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Electronics => Beginners => Topic started by: un4tural on January 10, 2016, 05:11:07 am

Title: picking a soldering station
Post by: un4tural on January 10, 2016, 05:11:07 am
Hello everyone,

i haven't got a big budget for a hakko, so I've been eyeing various clones etc. for a while, however it's hard to find reviews for them. Seiko looks cheap and attractive, aoyue is a fair bit more, but still quite good supposedly, there are a ton of no brand (w.e.p. ?) stations which i rather not.

now i don't mind them having lower quality components i can replace later (caps etc.) but i don't really want one that is empty inside which goes through a resistor straight to mains without a fuse... with a wobbly tip... which is what I'm working with now.

Saike 952D looks nice,
Aoyue 937 looks good, but OOS it seems everywhere.
W.E.P. seems bottom of the barrel so probably rather bad quality wise? which seems the main stuff they're shoveling on ebay... (ok"Hug Flight" sounds even cheaper)
are Scotle/YIHUA worth looking at?

i was looking to spend around 40£ but there's really nothing that looks like it's much better than plugging my finger in mains and using that at the price point, other than aoyue which is OOS. I love the little mini heat gun, but i could live without it if its a worth while sacrifice. looking at 60-80 range now, hopefully with the heatgun. it's not for big joints, mostly small stuff, computer/phone pcb stuff.

watched dave's videos on the difference between good/bad soldering iron, not sure how to identify one at a good price point though. what i currently have is basically worse.

So, any tips/recommendations? would the saike work well enough for hobby stuff? i really don't need much more than it having good heat and the baby heat gun looks like a super fun thing to play with from watching Louis Rossmann videos and i want one. Cause I'm 5. (24 really but yeah)
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: crispy_tofu on January 10, 2016, 10:24:32 am
I have this soldering station:
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/LnUAAOSw3ydVtcrK/s-l500.jpg) (http://www.ebay.com/itm/231582147579)
It's a WEP station and doesn't have a heatgun, but he quality doesn't seem too bad, IIRC it even has a fuse (albeit a small glass one).  :-+ Related link: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/yihuastandigyum-cha-937d-soldering-station-got-one/ (http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/yihuastandigyum-cha-937d-soldering-station-got-one/)
(The price has gone up since I bought it a few months ago, it was AU$60 = ~29GBP - probably cheaper and more local deals out there)
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Shock on January 10, 2016, 10:35:15 am
In my opinion they are all inferior Chinese models and at that price all your doing feeding the Chinese companies behind them. Aoyue is emerging as popular but keep in mind a few years ago all these brands were obscure and now people are importing them and they are doubling the cost to the consumer.

When I purchased my Yihua 936 stations from Hobby King they came to about £6 each now they are about £12. I also kept an eye out and picked up the Yihua 858D hot air station for about £22.

Regarding safety, I would not use any model without checking the wiring inside, they just throw them together and bad connections and incorrectly wired mains are a real risk.

What I recommend is if you cannot find a cheap station to get a genuine cheap Hakko FX 888D at batterfly.com or if you must buy a clone get the Tenma from Farnell (which I think is just a rebadged Aoyue). Make sure the iron takes standard Hakko T18 tips as this is another gotcha.

If you want to see real soldering check out the paceworldwide videos, Marc Siegel and John Gammel. Rossmann pretends to be a subject matter expert on everything (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect).

Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: rob77 on January 10, 2016, 10:44:07 am
look at CFH - it's cheap good and reliable. manufactured to price but compliant with EU standards...

http://www.cfh-gmbh.de/en/products/electric-soldering-appliances/soldering-station/ (http://www.cfh-gmbh.de/en/products/electric-soldering-appliances/soldering-station/)

that one is retailed over here for approx 50 Euro (brick-and-mortar shop), probably someone sells them in UK as well. ;)

in fact it's a cheaper clone/(or version?) of solomon SL-30 , i have that CFH as a second station (primary is a solomon) - works well - good thermal mass, holds the temperature well... can't tell the difference from the solomon and it was half the price  ;)

many guys here will say  it's ancient technology.... probably... but it does the job well ;)

EDIT:

amazon uk selling them as well:  41£

http://www.amazon.co.uk/CFH-52216-48W-Soldering-Station/dp/B00835UQMG (http://www.amazon.co.uk/CFH-52216-48W-Soldering-Station/dp/B00835UQMG)

Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: DimitriP on January 10, 2016, 10:52:21 am
I like and use these:  http://www.antex.co.uk/soldering/precision-range-soldering-irons/ (http://www.antex.co.uk/soldering/precision-range-soldering-irons/)

But if I were out to buy a "soldering station",
I'd get this: http://www.circuitspecialists.com/csi-premier-75w-Soldering-Station.html (http://www.circuitspecialists.com/csi-premier-75w-Soldering-Station.html)
Mostly for the three preset temperatures, and the auto shut off.

Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Audioguru on January 10, 2016, 11:31:26 am
You cannot solder electronic circuits properly with a blow torch or a heat gun. instead you use a soldering iron that needs to have temperature control. Most cheapo soldering irons get too hot and vaporize the rosin that is supposed to be there to clean the junction and the cheapo soldering irons cause the tip to oxidize and turn black so it cannot solder anything. Then they get too cold if you continue soldering many things because they do not have enough controlled power. Some medium priced soldering irons have a "light dimmer circuit" that allows you to adjust the power, not the temperature, and they have an expensive display of some meaningless power numbers. My Weller soldering iron has temperature control so its tip is always at the correct temperature then it needs no display. Why should you adjust the power anyway? A temperature controlled soldering iron adjusts to the correct temperature by itself.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Deus on January 10, 2016, 12:23:26 pm
Cheap solderting statoins mostly use short type solder tips, like you'll see on the W.E.P. photo posted above.
They slide over a ceramic element that heats up the tip.
The thermocouple is (I suppose) in that ceramic element = long distance from the wetting area (the actual solder tip).
Often resulting in overshoot and/or slow response.
Probably be ok for soldering 2 layer diy projects.

If you look at JBC and higher end Hakko models you'll notice they use cartridge based type instead of the short tips like many cheap ones.
In those, the solder tip is in fact a cartridge where the TC is located as close as possible to the wetting area.
This means much faster response = much better control.

If I would go for a cheap soldering station, I would at least go for a CARTRIDGE BASED one.
Only linking as example, there are many brands selling the same:

http://aoyue.com/en/products/?bID=33&sort_id=118 (http://aoyue.com/en/products/?bID=33&sort_id=118)

Using this type of solder cartridges, again, sold under different brands:
http://aoyue.com/en/products/?bID=133&sort_id=167 (http://aoyue.com/en/products/?bID=133&sort_id=167)

People using the Jovy iSolder, also using cartridges, are very pleased with it too.
http://jovysystems.com/en/products/solder-stations/isolder-40.html (http://jovysystems.com/en/products/solder-stations/isolder-40.html)

Why cartridge based type?
Well, like I said, for 2 layer diy soldering/repairs, the short type tips might be usable.
But repairing or soldering multilayer boards is another thing. The cartridge types perform much better due the faster response.
At least the JBC and Hakko do.
The chinese ones might not tip on those professional ones, but everyone I know switching from a short tip type to a cartridge based one, even cheap Chinese, said it made a lot of difference.

