Beginner’s Guide to RC – Useful Tools to Have in Your Toolbox – Soldering Iron / Soldering Station
For those of you that are new to the RC sport, you’ll most likely be purchasing a RTR (Ready-To-Run) version of your favorite car. This car will come pre-assembled with the servo, ESC and motor already wired up … all you have to do is drop a battery into it and go. For most, that RTR will give you a long life of fun and excitement. There will be a time, however, that you’ll be thinking about more speed; it’s inevitable. To take on a task such as swapping out that tired motor for something bigger and better, you’re going to require the use of a soldering iron.
What Is A Soldering Iron?
A soldering iron is a wand-shaped object that, after you plug it in, heats up an element inside the unit that transfers heat through the tip. Depending on what type of iron you have (an actual soldering iron or a full-on soldering station), that heat is adjustable. Let’s take a look at both types of units.
• Soldering Iron: The soldering iron is a stand-alone unit. Once you plug it in, the internal element heats up to a certain temperature (dependent on the type of iron you buy) and allows you to do such things as remove wires from a motor, attach a new plug to your battery wires or replace wires on your ESC; basically, general use for RC. The temperature is set; it cannot be adjusted or turned off without unplugging it. This type of iron typically requires a soldering iron stand as well; this keeps the iron off the surface you are working on.
• Soldering Station: A soldering station is basically a glorified iron. The iron itself plugs into a power unit that contains the electronics needed to control the heat. The power unit has an on/off switch and a rotary dial on the front that allows you to adjust the heat. This adjustability has a few advantages; 1) it allows you to turn the heat up when you need it and down when you don’t. This is sort of a ‘power-saver’ feature and helps extend the life of the iron. 2) The feature allows you to solder different items that might require different heat settings, ie, full power for soldering wires on a motor, half-power for soldering more delicate, thin-gauge wire, such as wires on to a receiver pack. Soldering Stations also come with an elaborate stand that includes a water sponge.