Gas station without pumps

2013 September 17

Broken soldering iron

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:51

I’ve previously recommended that students get a cheap soldering station like the one I have, and even recommended that the School of Engineering buy a dozen or so for use in the applied circuits lab.

My son recently found out why they are cheap: the ferrule that holds the tip in is not firmly mounted—it just has a friction fit, and after a while it comes loose and the tip falls out:

The soldering iron after the tip has come out.

The soldering iron after the tip has come out.


A closeup of the ferrule and handle. Pushing it back in and recrimping the tube to hold it tighter seems to have no effect.  One of the reviewers on Amazon recommended supergluing the ferrule in (that’s what they did when theirs failed).

It looks like I’ll be buying a new soldering iron soon. I’m undecided between getting a hot-air rework station with a soldering iron, or separate tools for the hot-air rework and for regular soldering. A combined tool is cheaper and takes less bench space, but I don’t often need the hot air, so a smaller soldering iron would be more convenient most of the time. Also, the cheap hot-air rework stations that include a vacuum pickup tool don’t usually have a soldering iron as well, though for $160 I can get an Aoyue 968A+ that does.

If I get a new soldering iron, do I get another cheap one ($25) and regard it as disposable, or do I get a high-quality digital Weller iron  for $145, or the intermediate Weller analog unit for $90?



  1. It is a great information thanks

    Comment by Zain — 2014 February 27 @ 21:55 | Reply

    • Based on information I found on the web (sorry, I can’t remember the source), I tried supergluing the ferrule back into the holder. After the glue had cured overnight, I heated the iron for about 15 minutes outdoors, to burn off any residue. The iron seems to work fine now.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2014 February 27 @ 21:59 | Reply

  2. Nice post. A soldering and rework combo and probably with a vacuum pickup tool can be easily found in the market. This hot air review sites has some good brands and models.

    Comment by attentech — 2014 March 13 @ 20:50 | Reply

    • Note: “Attentech” is a company that makes soldering tools, so take their recommendations as what they are: advertisements.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2014 March 13 @ 20:58 | Reply

  3. The superglue fix failed again, so I’m still in the market for a new soldering iron. Do I get a quality one this time, like Weller? Do I get a combined hot-air rework/soldering iron combo? Or do I get another cheapie and hope it lasts longer?

    Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2014 March 19 @ 15:02 | Reply

  4. Have you considered Aoyue 937+? It is relatively less expensive temperature controlled soldering station.

    Comment by John — 2014 June 7 @ 09:15 | Reply

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