We have an old Weller WTCP2 solder station that has a temperature dial that only goes from 200° F to 450° F. Since rosin core solder is typically used with irons around 700° F, we do not understand the purpose of this solder station and cannot find any information about it on the web. It does melt solder, but does not have enough heat to create a reliable solder joint when trying to join wire to a contact.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 700°F? That seems a bit excessive to me... \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Nov 4 '17 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Presumably the numbers on the dial are in Celsius not Fahrenheit as you believe, in which case the range would include those temperatures commonly used. Or else they have no specific meaning at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Nov 5 '17 at 0:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ The dial is in Celsius and Fahrenheit and the numbers I gave were in Fahrenheit. And I agree those numbers don't seem to make sense. \$\endgroup\$ – eganders Nov 5 '17 at 2:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Advert in Radio-Electronics 1976-02 - "Weller's WTCP-L Station has all the functional features you need for today's sophisticated soldering...at the most attractive price. No fancy extras that only add to cost. Also available as WTCP-2 for low temperature service. \$\endgroup\$ – Bruce Abbott Nov 5 '17 at 5:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ That was an interesting magazine. Really brought me back in time... However, The statement in the magazine that the WTCP-2 is for low temperature service is puzzling. What kind of "low temperature service" would I use if for? It would be nice to bring it up to the 700°F level. It appears that the WTCP-L has the magnetic switch control. The WTCP-2 does not use the magnetic switch. It has a tip without the magnetic switch. The temp is controlled, apparently, only with the dial on the base unit. \$\endgroup\$ – eganders Nov 5 '17 at 13:35

While those numbers certainly sound like they should be in Celsius, I'll take your word that it at least says Fahrenheit. That would still be a usable temperature range, but just for very small and highly sensitive work.

I've definitely dropped my iron into the low-mid 400's for some micro SMD and 40+AWG wiring tasks. You'd also need 0.015" wire or solder paste, if not just reflowing a joint. It's rare, but not completely unheard of.

No idea why it would have a range below the melting point of solder though (361F for 63/37). If that's not just a typo on the label, it would be a nearly useless iron 99% of the time.

In regards to your claim of 700F being the right setting for most solder, I do almost all of my work between 550F-650F with 0.031" 63/37 wire. If you regularly have to get anywhere near 700, you might want to invest in some better flux and solder and/or double check your technique.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Only issue is that your 63/37 temperature is correct in Celcius - 183F won't even boil water, let alone melt solder. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Mar 6 '18 at 4:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh crap. You're absolutely right. Shouldn't try to think half awake. Thanks for catching that. Will edit that bunk out. The rest still stands, but it would make for a damn near useless iron overall. \$\endgroup\$ – Phil C Mar 6 '18 at 4:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a stretch, but I found an article with alloys dipping as low as 43C (109F). Can't imagine what good they are, but they exist. indium.com/blog/a-guide-to-low-temperature-solder-alloys.php \$\endgroup\$ – Phil C Mar 6 '18 at 4:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Usually low-temp alloys can be used for cryogenic applications or for adding to existing solder joints to lower the temperature (e.g. ChipQuik) and make it easier to desolder parts. The really low ones were marked as a kind of "thermal fuse" \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Mar 6 '18 at 4:59

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