Author Topic: Weller WES51 Digital soldering station vs. Hakko FX888 soldering station  (Read 35060 times)

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Offline boostedsupra

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hello forum, i am in my first year of college for my electrical engineering degree. we are doing lots of lab work, lots of precise soldering. the tool kit we received has a less than stellar Weller 25W SPL23L soldering iron, pretty much junk in my eyes for doing precision work on detailed boards and components. i watched the review on Youtube about the Hakko FX888 soldering station, i liked the Hakko and have heard nothing but good about them.  i was recommended by a friend who is an EE in the Avionics field, who does lots of bench work to look into the Weller WES51 Digital soldering station. i am torn on which to go with as i have heard lots of horror stories about how Weller's quality has gone south ever since they moved their main production plant to Mexico. I know the Hakko is a manual twist nob to increase temps, as the Weller is a manual twist nob with a digital temp readout, and the price is a little more for the Weller, but i wanted some unbiased opinions on these units, pro's and con's, durability of both, how precise the temp is on the Hakko vs. the Weller, and so on. thanks so much
 

Offline free_electron

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Digital readout is overrated. Get the WES51. 50$ cheaper but the same iron ...
If you really want to do precise work : start searching for a WSP80 or used MT1500 ...
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Offline IanB

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I own the FX888 and like it. The quality of design and construction is good and it feels nice in the hand. The manual knob for temperature control is all you need really. Since the iron has regulated temperature control you just find the appropriate temperature setting for the kind of solder you are using and leave it there. Digital temperature displays are just like flashing lights on a hi-fi system--they don't improve the sound quality, they just look fancy.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline boostedsupra

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free electron:i just found and have my eyes on a Weller WSD80 station with the WSP80 80W iron, of course it is used but in great shape and a great price, is that a pretty decent unit?

IanB: yeah i hear ya about the whole flashy digital lights. just was not sure at how accurate a simple twist knob is compaired to a unit that has a micro processor regulating the temps. the twist nob can get bumped and throw the temp off versus having a digital temp lockout that does not allow the temp to fluctuate, and stays at the desired temp. another nice feature on the Weller's both analog and digital is auto shut off, something the Hakko lacks, while it is not needed, a nice feature to have.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 10:50:31 AM by boostedsupra »
 

Offline T4P

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Auto shut off -
Only useful if you are such a person who always forgets . Save your money with the FX-888 .
Anyway in where i live the Weller WES51 ( the analog version ) still costs 100$ more then the FX-888 .
And frankly , any reasons for needing auto shut off ?  ;)
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Offline SharkWrangler

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The Hakko FX-888 has a temperature lock that you can control with a set screw. While it's not as simple to use as a digital lock, it still provides that function if you find to you need it.

I'd also recommend the Hakko as an excellent iron for the money.
 

Offline IanB

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just was not sure at how accurate a simple twist knob is compaired to a unit that has a micro processor regulating the temps.

The digital readout on the display has no influence on the speed and effectiveness of the temperature control loop. Quite honestly, the accuracy of the control knob is one of the least important factors when selecting a soldering station.

Quote
the twist nob can get bumped and throw the temp off versus having a digital temp lockout that does not allow the temp to fluctuate

This could be a concern, though I have never found it to be an issue. If you are worried, there is a lock feature on the dial to prevent it being turned accidentally.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Online amspire

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I vote with IanB. I always go for the controllers with the knob over the digital controllers if I can help it.

When the knob has the molded pointer, I don't even have to look at the position - I know where I want it by feel for normal use, where I want it for soldering a connection on a ground plane of a multilayer board, and where i want it when I am not currently using the iron, but I still want it hot so it is almost ready for use.

Not worried about accidentally knocking the knob. You can tell by the way the iron behaves and the solder oxidizes if the temperature is way off anyway.

Richard.
 

Offline boostedsupra

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thanx everyone for the comments, and Ian, thanx for the info about digital vs.analog. after doing some more online research the Hakko seems to be the better choice, for price and quality, i keep seeing people having lots of quality issues with the newer Wellers, from failing power switches, to transformer issues. Would not expect that from a company who used to have a great reputation and seeing how the cheapest analog station starts at $110 US and goes up from there. and i really dont wanna buy a used discontinued model, because of possibility of the unit not working and the availability of finding parts.  will post some reviews and pics of the Hakko in action on some lab projects at school when i recieve it. thanks
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 01:43:17 PM by boostedsupra »
 

Offline free_electron

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The analog knob on the wellers turns very hard. For a reason.... If you bump it , it will not turn. You need to firmly grasp it to change it.

