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Thread: Inexpensive Soldering Station. Any experience with the $15 PE one?

  1. #1
    Founding Member TREETOP's Avatar
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    Inexpensive Soldering Station. Any experience with the $15 PE one?

    I have two butane powered soldering irons, one from Snap-On and one from MAC. I use them for anything small, and I use a Mapp Gas torch for my big (1/0 and 2/0) connectors.

    I dislike having to refill my butane ones, and I dislike the fact that they roll around the workbench and I have to set them somewhere safe while they cool so I don't burn anything.
    I'd like to get an adjustable soldering station and I don't have a lot of requirements other than it needs to have replaceable tips, it needs to be pretty consistent as far as temperature goes and it needs to be reliable.

    Parts Express has the $14.98 adjustable Stahl station on sale for $12 until the end of the year.
    I'd probably put this in the "hot deals" section but I have no firsthand experience with it yet.

    For 12 bucks the PE one looks like a no-brainer, but I remember someone talking poo about it on another forum. The reviews look good on PE's site.

    Stahl Tools SSVT Variable Temperature Soldering Station | Parts-Express.com

    They have a 4-piece tip set for $5 also:
    Stahl Tools SSRT 4-Piece Soldering Tip Kit for STSSVT | Parts-Express.com

    Does anyone have any experience with this particular unit? Is there anything even remotely close to this price range that I should be considering instead?

    Thanks guys!
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  2. #2
    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    dude, just buy a used weller.. or a new weller.

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    Founding Member TREETOP's Avatar
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    Educate me, tell me what makes it better.
    If you're not the signal, you're the noise.

  4. #4
    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    You just have to use one to know. It's like sex without a condom.

    They make heat FAST, the temp is magnetically controlled via the tip, so when the TIP loses heat it tosses heat back on. From zero to go is less than a minute. It does better than my re-work station on "kill" and it uses the same style of sensing. I can have everything going here and the weller is the first thing I grab.. Then will honestly let it cool down and change the tip even though the other station has the right tip on it.

    It's just right, even if you buy one for 40 bucks a heater and tip is way cheaper to add on than a new one. They run forever too.

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  5. #5
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    I have the cheap stahl one. It does kinda suck. But I mean, come on, that's still a pretty good price.

    My biggest complaint is the lack of feedback. No idea what temps I'm working with, and the pot doesn't seem linear to me either. It's also just not a very good iron. And balls-out hot on this thing isn't as hot as you might expect.

    IIRC, it came with a bunch of tips for free though (I might be wrong about that...I have a package of tips though and don't know where else they would have come from). Again, for that price, if you get tips too...

  6. #6
    Founding Member imjustjason's Avatar
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    I have that cheap $15 one from PE and a pretty good Hakko. I won't say they are the same quality, but for doing little quick work the $15 has come through every time. I leave it on the bench and use the Hakko inside the car. For de-soldering or simple things, making RCA's for instance it works fine. Well worth $15 to not have to lug the good one around all the time.

  7. #7
    Tucker's Law sam3535's Avatar
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    The heat control is NOT linear at all and it does take quite a while to get hot. The Stahl stays out on the bench all the time and the Weller comes out when I'll be doing a lot of soldering. But for $12, come on.
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  8. #8
    Founding Member 86mr2's Avatar
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    My soldering iron is a Weller my wife "liberated" when leaving an employer 30 years ago. It was a tradition, women leaving had to walk out with a soldering iron. The really talented ones walked out with their toolbox somehow. Temperature control? We don't need no steenking temperature control. It's been a rock. The base of the stand is cast iron.

  9. #9
    Member Highly's Avatar
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    Never used the PE iron. However:

    LED DISPLAY DIGITAL SOLDER STATION ZD-929C-MPJA, Inc.

    90% of a Weller for a lot less $. I have two and love them. One stays out for regular use, the other has my SMD tips and tweezers and only comes out for fine work. Absolutely not one complaint since day one. Mine gets hot as fast as the mid-sized Wellers I've used at work for through-hole work, and regulates heat very well. Tip regulated, as are the tweezers. A bargain if you ask me.

    On sale I picked up two stations, tips, the tweezers, and SMD tips for about $100. That's pretty tough to beat.
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  10. #10
    Junior Member Ziggy's Avatar
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    ^^^ Nice find -thank you for sharing

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