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Discussion Starter #1
Picked up one of the soldering stations they have on sale this morning (page 40 of the Black Friday Sale flyer: Princess Auto Black Friday Flyer Sale valid November 23 – December 9, 2018 ). It is nominally a 48W unit, achieving temperatures up to 450C, suitable for silver solder and all that RoHS stuff. Has a temperature-control knob, on/off switch, and comes with the usual sponge (do NOT use) and two extra tips. Using it right now. Great value for the money (flyer says it is usually $45). My only gripe is that the iron is hardwired to the base, rather than a plug-in, as on my older Weller base.
 

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That's high praise coming from you Mark. Funny enough, I am in the market for a new soldering station, and based on this, I'll definitely head over to Princess Auto later! Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I had a business, I'd probably opt for something higher-quality, just for the dependability. But for those of us whose involvement with building things really only justifies "Power Fist" scale expenditures, it's decent. Oh, and don't look i the Surplus section. It's over where the welding stuff is.
 

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and comes with the usual sponge (do NOT use)
I used one of these at a friends place and thought it worked pretty good. I'm fairly sure I used the sponge, what is the problem with them?
 

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The sponge is used to shock the tinning off the tips when they first heat up. You should always tin your tips before they cool down. So I might hit the sponge once or twice, then use paper towels to clean the tips between solder operations. Then give 'em a good tinning before I shut 'em off.
 

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It's probably a copy of the Weller, as is the lower end Stahl model. Basic regulation; will do the job for occasional/hobby use; 1 step above a direct wall plugin . It 'll reach it's limitations with prolonged use. I always recommend the middle quality Stahl (or similar) model; much better power supply and temp regulation; detachable wand (theoretically replaceable), but Princess don't have anything other than this one.
 
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It's probably a copy of the Weller, as is the lower end Stahl model. Basic regulation; will do the job for occasional/hobby use; 1 step above a direct wall plugin . It 'll reach it's limitations with prolonged use. I always recommend the middle quality Stahl (or similar) model; much better power supply and temp regulation; detachable wand (theoretically replaceable), but Princess don't have anything other than this one.
How many of these at $20 can you buy for the cost of a better one? 3 -8?
 

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I got mine for 30-some odd so 1.x to 2.x max.

Betray yourself as butthurt over a rather nonaggressive comment if you want to. I did say it'll do the job for light use, and there's no other (better but still affordable implied) model available in store local.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I used one of these at a friends place and thought it worked pretty good. I'm fairly sure I used the sponge, what is the problem with them?
My own experience with the sponges is that the tips wear out MUCH faster with them. Using the recommended sponge, I would go through a new tip every 6-8 months, even though I would use tinning compound on it. Switching to the "Curly Kate" copper scrubbers, I've had the same tip for over 8 years. The tip is actually still good as new. I bought the Princess Auto station because the 30W iron I had did not fit the holder and did not get hot enough for some jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How many of these at $20 can you buy for the cost of a better one? 3 -8?
That's why I said I'd likely step up to a better one if I was running a business and needed something I could use every day without fail. It's like any powered tool: are you going to spend top dollar for a tool you expect to use maybe 4 times in your life?
 

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Switching to the "Curly Kate" copper scrubbers, I've had the same tip for over 8 years.
I recall a video that showed what gets in the air (to breathe) when you used the wire type tip cleaner, and it was not good at all.
Does that ring any bells or am I mistaken? Or maybe the sponge does the same anyway?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My opinion could be changed by additional information, I suppose. I'm basing it so far on what allows a tip to last...particularly since I've had difficulties in past in finding a replacement when a tip got eaten away.
 
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