New version iSolder V2 letting you connect to pc to set temps (v1 no temp setting)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1exlV6FQYCE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1exlV6FQYCE)

Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: DimitriP on January 10, 2016, 12:33:32 pm
A soldering iron with firmware updates and a USB connection to a PC   ...I guess I might have to wait when there is an app for it. Paaaass

Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: daybyter on January 10, 2016, 03:43:32 pm
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0GdV7XBae74 (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0GdV7XBae74)
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: bxh on January 10, 2016, 08:04:45 pm
I bought myself a cheap Chinese soldering and hot air rework station (Yihua) a few years back, and it has always performed as expected (I don't actually remember checking the internal wiring quality which I sometimes do). I've also worked with several other soldering stations like Weller and Hakko, and I never felt they were superior in terms of performance.

One thing I found to make a bigger difference is the quality of the soldering tips!
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Brumby on January 10, 2016, 08:40:17 pm
I picked up a cheap 2 in 1 unit - which is in line with Dave's exercise and pretty much what I expected.  I checked the wiring inside and it all looked ok, but there was one little issue with the (really cheap) connector for the soldering iron.  Here's the video clip I sent the seller:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMMHWs2yQzM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMMHWs2yQzM)

You get what you pay for, eh?

It all works, just not secured.  The seller did go through the process of confirming the problem, requesting a quote for repair, etc. before a partial refund was offered and accepted.  A couple of dollars at Jaycar and I have a new plug, which fits snugly.

Now that the warranty period is over, I suppose I should dig it out and fit it.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: picandmix on January 10, 2016, 08:54:46 pm
Got one of these, from this company,  over a year ago, still working well, far better than the Mains irons/sticks or the similar priced unit you can buy from Maplins.

It takes the all 936 standard tips , though the one it comes with suits me for most work;  internally the build quality is good, a modern smd board and good wiring around the transformer.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/312086-936-Electronic-Soldering-Rework-Station-400-Degrees-Temperature-Control-/291045808647?hash=item43c3ae9a07:g:fpUAAOxyZzlTehPk (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/312086-936-Electronic-Soldering-Rework-Station-400-Degrees-Temperature-Control-/291045808647?hash=item43c3ae9a07:g:fpUAAOxyZzlTehPk)

Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: un4tural on January 10, 2016, 11:13:51 pm
@crispy_tofu I've been looking at these as well,but might go for something a bit pricier. picking soldering iron is way harder than screw drivers. iFixit and I'm set...

@Shock yes they are chinese knock offs, some are made of decent quality though from what i understand, i don't need or want to spend as much as hakko costs though for what use i'll be giving them. I agree about Rossmann but he is entertaining. I do like the videos showing how he does the repairs too, gives some insight, especially not to reball stuff.

@rob77 looking for something more modern, these look to take those full stick tips with heating element around them too? i think i prefer the short tip seems less travel for heat, also my cheapo has same hadle, not sure how i feel about it, sometimes rather uncomfortable. Thank you for the input though, solomons do seem expensive!

@DimitriP they seem to sell (circuitspecialistsUK) same one but with a different coat of paint here for 42£ or thereabouts, does seem very reasonable if it performs well!

@Audioguru yes i want a temp. adjust one, what i have now is a KNOB which goes from low which is basically a hand warmer to HIGH which... well i removed the element and there were splatter of molten metal, i don't like knobs much anymore.

@Deus I appreciate the superiority of these but i don't think that's in my price range... Maybe sometime in the future!

@bxh my problem with my cheapo knob iron is that it doesn't heat properly, sometimes melts fine sometimes have to hold it on the joint for half an hour... its inconsistent as hell. if chinese stations don't do that it's a big part of what i want.

@Brumby that's one of the units I've been eyeing, might get it not sure yet.

@picandmix i rather invest a little more to be honest, having dealt with knob and a wobbly tip held on springs it seems learned to appreciate better quality tool quite quickly... might be good but, rather spend a little more for that little extra.

thanks for all the comments, valuable insight, gonna check local electronics shops maybe they have some hidden gem too, though i doubt it.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Deus on January 10, 2016, 11:22:00 pm
For hobby stuff, using lead solder all those will probably do.
For soldering/reworking lead free multilayer boards, cleaning bga pads on mobos etc, the cartridge types will be the best choice.
Also better selection of tips for all kind of jobs, should that be important.

@un4tural, as you seem UK based, maybe have a look here (btw, I don't sell or work for a resesller):
http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/soldering/ (http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/soldering/)

Isn't this one in your price range, analog, cartridge based?:
http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/70w-soldering-station-for-lead-free-solder-csi-2901/ (http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/70w-soldering-station-for-lead-free-solder-csi-2901/)
Digital readout, bit more expensive:
http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/70w-digital-soldering-station-lead-free-solder-csi-2900/ (http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/70w-digital-soldering-station-lead-free-solder-csi-2900/)
Same as Aoyue 29xx.
They have some cheaper ones, short type tips, too but not that much price difference.

Hope it helps you choosing.

Btw:
especially not to reball stuff.
Why not?
Reballing/replacing chips for years.
Sometimes it's the only option, e.g. on gameconsoles where you can't find replacment chips for.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: un4tural on January 10, 2016, 11:55:13 pm
after all the benefits you mentioned and these prices i think ill take the plunge then!
is there any benefit to get this one over the ones you mentioned (2900) other than looking fancier?

http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/soldering/soldering-stations/bk-3000lf-70w-blackjack-solderwerks-lf-digital-solder-station/ (http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/soldering/soldering-stations/bk-3000lf-70w-blackjack-solderwerks-lf-digital-solder-station/)

no combo with hot air gun, but i do have my handy dandy 2000W hairdryer not as precise but works. wish everyone made products with screws instead of glue (HTC!)

also will pick up some flux too i guess, are MG chemicals products good? http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/soldering/solder-wire-and-consumables/no-clean-flux-paste/ (http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/soldering/solder-wire-and-consumables/no-clean-flux-paste/)

also i haven't really got equipment for reballing, plus it seems like a pain, maybe someday, when i have a proper workbench somewhere.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: exe on January 11, 2016, 12:19:11 am
I've got AOYUE 2930 and some 937 hakko clone. And the clone was too bad because of the air gap. So I don't use it anymore.

 I would go for aoyue, but my station had some serious issues. First, "vibrosensor" didn't work and I don't know why. I had to disassemble the handpiece and to fix. And it seemed it was correctly assembled, the problem was somewhere in station's "brains". After some random wire shorting (emulating how the sensor works, it's just a ball touching contacts) it suddenly started to work. Quite bad sign...

