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How to Set the Temperature Setting On a Soldering Station

Aug 16th 2011, 12:18


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
A QST reader asked me:


Thanks for your review article on the Hakko soldering station.

May I ask you a question? I am just starting to build kits, small simple projects like the tuna can transmitter, etc. My only past experience was point to point soldering 35 years ago with Heathkits.

Could you explain how you know what temperature to set the iron on a soldering station? I have started with a simple 20 watt iron, but I wonder if I should get better equipped.

Thanks again for your Article.


My reply:

Dear Dave,

I'm glad you liked the article. Like you, I used soldering pencil irons to do most of my building at home. They did the job OK. BTW, I am just a few feet away from the original Tuna Tin transmitter here in the Lab.

Your question of what temperature to set the iron to is a good one. It all depends on the melting point of the mixture of metals that make up the solder. You and I have probably mostly used tin/lead solder, which melts somewhere around 370 degrees F. Lead free solder melts at a higher temperature, around 450 degrees F. Add to the melting point about 200 degrees, so what you are soldering heats up quick enough and cools down at a reasonable rate. For instance, if you are using the Tin/Lead solder, you would set the station to about 570 to 600 degrees F. Of course, if you are soldering large parts, a higher soldering temperature may be needed.

Here's a good explanation of soldering temperatures I found on Hakko's web site:

The only problem about the article (for us in the USA) is the temperatures listed are in Celsius. If you go with the Hakko in the article, the temperature setting is on both C and F scales.

Have fun building! I'm going to build the Tuna Tin TX myself when I get a free day to myself.


Bob Allison, WB1GCM
Test Engineer

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