Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
Post Reply
Roach
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 1:01 am
Contact:

Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Roach » Sun May 23, 2010 9:25 am

I am just getting back into the building mode, due to QRP hamradio needs. Is Ungar still in business? I am looking for a supplier of Princess irons, or an equal replacement. Low power precision type. What are the most popular brands of grounded soldering stations that will handle mos/static devices?

Also, who are the better surplus, discount houses stocking these irons that are reliable?

Thanks.

Dean Huster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Harviell, MO (Poplar Bluff area)
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Dean Huster » Sun May 23, 2010 12:08 pm

I'm a champion of Antex irons, made in the U.K. At Tektronix, before they decided to buy all the Weller temp controlled stations, they used little 15-watt Antex irons, no temp control, at least two different sizes of iron-plated, slip-on tips. Those irons may have been small, but they worked really well. A smart, well-adjusted technician can use a non-temp controlled iron with no board damage -- I've seen as much or more board damage with temp controlled irons anyway, so I think it's a wash.

That little 15-watts is more than enough for PCBs and most point-to-point terminals in older equipment. Don't expect it to handle a ground plane or a five-wire solder lug that's bolted to a chassis -- that's the domain of a 50-watter or a soldering gun -- but for everything else, it's great. Add a diode in series for "standby" to make the tip last longer. The little guy is at soldering temperature in less than 30 seconds and cools down rapidly after unplugging. The only thing relating to model number on mine is "C-115V-15W".

Oh, I forgot. Ungar must still be in business as they make a really nice heat gun .... pricey, but nice. I have lots and lots of Ungar elements and tips but had my #777 handle and one of my best element/tip combos stolen by a student years ago. Really hacked me off. Don't get too enchanted with the Princess. They're cute, fashionably slim and long, but short on ruggedness. Mine hardly lasted a year. That teensy sub-subminiature candelabra base really stinks.
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

User avatar
Bob Scott
Posts: 1192
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Vancouver, BC
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Bob Scott » Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Roach wrote:I am just getting back into the building mode, due to QRP hamradio needs. Is Ungar still in business? I am looking for a supplier of Princess irons, ...
Hi Roach.

I too use an Ungar, the Imperial model equipped with a 40 watt element and a $4.00 gold plated tip. Ungars were used by techs who had lots of experience and could build their own iron to their own specifications. I chose the 40 watt unit because I know that a hot iron on a board for a short time has less risk for PCB damage than using a low heat iron on a PCB for a long time. Unlike Dean's experience, I found the Imperial to be reliable and it is over 30 years old. Sure I've replaced all of its parts over the years and the turquois handle color no longer matches the light brown power cord color. Ever part except for the gold tip. The gold tip stays clean lasts forever. It is decades old.

Unger was bought out by Weller and put on the back shelf. Find parts on ebay. Just look for "Ungar".
-=VA7KOR=- My solar system includes Pluto.

Robert Reed
Posts: 2276
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:01 am
Location: ASHTABULA,OHIO
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in busi

Post by Robert Reed » Sun May 23, 2010 3:24 pm

Like Bob, I am a devotee of the Ungar Imperial for their balance and "hand feel" and own 3 at present. As Dean said there is an issue with the line plug connecting the heat element, but I have only had one fail out of 4 irons in 25 years. I prefer the 35 watt heat element and the gold plated tips. I am in the market for some replacement tips though and am sorry to hear the company was bought out by Weller (whose soldering pencils I have never liked). If anybody knows where these can be purchased, I would like to know.

Roach
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 1:01 am
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Roach » Sun May 23, 2010 8:50 pm

Thanks guys. Well, that is unfortunate that Ungar has been mothballed. I did see the Antex and they will probably get my order. I built a Heathkit Freq counter years ago and used a Princess iron. The unit worked great, and still does after nearly thirty years. So, I have good memories of this little iron. ( but no memory as to where I placed it!! :-(( ) And yes, when working with heavy copper groundplanes, more umph is needed to apply the solder without causing the components to fry in the meantime. So, I will probably get a new desk top controlled station iron as well. I am no spring chicken, so these will probably last me.

I have been out of the trade, and building mode for years. So, all of my old suppliers are probably gone. Lots of Asian stuff on the market. The hamfests have had little to look at as well. If I went to Dayton I would have probably got a deal on something good, but I live too far away.

Anybody who has a good dealer who sells this stuff at a discount is urged to send a note.

Thanks again.

User avatar
Externet
Posts: 1844
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Mideast USA
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Externet » Mon May 24, 2010 11:06 am

Hello all.
As there is other brands in the market, several with good history of reliability but prices can be often inflated, I will let you know an unusual item I finally tracked down and bought it without blinking once. Has tackled any task. (TQ77)

http://www.goot.co.jp/e/item.html?c=9

This animal performs fine as a second soldering tool. Ultralight 15 watt pencil with handle, and when you pull the trigger, it is 150W :shock: :shock: Very useful with heat sucking ground planes and need of real power. But user must be very careful ! After about 10 seconds of holding the trigger, gets red hot, I mean red hot as a glowing electrical rangetop burner. The best way is giving a couple of seconds of trigger at a time until melts the hard to work task.
I believe is around $30

Seen chinese pencils at the 99 cents store too. Convenient to keep at the bottom of the drawer for emergencies.
Miguel
- Abolish the deciBel ! -

gerty
Posts: 300
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 1:01 am
Location: Tennessee
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by gerty » Mon May 24, 2010 1:48 pm

This is what I've been using, both at home and work. The one at home is 18 years old, the one at school is only 4 years old and hasn't been destroyed by the students yet.
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/T ... 47-/21-147
The iron at home is on its 3rd tip, at school it still has the original.

