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Best soldering iron/gun for basic cable fixes by a novice?


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I have, this past weekend I needed to do some repairs/make cables and I put it through its paces. worked on some hirose 4 pin power cables, XLR cables, and a small power distro project.   Pr

I also have a Weller WLC100 with a collection of aftermarket tips. I've used to to build a couple hundred cables and wire up a few recording studios over the past 15 years or so.   I just go

Thanks Pete!

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On 2/3/2020 at 7:54 AM, Shastapete said:

I also have a Weller WLC100 with a collection of aftermarket tips. I've used to to build a couple hundred cables and wire up a few recording studios over the past 15 years or so.

 

I just got a Hakko FX-901/P Cordless Soldering Iron, runs off of 4 AA batteries, got it to go in my pelican tool kit as a portable iron was what I felt like I was missing for effective field repairs/custom cables. Still haven't had a chance to fire it up yet, but I'll report back on how it works.

https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX-901-Cordless-Soldering-Iron/dp/B00FZPUA28

image.png

 

Hey Pete,

 

Have you had a chance yet to heat up that Hakko cordless iron? Whatcha think?

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23 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

 

Hey Pete,

 

Have you had a chance yet to heat up that Hakko cordless iron? Whatcha think?

 

I have, this past weekend I needed to do some repairs/make cables and I put it through its paces. worked on some hirose 4 pin power cables, XLR cables, and a small power distro project.

 

Pros:

Cordless

Heats up fast

Runs on AA batteries, which I have a ton of in my kit as almost everything I have uses them

 

Cons:

Unbalanced - With all the weight in the back of the tool it is harder to hold onto, and the design makes you want to hold it like a pencil near the front

No temp control - It gets pretty hot and is almost too much heat for delicate soldering

Fat - hard to get into tight places

 

The XLRs were simple, the heat was perfect to melt solder quickly in the solder cups

 

Hirose power cables, the Switchcraft power plugs were a breeze, but the 4 pin hirose connectors were about the limit for this device. No problem using this tool for a repair job, but my real solder station will be used if doing more of these at home. The width of the stock tip is a little too big and you have to be careful not to overheat the pins.

 

My power distro project: ultimately, I was successful, but I had to redo multiple connections because the cramped quarters and fat tool caused me to melt the insulation off my wires. This would have been hard with my "real" soldering iron too, but not as difficult.

 

Conclusion:

I'm certainly keeping it, and I was very impressed that it kept up the heat for over 45 minutes of work running off 4 white eneloops (would have gone longer, but I was done with what I needed to do). It isn't going to replace my main soldering iron, but for work away from power or on location repairs in emergencies it is going to be perfect.

 

You could probably use it to field repair ta5 connectors, but lemos would be a big challenge... and at $40 a pop I wasn't going to waste a spare trying to "repair" a working lav for the experience.

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That looks like a pretty nice tool overall. I have read that if you use enloops you get not only much longer use time but also much more even consistent heating from beginning to end without it getting too hot.

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  • 4 months later...

Just buy a cheap set off of Amazon. Unless you are using it a lot, there isn't much need to spend a bunch. Good solder and flux is where I would put the money. Just my opinion. 

 

Trey

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On 8/4/2020 at 9:33 PM, Trey said:

Just buy a cheap set off of Amazon. Unless you are using it a lot, there isn't much need to spend a bunch. Good solder and flux is where I would put the money. Just my opinion. 

 

Trey

 Sure, sure, not the arrows but the archer – but if you do anything more than an XLR cable once a year, you'll want at least a midrange iron that has variable temperature control, enough power to heat up quickly, and hold that temp so it doesn't get its heat sucked out by the work piece.

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I've switched over to the TS-100.  It looks puny but heats up fast and can flow solder on the biggest Gauge wire on XLR pins

Very accurate temperature settings and can work off of 12V in a pinch. (Fastest at 24v DC).

The dynamic digital temperature control built into the handle and the heating element and thermocouple at the very tip means

it can tell when the item you are soldering is absorbing all the heat and applies more voltage to keep

the tip at the desired temp.  Accelerameter detects when you pick it up and set it down to go into standby or cool down mode.

https://www.amazon.com/UY-CHAN-Programmable-Pocket-size-Acceleration/dp/B01MDTO6X7/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1KXGOJJ004YFW&dchild=1&keywords=t100+soldering+iron&qid=1596779367&sprefix=T100%2Caps%2C318&sr=8-5

 

Really great for the portable tool kit.

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/6/2020 at 4:45 PM, Shastapete said:

 Sure, sure, not the arrows but the archer – but if you do anything more than an XLR cable once a year, you'll want at least a midrange iron that has variable temperature control, enough power to heat up quickly, and hold that temp so it doesn't get its heat sucked out by the work piece.

Agreed! If you do find yourself doing quite a bit of soldering then heavens yes invest in a decent iron! I am actually looking to upgrade myself! :)

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32 minutes ago, Trey said:

Agreed! If you do find yourself doing quite a bit of soldering then heavens yes invest in a decent iron! I am actually looking to upgrade myself! :)

+1

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  • 1 month later...

I have been an amateur solderer myself since I was in high school. I purchased a Hakko station when I was 18 or so, and it was a night and day difference to the original Rat shack and wall plug weller I was using.  A cheap iron with inconsistent heat will ruin small connectors or circuit boards if you are inexperienced, or just less skilled as I am/was. I have used this Hakko station with a precision tip (the same one) for nearly 15 years (I don't solder very often).

You can make cheaper irons work for sure with the right kit. In my overall experience though, buying too cheap like I did in the beginning leads to a greater chance of ruining things and in general one just getting fed up the experience that they just give up entirely.

 

Quote

I've switched over to the TS-100.  It looks puny but heats up fast and can flow solder on the biggest Gauge wire on XLR pins

Very accurate temperature settings and can work off of 12V in a pinch. (Fastest at 24v DC).

The dynamic digital temperature control built into the handle and the heating element and thermocouple at the very tip means

it can tell when the item you are soldering is absorbing all the heat and applies more voltage to keep

the tip at the desired temp.  Accelerameter detects when you pick it up and set it down to go into standby or cool down mode.

https://www.amazon.com/UY-CHAN-Programmable-Pocket-size-Acceleration/dp/B01MDTO6X7/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1KXGOJJ004YFW&dchild=1&keywords=t100+soldering+iron&qid=1596779367&sprefix=T100%2Caps%2C318&sr=8-5

 

Really great for the portable tool kit.

 

I agree with the T100 as well for a portable soldering iron. A co-worker had one for his field kit and I tried using it in the office in place of our soldering station. Great for 18+ gauge wires and maybe some through-hole work. I didn't get a handle for adjusting the temperature while using it, so it might be even better then what I experienced.

 

Best of luck!

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