Another issue -- it once fall into sleep and failed to wake up. Reboot helped, but since then I don't trust it.

Also, these stations can be twice more expensive in Europe comparing to the US price.  I got mine for 120euro (incl. delivery) which is ridiculously expensive, but there were no cheaper alternatives.
Cartridges are also not that cheap -- from 10 to 20euro, the most expensive for wave soldering.
Thermal performance is okay, but I expected more.  Definitely better than my 937 clone, also heats up faster.
Considering all of these, my initial intention was to return it and buy JBC. Now I'm kind of okay with my station, but still it does not inspire confidence at all.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Deus on January 11, 2016, 12:28:58 am
@un4tural
Think they're basically the same knock offs. Dunno internally.
Think I would go for blackjack too, looks more sturdy.

Also, check out the tip, not sure which one is included.
If you need a larger one...

Never used that flux, should be fine I guess.

I'm sure you won't regret getting it.
Keep us posted with your findings?
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Deus on January 11, 2016, 12:48:15 am
@exe
If buying on a budget, surely for soldering stations it will mostly be Chinese ones.
Like my BGA rework station. Was Chinese too, knew I shouldn't expect much of the building quality.
But never imagined it would be that bad.
Sorted it all out, upgraded it with better heaters.
Very pleased with it now and still much cheaper than european industry quality.
You get what you pay for...

I've got AOYUE 2930 and some 937 hakko clone. And the clone was too bad because of the air gap. So I don't use it anymore.
Few years ago those 937 Hakko clones were mostly only 35 watt and using those short type tips, bad thermal performance on top.

Cartridges are also not that cheap -- from 10 to 20euro, the most expensive for wave soldering.
True, more expensive, but faster and better thermal performance. Very important for lead free.

Considering all of these, my initial intention was to return it and buy JBC. Now I'm kind of okay with my station, but still it does not inspire confidence at all.
Bought my JBC way back in 2004 I think, upgrading from a Weller.
Best upgrade ever, a lifetime investment.
Worth every penny!!!
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: exe on January 11, 2016, 01:43:48 am
@Deus
Cartridges are also not that cheap -- from 10 to 20euro, the most expensive for wave soldering.
True, more expensive, but faster and better thermal performance. Very important for lead free.

The point is it's not dirt cheap anymore and approaching JBC cartridges :( I had like 10 "hakko" tips for like 5 or so dollars. Now it cost over 10euro just for one Asian tip and the quality is not impressive at all: I bought three tips and they all bent. So I spent like 160-170euro in total and now I'm not sure it was worth it because hakko 888d would cost the same or less (98euro currently on batterfly.it).

However, that hakko has a weird shape and not stackable (i.e., it's hard to put another piece of equipment on top of it, a big concern for me because of limited table space). It is also unclear which one solders better, I didn't find many benchmarks for soldering stations.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: un4tural on January 11, 2016, 02:34:18 am
honestly if they have superior performance and last a good time, as in well made, i don't mind the 15£ for 6months or so of use.

why are these stations getting so much more expensive though? I'm not an expert but it doesn't seem like component cost would be that high.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KD0CAC John on January 11, 2016, 02:44:50 am
I've worked in a number of trades and found that quality makes all the difference , it can take much more skill to make a poor tool work well , the cheap tools lend them selfs to Murphy's Law - they will break down at the worst possible time .
I have an Aoyue 850D - copy of the Hakko , I seems to remember that you could find average price of Aoyue for about $50 and $80 for Hakko , now I am watching for a Hakko upgrade [ at min. I would get better brand but too much $$$ ] .
I have been lucky at finding good deals , I have Metcal 2 power supplies , 2 pencils , tweezers & vacuum gun with about 50 - 75 tips with a total cost of less than $250 .
Then some JBC gear , 2 power supplies , pencil , vacuum pump & pencil - this was new in 2 boxs for $402 including shipping , so a total of about $650 for all JBC .
The Aoyue hot air was about $35 and now I see the original Hakko 850D price is way up ?
I do admit to having a TOOL-JONES :)
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Deus on January 11, 2016, 02:56:04 am
why are these stations getting so much more expensive though? I'm not an expert but it doesn't seem like component cost would be that high.
$ Went up in value.
Chinese wages/prices/profits went up too? Dunno...

Notice buying stuff from China is not allways really cheaper, surely if you have to pay extra shipping for it.
Sometimes even more expensive than buying local if taxes come on top...
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KL27x on January 11, 2016, 08:19:36 am
Quote
However, that hakko has a weird shape and not stackable.
But it has a really small footprint, so I don't see much of an issue. I'm not sure what you would want to stack on top of such a small and skinny station.

For the cost of the 888, about 80-120 dollars, you are getting a high quality handpiece that is made to last. The cheap knockoff handpieces have a less flexible cord and are made from plastic that is slippery to touch and many of them will eventually crack from heat stress where the plastic ring screws together and/or the heater will eventually burn out. You can effectively consider them to be consumable parts. If you do much soldering, they may not last more than a few years. At the replacement cost, you may be fine just buying new handpieces when you need to, but...

2. Consistency: The cheap knockoffs will vary in specs and construction. The heater to tip fit will vary. The life of the heater will vary. And your replacement wands will take up space. And you will never get the flexibility of the cord or the feel. The knockoffs are not effectively cloning the quality, here.

The Hakko 888 handpiece sold separately costs about $70.00, which is most of the cost of the entire kit to begin with. And in the longrun, $70.00 just for the hakko handpiece might be worth it. Add in the excellent stand/holder, and the 888 really isn't very expensive. I have used cheap soldering stations for many years. After the modest upgrade to an 888, I think $40-$50.00 clones woudln't sell at all if everyone had the opportunity to really try out a genuine Hakko. When I bought mine, I had given away my backup to someone in need, and I was kinda screwing around to see what the fuss was about. What's $100.00? It wasn't long before I was a convert.

As far as the station goes, w/e. Power supplies and the electronics are simple. Clones or DIY, easy. But I can't buy/make as nice of a handpiece. Nor the compact, ergonomic and very excellent iron holder, for that matter. It's about as small as it could be while being secure. I know because I have tried replicating and/or improving on it for another station. I'm pretty handy, but the Hakko 888 holder is pretty close to perfection, and I can't touch it with my skills and tools in the woodshop. You can practically throw the iron back into the stand with your eyes closed, and it holds very securely. It has a place for a sponge and wool. And it isn't a square centimeter larger in footprint than it needs to be, simply to hold an iron securely, even if you were to remove the sponge and the wool! The rounded Fischer Price shape to it is purely functional. The size, shape, and weight are all well thought out and the many hours of design were not wasted. Not many stations come close. If you move your iron around your bench, much, you will notice this, quite quickly. A little board and a coil of wire ala similarly priced Wellers doesn't come close. Stamped sheet metal holders of most of the Chinese irons aren't in the same league. And the quirky shapes of some of the more expensive competition seem to be made for looks first - and ergos not at all.

