Just like all other electronics today, soldering equipment and soldering stations are also witnessing advancement and upgrades. These workstations are used for a wide variety of purposes. They may be used for job processes involving ICs or integrated circuits, SMT (Surface Mount Technology), multilayer boards and other kinds of electronics. Engineers and technicians use them at the professional and industrial places, while the enthusiast and hobbyists may also produce exciting results using them. Soldering stations can work as a soldering or a desoldering station and may also be used for repairing and reworking work, among other different tasks.
Varieties of Soldering stations
Soldering stations are available for a wide range of job processes. They can be used for the easy/simple jobs as well as for the heavy duty applications. The stations may vary on the basis of the temperature range, power consumption, MCU (micro control unit), heating time and many other features and aspects. Below are some of the most popular soldering stations available today.
Contact Soldering Station: The power supply unit is contained within the main body of the contact soldering station. The heating element and the power circuit are separated, and the soldering station provides the voltage adjustment feature for the inbuilt heating element. The heating temperature can be adjusted to a suitable degree while the optimal temperature range may vary between 250 to 330-degree centigrade. The most popular of all the soldering stations, an ordinary or common contact soldering station often has a 60-watt limit.
Lead-Free Soldering Station: The power range of a lead-free soldering station may be within the 75 to 160 Watt range. The use of microcontroller provides for a reduction in the temperature stabilization time. This soldering station may also be used to work with lead solders. The soldering station price is low, but the heat required for melting them may be higher.
Non-Contact Soldering Station: The contact soldering stations and method may not be useful for all kinds of applications. The prevailing SMT or Surface Mount Technology is one example. The hot air stations are the most common type of non-contact soldering stations. They have a compressor that generates the necessary flow of air. The temperature may be increased when the air passes through the spiral of the heating element. This hot air is directed towards the soldering region by aligning the heat gun. Many of the household appliances and cell phones are repaired through the hot-air soldering stations. The de-soldering stations can also be the non-contact type.
Aspects to consider before choosing a soldering station
Some of the important aspects or parameters that you should keep in mind before choosing a soldering station are given below.
The time duration for Heating up
Some soldering station may offer you higher thermal recovery rate and the stations have tips that can reach to the desired and greater temperature in a lesser time period. The regular soldering jobs require that the tips attain the requisite temperature faster so that the efficiency of the process is well maintained throughout.
As said earlier, a soldering station with 40 to 50 wattage can suit almost all kinds of applications. You may consider the heavy duty soldering stations as well and check their Wattage related specifications carefully if you have the need. It is even better if you get the temperature control knob/control so that the temperature of the tip can be easily controlled.
Further, you may also look into other specifications and features of the soldering station. For instance, the ESD safe designs are good for long-term usage help to prevent accidents. The static may also cause damage that may lead to the failure of the component or the device. Hence, a soldering station that offers you better static control provides for greater reliability. You may also like to consider the cost at which the soldering tips come to you. Soldering tips undergo wear and tear on a daily basis and need to be changed frequently.