soldering iron & advice for magnifier

From: Paul Koning <>
Date: Mon May 17 08:49:19 2004

>>>>> "Jay" == Jay West <> writes:

 Jay> Tom wrote...
>> I bought a used Metcal MX1 on eBay and it is easily the best iron
>> I've ever used! Throw out all of the others. I also have a Bausch
>> & Lomb Stereo Zoom 4 microscope which makes surface mount much
>> easier, at least for my aging eyes.

 Jay> I'm not familiar with Metcal units. How would the MX1 compare
 Jay> with the Weller WES51 I recently bought?

I've used a Weller WTCPR (Curie point temperature control) iron for
many years. The "PTS" tip is sharp and slender, perfect for fine SMD
work. It's harder to find than most other tips. Extra thin solder
and a lamp + magnifier completes the toolkit.

 Jay> Also, I have a lamp magnifier... one of those lighted magnifiers
 Jay> on a elbow arm you clamp to your desk. Invaluable to me for
 Jay> small work. Mine is missing one of the two springs, so I'm out
 Jay> looking for a new one. I found a truely nice one for $55 that
 Jay> has two separate flourescent bulbs on each side (I strongly
 Jay> prefer flourescent lights for that rather than the cheap
 Jay> incandescent units). I'm thinking these would have to be better
 Jay> than a stereo microscope (which I've never used)??? Wouldn't it
 Jay> be hard to position boards and such under that?

I'd say this is a matter of personal preference. I picked my tools
based on what was available along with the advice of a professional --
a lady who routinely assembles prototype boards full of 240 lead PQFPs
in no time flat. She uses one of those magnifiers with a circular
fluorescent tube wrapped around it. I didn't have one of those so I
made do with a Sunnex light plus magnifier combo, not quite as good
but sufficient.

The stereo microscope at the office did come in handy for
post-assembly inspection.

Received on Mon May 17 2004 - 08:49:19 BST

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