AFAIC, the X-tronics station I have is perfectly equal. In warm up time and power tests, I can't tell any difference. The handpiece and iron holder are why that iron is in the garbage. The plastic feels slick/oily in a similar way as plexiglass. It doesn't give a good grip. There's no ergonomic closed-cell foam grip, like on the Hakko, so this oily/slick plastic IS the entire grip. The cord itself compares well, but the strain relief is much stiffer and it rattles loosely in the end of the handle. The wand is slightly crooked where it screws together, so it's not straight. The clunky sheet metal holder bends when it falls off the bench and the sharp corners gouge the floor. And the iron rattles around and droops in the holder, which makes it more squirrelly to pick up the iron without looking.

If the Hakko handpiece was cheaper, I'd consider buying them and changing out the connector to use with cheaper or DIY stations. But with the current price structure, the 888 package is hard to beat.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: exe on January 11, 2016, 08:31:49 am
For the cost of the 888, about 80-120 dollars, you are getting a high quality handpiece that is made to last.

What about the cord? Is it burn-proof? I mean, if the tip touches it will it melt? Hope not.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: rounsmith on January 11, 2016, 09:03:34 am
Hello to all,

After purchasing a cheap hot air station (wep 858d+)and checking it;s innards and fixing it i want some good soldering iron for fixing like micro usb connectors , power jacks from laptops etc.

I would like to go for an oki/metcal one since i have heard so good things.

One choice is Oki PS-900 and go alone with some fine tips (station will go for around 200 euros and tips around 12 euros each).

It;s either that or some ersa i con nano.

What would you recommend?

I want a solid soldering station that will last for years.

Now i have some crappy 20 dollar one that i have to crank up to maximum if i want so solder anything. And i don;t have right tips for doing fine work like smd rework etc :(


Mind you i am from Greece and have limited options to hakko or so. I would like to go to microsoldering(fixing boards from phones etc) so i might need some fine tips.

After this is microscope time !
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KL27x on January 11, 2016, 10:14:52 am
Quote
What about the cord? Is it burn-proof? I mean, if the tip touches it will it melt? Hope not.
I have broken and/or burned out two clone/generic wands over the years. I have never melted a cord on any of my soldering irons, so I don't know. :)
Quote
However, that hakko has a weird shape and not stackable (i.e., it's hard to put another piece of equipment on top of it, a big concern for me because of limited table space). It is also unclear which one solders better, I didn't find many benchmarks for soldering stations.
BTW, if bench space is a concern, as it is for pretty much everyone, you might find a good place to put your iron under the bench. I have a little space under my bench for my Hakko station and the iron holder. The station stays where it is, and the iron holder comes up when I need to solder. When I am not soldering, there is no iron/cord on my bench top, at all.

I can't stand cords laying on my bench surface. So I wouldn't put a station at the back of my bench, anyway. And I probably wouldn't want to stack stuff on top of a little station at the front right of my bench.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Deus on January 11, 2016, 10:37:38 am
@rounsmith
Never used Oki myself, but seen some demos on professional electronics fairs.
Not sure which models where demonstrated, but they performed pretty well.
If it has the tips you need for it think a good choice too.

If you want a wide choice of tips, JBC has a lots of different types.
More expensive but they last forever (if you don't drop them ;-) ).
They have a Greek distributor too.
http://www.jbctools.com/distributors-europe-greece.html (http://www.jbctools.com/distributors-europe-greece.html)
Maybe ask for a demo?
Take a look at their cartridge collection.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: GreyWoolfe on January 11, 2016, 01:19:16 pm
The cord on the Hakko is silicone coated not plastic and is heat resistant.  If you accidentally touch the tip to it, you will be fine, just don't hold it there. 

Hello to all,
I would like to go for an oki/metcal one since i have heard so good things.

One choice is Oki PS-900 and go alone with some fine tips (station will go for around 200 euros and tips around 12 euros each).

It;s either that or some ersa i con nano.

What would you recommend?

I want a solid soldering station that will last for years.

Now i have some crappy 20 dollar one that i have to crank up to maximum if i want so solder anything. And i don;t have right tips for doing fine work like smd rework etc :(


Mind you i am from Greece and have limited options to hakko or so. I would like to go to microsoldering(fixing boards from phones etc) so i might need some fine tips.

After this is microscope time !


If you can get the Oki Metcal, go for it.  I have a Metcal MX500P II and I love it.  I also have a Hakko FX-951 and love it.  You can get fine tips with either, your magnification will make all the difference.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: rounsmith on January 11, 2016, 06:48:56 pm
@rounsmith
Never used Oki myself, but seen some demos on professional electronics fairs.
Not sure which models where demonstrated, but they performed pretty well.
If it has the tips you need for it think a good choice too.

If you want a wide choice of tips, JBC has a lots of different types.
More expensive but they last forever (if you don't drop them ;-) ).
They have a Greek distributor too.
http://www.jbctools.com/distributors-europe-greece.html (http://www.jbctools.com/distributors-europe-greece.html)
Maybe ask for a demo?
Take a look at their cartridge collection.

JBC is too expensive in greece. It's like the base station around 800 euros from greek distributor. The OKi one is their entry level soldering station and has like 3 tips under 0.5mm for fine smd soldering work.(i can get it from Farnell Europe for around 260 with 4 tips included).

It seems a good choise. I would go for fx 951 with fm 2032 pen style iron but that will go for like 360 for greece with shipping.

Btw, what's your opinion on http://www.tme.eu/en/details/tmt-2000s-sm/soldering-stations/thermaltronics/ (http://www.tme.eu/en/details/tmt-2000s-sm/soldering-stations/thermaltronics/) ?

Seems very good have read good reviews on it and it seems its like metcal mx 500 series


P.S. Can;t get demo soldering stations in Greece... because we are in Greece nothing goes for free around here :P
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: nanofrog on January 11, 2016, 09:21:39 pm
One choice is Oki PS-900 and go alone with some fine tips (station will go for around 200 euros and tips around 12 euros each).

It;s either that or some ersa i con nano.

What would you recommend?
Either would be a solid choice, but I'd recommend the Ersa  over the OKi/Metcal, as it's a temperature adjustable station rather than Curie Point based (you can turn it should the need arise vs. having to install a higher rated tip to adjust temperature), and above all, the tips should be less expensive (they're typically ~6EUR each for common shapes). Should add up to a lower total cost of ownership without sacrificing performance (or features).  :-+

FWIW, the Ersa sells for 177EUR (here (http://www.ersa-shop.com/ersa-icon-nano-elektronisch-geregelte-lötstation-standby-antistatisch-p-364.html?osCsid=p7kk7a6fjfr6sl9g6s11squed3)), and the 102 series tips used are very well made (will last a long time), and the selection is just amazing (# of different shapes & sizes).

