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Solder pencil/iron recommendation?


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#1 geardriven

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:12 AM

Getting into the hobby and looking for an inexpensive no frills/no thrills soldering tool that will do the job.
Prefer a pencil style over a gun style if possible.
Suggestions...brand names/where to purchase would be helpful.
Thanks
Chuck Tresp




#2 John Streisguth

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:23 AM

The Hako brand seems to be the most-preferred units these days.  Not "cheap", but a good investment.

 

However, the first 4 or 5 retro chassis I built were done with a $16 Hobby Lobby unit.  The most important thing is to have one that puts out enough heat that you can heat the part quickly.


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#3 MarkH

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:57 AM

I have the Hakko 601. Adjustable heat control built into the handle. I use a 1/8" tip. It comes with a 3/16" tip. I have not run into anything that it could not solder even steel guide tongues to brass plate with spacers. Only complaint is the power cord is kind of thick. I quickly found that it is ignored and not a big deal.


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#4 W. J. Dougherty

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 11:21 AM

How about giving the guy wattage and temp requirements so he can pick hiw own?

 

The suggestions above are very good ones.  What will you be soldering?  Flexi is a big difference compared to building chassis for retro...

 

Don't go too cheap or low wattage/temp.  It won't work and will cause great frustration in the long run...


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#5 Tim Neja

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 11:52 AM

I"d go with the Hakko!  DON'T try to go cheap on your iron or you'll create a lot of frustration!  It's like any tool---buy the BEST you can and you'll never regret it!! :)


She's real fine, my 409!!!

#6 drrufo

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 12:03 PM

 Hakko has an adjustable set up with the tip/handle on the end of a cord going to the base. The base has a digital display that shows the temp of the tip. I buld my controllers with it, if I need more heat that my standard setting, i just crank it up.

  It is model number fx 888d. I got it at Fries electronics in Ornage County, but you can buy it at any good electronics store.


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#7 Craig

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 03:09 PM

I would suggest if you are going to purchase Hakko to buy direct at http://www.hakkousa....ucts.asp?CID=49

 

If you want to pay retail Fry's does carry a limited supply of the Hakko product but why pay retail?

 

I've seen a savings buying direct and if you reside in Sothern California shipping is free!

 

They now carry a couple new irons, the 508 40W at about $15.00 and the 503 60W at around $14.00 but these are not offered with the ceramic heating element.


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#8 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 02:34 PM

One goal is to heat to 1000 degrees F for chassis building.  The OLD std was the UNGAR screw together 45W iron.  Since the ungar was bought out by Cooper Tools, that line is a little harder to find, but always available at McMaster-Carr mail-order...they rarely list brands, but read between the lines.  I have not used a soldering gun since 1964.

 

The best ungar replacement has been the Hakko 455 (now available) at Fry's electronics cheap.  The huge Hakko 456 is fuctional, but not very toolbox friendly. 

 

Either used with the accessory heat control  work great.

 

Most manufacturers make base control/pencil irons that are lighter AND more expensive.  Finding the right heavy duty tip can be the worst issue in setting up a great work station.  I also keep a small torch on hand to float several parts at once when the iron cannot do the full job.  Tack first, then float them all together.


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#9 HarV Wallbanger III

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 04:10 PM

I always used a Ungar for chassis just because it has a wide tip and transfers heat fast but since I got my Hakko FX601 with the T19-D65 tip it does it all from turned down on electronic stuff to KILL mode hot for chassis. Do not go cheap.... as said it will cause more problems than the savings are worth!   


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#10 MarkH

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 04:33 PM

This is who I bought mine from. Be sure to get the iron holder with the woven brass mesh to clean the tip, I stopped used the wet sponge a couple of years ago when I kept messing up my old Unger tips. The brass mesh is much better.


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#11 Jeff Fischl

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 09:18 PM

Ordered my Digital FX888D & CHP170 bundle, includes FREE CHP170 cutter on amazon for 92.00. Check it out

#12 Dennis David

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:01 PM

Hakko 601
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#13 Rick

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:01 PM

Forget all you have seen and heard, go to ebay and look for a cheap China iron. 60 watt, uses HAKKO tips, adjustable on handle, very small and under $15 delivered to you door. Nothing comes close to this deal!!!! NIce soft cord, very hot! This one blows everything else away. I will find link to actual Buy It Now for you......


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#14 Fast Freddie

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:05 PM

I've done a lot of my everyday soldering with a $12 60 watt Hobbico iron. It comes with 3 tips. It works great for bushings, bearings, pin tubes and I have even used it to put chassis together. I will give you one tip, DON'T pre tin the tips they already have a coating that will accept solder. I always pretinned the tips and they wouldn't last long. I recently tried using the tip without pretinning and it works great. I have also used it to solder in motors with no problems.
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#15 Rick

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:20 PM

http://www.ebay.com/...=item1c2e8fd94a

 

That's the one to replace anything we have been using for 30 years. I found it, bought it and it rocks. Nothing comes close for the price. Uses 888 HAKKO station tips.


