Iron temperatures

by Jet
(Brisbane, Australia)

Hi Sue,

I'm just wondering about the differences between 60 or 70 watt soldering irons, compared to 80 or 100 watt. I have never used anything less than 80 watt for both lead and copperfoil work, and have found someone who is teaching that only 60 and 70 watt irons should be used (for lead). Aren't 60 and 70 watt irons too cold for soldering lead (or copperfoil?) ??

thanks, Jet


Answer

The 60 or 70 watt iron would work for lead, but would be too cool for copper foil especially if you solder quickly. You'd be better off using a Weller 100PG soldering iron which is temperature controlled by the size tip you use in it. Use the 600 watt tip for lead and the 800 watt tip for copper foil.

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soldering iron

Hi Sue,
I just got another Weller 100 and the store I bought it from suggested I use the temp controller with it. I was reading through some of the other questions about which iron to use and you said not to use a temp controller. Now I'm confused. Maybe they wanted me to use a temp controller because my other Weller blew up in my hand.......that was a shock.

Answer

If your iron is the W100PG (the 100watt iron with a light blue handle), it cycles on and off automatically to maintain a constant temperature. This feature eliminates the necessity of using a separate temperature controller. If you take out the tip you will see a number on the flat end. 6 gives you 600 degrees, 7...700 degrees and 8...800 degrees. The iron comes with the 700 degree tip.

Here is just one of many places that sell Weller irons and states that the W100PG does not need a temp controller: Weller Info

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changing tip on soldering iron inland deluxe 100

by lori
(pa.)

i just bought an inland deluxe 100 soldering iron cannot seem to get the head loose to change it any suggestions do not want to break old tip thats what happened to my wellar now the tips stuck inside

Answer

This isn't so much an answer as a question. Have you used the soldering iron or is it brand new. If it's new, return it. If it has been used, spray some WD-40 around the tip where it goes into the iron and let it sit for a day. You might have to do this several times, but it should loosen the tip eventually. Once the tip is loose and cleaned up, remove the tip after every soldering session and clean it with fine steel wool (not the head of the tip that you solder with, just the straight part of the tip). If you keep it clean, it won't stick.

Also, please remember to turn the iron off after every use. Forgetting to turn it off will cause it to corrode inside the barrel plus not turning it is a fire hazard. If you take the tip out after every use, turning it off shouldn't be a problem!!

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New Iron Problem or Heat Control

by Jan
(Mount Vernon)

my new soldering iron is apparently way overheating when used at the same temperature as my last iron. Moreover, it is picking up pieces of both the wet sponge and the sal ammoniac block. I can't tin it - it holds the solder in a lump. Everything sticks to it and it burns the sponge and the block. I tried it at the heat setting of 10, then 9 1/2, and on down to 8 1/2 on the control unit, but I can't find a cure. Do you have recommendations? What heat setting do you normally use for beading?

Your website is fabulous!! Thanks!

Answer

Hi Jan,

If you are having that much trouble with your iron, and it is new, take it back and ask for a replacement. It sounds like there is something wrong with it. You didn't mention what brand your iron is. I know that Weller stands behind their products. No matter what brand it is, you shouldn't have a problem getting a replacement.

I do not use a controller, so I can't comment on a setting. Many irons for stained glass have built in heat controllers that are governed by the tip. If you take out the tip, there could be a number on the bottom. An 8 means an 80 watt tip, a 100 means a 100 watt tip, a 60 means a 60 watt tip. Using a temp controller defeats the purpose of the tip. If you use an 80 watt tip in a 100 watt iron, it will solder at 80 watts.

I'd also advise not using a sal ammoniac block. In my many years of experience, I've seen them eat away the tip over a period of time. Just wipe the tip on a damp paper towel that has been folded up several times. It works better than a sponge and you can throw it out when you're done soldering.

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What is the Best Type of Soldering Iron?

What is the best type of iron? i.e. watts, etc.

Answer

These two irons are what I would recommend. They aren't the least expensive, but they are well made and, if taken care of, they keep on working for years. When it comes to tools, I always buy the very best because they will perform well and out last the cheap tools by many years.

The Weller W100 Soldering Iron is the first iron that I would recommend. That is what I'm using now and the brand I have used for 35 years. My present iron is 10 years old and working just as well as it did when I first bought it. What I like about it is the fact that you don't /shouldn't use a temp controller with it. The iron has a built in temp controller. The way you control the temperature is by changing the tips. If you look at the flat end of the tip, you'll see a number...6 means it's a 600 degree tip, 7 is a 700 degree, 8 is an 800 degree tip. I very seldom change the tips and almost always work with the 800 degree tip.

From what I've heard and read, the Hakko 60w Super Pro Iron is supposed to be the best you can get. When it first came out, everyone was buying one and reporting how good it was as far as maintaining the heat and improving their soldering. After a few years, the stained glass community is still talking about this iron. It is recommended that you use the Hakko with a temp controller. I haven't used one, simply because my Weller is still functioning well, but I think I'll get a Hakko if and when the Weller stops working.


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Soldering Iron Temperature

Hi Sue,

What is the best way to know what the temperature of my soldering iron is? I’m starting to use different solders and techniques and need to keep a closer watch on my temps in some cases. I’m currently using a Weller 100W with a temperature rheostat. Thanks!

David.

Answer

The Weller 100 watt iron should not be used with a temp controller. The temperature is controlled by the tip. Take the tip out and look at the flat end of it. You will see a number. 8 means it's an 80 watt tip, 7 is 70 watts and 6 is 60 watts. The tips are available at most stained glass retailers.


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Soldering Iron Suggestions

by April
(Cynthiana, KY)

Looking to invest in a good soldering iron at a reasonable price...any suggestions?

Answer

I don't know what you consider reasonable price, but my feeling is that you should buy the best quality stained glass tools that you can get. They will last a long time and save you money in the long run.

The Weller 100 PG or Hakko P-456 are the 2 best soldering irons for stained glass work. Neither one is cheap, (I believe either one will cost around $80) but if they are taken care of, they will last for years. My Weller 100PG is 10 years old and works like a charm.

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Burned tip

by David A
(N. Carolina)

I accidentally left my soldering iron on over night. Is there any way to recover or re-tin the tip or do I just chuck away and buy anew?

Thanks, Sue -- great site.

David

Answer

I've done that more than once! When it happens I heat the tip and dip it in Nokorode flux, then immediately wipe it with a paper towel. Be sure to wear a heavy glove will doing this. I use an "Ove Glove" when doing something that could burn me.

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soldering iron tip

by Brenda
(Bonner Springs, KS)

How do you know when you need a new soldering iron or iron tip?

Answer

There are so many ways to tell if you need anew tip. Here are some of the most comon ways.

The tip might develop a hole, it might have gray pieces flaking off and falling into the solder, it may look gray even after wiping it off, solder won't stick to it, or you your soldering looks terrible when it always looked good before.

In essence, if you think you need a new tip, you most likely do.

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