If you'd rather have the OKi/Metcal or Thermaltronics however, they're both excellent performers as well. Just keep in mind tips are usually more expensive than the Ersa 102 series (i.e. ~20USD vs. 6USD).
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: tooki on January 11, 2016, 09:30:03 pm
Just another vote for the Ersa! I have the Nano. You might also consider a used unit of one of the "big" i-Con models.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: bxh on January 11, 2016, 09:34:49 pm
my problem with my cheapo knob iron is that it doesn't heat properly, sometimes melts fine sometimes have to hold it on the joint for half an hour... its inconsistent as hell. if chinese stations don't do that it's a big part of what i want.

The cheap station cost about 70GBP (has hot air rework too), has decent temperature control so I never had any issues with consistency, could do tiny to large connections as I expect. Performance is definitely comparable to the the Weller and Hakko stations I've tried.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: 3141592 on January 11, 2016, 09:49:11 pm
A Fahrenheit 28003 can be a decent mediocre choice, depending on where you are.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: nanofrog on January 12, 2016, 12:28:52 am
my problem with my cheapo knob iron is that it doesn't heat properly, sometimes melts fine sometimes have to hold it on the joint for half an hour... its inconsistent as hell. if Chinese stations don't do that it's a big part of what i want.

The cheap station cost about 70GBP (has hot air rework too), has decent temperature control so I never had any issues with consistency, could do tiny to large connections as I expect. Performance is definitely comparable to the Weller and Hakko stations I've tried.
A few questions...
1. What Weller and Hakko stations/irons did you try (specific model numbers if possible*)?
2. How challenging of a joint were they (i.e. 1/2/4/6/8 layer boards, on a ground plane or not, ...).?
3. What brand and model of Chinese branded rework station + iron are you using?

 :-//

I ask, as if they were truly equivalent, that's rare for a Chinese brand of station, save perhaps a Quick branded one IME. FWIW, I've heard really good things about their irons, and am familiar with their hot air rework stations (my hot air rework station = Quick 861DW; just hot air, not a multi-tool).

I also prefer separate tools so if one breaks, the other can be used to fix the broken one (not advisable with an all-in-one, as it's not wise to solder on live circuits as really bad things can happen).

* In the case of Weller, they produce everything from firesticks to dimmer controlled firesticks on the consumer side, to a number of different full blown temperature controlled soldering stations on the professional side. In the case of Hakko, even their most basic station, the FX-888D, is marketed as both a hobbyist and entry level professional station.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Julez on January 12, 2016, 06:26:44 am
Why not build one yourself?

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/simple-diy-soldering-station-for-hakko-907-iron/msg825831/#msg825831 (http://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/simple-diy-soldering-station-for-hakko-907-iron/msg825831/#msg825831)
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Paul Price on January 12, 2016, 10:02:58 am
Why not build you own Hakko 888D 65-W station?

I salvaged almost all the parts to build this soldering station from a discarded  VCR and Cassette/CD/AM-FM Hi-Fi stack, so the cost to build this soldering station was limited to a few bucks for the soldering handle. It arrived in about a week.

With 6  assorted total Hakko tips, only USD $24 free shipping and I had a new Hackko Soldering Station built within 10-days from order.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xhakko+8801+handle.TRS0&_nkw=hakko+8801+handle&_sacat=0 (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xhakko+8801+handle.TRS0&_nkw=hakko+8801+handle&_sacat=0)

BTW my Precision Hakko Controller circuit will work with many other Hakko handles, like the 9xx series, as well that use a PTR thermistor sensor.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KL27x on January 12, 2016, 10:25:43 am
A 24V power supply, a couple opamps, and a FET/SCR is not rocket science. I built my own LDC digital station front end and I used it for a year or two. It still works, perfectly. For the time spent, did I save any money? No. It's not worth it, except for the learning experience.

The other problem with this approach is a real FX888 soldering handpiece costs $70.00. It, and the iron holder, are where a lot of the Hakko quality resides. Not so much of interest going on in the station, other than the Hakko 888 station manages to be pretty darn small and bombproof.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Paul Price on January 12, 2016, 10:34:13 am
My $24 Hackko soldering handle with ceramic heating element reaches 60/40 optimal soldering temperature from turn on within 17-Secs and it is able to deliver the power needed to remove parts near a ground plane on a 4-layer motherboard PCB's quickly within a few seconds,  thanks to the generous power capacity of the Hi-Fi power transformer and the excellent heat transfer of this quality 8801 handle.

The handle seems to be very well made with a burn-proof silicone cord, and although some of the tips were a bit loosely thermally coupled to the ceramic heating element because of free-play, a tiny strip of ~.1mm thick pure copper shimstock made them all  have a very snug fit.

That's Hackko quality!

My old 48W station took about 40-seconds to reach soldering temp and even with temp control maxed,  couldn't get a motherboard hot enough to remove/install components. Fine with me, the transformer had fried, so I used its cabinet and handle holder and connectors and power sw and cord and fuse as well as the temp setting pot and knob to pimp up my new Hackko.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KL27x on January 12, 2016, 10:37:51 am
Even a 65-70W Hakko 888 or an honest clone will reach solder melting temp in about 10-15 seconds. It's not the station. My Xtronic Hakko compatible does that just fine, too. I can't tell any difference between the performance of the PSU. It was the handpiece and iron older that I didn't care for.

The handpiece you linked looks the biz, at least. If the genuine tips will fit nicely, and you have a good holder, you might have as good as the real thing. Who knows? I haven't tried that particular knockoff handpiece. But for the time spent tearing apart your hi fi system and building your station, you could have probably been better off doing something else with your time, like w/e it is you do for work. DIY station is fine for a project in and of itself. An 888 that will last a lifetime without going tits up when dropped in the middle of a job is a steal at $100.00. I have more money that that in the tips.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Paul Price on January 12, 2016, 11:17:38 am
Why build my own?

I really dislike the design of the real-McCoy 888D:
 
I can't stand having no schematic to repair it.
I really dislike push-button controls to set temperature, give me a pot knob to so quickly twist any day!.
I really don't want any soldering station that could require a password.

And I don't like the price.

I really enjoy designing and building my own equipment.

I also really enjoy tearing-down old equipment for parts or just to see how they are made..somehow I find it quite relaxing and also a interesting and rewarding pastime.

I really like the idea that the handle is so low in price that I bought two of them so that I can just plug and play and have the best tip needed for a soldering task.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KL27x on January 12, 2016, 11:36:49 am
I've been tempted to buy one of those clone handles for tip changes, but then I have an entire wand/cord on my bench just for that. At that point, I might rather have two stations setup, permanently, or a dual output station. The upgrade to a cartridge based Hakko would be a lot of dough, considering the number of tips I use. So for now, I change hot tips with a small pair of pliers easy enough.

