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  • EEVblog #167 – Atten 858D Hot Air Rework Review

    Posted on April 25th, 2011 EEVblog 67 comments

    Dave reviews one of the cheapest hot air rework stations on the market, the Atten Instruments AT858D+ how does it stack up?
    Also known as the Saike 858D+ Looks like it’s designed for the Asian market only?

    http://www.atten.com.cn/search.aspx?pageIndex=1&searchType=keywords&filter=858d

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    64 responses to “EEVblog #167 – Atten 858D Hot Air Rework Review” RSS icon

    • Hey!!!

      I’m the first comment. YAH!!!!

      Great reviews. Keep up the good work.

      Welcome to the laid off ranks.

      John

    • Good review. Nice and cheap rework station.

    • Well I was fast enough to order one before Dave produced the review. Probably they well shipped to Dave and me at the same day!!
      I also received the same Chinese manual. Really frustrating at the beginning, although not really necessary for usage of a rather simple device (perfect user interface, by the way). A quick Google search provided no more information than a few hundred places to buy it, but no manual whatsoever. Unbelievable… Finally I decide to go to Atten’s Chinese site (using Google translate) and there it was in Support section. For anyone interested here is the direct link:
      http://www.atten.com.cn/Article/IndexDown.aspx?ChannelId=2&G=3&classId=29
      (click on the second from the bottom green icon).

      Now I can go and start removing all these precious SMD components from salvaged boards, as Dave has shown.

    • Oh please, do the solder paste video! And the complete 1 hour lecture-sized video on complete product design too! Not just the PCB.

      Also I’m starting to notice you are uploading way more videos.

    • AVE…

      This one is avaible also in Poland under the name “Zaoxin 858D+”:
      http://allegro.pl/stacja-lutownicza-orginal-zaoxin-858d-flux-223-i1561951451.html

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for the review. If you don’t mind saying, why did you leave your last job?

    • Dave, of course it’s quiet, the “fan volume” only goes up to 8, after all. Now, if it went to 11…

    • excellent. if you search ebay for “hot air 858d 110″ you can find 110V models with a different name stamped on them. hopefully it works just as well as the one reviewed here…

      • The equivalent 110V/400W models for the u.s. (SAIKE, Hakko, etc), cost about 2x more!

        If you can live with only 100w, SAIKE 8858 is a 120v device is only $68.

        BTW, for heat shrink, Dave mentions the temperature should be 80-125 C, and for removing chips, he uses an Airflow of “6″ with the temp @410 C…

        But what about for installing ICs? Maybe warm up the board on a skillet, THEN hitting it with hot air (250C (leaded solder) or 260C (unleaded solder))?

        • Preheaters operate at around 100C. It’s tricky if you use a skillet because they tend to rise to over 200C quite quickly even on low settings and remember you don’t want to pass the glass transition temp of FR-4 which is around 170-180C.

          Obviously preheating a board is good practice to prevent stressing the board along temperature gradients, but for hobbyist work you can usually get away with it (I suspect it makes more sense as the board gets bigger). You could even blow the board with 100C air until it gets up to temp and then get reflowing.

          I’d say somewhere around a setting of 280-300 for soldering – rather than removing chips – the air blower as you can see will have some measurement error, the air will cool down as it exits the nozzle so you want to add 20C onto the reflow temp anyway. If you’re moving the tip around lots (for something like a BGA) then you shouldn’t have any problems.

          It’s worth trying this out on resistors and whatnot so you can get a feel for the minimum temperature you need to reflow.

          Thanks for the review, Dave! I was looking at Aoyue’s stuff, but this is a lot cheaper and looks great.

    • Ironically, the control PCB is through hole, not SMD so there’s no possibility of the unit self replicating.

      Typical Chinese construction features: ground off fan mounting ears leaving huge air leaks and everything that doesn’t fit right is glued in place.

      Thanks for the review. Now I know I want a Hakko.

    • Hi Dave, From the video, there seems to be a sticker and/or label on the top of the transformer, what does that say? Are there leads or taps to move the transformer to 110VAC operation (not that the micro-controller could handle the heat control perhaps without – firmware change?? Smoke-Test Time!)

