

13 minutes ago, AndreiArgeanu said:

Does this count as ESD safe? It came in a screwdriver kit and has a coating on it.

Does that black coating feel like plastic, or like steel just like the front of the tweezers?

If it's like plastic, it's ESD safe (usually the plastic has an additive that makes it dissipate some static electricity)

The idea is just that the front of the tweezers and your hands aren't making contact, so you can't ESD into the board (although an ESD bracelet is usually recommended too).

 

Otherwise yeah, a solder station + tin + flux + wick + tweezers is what I'd see as the bare essentials for soldering.

Although a simple multimeter is recommended too, if only for the continuity mode.

"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

Sorry if my post seemed rude, that is never my intention.

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Those are both dogshit, the absolute cheapest iron I would ever recommend to someone is a Ksger T12 or used 888d if by some miracle you can find one for cheaper than a T12.

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16 minutes ago, kelvinhall05 said:

used 888d

except it costs 90£ used.

17 minutes ago, kelvinhall05 said:

Ksger T12

and this takes over a month to ship from china, in a best case scenario, worst case it gets lost or takes months to ship. Not to mention that

Quote

Much has been written about the KSGER and how it is an economical alternative to the name brand soldering stations. However one of its Achilles heals is it's electrical safety which is potentially dangerous, and would fail the appropriate electrical tests.

 

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3 minutes ago, AndreiArgeanu said:

except it costs 90£ used.

and this takes over a month to ship from china, in a best case scenario, worst case it gets lost or takes months to ship. Not to mention that

 

I have no idea where you found that quote. Many, many people use the T12 and it is recommended as the best iron under $50. Older versions had some grounding issues but the ones sold today have fixed that.

 

 

The trash you linked is exponentially more likely to catch on fire. The temperature control is basically nonexistent and the iron itself can't cost more than $5 on Ali or eBay.

Quote me to see my reply!

SPECS:

CPU: Xeon X5650 OC'd to 4.2GHz @ 1.35V (courtesy of @XR6)Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X58 RAM: 6x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws X GPU: Asus RX 570 Strix Storage: WD Blue 1TB and a 128GB Kingston UV400 PSU: EVGA 600B Case: Fractal Design Define C Cooling: H100i V2, be quiet! Pure Wings 2 (two intake, two exhausting through radiator) Monitor: 3x Dell P2210 on a Steelcase Eyesite triple monitor stand Mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 Keyboard: It changes, but usually Focus FK-9000 Mousepad: Steelseries QcK XL Headphones:  Sennheiser HD598SE and Fiio FH1S

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, kelvinhall05 said:

I have no idea where you found that quote. Many, many people use the T12 and it is recommended as the best iron under $50. Older versions had some grounding issues but the ones sold today have fixed that.

Quite literally on the first page of results when you search of the iron

image.png.02ea0afbdbcf08c082dcce68bfa7e212.png

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Just now, AndreiArgeanu said:

Quite literally on the first page of results when you search of the iron

image.png.02ea0afbdbcf08c082dcce68bfa7e212.png

Clearly you didn't read that thread at all or seen any of the irons that you listed in your OP literally glowing red hot and burning PCBs because they lack actual temperature control. The two problems the T12 had were the ungrounded case (three second fix and not necessary in the first place) and a heatsink being close to a trace on the PCB (not a problem unless there is a serious manufacturing defect as that trace is covered by soldermask, and even if you insisted on fixing it, it would also take just a few seconds to file/grind/bend/clip a tiny corner off one heatsink fin).

 

I'm also not sure what the point is to asking for advice and recommendations is if you're just gonna shoot down any alternatives. If you want to have any chance of success, don't get the kits you linked in your OP. Literally every part of them is built as cheaply as possible and will not work well.

Quote me to see my reply!

SPECS:

CPU: Xeon X5650 OC'd to 4.2GHz @ 1.35V (courtesy of @XR6)Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X58 RAM: 6x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws X GPU: Asus RX 570 Strix Storage: WD Blue 1TB and a 128GB Kingston UV400 PSU: EVGA 600B Case: Fractal Design Define C Cooling: H100i V2, be quiet! Pure Wings 2 (two intake, two exhausting through radiator) Monitor: 3x Dell P2210 on a Steelcase Eyesite triple monitor stand Mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 Keyboard: It changes, but usually Focus FK-9000 Mousepad: Steelseries QcK XL Headphones:  Sennheiser HD598SE and Fiio FH1S

 

 

 

 

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On 4/3/2021 at 2:36 PM, AndreiArgeanu said:

cheap soldering iron for around 20£ or so, ideally under,

 

On 4/3/2021 at 2:43 PM, Seban said:

20 pounds isnt cheap for soldering iron IMO

 

On 4/3/2021 at 2:54 PM, minibois said:

Which it's more of a soldering station rather than just an iron, with the main advantage being that power control.

To be honest though, I've gone for a substantially more expensive unit, with power control and I haven't used it so far, so probably not that necessary of a feature 😛 

 

On 4/3/2021 at 2:59 PM, manikyath said:

(also, at 20 bucks, expect it to be a propper piece of shyte)

 

On 4/3/2021 at 3:09 PM, minibois said:

At 18-20 GBP (about 25-28 USD) these irons won't be much more than a heating stick, but

....

 

I knew I would do a lot more soldering, so I thought spending more was worth it, but I've found it quite difficult to find a consensus on the cheaper irons and budget stations. Some say they're fine, others hate it.

 

Yeah £/$20 sounds muy barato.

My dad thinks he paid that, maybe $25 or so, at a surplus place for this iron (or another one of his that's somewhat similar, but not quite the same) -- in the mid/late 1970s or so.  (He also told me that soldering irons/stations he was looking at could go for upwards of $60-80 or so back then.)

1364068979_PXL_20210406_210655476-WellWTCPLSolderingIron.thumb.jpg.d06dcf51af0e4916eafe97753d8796bb.jpg

 

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2 minutes ago, PianoPlayer88Key said:

 

Yeah £/$20 sounds way cheap.

My dad thinks he paid that, maybe $25 or so, at a surplus place for this iron (or another one of his that's somewhat similar, but not quite the same) -- in the mid/late 1970s or so.  (He also told me that soldering irons/stations he was looking at could go for upwards of $60-80 or so back then.)

 

just today i was looking for a cheapo soldering iron for a friend, as it turns out 20 units of currency (USD/EUR/GBP, i suppose it'll be within the ballpark) is around the pricepoint where most off-brand soldering station manufacturers put their most bottom basic "PWM regulated" soldering stations. doing a good job with them is defenately an arcane art, but if the task doesnt warrant investing in a propper station they'll do the job.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I may be late, but I'd like to shill the TS100 as a relatively cheap iron. It has a decent tip with several other tips available for more specialized stuff, it gets hot stupid quick, and, perhaps most importantly, is really good at maintaining the temp you set it at. I love the thing.

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