Soldering Iron options
from to on 19 Aug 2023 19:52

Please drop some links for the soldering irons y’all use, mine is apparently lost in my parent’s attic, and thinking of, probably too large for console modding.

I figured to ask here as I believe the console modding community here would already have some good finds. I’m also wanting todo a battery mod to my GBC soon.


threaded - newest on 19 Aug 2023 19:58 next collapse

Metcal. on 19 Aug 2023 20:05 next collapse

Pinecil is pretty great for what it is. Hakko’s always a safe bet. on 19 Aug 2023 20:40 next collapse

I’m never going to be doing much beyond console modding and I travel a bit so I went Pinecil.

I saw Hakko as a great option, was just a bit much for my use case. on 19 Aug 2023 20:55 collapse

I started with a Hakko, $120. It blows my mind how much better a $25 soldering iron (Pinecil V2) is. Both only have 2 buttons, but the Hakko does a terrible job with them. The Hakko also takes significantly longer to heat, which resulted in me running it really hot when I first started out. on 19 Aug 2023 20:14 next collapse

Hakko or Weller are usually well recommended on 19 Aug 2023 20:14 next collapse

I use the Yihua 8786D-I. Combo iron and heat gun. Works fantastically. Been using it for a few years at this point.

Yihua makes clones of Hakko products.

There’s also the Pinecil, which I hear is good. on 19 Aug 2023 20:21 next collapse

If you’re going to be doing any amount of soldering, I’d highly suggest the Hakko FX888D. You want to use a good iron, otherwise you’ll get poor results and/or be more likely to hurt yourself. (Hitting one’s thumb with a hot soldering iron is not fun.) on 20 Aug 2023 00:03 collapse

I have the FM-203, and I believe it uses the same tips as the 888D for the standard pencil, right? If so, I can vouch that it’s a good system. I bought about 10 high end tips with it when I bought it 6 or 7 years ago, and I’ve only ever had to replace one. It pushes enough heat for everything I’ve tried, even HDMI port ground pin desoldering when combined with a low melt solder.

I also use the Metcal MX-500P, and other than a quick and easy RMA process a couple years into owning it, it’s even better than the Hakko for smaller soldering, because the induction heating ensures solid heating all the way to the tip. It’s not really necessary for most hobby soldering, but very worth it if you do a lot of microsoldering. on 19 Aug 2023 20:39 next collapse

TS80P with IronOS. Digital soldering irons are super awesome. on 20 Aug 2023 01:05 collapse

Can you explain what makes them so good? on 20 Aug 2023 11:39 collapse

Some of this is based on my experience with the TS80P specifically, I don’t know if everything holds true for other ones.

Pros: You can adjust the temp. They heat up in seconds. You can swap the tips on some models without waiting for it to cool down fully. You can power them with a battery pack for when an outlet is too far away or unavailable. There is a boost function button that allows you to have a second higher temp(has to be set beforehand) that you can jump to if needed. So you can set the default at 250c and then have 350c as the boost.

Cons: You need the right A/C adapter or battery bank that can output 12v@3amp and some USB cables do not play nice with them. Some of the PD/QC adapters can only do 9v and 15v, no 12v. You can use it at 9v, but the temperature will be too low to use anything but low temp solder.

IronOS refines everything and allows for more settings to be tweaked so you can set up the iron to suit your needs better. on 20 Aug 2023 12:08 collapse

Interesting. I’ve been using the same cheapo iron for years and years now but if I ever need to replace it, I’d probably at least consider one of these. Quick search on Amazon shows them for like $85. So not cheap, but not bonkers either. on 19 Aug 2023 20:45 next collapse

I use a Weller WES51.

It’s built like a tank and was a full $100 cheaper than the Hakko equivalent. on 19 Aug 2023 21:16 next collapse

I have a lot of hours into this one and I love it. The cord is very light and doesn’t weigh the iron down, digital is great, nice heavy power box that’s not going to slide around on you, good selection of tips, relatively accurate temperature w/ auto-calibration, holder and brass sponge with flux pad is a nice cherry on top too. You have to add $100 to the price to find its equal.

YIHUA 939D+ Digital Soldering Station, 75W Equivalent with Precision Heat Control (392°F to 896°F) and Built-in Transformer. ESD Safe, Lead Free with °C/°F display (Black) on 19 Aug 2023 22:08 next collapse

Thanks for all the comments! I may have already chosen one, but keep posting!

I bet Imm not the only one getting into console modding here looking for a soldering iron to buy. on 20 Aug 2023 00:05 next collapse

I use the Metcal MX-500P and the Hakko FM-203 system, but they’re both probably overkill if you’re just doing console modding occasionally. on 20 Aug 2023 02:46 next collapse

Currently using a Hakko 936 at work. Thing is a workhorse but shows its age nowadays when it comes to digital controls. on 20 Aug 2023 05:21 next collapse

I looked pretty hard at a rechargeable pen style soldering iron, but was convinced by more experienced users and reviewers to get a Hakko. I got the Hakko FX888D. The colors make it look like a toy; believe me, it is not. It's wild how fast it changes temperature, both hotter and cooler: it cools off almost as fast as it heats, which is pretty fantastic. Tons of options for replacing the tip, too. I'm not great at soldering and it has really made me more successful than I have a right to be. Very pleased. on 20 Aug 2023 06:05 next collapse

I have a Weller digital 70W model (WE1010NA). I’ve been happy with it; it heats up quickly and accurately and it doesn’t look like it’s made by Fisher-Price 😛 on 20 Aug 2023 08:26 next collapse

Pinecil is going to be the default suggestion as you really can’t go wrong with the price/performance. It’ll totally blow most low end stations out of the water.

If you want something a bit higher end that’s nicer to use in a desktop environment, get an Aixun T3A. Way more power, has a proper stand with a dormancy sensor, and uses nicer JBC style tips.

I would strongly advise against any name brand irons or stations, they all kinda suck for the price. on 20 Aug 2023 09:52 next collapse

I changed my very expensive Weller to a Pinecil V1 some 1,5 years ago and it has made much better solderer than the past decades before it. But it almost requires the silicon cable to make that cable invisible. For a year I used Lenovo usb-c charger and it is way too stiff to let you forget that cable exists.

I also recommend to buy a proper hot blower with very small nozzle. They’re expensive nowadays (around 100 USD I guess), but everytime you need to use it, it saves your mental health as a whole. on 20 Aug 2023 20:10 collapse

What key details in a blower would I be looking for really? on 23 Aug 2023 06:22 collapse

This is the model I have, and I don’t even how it could be better.…

Some 1,5 years ago I checked this item last time and it was around 80 USD so the price cut is massive. on 20 Aug 2023 10:31 next collapse

I use a weller WSD 81 soldering station. But I got it for free, since I work in the pcb soldering business, and my boss gave me that one when I asked to borrow a soldering station since it’s an old model we don’t use in production anymore. He said I could keep it, which is great. The tips are still being sold. on 20 Aug 2023 16:04 next collapse

I use a TS100 USB-powered iron. It's fine for the relatively light soldering jobs I generally do. on 20 Aug 2023 17:31 next collapse

Tilswall Soldering Station 65W used to be $40 and the best deal in irons, it’s now $75 and I would still argue the best iron for the money. Consistent temps, quick heating, comes with decent tips and has solid support for other tips. I’ve used this on countless keyboards, consoles, prototype boards, etc. on 20 Aug 2023 21:37 collapse

I have a pinecil v1. Really happy about it