      What happens to the flow rate and temperature if you tape-up those really cheesy ground-down holes in the fan? I suspect the fan inlet holes in the handle aren’t sufficiently large (or small) to provide enough flow (or vice-versa) so they had to grind those holes in the fan casing.

      $80 AUD, hmmm… (I presume you’re referring to AUD not USD; not that it matters so much these days as the U.S. Government is now systematically destroying the value of the USD)? That seems a bit steep considering you can get some full-up Ayoue work-stations with flow meter, soldering iron etc., for a few ten-ers more.

      Thanks and Good Luck, David in Jakarta

    • Would one of these be acceptable as a way to remove burned-out DIP chips and such for replacement? I run a room at a convention where every year people with no electronics background put together simple circuits, and sometimes they really make a hash of things. We’ve used a desoldering station with a vacuum pump in the past but I don’t know if the guy who owns it will be there this year. I may start playing with SMD stuff myself and I was thinking with one of these I could kill two birds with one stone.

      I’d also like to see your take on reflow work, though there are plenty of examples on YouTube already.

      • Karl (not that Karl, the other Karl)

        You can do DIP stuff with a hot air rework station, but, and this is a big but, I only consider this as an emergency measure.

        It especially gets ugly when the pins are bent. Then you have to apply some force between the DIP IC and the PCB, while at the same time heating up the bottom site of the PCB. It is easy to damage the PCB.

        Any of the following methods is better and proper:

        * Solder wick

        * Hand-operated desolder pump

        * Special DIP solder tip for the soldering iron

        * Tiny wire cuter to cut of the IC pins and then remove the pin remains with a soldering iron and a tweezer

      • I’ve actually used a Hakko 850 with a QFP 64 tip to remove a DIP42 chip from a PCB.

        It worked without a hitch, but the PCB was remarkably small. Scarcely bigger than the DIP itself. If there were ground planes or if the board was bigger, I’d probably have needed a preheater (or used a proper through hole desoldering gun).

        • Karl (not that Karl, the other Karl)

          So? And I have once used a plier to drive in a nail. It worked like a treat, but that still doesn’t make it a proper method I would recommend.

          • I wouldn’t recommend buying a Hot air station specifically for that purpose, but I would say that if you need to occasionally pop out a dead DIP (especially if its less than 20 pins) a hot air station would probably work.

            In fact, I would try the hot air station FIRST before any of the methods you describe. Unless you are completely devoid of any coordination, you won’t damage the board.

            A tool like the Hakko 808 (or similar) is quite frankly the ONLY tool I would recommend for through hole rework.

          • Dag nabbit good stuff you whpipersanpeprs!

    • @Drone, the holes on the fan housing are on the output side of the airflow.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrifugal_fan

    • Wonko The Sane

      You have to order the correct unit, as the heater in the Handle is mains operated

      (At 700W) the transformer in the main unit, is NOT 700W, so it uses a triac or equivalent method of controlling the heating element…

      - It looks ‘simple’ and I would use some black Electricians tape (or duct tape to seal the holes in the side of the fan (It looks like the fan unit had mounting lugs that were removed.)

      Nice review, I was working for a places with Hakkos and the like, but Now I don’t :-( – So I might get myself one, for hobby use…

      Ebay has them for around £45 in the UK (Including P&P!) – I can’t afford a Hakko

      P.S. How about a under board heater review next…

    • Dave, the stuff around sockets is hot-melt glue, not silicone and it prevents the sockets from rattling side to side and eventually sawing off the hooks that hold them.

      The holes on the fan are the mounting ears they ground off which go the full height of the fan.

    • Couldn’t resist to do an ebay search after watching the review.

      Any thoughts on the portable one? It seems to have a universal input and smaller footprint.

      http://cgi.ebay.com.au/NEW-8588-Brushless-Fan-Portable-SMD-Rework-Hot-Air-Blow-/220773993349?pt=AU_B_I_Electrical_Test_Equipment&hash=item336727cb85

      • @AL: That model does not appear to have a control for the airflow.
        That is an essential feature to have as at 120L/m a lot of the smaller chips would simply get blown away.

