The cheap soldering irons do not offer any thermal regulation features. The iron is simply plugged into the wall and gets heated up to a high temperature. The only thermal regulation here is due to the physical surroundings and environment. The greater the heat or the temperature of the iron, the more heat it will dissipate. Because there is no temperature control, the components may get damaged during soldering. The quality of the job may also get deteriorated. The damage can be even more expensive for the assembly or surface mount component packages.
Soldering Stations: Features to Look For
The soldering stations are electronic machines that can be used for soldering on the PCB or Printed Circuit Boards. These stations possess temperature control features as they have a unit for controlling the temperature. The soldering iron is also attached to the main station unit. The stations are used in the manufacturing units and for the PCB assembly in the electronics industry. They are available in both digital and analog forms and is the best mass repairing machines for circuit boards. There are also other variations of soldering stations available today.
The Analogue and Digital Soldering Station
The analog soldering stations have the knob through which the temperature of the tip of the soldering iron can be increased or decreased. These stations are often used for mobile phone repairing, do not have the best accuracy, and are also devoid of the display where current temperature can be seen.
The digital soldering stations are more advanced and have digital displays where the current and set temperature can be seen. They are more expensive as well but offer the greatest accuracy.
The ESD Safe and Non-ESD Safe Soldering Stations
ESD is an acronym for electrostatic discharge. It is the rapid transfer of electric charge, which may occur when two, objects having different electric potentials come close to one another. The ESD-Safe soldering stations are more secure as more static electric charge builds up on the iron of these stations during use or storage. These stations are made with specific quality materials and should be preferred in Industrial and manufacturing sectors, among others, because of the safety day offer. These stations are also grounded so that any discharge or unwanted electricity moves within the ground. The new mobile phones, as well as devices having the assembly electronic components, should always be soldered using the ESD-Safe soldering station. The new equipment components are highly sensitive to electrostatic charge and therefore can get easily damaged when static electricity builds up. The semiconductors and integrated circuits are also very sensitive to the charge and therefore loss can occur when the Non-ESD Safe stations are used.
Soldering stations For Lead and Lead-Free Solder
The world is gradually moving towards the use of lead-free solder. Countries in the European Union have already introduced RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) provision. The rules make it mandatory for all the manufacturers to use only lead-free solder in the manufacturing of electronic and other devices. For lead-free solder, the soldering station should have higher wattage capacity (over 70 Watt). The iron should also have the composite soldering tip that can provide for fast recovery. Soldering stations for working on leaded solder may have a range in between 50 to 60 Watt.
A soldering station should have temperature control features and settings, one or more soldering irons with inbuilt temperature sensors, the iron stand, and the cleaning sponge. You should also get the calibration report, warranty card, and operation manual when you purchase a soldering iron kit and station from a reputed supplier.