when soldering irons go bad

Jim Brain brain at jbrain.com
Thu May 28 22:46:54 CDT 2009

Ethan Dicks wrote:
> On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 9:01 PM, John Foust <jfoust at threedee.com> wrote:
>> At 04:55 PM 5/28/2009, Dave McGuire wrote:
>>>  I didn't think anything could be better than my trusty Weller,
>>> until I tried the Metcal.
>> Looks Metcals go for $100-200 on eBay.  Is that expensive?
> That's not _too_ bad, but how many and what kind of tips do you get at
> that price.
> $100 and one tip would be OK, but I remember prices with an assortment
> of tips being closer to $300.  Perhaps one side of the supply/demand
> equation is more favorable to the buyer now.
Argh, here I thought I was in heaven with the recent WESD51 Weller 
purchase I made (yes, I used a a RatShack special for 20 years (1977 - 
1997) and a $11.00 RatShack "More Special" for 10 more (97-07), and now 
I need to check out Hakko and Metcal.

However, I will defend the lowly RatShack soldering iron:

1) $7-$9.00.  Say what you will, but you'll never buy a Metcal if you're 
not even sure if you can solder.
2) They are cheap and they often break.  It's easier to appreciate the 
value of a Weller or Metcal if you've used a RatShack iron.

>> As a teen in the late 70s, I once tried to assemble a mail-order
>> electronics kit but it wouldn't work...  I sent it back to the
>> company for diagnosis and was stung by the hand-written criticism
>> that "it looks like it was soldered with a hot brick."
> I still have a couple of projects I assembled in the late 1970s as a
> teen... I used a cheap RatShack pencil iron - they _do_ look like they
> were assembled with a hot brick.  One is a TVT 6-5/8.  I keep meaning
> to clean that one up but haven't found the time to do it.
Guilty as charged.  I am trying to throw the disposable ones away.

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