Today, Weller is the most respected name in soldering and desoldering products. If ever work in an engineering lab in semiconductor or electronics industry, you may have already seen the Weller soldering station. To reach today’s status; Weller has come a long way from its very humble beginnings in 1940s. Weller was named after Carl Weller who invented the first soldering gun and revolutionized the electronics manufacturing and repair sector.
The WESD51 Soldering Station is an upgrade from the Weller WES51 Analog Soldering Station. It has all the features that WES51 has plus a digital readout for soldering temperature. It is a great workhorse for electronics hobbyists as well as engineers in the lab. It has a power unit, soldering pencil (50W), stand, and sponge. A magic wand is used to activate the temperature lockout function that prevents excessive temperature during use. Also, after 99 minutes of inactivity, the soldering station turns off and enters an automatic sleep mode.
The function is not only for powersaving but also for the lab safety. In engineering labs, most often the soldering stations are shared among different engineers and various groups, it is very possible that engineers forget to turn off the station after use. Just imagine what gonna happen after those stations are left on overnight… The WESD 51 has adjustable temperature controls, decent heat up and recovery times. It is really ideal for lot of applications.
The WESD51 is a 50W unit (a 50W soldering pencil plus a 60W power unit). The soldering temperature is adjustable from 350 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit and accurately measured to within nine degrees. Our experience is that it takes about 40 seconds to reach 500F from a cold start. Recovery times are also decent. The temperature can be viewed in either Fahrenheit or Celsius on the LED. As mentioned, the magic wand (a magnetic probe) is used to turn on/off the temperature lockout function that limits the highest output temperature to the pre-set value.
Soldering pencil and tips (or cartridge)
The unit comes with a PES51 Soldering Pencil. It takes the Weller soldering tips ET series, which is a great advantage to us, since ET series tips have tons of different shapes and more importantly start from $4 on Amazon. It further lowers the cost to have this great soldering station. Those tips are built with solid copper and plated with nickel and chromium. This not only provides much better heat transfer from the heater to the tip but also keeps it from oxidizing at high temperature. BUT, do NOT file the tips (we will talk more about this). As mentioned, the automatic shut off feature turns off after 99 minutes of inactivity also helps prolong the lifetime of the soldering tip. Also, its cord is non-burnable silicon. If the hot tip accidentally touches the cord, it should not burn it.
With the smaller package size and finer fabrication technology, ESD(electro-static discharge) safe becomes more important features nowadays. The soldering tip of WESD51 is grounded to prevent any accumulation of the charge to damage the device during soldering. Furthermore, the soldering Pencil is made from high-impact ESD plastic for protection.
Soldering tip cleaning
ET series tips have multiple layers of alloys on top of a copper core, which prevents from oxidizing. Also, auto power off after 99 minute inactivity extends tip life. On top of those, it is always a good practice to leave a good blob of solder on the iron tip when put away and only wipe it before using. But, do NOT file the soldering tip since it just damages the plating and ruins them for good. So, NEVER filing tips!
WESD51 comes with a sponge for the tip cleaning. With the trend of the lead-free soldering(requires higher soldering temperature), at www.whichsolderingstation.com, we see more and more people prefer brass wire cleaning. If you want, you can also get one of those for a few dollars on Amazon.
What other say about the Weller WESD51? Lot of the customers think that this is the best iron they have used. They love the temperature control and sensing with Weller WESD51. Some of them think that this an excellent low cost soldering iron for the hobbyist or lab technician.
The Weller WESD51 is a great soldering station. It heats up fast and recovers quickly. The station is packed with all kinds of practical functions. If you are looking for a temperature controlled soldering station, the Weller WESD51 could be your best bet.