Another member screws the entire half of the wand in/out at the plastic ring and swaps for a second unit. This just doesn't feel right to me; it feels like this will eventually cause a breakage/failure. Plus it's twice as much screwing/unscrewing if you use more than two tips.

I agree on the digital vs knobs. If the analog 888 were still available, I'd probably buy another. This is one of the other reasons I don't use my fancy pants digital DIY station. Will use a knob, next time. :-+ I wanted to use an encoder to make a combined station and lab PSU, but I ran into some snags and that project is on the shelf.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Brumby on January 12, 2016, 12:12:22 pm
On the push button -vs- knobs debate, I also find the push button idea unpleasant.  My preference is for rotary knobs and a digital display.

As a fundamental issue on operational efficiency on ANY piece of equipment, the idea of multi-functional controls really annoys me.  I like the idea of looking at a piece of equipment and being able to see the control I want to adjust, rather than selecting alternate functions or, heaven forbid, scrolling through menu options.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Paul Price on January 12, 2016, 01:00:02 pm
KL27x sez, "But for the time spent tearing apart your hi fi system and building your station, you could have probably been better off doing something else with your time, like w/e it is you do for work. DIY station is fine for a project.."

Is it only me or are there guys with names like Dave and Sagan that like to do this too!
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Brumby on January 12, 2016, 01:05:47 pm
Horses for courses...

Some people won't be satisfied until they work for Elon Musk - while others will be happy to launch a home made rocket that reaches 500 feet.

It'd be boring if we all wanted the same thing.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Paul Price on January 12, 2016, 02:23:56 pm
And if anyone is on a really tight budget, there is always the USD $1.50 Hakko 50W handle to DIY soldering stations.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: wblock on January 12, 2016, 04:11:52 pm
The strain relief in that picture...  :-DD
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KL27x on January 12, 2016, 05:31:55 pm
Quote
KL27x sez, "But for the time spent tearing apart your hi fi system and building your station, you could have probably been better off doing something else with your time, like w/e it is you do for work. DIY station is fine for a project.."
Sure, if I have nothing better to do. Here's a picture of mine. It is just a controller, LCD, and jack. It draws DC power from the DIY lab PSU above it and switches it with a FET. For a push button digital control, I think I did pretty good from a usability standpoint. On/off button. Up button. Down button. And large 10 degrees C steps per push for quick and meaningful adjustments, because setting your iron to each degree is wasting your freaking time. When would anyone purposefully set their iron to 309 degrees, lol!?  No save button. No pressing and holding to save. No pressing and holding or double-clicking or looking for blinking cursors or scrolling thru menus to do anything! You can adjust it without looking, because 1 click = 10 degrees, all the time, every time. Two amazingly useful modes. On and off. Settings are automatically saved to EEPROM every time you adjust it, so the last temp is always automatically restored on the next hard powerup, even in case of a power out. I wonder how long it would take before the EEPROM wore out, at a rated 1 million write endurance? (It would still work fine as long as you didn't unplug it or lose power. And I guess the buttons might wear out first!). It has a soft start, 50% duty cycle until the iron reaches a minimum temp, to prevent a cold start from tripping overcurrent protection on the 3A 20V power supply I was tapping.
 
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b103/klee27x/solderingstation007.jpg (http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b103/klee27x/solderingstation007.jpg)
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b103/klee27x/solderingstation008.jpg (http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b103/klee27x/solderingstation008.jpg)

If I had made it with a good quality Hakko tip-compatible iron, I might still be using it. But I wouldn't have thought to suggest it in this particular thread. If someone asks where to get the best BLT for X dollars, I wouldn't suggest they start raising a pig and growing some lettuce. :)

I still have it. And looking at this pic and remembering it makes me want to retrofit it for a Hakko handpiece. But even the time to change out the connector and readjust the data table and/or tweak the opamps is not worth my time compared to buying a new FX-888D. If that ever happens it will be because I had nothing better to do!
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: MrSlack on January 12, 2016, 06:17:59 pm
I've got AOYUE 2930 and some 937 hakko clone. And the clone was too bad because of the air gap. So I don't use it anymore.

 I would go for aoyue, but my station had some serious issues. First, "vibrosensor" didn't work and I don't know why. I had to disassemble the handpiece and to fix. And it seemed it was correctly assembled, the problem was somewhere in station's "brains". After some random wire shorting (emulating how the sensor works, it's just a ball touching contacts) it suddenly started to work. Quite bad sign...

nsive for wave soldering.
Thermal performance is okay, but I expected more.  Definitely better than my 937 clone, also heats up faster.
Exsctly the same trouble with my Aoyue 936. Fed up with the damn thing to be honest. Put the cash down for a Weller and am happy now.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: bxh on January 12, 2016, 07:19:36 pm
1. What Weller and Hakko stations/irons did you try (specific model numbers if possible*)?
2. How challenging of a joint were they (i.e. 1/2/4/6/8 layer boards, on a ground plane or not, ...).?
3. What brand and model of Chinese branded rework station + iron are you using?

For Hakko, just the FX-888D. The Weller models have all disappeared over the past couple of months, so I don't have the model number.

With that cheap station, only up to 4 layers. Most if not all of them have the ground planes/pours, but the pins connected to planes are usually connected via thermal reliefs. The worst board I've tried soldering had massive planes to dissipate the heat and pads that were not connected via thermal reliefs, and that was problematic as expected.

The brand of the station is Yihua, can't remember the model.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Paul Price on January 12, 2016, 07:54:18 pm
At IBM their motto was K.I.S.S.  Keep It Simple, Stupid. Time is valuable, so is having a reliable and professional soldering station that I could easily construct myself quickly and cheaply.

I used the same soldering station pictured by JK27x for the basics. It provided the cabinet  and handle holder for the Hackko Station conversion.

Just one on/off Sw, One knob on one pot to set temperature, just one LED for power indication, one LED to show the handle has reached the proper temperature.

My station automatically remembers the last temperature because the knob on the pot is already set to the correct temperature. No ROM look-up tables.

My controller requires no tweaking of op-amps, build it on a simple breadboard or perfboard, and just about any op-amp will work(LM741,4558, LM308,etc.) just must be an op-amp with max power supply rails >= +-12V.

The old station also had a 5-pin connect that could be adapted to the Hakko 8801 handle by removing the center pin from the Hakko connector..

Time to construct..about an hour to fabricate on perfboard. No digital display, no complicated calibration, all I had to do is just twist the knob to find the right temperature and bingo, calibration complete!

And the bonus is that I can also just plug in a Weller WTPTC TCP-7 700 deg F magnetically tip temp set handle | have by modifying its connector, just shorting pins 5-6 (thermistor connections) on its connector. This gives me an additional handle and tip to do work with interchangeable tips that automatically regulate temperature with very good thermal sensing. It also gave me a very good soldering tool that was easy to solder with to make my own Hackko.

