Learn how hot a soldering iron tip gets from expert Jeff Koskulics in this Howcast video.
For electronic soldering, we typically have to have a temperature that’s a
couple of hundred degrees higher than the melting point of the solder that
we’re working with. Eutectic solders at about 360, so we’re going to go
with something much, much hotter than that, in this case we’re getting good
results at 650F, 700F.
And we have an adjustable soldering iron that we can use to set the
temperature. This particular model here offers an adjustment knob that we
can use to change the temperature. Right now we’re set at somewhere between
650 and 700 degrees. Now, if we go much hotter than this, we increase the
speed of oxidation, our tip will become oxidized faster, it’ll require
tinning sooner, so we want to make sure that we don’t go too high.
However if we go too low, we end up with problems with cold solder joints,
so there’s a happy medium somewhere in between that allows us to work
without too much oxidation and without cold solder joints. And we find that 650
to 700 degrees is the happy zone. Now, there’s other types of soldering
irons that we can use that offer different temperature properties.
The lowest cost soldering iron is one that simply plugs into the wall and
may have no temperature control whatsoever. In this case the tip is
likely to become oxidized very quickly and may not have a very useful long
life. The next best might be a temperature controlled soldering iron that
offers one temperature setting and this is probably the best choice for
most amateurs, because it does control the temperature and it’s probably
set to a value that’s useful for electronics soldering. That’s usually a
good choice. More advanced models allow you to adjust the temperature, such as this.
Now, for heavier parts we have different higher power irons that we can use.
This is a soldering gun and this is a device that has much, much higher power
output. This is a 230 watt version, which is two or three times more
powerful than our 100 watt soldering iron.
This is made for soldering very heavy parts, and they can even reach
temperatures that are useful for silver soldering using for brass parts and
other heavier materials that you might find. But generally this is not
useful for electronic soldering.