Right here in this article we will go through all of the facts you really must know about using soldering irons for your daily electronics tasks, like soldering circuits, soldering wire, etc. There is a lot to know about these hand tools that obviously cannot be covered completely in one article. So we'll only go over the most important details. For a start let's consider the question: what actually is a soldering iron?
In it's most basic form a soldering iron/pencil is just a heated metal rod that's used to melt solder. You hold onto a plastic handle to prevent burning yourself while using it. The tip of the heated rod melts a special wire known as "solder".
Solder is sometimes made of lead, but due to health concerns often isn't these days. The idea when you're soldering is to use the molten solder to join two pieces (often wires) together. Once they have been joined with solder that allows electrical current to flow between them.
So as you should have worked out by now - they are very useful tools. They are mostly used in the field of electronics repair, manufacture and installation. However they have some less well known uses also, such as making jewelry or creating artwork.
Depending on the function you would intend to use your soldering iron for there are some things you must consider. If you're just a hobbyist having some fun, a cheap basic iron will do. However if your requirements are those of a professional you'll want something high-end. There's a large variety of different types to suit being used for various different vocations. The most basic form the much like a pencil, and is also known as a pencil iron.
These type of soldering iron are typically low wattage, often around 15 watts. This mean that they produce a lower heat, and have a long heat-up time. They also don't come with built in temperature control. Don't let all this put you off though, because these are good budget options. These are perfect for someone just learning how to soldering who isn't yet sure if they won't to become a pro.
At the other end of the price range is the temperature controlled "Soldering Stations". Soldering stations are perfect for you, if you're a professional who needs all the specialized features available incorporated into one high performance product. Thee come with adjustable temperature. They also sometimes have a sensor in the soldering tip, which can allow for precise digital adjustment of the heat. If you're a pro, and working with circuits you have to get one of these in your tool box.
Another option you might want to consider is soldering tweeters. These are particularly useful if you're working on very small circuits, and surface mount components. Hopefully you find plenty of value in this article. Please feel free to get in touch if you have more to add about soldering, or electronics.