Dean Huster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Harviell, MO (Poplar Bluff area)
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Dean Huster » Mon May 24, 2010 4:35 pm

Regardless of the brand, if the basic iron does what you want, that's the way to go. However, I would throw in one other important factor. Any more-expensive iron that's considered should have a very nice selection of different tips available. That is one advantage of the Weller soldering stations and was a big advantage of Ungar irons. Ungar had at least three different styles of screw-in tips (3/16-24, 8-32 and 6-32) with several different wattages of elements, screw-on tips (aka the old woodburning type of stuff) as well as dedicated element/tip all-in-one combos of higher wattage and really large heat reservoir capacity. I fear then that most of this is long gone. What a shame. Now what do I do with all these tubes of anti-seize?
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

psycho
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: Northwest Indiana
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by psycho » Mon May 24, 2010 8:48 pm

You mentioned that you might get a station, too. Check out these:

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/level.itml/icOid/6388

Especially this one:

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/7508

I have the one above and I love it. I have had it for several years and I have never had a problem with it. Note that HAKKO (I believe I spelled it right) tips can be used. No need to spend 5 bux on a tip from them when you can get original HAKKO tips cheap on flea-bay.

And, yes, I know it is made in china but I can't justify (especially to my wife) spending hundreds on it.

Hope it helps,
Kevin

User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1475
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Janitor Tzap » Tue May 25, 2010 2:21 pm

I have a HAKKO 926E.S.D.

I bought it back in 94 for some $70 bucks.
All I have had to do with it was replace the soldering tip.

What sold me on buying it, was that at the time.
The repair shop I was working at went to them instead of the Wellers that we had been using few years before.
We would go through Weller Soldering Irons within a year.
Because we'd used them daily.
They were plugged in and on from the time the shop opened till it closed,
or even longer when a customer wanted his VCR or TV back ASAP.
Finally Jeff the shop owner got fed up with having to replace the Irons,
and asked one of our parts suppliers what Iron they would recommend.
The parts guy said the HAKKO for the money, was better than the Weller hands down.
Well Jeff got one, and I and the other tech's got the old Wellers to use.
Well, within a few weeks we were fighting over that HAKKO to use.
It was so much better.
It would heat up faster, and the temp control was much better.
When the other Weller Iron's finally failed.
Jeff got two more HAKKO's and when the shop finally closed in 02.
Those HAKKO's were still going.

I'd like to get the Hot Tweezers for it.
But $200 is kinda steep.

Has anyone tried to put another manufacturers Hot Tweezer on to the HAKKO 926 Soldering station?


Signed: Janitor Tzap

psycho
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: Northwest Indiana
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by psycho » Tue May 25, 2010 6:24 pm

I haven't *tried* it but I would bet the ones for the station2A (link above) would work.

Circuit Specialists, which I also got a nice hot air rework station from, says they are OEM manu'd specifically for them but I would bet that the design itself is very close to, if not the same exact thing as the HAKKO. The tips even have the same part numbers. Unfortunately, they are out of the tweezer irons for it right now. But, they are only $29 bucks so if they come back in stock, you might want to check them out.

It seems that they are moving to a new line called BlackJack. I won't order anything blackjack, though. The tips are different than the stuff I already have.

Hope it helps,
Kevin

User avatar
Lenp
Posts: 1434
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:11 pm
Location: Maryland
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Lenp » Sun May 30, 2010 1:38 am

I've used the Weller TCP series stations for 25 years. The tips have a thermomagnetic slug in the end that sets the temperature by cycling a magnetic switch in the handle. Several heat values and a wide range of tip sizes are available. In all the years I've repaired the irons several times and it is usually a quick fix since parts are available. I'd rather fight than switch!
Len
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

Rodney
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Titusville, FL USA
Contact:

Re: Soldering irons, stations, Ungar still in business

Post by Rodney » Sun May 30, 2010 1:30 pm

Lenp wrote:I've used the Weller TCP series stations for 25 years. The tips have a thermomagnetic slug in the end that sets the temperature by cycling a magnetic switch in the handle. Several heat values and a wide range of tip sizes are available. In all the years I've repaired the irons several times and it is usually a quick fix since parts are available. I'd rather fight than switch!
Len
I have and still use the same iron. I have several different temperature tips, 600, 650, 700 degrees F. You can hear the magnetic switch cycle on/off as you are using it. My only concern is that it is quite large for PC board work but great for the bigger jobs. For PC boards, I have a Weller temperature controlled iron with a selection of a few different shaped tips.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests