What is a soldering Iron, how to use it, Tips & tricks:
There are many different types of soldering iron, but generally they all serve the same purpose. They are used to solder in electronics, circuits and other gadgets. A solder iron is basically just a tool that melts solder so you can use it to connect two or more work pieces. This is very helpful if you're trying to make connections on a circuit board. It melts the solder by heating up very rapidly to extreme temperatures capable of melting the "solder" metal rods, it does this by utilizing electrical elements within the tip. If you're going to buy one of these great little hand tools it pays to know what sort of project you will be using it for. This is that you choose the right type, as there are several different models with different features included for each task.
The different types include: stations, pencils and kit. Kits come with all you need to get started soldering. A station is probably a good choice for a beginner as it is more versatile than a pencil. You can also get wireless soldering irons which rely on a battery - this is an advantage because it's more portable, but remember the battery can run out then you'll need to recharge it. In my personal experience it is better to just use an iron with a cord because the batteries of the cordless model won't last that long, plus it doesn't get quite as hot. If you get really serious about making great electronics, working with complicated circuitry etc then you aught to get one that comes with a built in temperature control so that you can adjust as per your need. It's also worth taking into consideration the type of tip you'll need. A narrower tip provides more precision but lacks in other ways. In my opinion, the concial style tip is the best all-around option for use with circuit boards.
A few notes on safety while using your solder station: For a start, whenever you leave the room be sure to switch your device off at the wall, otherwise it is a fire hazard. To make this easier you could even purchase a station with a built in timer so it automatically switches of if not being used for a set period of time. Most soldering stations also come with a stand. The purpose of the stand is to keep the extremely hot tip away from things that it could burn or melt (flammable objects for instance). If you're thinking of getting to the professional level at electronics I would strongly recommend obtaining an iron with a stand and a built in temperature control gauge. You can even find model which have a digital readout of the current temperature, though they tend to be a bit more on the expensive end of the spectrum.
How fast the device takes to both
heatup and cool down largely depends on the wattage of whichever
model you choose. Generally higher wattage will mean greater temp,
and faster warm up time - however this is not always the case.
Another great accessory is a steel wool, or sponge to clean up
oxidization from the tips. After awhile they will need replace
anyway, check out my friends guide on finding a soldering iron tip