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What soldering station do I get? Answered

Ok, all, I've got a good one for you, and I'm sure all the diehard fans are gonna come out of the woodwork.  I've been looking for some time for a decent soldering station that I can start doing PCB/fine work with.  I used to have a Weller digital rework station a long time ago, but don't know what might be good now.  I've gotten back into doing small work, such as SMC, XBee, Arduino, rework, and the like, almost all on a very small scale, and I've pushed the Radio Shack special I've got to the limit, and managed to brick two routers.

I need to know your opinions, on stations ranging up to $300 (preferably around $100 to $200), that would be good for me.  I know that this is more than likely going to upset many in the 'ible community, being willing to spend that much, but when I get started doing some of this major device hacking, I'm going to start putting my stuff up here.  I'm looking forward to a lot of cool stuff, but can't get it done without the right tools.  There are too many different stations out there, and not enough reviews, especially after searching for nearly a month.  Can anyone help?

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caitlinsdad

8 years ago

It's not the price of the tool, it's how you use it.

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tmoore4748caitlinsdad

Reply 8 years ago

Trust me, I know exactly what you mean.

Right now, my biggest problem is that the Radio Shack Special just isn't cutting it, and I know I need temp control and a fine tip for SMC and chip work, but don't know if the current hobbyist stuff is good enough. I mean, I'm more than willing to drool over the newer $300 stations and just got with a $50 one, but will that cheaper one work for what I need, or not be enough?

I'm getting back into this almost into production mode, but on a small scale, so I don't know what current products are good enough.

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caitlinsdadtmoore4748

Reply 8 years ago

Dang those surface mounted components. I wrecked a nice rackmount synthesizer trying to resolder a loose chip. I had the smallest tip I could find and the biggest magnifying glass on a stand. With all precautions, still overheated and broke off the lead to a chip. I guess I should have shelled out $300 for that rework station. Jameco.com has a good selection but I don't know what people in the trade recommend. If you are dealing with nano and chip work, I think you need to spend to get the right tool to save you the frustration and agony. Good luck.

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tmoore4748caitlinsdad

Reply 8 years ago

Thanks for the Jameco tip. After looking around the interwebs, I've been stuck on Sparkfun for the last few days, and forgot about Jameco; they're where I used to get all of the RAM chips for my appliance mods, so they should also be a good pace to start for stations. If anyone else has any advice (especially if you're from the maker/appliance community), let me know, any and all help is extremely welcome.