Re: Soldering gun or iron


I finally treated myself to a Hakko 888D to replace my 30-year-old Weller with regulation in the tip.  The difference is night and day.  The Hakko heats practically instantly and lets you know when it has, and the regulation is much tighter.  Soldering is much quicker and more repeatable that way.  For me, well worth the $100.  As a noob, your learning curve and pile of destroyed parts will be way smaller.

All a soldering gun can do with surface mount parts on a tight board is destroy everything.  Don't even try.

Seeing the teensy parts is another problem whether you are a noob or not.  I got a pair of 3x reading glasses at Dollar Tree for $1, which focus at about 6", and they work as well as the hood magnifiers.  For $1 you can have spares and not worry if you touch the lens with the soldering iron.  They're not as good as my 10x stereo microscope, but that cost almost $400.

The other essential is good tweezers.  Get non-magnetic ones made for electronic assembly.  I always end up putting tweezers down next to a magnet somehow.  They get magnetized and stick to ferrite inductors and some other parts like glue -- usually just long enough to transfer them to the floor where they bounce around to land under something hard to move.

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