For outside work, I have an old Ungar iron that works very well for soldering and augment it with a similar vintage SoldaPullit vacuum. The SoldaPullit's are the only mechanical vacuums that I have used that work worth mentioning. I also use solder wick for cleanup.
Inside, I use a Pace solder/desolder station.
The Metcal soldering irons truly are the hot setup though. I have never seen or used a Metcal desolder station.
I worked today to fix my BIL's plasma TV. I had to replace a couple of bad capacitors in the power supply. Working with a regular soldering iron was rather unpleasant and inconvenient. So, I want to ask, would anyone recommend a decent soldering/desoldering setup.
There are some cheap Chinese units sold for cell phone modders that work okay.
Personally, for everyday use, I use a Weller solder station and a Pace desoldering tool (graphite vane vacuum pump) for through-hole parts.
If you want the best, try to score a used Metcal set. They use RF and work on the basis of curie point of ferrite to deliver almost instant heat to the work. IIRC, the desoldering tools require shop air, which might not be a problem for you.
I am not sure, this is a 6 or so year old plasma TV.
My problem was that a) solder indeed did not want to melt easily and
2) It would not stick to the soldering iron well etc.
I have two good news on this front.
First is that I really did fix the plasma TV. The problem was two bulged caps in the power supply, which I replaced.
Second is that I have a Pace 2000 soldering/desoldering station, in some disrepair (military surplus). It does not quite work. I set it in a corner, but after looking at Pace website today and seeing $5k USD price on that station, I will try my best to fix whatever issues it may have.
any temperature controlled soldering iron - I use Weller, next to me is one of the first ones that has served me well, ones like the EC3002 are common at swap meets and are excellent. Get a plunger type solder sucker (with a teflon tip) and you are good to go - now if you will work on SMT, then you need hot air, though I've done some SMT repair (Like my cell phone) with my iron
Well, fixing the Pace would be good, assuming it's at all affordable to do so - sometimes a problem with high-dollar systems. I've been happily using a Weller TC iron (tips come in 600-700-800F versions - generally use the 700) for decades, for general work - and with a new sharp tip, for SMT work and rework as well.
Given scale of work and budget, I opted for a Aoyue (chinese) hot air rework station (after making enough money with the old Weller to buy it) rather than a Hakko - that happens to include a digital TC iron, but I've never used that part of it (I'm really happy with the Weller). For that (and others) you can get (extra cost accessory) a "hot tweezer" iron which is more useful (faster) for two-terminal devices than the hot air is. If (or when) I did (or do) a lot more of this type of work and made more money at it, I'd probably get a Hakko and be done with it.
Both of these sound like you needed flux and/or fresh solder with flux - add some and suddenly the old stuff behaves much better. These days you also have to be aware of the lead-free solders seen on RoHS gear, which can be irritating to work with and prone to odd failures from things like growing tin whiskers (crystals.)
Also check board for varnish-like coatings, which you may need to scrape off the working area if they were applied post-soldering.
Regular soldering irons may not get hot enough unless you have an adjustable heat unit.
the posting tomorrow. I know they use RF to heat the tip.
quick before it solidifies.
I have an old Weller station at home, and a Weller WSL station with WMP iron at work. These are quite good. There are some other Weller models that use expensive tips or have poor temperature control. I work with both leaded and lead-free solder. The lead-free stuff is a pain, the iron doesn't tin well, and loses it's wetting ability in just minutes. I have some lead-free tip tinner stuff that helps. I usually solder at 650 F with leaded, but have to turn it up to 700 - 725 for the lead-free.
As for desoldering, I use a Pace system both places. Although the parts are expensive, they are well-made and real workhorses.
I will be the contrarian. I have an OK Industries soldering/desoldering station. What I use is a 18 Watt Antex soldering pencil and a Soldapullt. If I had a bunch of connectors to desolder I would switch to the OK.
all you need is a plain $20 or $30 Weller soldering iron that's blue, a solder sucker, solder braid and some fresh solder.
that's it. seriously.
you can spend a fortune on a station, and some are really nice, but it's not necessary for replacing a capacitor. Your technique is going to make a bigger difference that the soldering iron once you're past those nasty $5 black ones that are held together with 3 screws and use a nail as the tip, and overheat in like 10 minutes. Those things suck.
keep your tip wet and shiny with solder, and don't hesitate to add MORE solder to a joint that's hard to heat up or to suck all the solder from, like with those giant through hole terminals on some filter caps.
Also, solder braid sucks up solder better than a paper towel on water.
Glad you got the thing fixed and the bulged caps are a frequent failure dev= ice. The lead-free thing is from July 2006. That was when all consumer type= electronics that were sold in the EU had to be basically lead-free. Compan= ies began to ramp-up to lead-free about a year before that, perhaps earlier= . Probably 3/4 of the boards we build are now lead-free. Much of the cables= are also.
I just checked the lead-free area and the irons we use are the OKI/Metcal S= martheat PS-800 and PS-900. Also Weller WES51 an EC1002, both adjustable te= mperature units. I think one of the latter is a 40 watt iron for handling c= onnectors, etc.
The advice to add leaded solder to lead-free will work well for the repair = stuff you did, but we can't because all stuff going to the EU must be certi= fied to be within their requirements (lead-free).