I wouldn't waste any time buying that $1.50 handle I posted when a very good quality 888D handle is  available at low cost.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: rch on January 13, 2016, 09:51:14 am
I want to use the cartridge style bits as not only are they good in theory but I have already found that a 30W Weller solder station with small bits doesn't supply heat fast enough for some fairly ordinary jobs with a fine bit.  I would also very much like new bits to be very likely to be available in 5 or 6 years time.  And it's really got to be something distributed in Europe.  I suppose I don't mind a clone if it works with available standard tips that don't rely on the clone makers not having lost interest in a year or two, which probably makes the clone makers pirates, which I would prefer to avoid.  So maybe I don't want a clone!

What systems can I reasonably choose from?  Thanks for any comments!
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: nanofrog on January 13, 2016, 11:29:36 am
If you're dead set on cartridge tips and located in Europe/UK, the take a serious look at JBC. Not cheap, but it's an absolute top performer.  :-+ Another would be the Hakko FX-950 (http://www.batterfly.com/shop/hakko-fx950?filter_name=fx-950) (batterfly.com has the lowest prices in the EU/UK; English option is at the top of the page).

That said, there are stations that use simple plated copper tips that can put the heat into a joint (fast recovery), such as Ersa's I-Con series (the I-Con Nano goes for 177EUR here (http://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/picking-a-soldering-station/50/?action=post;last_msg=841186)), or the Weller WS or WD, or WX series (one iron for the WX series uses RT series cartridge tips). In the case of the I-Con Nano, not only is the station less expensive, the tips are as well (102 series tips offer a lot of different profiles, and are well made, so last a long time).

Even the FX-888D (http://www.batterfly.com/shop/index.php?route=product/search&filter_name=fx-888d) would be an improvement over your 30W firestick.

Hope this helps.  :)
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: rich on January 13, 2016, 11:56:58 am
@rch At just 30W it sounds like your Weller is very underpowered, irrespective of heater + sensor topology.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: rch on January 13, 2016, 08:21:26 pm
@rch At just 30W it sounds like your Weller is very underpowered, irrespective of heater + sensor topology.
Yes, sorry, looking at it, it is actually 40W.  But still underpowered.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: rch on January 13, 2016, 08:26:35 pm
If you're dead set on cartridge tips and located in Europe/UK, the take a serious look at JBC. Not cheap, but it's an absolute top performer.  :-+ Another would be the Hakko FX-950 (http://www.batterfly.com/shop/hakko-fx950?filter_name=fx-950) (batterfly.com has the lowest prices in the EU/UK; English option is at the top of the page).

That said, there are stations that use simple plated copper tips that can put the heat into a joint (fast recovery), such as Ersa's I-Con series (the I-Con Nano goes for 177EUR here (http://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/picking-a-soldering-station/50/?action=post;last_msg=841186)), or the Weller WS or WD, or WX series (one iron for the WX series uses RT series cartridge tips). In the case of the I-Con Nano, not only is the station less expensive, the tips are as well (102 series tips offer a lot of different profiles, and are well made, so last a long time).

Even the FX-888D (http://www.batterfly.com/shop/index.php?route=product/search&filter_name=fx-888d) would be an improvement over your 30W firestick.

Hope this helps.  :)


That's very helpful, thanks.   I assume all those are types are expected to be around for a few years.   Though I find that anything I buy tends to be declared obsolete the next week!
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: nanofrog on January 14, 2016, 02:44:07 am
That's very helpful, thanks.   I assume all those are types are expected to be around for a few years.   Though I find that anything I buy tends to be declared obsolete the next week!
Yes, the manufacturers mentioned have been around awhile, and AFAIK, are financially stable enough they should remain in business for some time yet.  :-+ So consumables and repair parts will be around for more than a week or so.  :-DD

As per obsolescence, soldering stations don't change radically or very quickly IME. For example, the venerable Hakko 936/937 remained in production for ~20 years IIRC (consumables & spare parts are still available), and the FX-888D is it's direct descendant. So the technology may be old, but it's still going strong.  ;)
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: AF6LJ on January 14, 2016, 03:06:35 am
Dirt cheap soldering station....
When I worked at Loral corp. We had Ungar right angle soldering irons that were plugged into a box with a lamp dimmer and an outlet. These worled surprisingly well, they never overheated and burned up the tip, and cost around $35.00 US, or less to build.

When my 25+ year old Weller station quit and the handpiece had to be replaced. I picked up a cheap iron from Radio Shack and used my variac to get a project finished, worked reasonably well. I will say I was glad when my new handpiece arrived from Mouser, because there is nothing like good tools. :)

This is easy to build, no soldering is required just some wire nuts and a screw driver.
A line cord
cable clamp
electrical box, (metal preferred)
wire nuts
An outlet
A dimmer
An outlet cover...
Finally a cheap but half way decent soldering iron, something that is designed to plug into the wall directly...

Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: un4tural on January 15, 2016, 07:29:37 am
https://gyazo.com/955539e932b1f303ec7fa0cfcca77b78 (https://gyazo.com/955539e932b1f303ec7fa0cfcca77b78)

well just to wait for it to arrive now, got some wick, tip cleaner and a finer tip. wasn't sure about their 8£ flux, will pick up alcohol based one with a brush i think, for easy cleanup.

edit: added some flux too after i slept on it, the 8£ tube of mg chemicals, 10ml No Clean Flux Paste 8341-10ML, was going to get a alcohol based one for easy cleaning after, but figured i rather get some reputable company flux rather than http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALCOHOL-BASED-SOLDERING-LIQUID-FLUX-SMD-RMA-REWORK-REFLOW-REBALL-NO-CLEAN-/121054733532?hash=item1c2f6ca4dc:g:jh4AAOSwabhUXRyn (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALCOHOL-BASED-SOLDERING-LIQUID-FLUX-SMD-RMA-REWORK-REFLOW-REBALL-NO-CLEAN-/121054733532?hash=item1c2f6ca4dc:g:jh4AAOSwabhUXRyn)

