Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Soldering Iron

I have been using the same Soldering Iron for the past 30 years, it is a 60W Weller. I have gone through about 4 tips in that time, and now I am due for a tip replacement,  I need a new "smaller tip" for SMD circuits. I have checked with local suppliers, they just laughed! The tips for my old Weller are getting hard to find, if at all. I will continue to look online, the Iron is still good and I like it.

To keep my projects going, I have decided to look for something new. I have checked the local suppliers and did not find anything that I liked.

About 45 years ago, a "rich" friend of mine, lent me his New State-of-the-Art "Cordless Soldering Iron". It was great, very light, heated fast, and with a work light. But, I thought it was a little small for the soldering tasks of the time.

Well, times have changed!

The other day while ordering some SMD components from Mouser, I ran across the Soldering Iron catalogue page, and there on the page was the "Wahl - Cordless Soldering Iron" (557-7800) just like the one that I had used 45 years ago (at least it looks like the same). I am a little richer now, so I added it to the order. I also ordered the Micro HI-E Tip (557-7566-100).

Soldering Iron and Stand

Fine Tip

Today, the order arrived. After unpacking and installing the Micro Tip and doing some initial test SMD soldering joints - I am very please with my new Soldering Iron. It is much better than I remembered, from long ago. From my perspective - parts sizes have caught up with the iron's ability. The Micro Tip is just right for SMD work - and it's not tied to a wall socket!

It is interesting, after all this time, I am still using 45-Year-Old-Technology, on new tech-SMD projects.

Now, if I can just find a tip for my old Weller,  .  .  .  just to keep in going!

  • I took it apart (what else would you have expected - it has screws!).  I noticed after sitting on it stand, it indicated that it was fully charged via a little red LED, also I noticed that the handle was warm (I now know that it must have recently finished charging).
  • How does it know when it is charged?
  • Simple, there is a "heat latching breaker" that sits on top of, and in contact with the battery. When the battery get hot the breaker contacts opens, and across the breaker contacts is a limit resistor and LED. I assume the small LED current that by-pass the open breaker contacts provides a trickle charge, probably less than 10mA.
  • To restart the charging cycle, you are required to reset the breaker via a small slide switch. This seams like a cleaver and reasonable approach to a NiCad charging problem.
  • Interesting, the breaker is not in the tip heating circuit!?

UPDATE: I think this is a link for new Tips for my old 60W Weller:
  • Three Tips are now on order.

UPDATE 2: Finally, after miss-shipment and lots of delays - I received my order on Nov 6, 2009.


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