Soldering guns are very common household tools and they are useful for constructing electrical items and other work around the house, including most types of electrical repair. They’re easy to use and cheap to buy. There are four main types of soldering guns and each has its advantages for different jobs.
Soldering guns have overtaken more traditional soldering irons in popularity because they’re more versatile. The tip is made of a loop of copper wire so it both heats and cools quickly. Because of this, you should only operate soldering guns for short periods of no more than 30 seconds at a time. The good part of this is that it’s easy to keep the tip clean, although it will need to be replaced often as it will dissolve in the solder.
There are two trigger positions with soldering guns so you can set on low or high, according to the demands of the soldering job. In most instances, you’d only need to have it set on low. Shaped like a pistol, it’s easy to grip and to operate as the index finger operates the trigger. You do need to check the tip regularly as the screws holding the loop in place can become loose and this affects the resistance.
Soldering irons are more traditional and are held much like a pen between the fingers. Unlike soldering guns, they have self regulated tips which means that the resistance on the tip increases with the temperature. They’re intended to be used for longer periods than soldering guns and have solid tips. When these tips become worn or pitted, they can be filed down and used again.
Although most soldering irons aren’t built for the same kind of access to tiny places you can achieve with a soldering gun, a miniature soldering iron can get into tight spots. Its small size means you can’t use it for large soldering jobs, however.
Resistance Soldering Sets
Although it’s not something you’ll find in most households, a resistance soldering set does have its uses, and these tend to be quite specific ones. It’s primarily used for maintenance, and is controlled by a timer. A foot switch turns the unit for, and it stays on for a short, set period, usually around 3 seconds.
This is ample time to send high current to the tips of the device, which are made of carbon or stainless steel. There’s enough time to solder cables to plugs. The twin tips of the probe can be so they’re on their side of the connector barrel that has to be soldered. Two pulses go through the unit, and these are ample to solder it properly. The tips do need regular cleaning, and sandpaper is good for this. You should never use steel wool for the job.
Hobbyists tend to use a pencil iron as their favored type of soldering gun. They’re small with a long tip, allowing access into tight area which is important when model making. They’re intended solely for delicate work and so are quite specialized.