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#16 Fast Freddie

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 01:56 PM

I just got my new tip for the soldering iron Rick recommended, it cost almost as much as the iron. Boy that little iron packs a punch. If I made the Centigrade to Fahrenheit conversion correctly it's nearly a 1000 degree at max temp. I like the fact that it's so compact and has a temp control on the handle. The iron comes with a needle point so it needs a chisel tip. I got the T18-S3 which has a 5.2 mm tip. I think the T18-D32 or T18-D32L tip is a 3.2mm chisel tip and may be better for motors and wires. The 5mm tip will be better for chassis work. Thanks for the tip Rick. Can't complain about a $14 soldering iron this good. Now I'll see if it can hold up like my 25 year old Unger.
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#17 Rick

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 03:22 PM

That's the same response I get from everyone that has bought one. I bought a couple more for spares in case they disappear on Ebay. I have been using one for a few months now and so far, so good. Look around the Ohio retro scene and you will see them everywhere. The other big plus, the cord is nice and pliable to make them real comfy to use............


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#18 Hermit #1

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 11:22 PM

You guys are all a bunch of wimps! :sarcastic_hand:   Real he-men use only 550w American Beauty soldering irons.








Actually, they're of no real use on the slot cars themselves - but they're holy terrors for installing or repairing track braid.  I should know, I have one... :heat:


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#19 Bill from NH

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 06:38 AM

Hermit, with that iron, you ought to be able to pile all your chassis parts on the jig & solder everything at once.  :laugh2:  :laugh2:  It probably works well for radiator tanks too. :)


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How old should a highway be before you tell it, that it has been adopted?


#20 Pablo

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 07:40 AM

I really like my Rgeo Ungar.  Tips are easy to find, easy to replace.  I don't know if Rick has any left, though.


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#21 Fast Freddie

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:57 AM

I guess anything worth doing is worth over doing to the max. I love my little $14 soldering iron it's still working great and is good enough to scratch build chassis.
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#22 anumber1

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 08:53 PM

Reviving a old thread but... I have been super pleased with a Hakko 503. It is $15 but works every bit as good as my trusty old Weller handle with the lightbulb style replaceable tip/element and costs less than half of the replacement tip for the Weller!

 

I use the ED6 tip with the Hakko.


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#23 Guy Spaulding

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 10:07 PM

Rick is right. I've used Ungar since my chassis building days in the '80s, and many of my friends use Hakko models. But those of us who have tried these hot little Chinese models have made the switch!  

 

But, here's another tip (pun intended)

 

Amazon has just the tips you need, at the price you want, that would make Hakko owners happy, tool! Note: I've seen these tips go in and out of stock, so keep checking.

 

But, now Amazon has even more to offer. Just search for: 60W 110V Adjustable Temperature Welding Soldering Iron 

 

Choose one of the many irons available that have a blue handle. From there, you can take your choice of tips and accessories.


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#24 drrufo

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 11:34 PM

With the blue handle adjustable soldering iron, you need to keep in mind the dial is in C degrees, not F. I had a real problem with smutz growing on my tip. I reduced to temp from 400 C to 300 F and my tip is shiny and my plastic switch parts don't melt.


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#25 Tim Neja

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Posted 14 February 2016 - 12:37 AM

I just ordered a couple of these! Might as well get two they're so cheap!! If they work as good as you say I'll set them up with two different tips and use them for wiring and chassis building!!

 

Thanks!! 


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She's real fine, my 409!!!

#26 CoastalAngler1

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Posted 14 February 2016 - 08:15 AM

Buy two - keep one as a spare.  

 

Mine is over a year old now; the spare is waiting. If your iron dies, your speed shop is closed until the replacement arrives.


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#27 John C Martin

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 10:14 AM

Thanks for the info GUY,,they do work great !

#28 SlowBeas

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 10:48 AM

Seems everyone has their own opinion about a good soldering iron. Me too, unfortunately. Sorry Chuck, but you asked...

 

I'd add my 100-watt Inland Deluxe to the discussion. It's very hot AND it's been extremely reliable -- unlike a couple others I've tried in the past. I keep it on an adjustable temp station and it handles any need I have while building chassis or merely making minor repairs to my flexis.


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#29 Mike Patterson

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 11:00 PM

I'm still an Ungar user. I've found a good source for the #4033S elements, and have stocked up. I still haven't found anything else that handles as well as the #776 Ungar iron.

 

Screw that Chinese crap!


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#30 Nate Graham

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 07:02 PM

I have now been using the iron Rick recommended for 6 months now as my daily use iron building cars and power supplies. works great. 

FYI, amazon is now showing several offerings of "6 in 1 soldering iron kits". basically, this iron with all the accessories we use. were I just getting started and looking to get all the supplies, this fills the bill for $25.


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#31 Bill from NH

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 08:24 PM

. I still haven't found anything else that handles as well as the #776 Ungar iron.