    • Dave, I got one on ebay for $59.98 US dollars delivered to the US. It is the 858D+ model (I emailed them to make sure what I would recieve).
      I have 240 available in my shop but I would like to replace the transformer with a 120V input. Did you happen to notice what the transformer secondaries were? I can check it myself when it arrives in about 20 days but if you knew I could have my transformer ready when it gets here.

      Thanks for all your great work.
      PS. I just found your blog about 3 weeks ago and I watched every single episode and live cast. Great stuff!

      • I think that the heating element is powered by mains (220v). The transformer is for the electronics. Changing the transformer only will make the heat element unable (if it is designed for 220v) to reach high temperatures.

    • Hi, love your blogs. Got one of these today on your recommendation. You must have been ripped off! Got mine for $A 67 landed!

      • Yeah, bought mine more than a month ago, $82 was the best price back then!
        Just like I paid $700 for my Rigol which was the best price at the time…

    • I got an 898D for a similar price during a PayPal cash-back promotion. It’s the same thing, but it comes with a soldering iron on the other side. I actually like the iron a lot, but the construction is a little dodgy and putting a lot of lateral pressure on it eventually broke the heating element. Fortunately, it’s very easy to get replacement elements for both the iron and hot air tool on eBay (I asked someone selling hot air tool elements if they could supply the iron element, and they did).

      I suspect that it wasn’t put together correctly (or I botched it) but haven’t fiddled around much. Highly recommended as a cheap second iron!

    • Ya, I figured the heater was controlled by a triac (or similar) directly off the mains and the control electronics via the transformer.

      So if you change the input tap on the transformer (if it exists) to 120V instead of 240V then would the device be “smart” enough to continue regulating temperature properly via the temp sensor or maybe there would have to be some pot-tweaks and/or firmware change.

      If I was designing this thing and I was forced to use a transformer based power supply for the control electronics, I would use a tapped transformer that allows easy mains range change, and heater control directly off the mains in such a way as to work over the full switchable range of mains voltages covered. The additional cost of the parts to cover the whole range is negligible considering the cost of managing different versions for different markets.

      Someone mentioned there is no air flow control. I agree this is a problem. That’s why I mentioned the Ayoue stations with ball airflow meter for not much more money as an alternative. Airflow control gives you complete control over the spread of heat and helps to avoid blowing small parts and/or solder all over the board (or worse). You need air flow control for serious work.

      Lastly, I forgot to mention – Dave, I don’t recommend prying the parts up with a screwdriver when heating. That’s a sure way to lift pads off the board and/or end up with badly bent leads. Let the chips come loose on their own first. Test for looseness by nudging the chip slightly with a pair of tweezers (or similar). Often just changing the angle of air flow will allow a small part to move on its own when it is ready to be picked off the board.

      I wonder if you can buy just the heater handles for this thing as replacement parts (Cheeeaper). That might be a great start for a really nice mostly home-brew rework station!

    • I’m not certain of the value of getting such a station although it does seem like an inexpensive way to get into hot air rework.

      It seems a bit limited for what you get–like a 20 dollar soldering iron from Radio Shack. I can get a unit with airflow control, and a digitally controlled soldering iron too for about $102 AUD

    • Damn Damn Damn, Thanks Dave, now I just have to get one!! Thanks for the video, as always well done. Looking forward to the next one!
      Raff

    • I like that all the control electronics are through hole, so you don’t need a hot air station to fix your hot air station.

    • Brian J Hoskins

      I found this quite interesting because I had a rather poor experience with an el-cheapo hot air rework station from China a few years back. I can’t quite remember the brand name of it now, I think it was “Sunko” or something strange like that, but it was the cheapest rework station you could buy at the time and it came in at about £70(GBP).

      It was of very VERY poor quality build and literally fell to pieces on my bench – the filter glass for the 7-seg display popped out and fell inside the enclosure, one of the switches broke away, and eventually the thing stopped working. It was so crap that I didn’t even bother to take a look at it – I just filed it under B and that was the end of that.

      That taught me not to bother with cheap China knock-offs, but perhaps things have improved over the last few years! You could tell yours was a bit on the cheap side but it seemed functional enough. It at least seemed worth the money you paid, anyway.

      Might have to give that another look!

    • I just ordered mine on eBay. $59.98 USD, delivered into Canada. Maybe I’ll make a misteak sometime….

