Soldering iron

Gas-powered soldering ironshot knifesolderedsoldering irons
A soldering iron is a hand tool used in soldering.wikipedia
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Solder

lead-free soldersilver soldersoldered
It supplies heat to melt solder so that it can flow into the joint between two workpieces.
For electrical and electronics work, solder wire is available in a range of thicknesses for hand-soldering (manual soldering is performed using a soldering iron or soldering gun), and with cores containing flux.

Soldering

solderedsoldersolder joint
A soldering iron is a hand tool used in soldering.
Hand soldering is typically performed with a soldering iron, soldering gun, or a torch, or occasionally a hot-air pencil.

Heat-shrink tubing

heat shrinkheat shrink tubing heat-shrunk tube
Gas-powered irons may have interchangeable tips including different size soldering tips, hot knife for cutting plastics, miniature blow-torch with a hot flame, and small hot air blower for such applications as shrinking heat shrink tubing.
Convenient but less consistent methods for shrinking the tube include a soldering iron held close to but not touching the tube, or the heat from a lighter.

Catalytic heater

catalytic combustioncatalytic converter
Cordless irons can be heated by combustion of gas stored in a small tank, often using a catalytic heater rather than a flame.
Some other examples would include soldering irons, hand warmers, and space-heating appliances.

Pyrography

pokerworkWood burningpoker work
Less common uses include pyrography (burning designs into wood) and plastic welding.
Solid-point burners are similar in design to a soldering iron.

Heat gun

hot air gunhot airhot air blower
Gas-powered irons may have interchangeable tips including different size soldering tips, hot knife for cutting plastics, miniature blow-torch with a hot flame, and small hot air blower for such applications as shrinking heat shrink tubing. Other functions may be combined; for example a rework station, mainly for surface-mount components may have a hot air gun, vacuum pickup tool, and a soldering head; a desoldering station will have a desoldering head with vacuum pump for desoldering through-hole components, and a soldering iron head.
Gas-powered soldering irons sometimes have interchangeable hot air blower tips to produce a very narrow stream of hot air suitable for working with surface-mount devices and shrinking heat shrink tubing.

Surface-mount technology

surface-mountsurface mountSMD
Other functions may be combined; for example a rework station, mainly for surface-mount components may have a hot air gun, vacuum pickup tool, and a soldering head; a desoldering station will have a desoldering head with vacuum pump for desoldering through-hole components, and a soldering iron head.
Defective surface-mount components can be repaired by using soldering irons (for some connections), or using a non-contact rework system.

ColdHeat

The first two products were soldering irons powered by alkaline batteries.

Curie temperature

Curie pointbelow −183 °CCurie
Another approach is to use magnetized soldering tips which lose their magnetic properties at a specific temperature, the Curie point.
Other uses include temperature control in soldering irons, and stabilizing the magnetic field of tachometer generators against temperature variation.

Hand tool

hand toolshandhandtool
A soldering iron is a hand tool used in soldering.

Heating element

heating elementselectrical heatingelement
Heating is often achieved electrically, by passing an electric current (supplied through an electrical cord or battery cables) through a resistive heating element.

Plastic welding

solvent weldingweldingfused
Less common uses include pyrography (burning designs into wood) and plastic welding.

Watt

kWMWmegawatt
For electrical and electronics work, a low-power iron, a power rating between 15 and 35 watts, is used.

Heat capacity

heat capacitiesthermal capacityspecific heat
Higher ratings are available, but do not run at higher temperature; instead there is more heat available for making soldered connections to things with large thermal capacity, for example, a metal chassis.

Thermal equilibrium

equilibriumequilibrium temperaturethermal
Simple irons run at an uncontrolled temperature determined by thermal equilibrium; when heating something large their temperature drops.

Butane

n-butanen''-butanebutane gas
Small irons heated by a battery, or by combustion of a gas such as butane in a small self-contained tank, can be used when electricity is unavailable or cordless operation is required.

Operating temperature

operate at temperaturestemperaturetemperature range
The operating temperature of these irons is not regulated directly; gas irons may change power by adjusting gas flow.

Blowtorch

blow torchblowlampblow-torch
Gas-powered irons may have interchangeable tips including different size soldering tips, hot knife for cutting plastics, miniature blow-torch with a hot flame, and small hot air blower for such applications as shrinking heat shrink tubing.

Dimmer

dimmingdimmerslight dimmer
The simplest of these is a variable power control, much like a light dimmer, which changes the equilibrium temperature of the iron without automatically measuring or regulating the temperature.

Thermostat

thermostatsdigital thermostatsheating control
Another type of system uses a thermostat, often inside the iron's tip, which automatically switches power on and off to the element.

Thermocouple

thermocouplesCold Junction Compensationtype N
A thermal sensor such as a thermocouple may be used in conjunction with circuitry to monitor the temperature of the tip and adjust power delivered to the heating element to maintain a desired temperature.

Electronic circuit

circuitcircuitryelectronic circuits
A thermal sensor such as a thermocouple may be used in conjunction with circuitry to monitor the temperature of the tip and adjust power delivered to the heating element to maintain a desired temperature.

Free software

freefree-softwarefreely
In some models, the firmware for the control circuitry is free software that can be modified by the end-user.