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Toolmongers who find themselves tackling electrical work on a regular basis are probably familiar with the six-dollar Radio Shack soldering iron, a plug-in hot stick without even an on/off switch. If you’re ambitious enough to tackle a large project like an entire automotive wiring harness, or just use your iron frequently, those get frustrating fast.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Weller’s WES51D digitally-controlled soldering station. The user can set the temperature (which is displayed on a bright three-digit display) with a simple dial, and the unit automatically maintains that target. As an added bonus, the iron stand has a slick little grooved sponge which makes tip cleaning a dawdle, and this feature is available on Weller’s full range of irons. There are four different models covering a wide price range, and all deliver even heat and top-notch construction. As usual, Amazon has excellent prices on these fine tools at around $118 for the kit.

Soldering Station [Cooper Hand Tools]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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14 Responses to Weller Soldering Stations

  1. Kurt says:

    Depending on your needs, there is another unit Weller makes that allows a normal soldering iron to plug into a standard 3 prong plug. It gives you the holder, sponge and temperature control, along with easy replacement from local sources if the iron burns out.

    http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WLC100-Soldering-Hobbyist-Yourselfer/dp/B000AS28UC/ref=pd_cp_hi_0

  2. Ted says:

    I worked on these as an intern, learning to solder up circuit boards. They really are excellent soldering tools, and if you have the need I would agree, they’re worth it.

  3. aaron says:

    I agree. fast rise to temp, works well, fast cool.

  4. Pepster says:

    I’m going to second Ted’s comment. I’ve logged plenty of times on these, and they’re the gold standard for a reason.

    Pick up a pack of copper scoring pads to keep the tip clean too, they augment the sponge nicely, and are less abrasive than the tins of “Tip Cleaner”

  5. Tony Clifton says:

    Yes, it seems expensive. And yes, it seems like a bit of overkill. But:

    1) It’s only expensive until you need to do either a large quantity of repetitive soldering or you need to do some surface mount soldering. The ability to precisely set tip temperature, quickly warm-up, and quickly rebound tip temperature make this unit worth its weight in gold.

    2) As the saying goes, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

  6. rob says:

    having built a few diy fuel injection systems (mega squirt) I can atest the the joy of this iron I have the wes50 same iron with out the digital display
    just has number on the dial but the range of tips and control

    I have done surface mount parts with this iron and much more
    they are simply great there are better but unless you need to hot air rework and lots of surface mount stuff this will cover just about everything
    profesional quality that is with in reach of the DIY person

  7. rob says:

    sorry mine is the wes51 just doesn’t have the digital display

  8. AggieMike says:

    I have the Weller WLC 100 and for half the price of this one I find it works great for most projects. I’ve build numerous through hole circuit boards with it and love it.

  9. John Laur says:

    And on the other end of the spectrum there are the Metcal stations that make this thing look like a baby’s toy.

  10. Eric says:

    We have one at our shop and I love it. We solder a variety of cable types (well, copper and stainless steel wire) and it works beautifully. Very recommended.

  11. I’ve also had good some good experiences with Edsyn irons:

    http://www.edsyn.com/index.php?Mode=SolderingStations

    Pick one with a temperature control.

    Not to sound like a tool snob, but as John Laur implied these don’t hold a candle to the Metcal irons. If you are going to do a lot of soldering I’d highly recommend watching Ebay, I picked up a Metcal PS2E and a couple of tips for about $120 — somewhat like this auction:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Metcal-PS2E-01-Soldering-Station-w-RM3E-Iron-Stand-Tip_W0QQitemZ390061142482QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0

  12. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    I run an electronic factory, and we insist on temp controlled irons. Weller’s great, and there are plenty of others equally good. The key is selecting the right temperature, and having the right tip for the job. A fine point for PCB’s is great, but going to solder a couple of 12 gauge wires together is far easier with a big tip – even better with a big tip that has a notch to make it easier to hold it on the wire.

    My only other thought is there are a bunch of good cordless irons out there – the lack of a cord when you’re crawling under a dash might be nice.

  13. I have weller soldering gun, but soldering bet is werned out, what I have to
    do. I am from sri lanka. please suggest me methoed of repair it. I am a electronic technician.

    thank you palitha

  14. Lex Dodson says:

    There’s probably a retailer in mainland Europe who ships to Sri Lanka, but I can’t say I’m familiar with any hardware stores out there. 😛 As far as buying a new tip from a physical location, I don’t think I can help, but there’s probably an online retailer willing to ship to you.

    There are several tips available for every type of Weller soldering iron, so head for their website to find the part number you want. If your iron is the pistol-style with a tip like a deformed U, the link below shows all the available tips for the gun.

    http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brands/weller/index.cfm?model_list=1&att_id=WEL007%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20&att1=Tips%20and%20Nozzles%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20&att2=Soldering%20Gun%20Tips

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