    • What is this strange device you’ve been desoldering? From what I saw, it has a usb, two strange (multicolored?) LEDs that shine to nowhere, an audio connector and some other high density connector. The strange-shaped PCB is of very hight quality, gold plated. And the micro is probably relatively advanced too, judging on the # of pins…

    • Dave for president !! :)

    • Nice review Dave.
      The descriptions on eBay are priceless:

      Features

      * Sensor closed loop temperature control microcomputer zero trigger, LED display, power, heating quickly, the temperature accuracy and stability, not the winds, bursts of lead-free rework.

      * Adjustable air flow, air volume and a gentle wind, temperature regulation, it can adapt to a variety of purposes.
      * Handle with the sensor switch, as long as the grip handle, the system can quickly enter the working mode; handle released into the handle frame, the system will enter standby mode, real-time operating convenience.

      • System with automatic cold air function, prolonged fever and protect the life of hot air gun.

      * Plastic shell, compact body, beautiful, small footprint.

      * Very long life brushless fan noise.

      * Blowing, welding of plastic components with the same type. Such as blowing the phone ringer, insert the end of deformation, which are not inline.

      * Wind shield box does not change color, quickly and conveniently.

      * Welding PCB is not blowing bubbles.

      * Dismantling plastic BGA-IC is not easy with broken legs; more secure, and reliable.

    • Ouch! 410 degrees is hot enough to destroy parts on your board…. use 250C (leaded solder) or 260C (unleaded solder). You should be trying to heat the board slowly to emulate a typical reflow profile otherwise you’ll thermally shock the devices that you are installing/removing.

    • Hey guys, just my two cents, but could those chunks missing from the fan be purposely put there to cool the handle a bit? sweaty hands or even residual heat creeping up form that huge element at the end?

      Dave, I love your shows they are fantastic! I would buy a defibrillator from Brazil if you recommended it ;P. Thanks for the hard work!

    • Hi guys. Mine just arrived today and it doesn’t have the holes in the fan case although they did cut something out. I guess they did it by hand and cut out too much on Dave’s unit.

    • I just received mine today after many weeks, and it is a 220v version and useless to me. I assume I can’t easily do anything about it. I have contacted the vendor to see what they will do. Stay tuned.

      VE7VIE

    • I saw this item on Ebay and found this video review while I was hunting for info on the unit. I bought one on the back of this review and so far, i’m happy with it.

      Thanks David!

    • I got one of these to try out, but have some safety concerns with the design.

      The mains cable supplied came with a plug with shrouded earth pin (not BS1362!!). I replaced the plug but the cable has a rather thin bundle of strands in there (doesn’t look like the claimed 0.75mm^2)
      and a 13A fuse, very inappropriate for this usage case.

      And the unit itself, wasn’t grounding the metal chassis at all. Turns out there is only a thin bit of wire from the ground on the input over to another part of the circuit-board, that wasn’t contacting the chassis properly, and no actual ‘ground strap’ connecting the case+mains-transformer-chassis firmly to ground.
      Turns out, internally, the paint covers all the points where the chassis connects together. Bad!Bad!Bad!.

      On the circuit board, there seems to be little attention to separation between mains/high-voltage tracks and low-voltage/isolated parts.

      At least it doesn’t also have a fake “CE” sticker too…

    • Hi @all,

      thank you Dave for the great review!

      Does anybody know if the nozzles for the 850 fit on the 858?

      Diameter of a 850 nozzle is 22mm i guess.

      Best regards from germany,
      Jesse

    • Quickly becoming a fan of this guy, all tech equipment should be reviewed this way. I mean, who doesn’t take something apart as soon as you get it!? Ordered one just after the video ended…

    • I just got mine, turned it on and it worked great… turned it off and then back on and the fan wasn’t working – it became very hot and started smoking! After troubleshooting I figured out that the fan was seized… This may have something to do with why there were areas grinded out of your fan case. I had to turn the fan around and position it differently, but got it to work.

    • I live in the USA and have a 220VAC 60Hz receptacle in my shop (for a small arc welder). I modified the power cord and am successfully using the unit. It has uses beyond SMT rework: Heat shrink, general PCB disassembly, etc. Oh, and my 14-yr old used it on her latest art project — melt crayons on white canvas, colorful wax dripping down like stalactites.

