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Soldering iron: The story

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  • Soldering iron: The story

    Several years ago I decided I needed a soldering station, so I bought a nice but inexpensive Weller set. It had a 40 watt tip and it plugged into a cute little red station with a temperature control and a cute little sponge and a holder for the iron. It has worked ok for me until recently when the iron would no longer heat up. After some quick testing it appears that there was an open circuit in the heating element. (I did drop it a few times.) So I ordered a new iron for the set.
    Meanwhile, back at my Slot Cave I still needed to solder something. Going through some "stuff" I pull out my back up soldering iron that I have never used or tested. It was pulled from a box of junk and stashed away "just in case" I needed it. It turns out that this iron is an old Ungar #776 unit with an Archer 33 watt element. I get out the flux and plug the Ungar in. And it works! I clean the tip, I tin the tip and I solder away! Quite a difference soldering with the Unger vs the Weller. The Unger seems to apply the heat better than the Weller ever did, and this may be the reason why.
    Photo 1
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    The Weller tip. 40 watt. Little chisel tip. Made for heating little wires and things.
    Versus the Ungar
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    Big beefy tip, seems to be able to heat things better. Maybe the Ungar just retains heat better when soldering brass sections for chassis. I don't know. Maybe someone can explain this.

    Scott
    Why doesn't my car run like that?

    Scott

  • #2
    Your on the right track the ungar with a bigger tip when applied to a solder joint has a higher volume of heat if you will so the tip takes longer to cool than the weller would doing the same job

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    • #3
      Hi Noddaz, There have been more slot car chassis built with an Ungar 776 with a 1/4 chisel tip over the years than all other irons put together

      You can get these 45 watt 1/4" chisel tips (with built in heating element) from PCH Slot parts........get a couple as they are getting hard to find,.....and, ....while you are at it , get a Sal Ammoniac block from them as well ,..... the best ever tip cleaner/restorer ......(every experienced chassis builder has one )

      Cheers
      Chris Walker
      Last edited by chrisguyw; November 17, 2020, 09:36 AM.

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      • #4
        The Ungar is balanced better in your hands too. I still use a 776 & a 777 from the 70's. Weller bought the Ungar line & was making heaters & tips for them. I don't have any of the Weller, but heard the quality had slipped.

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        • #5
          I have an Ungar 45 watt iron with a chisel tip. With that iron the tip and the heating element are one piece that screws into the handle. With Weller irons the tip is separate from the heating element and heat transfer is not as good as it is with an Ungar iron. When you are soldering heat transfer is very important. Although a pencil tip is better for soldering small electrical connections you can use the corner of a chisel tip as well. As was already mentioned a chisel tip has more mass and is good for soldering things like brass plate.
          I believe that Weller bought Ungar some years ago.

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          • #6
            I wonder if I shim the soldering tip on the Weller iron if it will transfer heat better. There is one way to find out.
            Why doesn't my car run like that?

            Scott

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