 

The Ungar #777 handle is just as good. I got two of them, one #776, & a black handle sold by Radio Shack. All of them are extremely balanced irons. :)


Bill Fernald
 

How old should a highway be before you tell it, that it has been adopted?


#32 Zippity

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 08:26 PM

The Hakko Digital FX888D seems to be the way to go :)



#33 tonyp

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 08:56 AM

Hakko 601 turned up to 11.

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#34 Dennis David

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:58 AM

Halo 601 turned up to Hades

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#35 drrufo

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 12:14 PM

 I found that the iron doesn't need to be HOT.  I was getting smutz on the tip and burning up the heating element.I turned the dial down to 400 degrees F and it works great for my controllers. I make a 6 position switch from a plastic switch and some diodes. When I had the iron all the way up I would melt the plastic around the contacts. After turning down the heat, I would not melt the switch. 

Doing delicate work is easy now. There are two areas where the iron might need more heat but they solder after a few seconds.

 

I like the iron that has the adjustment dial and put away my Hakko set up to use the cheap one exclusively.

 

John Andersen


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#36 Tim Neja

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:05 PM

http://www.ebay.com/...=item1c2e8fd94a

 

I've been using this one at the track the last few weeks! It ROCKSZ!!! Does everything I need from pinions to fixing chassis!! Works great and UNBELIEVABLE price!! Cord is nice and flexible and fits in the box great!! My Hakko stays at home at the work bench now!! It's going strong and so cheap I bought a spare for a backup.  Don't think I'll need it though!! Great iron--thanks Rick!! :)


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She's real fine, my 409!!!

#37 Bill from NH

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:11 PM

Tim, what are you using for tips with these cheap irons? Hakko tips or something else?


Bill Fernald
 

How old should a highway be before you tell it, that it has been adopted?


#38 Tim Neja

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 01:11 AM

Hakko!
She's real fine, my 409!!!

#39 Michael Rigsby

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 08:58 AM

Amazon has a better tip for the Hakko knockoffs. The new style Hakko tip fits a little loose. Amazon has a five pack of the knockoff tips under the old Hakko part number really cheap and they fit tighter on the heating element giving more even heating.
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#40 Guy Spaulding

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 04:07 PM

These are what I've bought from Amazon.  They're not always in stock, so check back.  Not sure if they are the same as what Mike is buying, but they do the trick for Hakko or Fakko @ essentially 5 for the price of 1 :)


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#41 Pablo

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 06:31 PM

I wonder if the original poster ever made up his mind what to buy.

He hasn't said "thank you" or made a single post here since Feb 2014.....


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#42 Samiam

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 11:57 PM

Maybe he's too busy soldering away like a scratch building fool? :laugh2:

 

I've been using NOS Ungar 45W elements I bought for $5 each from Edlie's Electronics in the late 70s. Bought every one they had.


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#43 Bill from NH

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 08:08 AM

Sounds like you got a cheap lifetime supply, Sam. A few years back, I found some Ungar heaters in Utah. I forget what I paid.


Bill Fernald
 

How old should a highway be before you tell it, that it has been adopted?


#44 Bill from NH

Bill from NH

    Age scrubs away speed!

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 08:51 AM

I wonder if the original poster ever made up his mind what to buy.

He hasn't said "thank you" or made a single post here since Feb 2014.....

 

He started a new thread yesterday afternoon, titled...

"When a Cox Gurney Galaxie is not a Gurney Galaxie..."

So he's still around or else we totally confused him. :laugh2:


Bill Fernald
 

How old should a highway be before you tell it, that it has been adopted?


#45 Samiam

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:23 AM

Sounds like you got a cheap lifetime supply, Sam. .

I only have two left so I hope they last ten years each. :D

 

I never let anyone near my irons so they last a long time. When a racer wants to change a pinion I do it for him. Otherwise he's using the iron as a pry bar trying to get the thing off. :wacko2:


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#46 drrufo

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 11:42 AM

Tim posted the ebay auction for the adjustable soldering irons. They work great for my controller builds. The only real problem with them is the diall moves when you pick up the iron to use it. It can change all the way up or down and can screw up your soldering.

As a fix, I used super glue to set the dial on the temp I want and not move. I have some many of these iron gluing the dial on one isn't a big deal.

 

John Andersen


John Andersen
DR Racing Products


#47 Bill from NH

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 01:32 PM

John, did you ever consider using blue Loctite so you could set, then later change the temperature setting if you wanted?


Bill Fernald
 

How old should a highway be before you tell it, that it has been adopted?


#48 Alexander Blankenship

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 04:12 PM

Thank you Tim for the great advice, I purchased one today on your recommendation



#49 anumber1

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 05:12 PM

Fakko... I like that!

Mine is working well in my travel box. Don't have to carry my rheostat now saving precious room in my race box.

The knock off "Fakko" screwdriver tips work great also.
  • Guy Spaulding likes this
Alan Gallacher
 
Born to tinker!





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