    • Thanks for a great review! I just received my order and removed all SMD parts for a couple of boards. Looks quite solid tool. It is a little bit hard to replace nozzles but otherwise I’m very happy with that :-)

    • Well I bought this item it worked really well to reflow a ps3 60gb motherboard for the first time i used the ATTEN858D,then went on to reflow a ps3 120gb slim got the first chip cpu done fine then was just coming to the end of the g.p.u and the ATTEN858D just stop blowing out the hot air.
      I thought maybe it had overheated so left to cool tried it again and it nearly caught on fire.
      So I only got one reflow out of this device.
      I will send back for full refund as I have know bought an Aoyue station for alot more money.
      In my opinion of this hot air station not good at all for long reflows cheaply made just like there cars.
      Not built to last!very unhappy customer, spend the extra cash and get a proper station!

    • which is the function of the “cal” trimmer?
      can you explain?

      regards

      • It is a 2K trim pot which adjusts the thermocouple
        amplifier gain roughly within a range of 87~110
        according to the circuit in my vintage of an
        equivalent WEP858 manufacturing experiment.

        Actually this tool works better than it ought to
        given the apparent “don’t sweat the details”
        manufacturing approach. FWIW I believe the hot is
        switched and neutral is fused in this 110V unit. If
        forced to pick a lesser evil I would have chosen the
        fuse in the hot line so when the heating element
        burns through the thin mica paper and shorts to the
        grounded sleeve at least the fuse would have opened.
        Other than this I didn’t find any electrical safety
        concerns.

        The fan speed control is completely autonomous to
        the uC. Other than the uC’s ability to shut off
        the regulator wholesale it cannot control the
        blower speed nor monitor the blower RPM nor voltage.
        Eg: it would have been nice when the wand is first
        cradled to knock down the blower speed but still
        maintain heater temperature under lower stress,
        which would allow faster working heat recovery while
        still conserving heater element life. If the wand
        is idle for sufficient time, the blower RPM could
        also be increased for more rapid cooldown in the
        case of a small air orifice.

        The other quirk is the unit will go to idle when
        the wand is cradled and thermistor falls to 100*C.
        However if the wand is knocked/unseated from the
        cradle accidentally a hazardous situation exists.
        Alternately you can’t just cut power to a unit in
        cool down as the blower still needs to operate to
        purge the excess wand/element heat. So this
        combination sort of sets up such a hazardous
        situation. It wouldn’t have been difficult for
        the firmware to require a token poke of either
        up/down button (or power cycle) by the operator
        to take it out of safe shutdown mode before
        allowing the heater to be reenergized.

        But I suppose if you’re interested in a bare bones
        tool for a bare bones price and are up for some
        design corrections it isn’t a bad proposition.
        Truth be told I like this more compared to my
        diapragm pump units now collecting dust. The wand
        weight is essentially the same and extension of the
        wand cable can be performed without airline plumbing.
        Replacing the standardized 5015 blower fan is a
        far simpler and less expensive repair vs. that
        noisy mains frequency oscillating diapragm pump
        (assuming you could even find one, which is seems
        doubtful).

    • Dave,

      Do you have any comments about this since you have owned it for 2 years. I read aolt of reviews and most of them complained about the heating element going bad fairly quickly. Just wondering how yours is standing up.

      Thanks

    • What is the difference between the 858D and 858D+ model??

    • Dave,

      What kind of anti-static mat do you have on you bench? you mentioned it was a high-end burn proof/resistant one.

      Thanks, Shea

    • the sole way i am able to see meizitang http://solod3gold.allmyblog.com/43-then-pushing-yourself-back-again-up.html in myself is thru a photograph. take an image or have an individual else do it to suit your needs. you will note the main difference.

    • Just want to say ATTEN has updated its website for overseas market.
      The latest URL for Atten 858D+ Hot Air Rework is
      http://www.atten.com/product/at858d-hot-air-rework-station/

      Also the 858D was discontinued with alternative 858D+.

    • Dave, what/how are the black plastic rod and wire loop used for. They came with my 858D, but I’ve no idea about them. Thanks for all of your efforts.

      Ken, VE3FIT

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