I have four of the wsp80 irons. They are still in production and will be for a long time. As for spare parts. You can get parts even for 40 year old wellers. There will be parts for wellers even after all of us have decomposed to dust ...
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Offline saturation

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Either the Weller or Hakko go for ~$80 on Amazon.com, as far as I've tracked them they are literally at each others throats in price for over a year, and in reviews its between 4.5 versus 5 stars, respectively.  Given those differences, the Hakko is a better bet in quality, but Weller isn't far behind.

However, Weller as a company is far worse to deal with compared to the friendliness of Hakko USA.

The WESD51, digital readout is not worth the extra money, particularly for individual use.  Its basically an analog station with a digital readout, still requires manual calibration, WESD refers to it as temperature "offset".  It far more tedious to do,  than simply turn the cal pot on an analog station so the printed scale points to the right temp as shown by a tip thermometer.  If you read the manual for the WESD, it would make Rube Goldberg proud.



« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 02:04:56 AM by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline voltamp

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I also want to buy the hako fx888, the problem is I cannot find one rated at 220v (for use in Europe). Any ideas where to look for?

Thank you
 

I also want to buy the hako fx888, the problem is I cannot find one rated at 220v (for use in Europe). Any ideas where to look for?

As discussed several times on the forum, 220/240 V versions are rare and expensive. Deal Extreme offers one for approx. $120, although people are worried it might be a fake.
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Offline nanofrog

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If you're looking for a name brand, then Weller is probably going to be your best bet, particularly for a new station. Used might open up other opportunities, such as Ersa or JBC for example, but these are rather expensive new. Other than that, you'd be looking at the stuff coming out of Asia (there are reviews here).

Weller Europe: http://www.cooperhandtools.com/europe/electronics_products/weller/index.htm

Hakko is available in Europe (220V version), but it was 135GBP last I checked.
Just like Peter Pan, every time you say "Siglent" another oscilloscope dies. ;p
 

Offline typeglob

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Offline T4P

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Deal Extreme offers one for approx. $120, although people are worried it might be a fake.
I have one of those and I'm convinced it is a fake. Works fine, and looks genuine enough, but there's a completely different PCB in there and a differrent power switch, transformer and diameter of cable to the iron (thought it is heat-resistent silicone).

I'm not convinced it's a fake. It's just a MIC version but not OHL
But it is still wwwwaaayyyyy too much for being a 936 inside
No point buying the DX one when you can have a 936 for much less ( Because, like i said it's the same )
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Offline voltamp

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So which do you think is better, buying a weller station at 220v or buying the 110v hakko and using a 100w 110 to 220v transformer?
 

Offline Codemonkey

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You can buy 230V Hakko irons in europe from Dancap Electronics: http://www.dancap.co.uk/soldering/fx888.html
 

Offline voltamp

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I have contacted with them and they say they don't ship outside UK
 

Offline LEECH666

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My main soldering station is a WSD81 and I am very happy with it. Bought it used on eBay for around 120 to 160 Euro (can't remember the exact price). I've never dealt with the Weller customer service, but my station is out of warranty anyway.

Cheers,
Florian
 

Offline WorldPowerLabs

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However, Weller as a company is far worse to deal with compared to the friendliness of Hakko USA.


I've never contacted Weller, but Hakko's service is great.  Very responsive, and they actually stock parts for discontinued items (at fairly reasonable prices, too).

In the electronics lab of the company where I used to work, we had 936s going all day, 5 days per week without a single failure.  That's why I bought one for myself 8 or 9 years ago and mine still works flawlessly.  I've only had to replace tips a few times.  The Hakko irons are very comfortable in the hand, too.

My experience with using Wellers is limited to the older models, so I don't know how comfortable their newer irons are...

 

Offline nanofrog

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My experience with using Wellers is limited to the older models, so I don't know how comfortable their newer irons are...
The iron handles I have are quite comfortable IMHO (WMP & WP80 irons).

Weller's QC has declined compared to what you're acustomed to with the older models, and generally are expensive (a WMP or WP80 iron alone is $122USD; adding a stand brings it up to $158USD, either of which cost more than an entire FX-888 here in the US).
Just like Peter Pan, every time you say "Siglent" another oscilloscope dies. ;p
 

Offline M. András

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haha try to consider the wrmp iron thats expensive, but really small lightwieght and easy to work with
 

Offline T4P

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haha try to consider the wrmp iron thats expensive, but really small lightwieght and easy to work with

Dude, the 936's handle feels good and isn't too big or too small, but an wmrp is plain overkill and modern weller is a POS
http://the4thpin.comeze.com <-- Rants and Reviews! sorry my english  :palm:
 

Offline nanofrog

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haha try to consider the wrmp iron thats expensive, but really small lightwieght and easy to work with
True, but the WMP and the WP80 are just irons (no power unit or stand). ;)
Just like Peter Pan, every time you say "Siglent" another oscilloscope dies. ;p
 


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