Solder Irons – $10 vs $200

Let’s talk solder irons.

I used a $10 soldering iron from Radio Shack for years.
solder-iron

It’s a 25 Watt Iron that works great. You can also see the Solder Sucker I use. I use that and Solder wick, just depends.. Now then I also have a more expensive Soldering Iron. The Weller WESD51 which list for $199 (about $144-150 on Amazon).

weller

This is a very nice little station, You can set the temperature is adjustable from 350 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit and have a very nice digital screen. Did I mention how FAST this thing heats up to temp? Well it take about 30 seconds – now that’s fast. The cheaper one above, I plug in and let sit for 5-10 minutes before I use it. Both have replaceable tips. SO which do I use the most? Well would it surprise you if I said that I use my $10 Radio Shack solder iron 80% of the time over the more expensive Weller? WHY??? I don’t know? Maybe because I used it for YEARS before I got the Weller station. Maybe because it just works? I don’t know, please post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Let’s talk Solder

I thought I had already posted this, but looks like I didn’t. Years ago I was having ALOT of trouble with soldering. I thought my skills have been slipping or my solder irons where bad. I ask for some advice over on the KLOV forums and came to realize that it was my solder I was using. They told me to toss out the Lead-Free stuff and use what they used BITD (back in the day). They used lead solder on PCB and there’s not reason you can’t use it now. (Just remember NOT to EAT lead or get it on cuts, etc, etc, etc).

So here is what I NOW use:

solder-1

And this is what NOT TO USE – it’s hard to work with on small electronic PCB work:

solder-2

You can still get the good stuff from Radio Shack #64-009 (60%-tin/40%-lead Rosin Core Solder) OR Use something like 64-035 (Rosin Core Silver-Bearing (62%-tin, 36%-lead, 2%-silver) The only difference is the 2% silver and the price.

ALSO try to find a 63/37 solder. It is Solder that is 63% tin and 37% lead. 63/37 solder is also known as eutectic solder and is often preferred because it goes directly from a solid to liquid state when melted.

 

Pole Position Battery Damage

One of the first things to do with a new Pole Position in your collection is to remove the on board battery. Take a look at mine, you can see the corrosion at the end of the battery and starting to spread on the board. Cut off the battery and then neutralize the battery acid.

You can then replace this battery with a Dallas SRAM on location 7E.

pp-pcb3

Pole Position the bridge

I took the boards out of my Pole Position many months ago, it was to inspect and to remove the on board battery. I then decided to send the boards out to the best Pole Position person in the USA by the name of Dick. I sent him the larger ‘Interconnect Board’ that the harness plugs into.

But got an email from Dick asking about the ‘Bridge Connector’. Well I almost had a heart attack. I didn’t remember this. So in a frenzy I went to the shop and searched all over for this item. Of course I have parts and tools all over. Well eventually I found the Bridge Connector and sent it to Dick.

Watch for more updates!

bridge