View Full Version : What soldering guns/ irons do you use

12-30-2004, 03:36 PM
What brands of irons/guns do you use?
I had the blue point gun from Snap-on but have to fix it constantly, need better/ more reliable.

12-30-2004, 03:46 PM
weller D550

only gun I've used for 8 years to do starters and alarms.

Jason Ewing
12-30-2004, 04:04 PM
i use the butane powered ones from snap-on, unfortunately i have to have 3, just in case they decide not to light all the time---i really like my snap-on one, but its failure rate is higher than a kicker amplifier!!!! :D

i have one of the old ones that lights with a lighter, which is my old faithful smile.gif

12-30-2004, 05:25 PM
Don't like the butane under the dash, but otherwise ok. Any other electric suggestions?

Jason Ewing
12-30-2004, 05:42 PM
Originally posted by Precision1:
Don't like the butane under the dash, but otherwise ok.how come?

12-30-2004, 06:11 PM
Butane requires refilling and other BS including possibly melting something if you screw up. Maybe i just don't have experience with a good one.

12-30-2004, 09:03 PM
I just buy a Craftsman 350 watter (or whatever their "Professional" series is), and change out the tip about once a month.

12-30-2004, 11:28 PM
ihave a snap on butane, a craftsman 300 watt gun style, and a weller pen style, havent found one that works really well for everything i do.

12-31-2004, 10:18 AM
SnapOn butane here and a Craftman 300 watt gun. Like other I haven't found the perfect soldering iron/gun yet.


12-31-2004, 10:24 AM
I have the Craftsman gun which is identical to the snap on one I mentioned earlier except 1/3 the cost.
The only problem is the cord breaks internally like once a month and the tip breaks constantly.

I want something that is reliable for years and also high enough wattage to solder 2 peices of 10/12 Guage. I guess there are no other reliable options.

12-31-2004, 12:51 PM
Weller D550, the best for remote starts.

Dub C
12-31-2004, 04:25 PM
I stay away from the butane irons under dash, once on an 97 f150 ignition harness you'll notice the shift indicator cable right by the ignition harness. soldered and the cable wouldn't move the indicator on the dash and sure enought there was a little shiny spot on the cable where it shrunk from the exhaust heat from the iron. Cheap fix but wasted time and labor.

HzEmall Customs
12-31-2004, 05:14 PM
I also use the Snap On Butane one, you just have to learn where to point the exhaust, you learn quick them usually as to which way to hold it in your hand....................

Jason, if you get a automatic center punch, that little brass thing inside the iron usually comes out and causes it to not light, if take a pic and line it back up then hit it with the center punch you should be good to go. I do it all the time cause I have a habit of "flicking" the iron towards the ground to get extra solder off the tip..............

12-31-2004, 05:58 PM
i just bust out the arc welder :D

happy new year folks!

12-31-2004, 06:18 PM
I've never tried to arc weld ign wires before. Sounds challenging.

Rob M
12-31-2004, 08:09 PM
Some precison test probes are joined to their wires by resistance welding. Less resistance than solder and more reliable than crimps (especially for test probes that get moved around a lot).

01-01-2005, 12:33 AM
I use a weller station. I like having a place to keep the iron. I am never away from a plug and it heats in seconds.

01-01-2005, 06:36 AM
blue point butane iron... i like it much better than the snap-on (aka weller porta-sol)

and a rat shack gun.. things last forever..

11-08-2005, 03:13 PM
I tried a Weller after posting this and the damn thing is already giving me problems as if the cord is broke inside.
Just like the Craftsman ones do all the time.

Anybody have any new finds or additional info/advice??

Todd Ramsey
11-09-2005, 01:57 PM
For the "plug in" types, I only use a soldering station anymore. Solder irons (with no temp control) and soldering guns (even worse with those set screws that come loose) are just not useful for the variety of soldering you need to do in mobile electronics.

Solder stations I have (and would highly recommend)
Weller WES D51
Metcal SP200

If you want to go with the butane style, I have used those Snap-On ones (and like everyone says they eventually fail), but I really like my Master Appliance "UltraTorch" UT-100Si. It was about 70 bucks and it has never once failed to light or let me down.

There are plenty of others (in both styles), but I really would say stay away from anything under $50 because it will end up in the trash not long after you buy it.

What many people do not do is properly maintain their soldering iron OR manage the temperature. Whatever kind you have, if it's gummed up with old solder and left on at full throttle temperature for hours on end, yes it's going to get trashed. That's why I like the soldering stations, because you have the temperature control and you hve a sponge to "shock" the tip for heat output.

My 2 cents...

11-09-2005, 04:17 PM
I use a wellerwes51 for my wiring. On the road i use a Blue point Butane yak10.
All my big wire from 4 ga-000 i use a old Sears mod #53832 120watt-250 watt wood iron.

Alpine Tech
11-09-2005, 06:55 PM
butane is wayyy to slow and will give you operating problems. i have went to the craftman one. cheap, and fast. i can pick it up and be soldering in 7 seconds. i have not touched my butane iron's since i got my craftsman one.

11-10-2005, 09:39 AM
I use the Craftsman one Here (http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_SessionID=@@@@0688486632.1131629787@ @@@&BV_EngineID=ccgdaddgeejifhjcegecegjdghldfom.0&vertical=TOOL&fromAuto=YES&bidsite=CRAFT&pid=00954046000)

11-10-2005, 03:55 PM
I also second the 35 dollar craftsman. Works well, very dependable and trigger operated. Heats up fast.

I have used many and this is the one I will always go back to over and over..

11-10-2005, 08:45 PM
So I am reading this thread because I am about to buy a solder gun, and I mention this in conversation with a coworker. My coworker goes on to tell me that he used to be in the electronics business and he has one of his solder stations at home unused in the box that I can have if I want it. Of course I say “sure” I will take it if you don’t want it, so he brings it in today and it turns out to be a Metcal MX500TS11! I tell him that this is a $600-$700 station and he says “yeah I knew it was a nice one, keep it”.

So I just wanted to share my friend’s generosity.

11-10-2005, 09:59 PM
Wow, I need friends like that. All they give me is the tab at the end of the night.

11-14-2005, 02:26 PM
What soldering station would work for soldering ignition wires to remote start wiring without having to wait forever for it to heat the joint/connection??

11-15-2005, 01:09 AM
I have several weller/blue point cordless butane irons and they work preatty well but sometimes can be a pain to get started. Usually when they dont want to start up and new tip is the a fix. When this fails just have your Snap On dealer send it in and in a couple of weeks you will have a new one.

For the past couple of years I have switched to mini torches that have refillable cigarette lighters inside of them. There is a learning curve on these so your wires dont look like they have been incinerated (sp?) with a welding tourch. Once you get the distance down its instant heat.

Mac has them for around $17.00, Snap On is around $25.00 and a local electrions parts warehouse has a version for about $12.00. Keep a spare they sometimes can be intermintent on firing up.

This is a large version of what I use:

www.mactools.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ItemNum=ST220 (http://www.mactools.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ItemNum=ST220)

11-15-2005, 11:27 PM
I use the Snap-On butane and a weller station..depending on the job... this is my 2nd Snap-On... and it needs repaired... the ceramic part inside pops out under the gas pressure... never had that problem before...but I can't get a Snap-On guy to come by my store...he wants me to go to him...stupid Tulsa... and BTW Matco Butane iron = poop.