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Product Review: Weller LED soldering iron

-September 13, 2013

Many of us own soldering irons or soldering guns. In fact, I have two Weller soldering guns that have incandescent bulbs to illuminate the work area. But, these lights tend to shine on a wide area. My two soldering irons (also Weller), have no lights at all.

Enter Weller's new SP 25 Series LED soldering irons. Three LEDs light your work area, making it easier for those of us who need a few extra lumens to see what we're soldering.

Available in four models - 15W, 25W, 60W, and 80W - these soldering irons will handle just about any job. I tried the 25W version, model SP25NK. See photos below, then see the video of the soldering iron in action.

I received a complete soldering kit that included the iron, two other tips, solder, and a handling tool. The solder was shinier than I'm used to seeing, which tells me that it's lead free. I also got a metal stand to minimize the risk of the hot tip touching the wrong things and burning them. All models are available as soldering irons only, with the 25W and 40W version available in kit form.

A Weller 25W LED soldering iron kit also includes a tool, solder, three tips, and a stand.

A pointed tip - good for soldering on boards - came attached to the iron. For soldering a wire to a switch (see video), I used the smaller of the two flat tips. It provided more surface area for heating the switch contact than the pointed tip. The photo below shows the iron and its tips.

The soldering iron comes with three tips.

Next, it was time to try the iron and its LEDs. Plugging in the iron, I could see three white LEDs. The next photo shows the LEDs. Don't be fooled, they're bright, as you'll soon see.

The LEDs are bright.

I decided to try soldering a wire to a pushbutton switch. Although my work area has a nice LED task light, I turned it off to get the full effect of the soldering iron's LEDs. Room lights were behind me, which created shadows and made the work area quite dark. The next photo shows how well the work area illuminates with the LEDs.

LEDs easily illuminate the solder point.

The LEDs really work; they provide plenty of light for soldering in dark places. That can be very useful in making a connection or replacing a part on a board that's mounted in an enclosure.

According to Weller's website, the soldering irons are available through Amazon and Home Depot. Amazon price: $17.38 for the 25W soldering iron kit. That's well worth it if, like me, you need a little extra light on your solder.

Finally, here's a video demonstrating the soldering iron in use:

For more on soldering and soldering irons:
The 'slap method' for through-hole rework
Soldering Tutorials: Need A Refresher?
Prototyping techniques: things to know before pulling the trigger
Cold solder joints
Bob Pease on pseudo circuit board prototyping

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