There is a lot of folks like me who are trying to fix up old pinball machines.This is an attempt to get a list of information available to those who are looking for it.
Try to stay away from the cheap soldering irons. They do not maintain a constant temperature, and can cause problems. Do NOT use those cordless "cold heat" soldering irons. This type of iron uses an electric arc to heat the solder, which could easily destroy electronic components. Do NOT under any circumstances use a soldering gun. The best thing to use is a soldering stations with adjustable temperature. I use the Hakko 888D (the digital version of the 888), however either would be an excellent choice.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to desolder the pins of an IC. A Solder Sucker
works well sometimes,but it can get tiring cocking the tool, and getting rid of the solder it sucks in.This is the second best solution, but the price is affordable.
For the home user like me, Isuggest the Hakko 808 (it was about $80), and it makes de-soldering easy! One handed removal of solder. It is a great tool!
BUT they are not manufactured anymore, but if you can find one, give it a try
Use 60/40 rosin (sometimes spelled resin) core. DO NOT USE ACID OR PLUMBING SOLDER (the acid will corrode the electronics) !!
Kester 44 is the standard, and you can get it at most Radio Shack
stores.For IC work (PCB Boards) you want to use 1mm or less in thickness. The small diameter will allow youto control how much solder is applied. If you are doing work on EM pinball machines, you can get away witha thicker solder (you generally need more solder for the connections).Amazon Rosin Core Solder
Here are some tools you might be interested in looking at:Soldering StationsSoldering MatsDesoldering ToolsPCB RepairBreadboard