Soldering goes back over 4,000 years, and until the 1920s, soldering irons were mostly fire-heated. In the late 1800s, electric irons were introduced, and over the next half-century, electrically-heated soldering tools slowly gained in popularity, gradually edging out the fire-heated options. The first pistol-grip soldering gun was introduced in 1937, with a multi-position switch on the cord to select between different wattage settings. In 1941, Carl E. Weller applied for patent #2405866, describing a soldering gun with a trigger-placed switch, a step-down transformer, and a tip that will reach operating temperature or cool down quickly. When the patent was granted in 1946, he tried to sell the idea to major manufacturers, but they considered the device impractical. He made 274 of them by hand in his workshop, and their popularity among radio repair shops led him to start the Weller Electric Corporation. Since then, Weller soldering tools have been widely considered to be among the best available.
Unlike soldering irons, soldering guns are not made for continuous use. With the trigger depressed, the gun will heat quickly and supply heat for a solder joint or two, then the trigger should be released and the gun should be left to cool for a few minutes. If this fits the work that you use soldering equipment for, and you sometimes need the power of 300 Watts, the Weller D650 may be the right choice for you.
Weller D650 Soldering Gun
The Weller D650 is a dual-wattage soldering gun; pull the trigger to the first position, and you get the heating power of 300 watts. When the trigger is completely depressed, it runs at 200 watts. This is brawny enough to solder heavy-gauge wire connections, sheet metal, or leaded stained glass. Smoothing tips and cutting tips for cutting plastic sheets or rope are available. This is the most powerful soldering gun that Weller makes. if you don’t need this much heat, and are working on circuit boards, the Weller 8200, with 140/100 watts, would probably suit you better. The recommended duty cycle is 1 minute of use, followed by a 4 minute period to allow it to cool. The D650 is equipped with a light bulb to light the work area. It’s tips are held in with a set of screws, which must be fully tightened for the tip to heat properly. If you change tips regularly for different capabilities, changing the set screws out for an easier one to use might be worth considering. All Weller soldering guns are available as stand-alone tools, or as kits with a case and some lead-free solder, and have a 7-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Overall, the item has plenty of heat capability and warms up fast. Some may consider it as one of the highest power model from Weller. Repair and maintenance is also minimal such as re-tightening of tip and bulb replacements. The D650 soldering gun is a bit heavier and larger. It is also not advisable for continuous use and requires long cooling down period in between.
Weller has a well-earned reputation for quality tools, and there are many 40- or 50- year old Weller soldering guns out there that still work today, and some that are even older. If you’re looking for a soldering gun that will quickly heat large soldering jobs for years to come, this is the choice for you.