by the way circuit specialists support seems to be great, emailed late evening Angie got back to me 7:30 in the morning and just sent a paypal request, thing shipped later in the afternoon. unless they actually forgot the flux, it's quite amazing how quickly they got back to me.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KL27x on January 17, 2016, 07:24:52 am
Quote
was going to get a alcohol based one for easy cleaning after, but figured i rather get some reputable company flux rather than http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALCOHOL-BASED-SOLDERING-LIQUID-FLUX-SMD-RMA-REWORK-REFLOW-REBALL-NO-CLEAN-/121054733532?hash=item1c2f6ca4dc:g:jh4AAOSwabhUXRyn (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALCOHOL-BASED-SOLDERING-LIQUID-FLUX-SMD-RMA-REWORK-REFLOW-REBALL-NO-CLEAN-/121054733532?hash=item1c2f6ca4dc:g:jh4AAOSwabhUXRyn)
You can get RA from the same reputable company (MG) in 1000mL bottles for about 27.00 in the US. 100mL bottles for 10.00. I'm sure you can get it the UK from somewhere like Maplin or Farnell or w/e you guys have over there. MG 835.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: nanofrog on January 17, 2016, 07:49:40 am
Quote
was going to get a alcohol based one for easy cleaning after, but figured i rather get some reputable company flux rather than http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALCOHOL-BASED-SOLDERING-LIQUID-FLUX-SMD-RMA-REWORK-REFLOW-REBALL-NO-CLEAN-/121054733532?hash=item1c2f6ca4dc:g:jh4AAOSwabhUXRyn (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALCOHOL-BASED-SOLDERING-LIQUID-FLUX-SMD-RMA-REWORK-REFLOW-REBALL-NO-CLEAN-/121054733532?hash=item1c2f6ca4dc:g:jh4AAOSwabhUXRyn)
You can get RA from the same reputable company (MG) in 1000mL bottles for about 27.00 in the US. 100mL bottles for 10.00. I'm sure you can get it the UK from somewhere like Maplin or Farnell or w/e you guys have over there. MG 835.
Circuit Specialists sell MG Chemicals 835 (http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/liquid-rosin-flux/) (7.14GBP incl. VAT).  :-+
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Towger on January 17, 2016, 08:05:40 am
These days most of the staff in Maplin would now know what a soldering iron is, let alone flux.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: KL27x on January 17, 2016, 08:36:19 am
Interesting sidenote.

I was second guessing myself when I wrote that post. I thought I have seen MG in 125mL before, and that was what I initially wrote.

So I looked into this, and MG part numbers are
MG 835-10P           = 10ML pen
MG 835-1000ML     = 1000 mL bottle
MG 835-100ML   = 125 mL bottle

Mouser sells the pen and the 100ML for the same price. Buying liquid can be very economical, even if you never use half of it.

Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: un4tural on January 17, 2016, 10:15:32 am
ah well I'm cool with the gel one, compared to my russian crap this one works like god damn magic.

the station actually arrived today (they dispatch it yesterday + order adjustment) i paid for 3day service, got it pretty much next day as i placed order late in the evening.

in the spirit of EEVblog i did open it up and snap a few pictures, its actually quite tidy and looks a lot better than what  had, which rather horrendous. to my surprise it actually has 3, yes 3 fuses, one in UK plug, one at the plug on the station itself (both easy to replace) and a third glass one inside in those tweezers what you call em. snapped a few photos, ill upload them later.

did some soldering, it did struggle at first, but once it warmed up (burn in?) it did very well, not touch instant melt but it does quite damn good, haven't used a hakko 951 to compare (cartridge tips budget hakko?) but I'm quite satisfied, it keeps temperature up quite well and melts lead free quite easily on whatever (5+) layer phone motherboard.

the stand is fairly good too, with a little tip storage rack and a rather useless solder roll thing, its made of nice thick sturdy steel, quite heavy.

There was a rubber spatula like thing with a hole which looks like its supposed to be hung, which i got no clue what it is for.

all in all it feels nice and solid, handle is comfortable (was fiddling for good 3 hours without fatigue, cable is really nice rubbery and flexible.

also controls are simple it goes up/down by 2c every click, +/- or reset to 350. not as good as a knob but way better than that hakko 4button puzzle.

edit: the free tweezers are really quite good quality too, comfortable with really nice tiny tips to grab small parts with.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: nanofrog on January 17, 2016, 10:38:06 am
There was a rubber spatula like thing with a hole which looks like its supposed to be hung, which i got no clue what it is for.
It's a heat resistant rubber pad meant for grabbing/changing hot tips.

The hole is made for attaching it to the station's iron cord (see image).  ;)

(http://i.imgur.com/PfjhNY5.jpg)
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: wblock on January 17, 2016, 11:27:21 am
ah well I'm cool with the gel one, compared to my russian crap this one works like god damn magic.

the station actually arrived today (they dispatch it yesterday + order adjustment) i paid for 3day service, got it pretty much next day as i placed order late in the evening.

Just to be sure, it was http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/soldering/soldering-stations/bk-3000lf-70w-blackjack-solderwerks-lf-digital-solder-station/ (http://www.circuitspecialists.eu/soldering/soldering-stations/bk-3000lf-70w-blackjack-solderwerks-lf-digital-solder-station/)?

That is probably a rebadged Aoyue 2930.

Quote
did some soldering, it did struggle at first, but once it warmed up (burn in?) it did very well, not touch instant melt but it does quite damn good, haven't used a hakko 951 to compare (cartridge tips budget hakko?) but I'm quite satisfied, it keeps temperature up quite well and melts lead free quite easily on whatever (5+) layer phone motherboard.

The spring contacts in the handle on my Aoyue 2900 made poor contact initially.  Unscrewing the handle and bending them to give more pressure against the tip helped.

The accessories look just like what came with mine.  When you have the case off, be sure to check that the ground screw on the transformer is not loose.

It will be interesting to see pictures.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: un4tural on January 18, 2016, 02:22:17 am
the ground on transformer is secured with a nut and everything, j.hue capacitors 105c rated, don't inspire confidence but it look good inside, nice tidy everything is modular with connectors and a light dab of latex goo to keep them gently connected in case i shake really really hard i guess. all through hole components by the look of it here too, which is nice.

http://imgur.com/a/Eshla (http://imgur.com/a/Eshla) can't see the highly anticipated ground securing spot on transformer in the photos, sorry. Smells like electrons inside too which is good.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: Deus on January 22, 2016, 08:54:19 pm
Hi un4tural,

Curious.
Have you tested it?
First impressions?
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: MrSlack on January 22, 2016, 09:20:47 pm
Iron and stand is the same as my Aoyue one.

The stand solder spool is shit - throw it away. Passing the solder through the middle of the spool and dragging a few inches out is better than that spool!

You'll also find the little sponge tray doesn't stay flat and gets all boingy so whack the tab with a hammer a couple of times to bend it back before you screw it on. Otherwise it's not a terrible stand.

I just replaced mine with a Weller TCP though. Money well spent.
Title: Re: picking a soldering station
Post by: OilsFan on January 22, 2016, 09:41:17 pm
Dirt cheap soldering station....
When I worked at Loral corp. We had Ungar right angle soldering irons that were plugged into a box with a lamp dimmer and an outlet. These worled surprisingly well, they never overheated and burned up the tip, and cost around $35.00 US, or less to build.

I did something like that for years. I used a plug into the wall 60w MIJ Hakko iron which was indestructible (still have it) and had a wide range of tips. I had it plugged into a lamp dimmer for temp control. It was pretty ghetto but worked perfectly for many years. I now have the CS Premiere 75 watt.