Choosing a soldering iron

The soldering iron is a simple hand held tool with a heated metal tip that is used to melt solder. The idea is to melt the solder so that it flows between the joints creating a connection for electrical current to flow through. The tip gets extremely hot in order to melt the soldering wire, but it has a plastic handle and insulation so that you can still hold onto it easily. The most common use for a soldering iron is with electronics, and circuitry. There are a lot of different soldering irons out there. Different models, features and prices. To help you get the best tool, we’ve done some in depth research into the following soldering irons.

            Source: Soldering Expert



Weller WLC 100

The top rated soldering iron is the Weller WLC 100 soldering iron station. It performs very well in all different aspects. It’s not just a basic iron, it is in fact a fully fledged soldering station kit. It has some nice safety features making it very safe to use. It features a nice plastic handle. It also has a rapid heat up time thanks to it being 40W. The wlc 100 comes with a stand that you can use to place the iron while it’s hot, this is a safety measure and prevents burning things accidentally. One downside of this device is that it doesn’t have a digital temperature readout unlike some other models. However, of the options out there it does have a very good/hot temperature, and heat up time.



x-tronic 3020-xts

If you need a soldering station with a digital temperature display then the X-tronic is probably the best option for you. This feature makes keeping an eye on the temperature a cinch, which is great for more delicate tasks that require a certain temperature to be held constantly. Although one thing to note is that the warm up time is ever so slightly longer than with the Weller model. The X-tronic is more expensive than most other options, but is actually really well priced at about $50 considering all of its high end features. This tool is very well built, and isn’t likely to crap out and break like some of the cheap models might have the tendency to do.



Vastar 60W soldering kit

If you want a good soldering iron but you don’t want to spend much money, then the Vastar 60W is perfect for you. It comes as a kit, and is one of the cheapest irons available. It’s great value considering it is not only the iron/station, it also has accessories like different soldering iron tips and sizes. Of course being a cheaper product there are draw backs. The plastic handle is not that well built, and the warm up speed is a little on the slow side. Overall a good option though, if you’re on a tight budget.

Top 3 tools for electronics work

This guide will cover the three most essential tools you need to get started. I will list them in order of most important at the top (in my opinion). This is not a definitive guide, rather just my opinion on which tools are important for all of us hobbyists to own. So let’s go onto it!

The Multimeter:

The multimeter is a very important tool for anyone working with electronics. Without a multi-meter there isn’t much an electrician can even get done, as this tool is essential for reading voltage of wires etc. Because this tool is so fundamental to the field of electronics you aught to choose a high quality one for good on the job performance. There are a few different types of multimeters to choose from. One of the best and most reliable brands in my experience is fluke. Fluke multimeters are some of the more expensive options, but they’re certainly worth it in terms of quality.

Wire Strippers:

I was going to list a soldering iron in this spot. But without first having a pair of wire strippers you wouldn’t actually get very far. Wire strippers are useful for stripping the outer layer (rubber coating) off of wires to expose the inner copper. Once you’ve done this you can then solder them, or otherwise join the ends together. There are some DIY solutions to strip wires, but honestly they’re pretty inexpensive so you might as well buy a proper wire stripper. There are many different brands and features to choose from, so keep an eye out fr one that suits your needs specifically. Overall, the best in my experience are the Irwin Automatic Wire Strippers.

The Soldering Iron:

Once you’ve stripped the coating off the wires the next step is often to solder them to something, like a circuit board. To do this you’ll need a good quality soldering iron. I recommend that you get one which has variable temperature settings. Variable temperatures allow you to find the perfect heat for whichever task you’re doing.

Adding Space and Value to Your Home: Expanding Up, Out and Down

Now that the real estate market has cooled down, a lot of people are opting to expand their homes as opposed to buy a new one. This is actually a very cost effective way to get more square footage because it is about half as expensive to add on square footage to your existing home then it is to buy added square footage with a new home purchase. If you are interested in adding value to your home without draining your bank account, you need to first figure out what the best direction to expand is for your home, up, out or down.

Home renovation image


Expanding Your Home Out

The cheapest way to expand your home is to add on to the house at ground level. This method is the most cost effective because you don’t have to worry about compromising the foundation and structure of your home, it is easy to get equipment positioned to do the work and the construction is straight forward. You also have the option of using pre-manufactured panels, which can save you 25 percent or more over site built structures.

The drawbacks to this option are based mainly on zoning and space limitations. Zoning is going to impact how close to your property line you can build and what materials you will be allowed to use when constructing your addition. You will also need to learn where your power lines, gas lines and other utilities are buried on your property to avoid accidents. Finally, the size of your lot is going to limit how big the addition can be, what shape it can be and where it can be located.

Expanding Your Home Up

If you have a small lot and expanding out is not an option then consider expanding your home upward. If you have a solid attic that already has the proper joist system in place, then you can finish this space into an extra room with very little effort and money. However, most older homes are not going to have the proper joist systems in place to even accommodate a storage room in the attic.

Before you consider expanding your home upward, whether it is to add a room in an existing attic or adding a complete second story you need to have a contractor examine your home’s structure. They will need to evaluate the strength of your foundation, the strength of the exterior walls and the overall construction of your home. If your home is not structurally sound, or if it is not strong enough to support a second story, then your expansion project can quickly become an expensive endeavor that will make it more cost effective to simply buy a bigger home. Zoning restrictions may also limit your ability to expand your home up. Some areas prohibit adding a second story to a home, so check with your local authorities before you start planning a second story addition.

Expanding Your Home Down

One expansion option that many people don’t consider is adding on a basement under an existing home. This option generally isn’t taken because it can be risky, expensive and it is very labor intensive. If you live in a seismically active location then this option is not recommended. However, if you have a home that has a half basement, or if you plan on replacing or repairing your foundation on an older home, then adding on a basement can be a viable option. You’ll also want to take them time to set it up to be easily accessible. One way to do this is to add steps to the entrance.

The drawbacks of this expansion option are based on the cost and difficulty of this expansion project. In order to complete this project you will need floor leveling jacks, a way to access the area under your home and a lot of people with strong backs to help you. This can be a DIY project, however, it will take you a lot of time to complete it.