Author Topic: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?  (Read 5085 times)

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Offline timothydavidson

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Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« on: September 02, 2016, 10:51:57 am »
Hello! I'm looking for a soldering iron for under $100 and I've heard the hakko fx-888d is the best for the money. Is there anything else I should consider? Thanks!
 

Offline pigrew

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2016, 12:54:01 pm »
A Weller WES51 is another choice. I've never used the 888D, so I can't personally compare them.

I recently purchased a Hakko FX-951, and its handle seems slightly flimsy and it's annoying to have to use the up/down buttons to change the temperature. I like having a nice knob so that the temperature can quickly be adjusted, and I doubt that a few degrees either way (the WES51's adjustment is difficult to set more precisely than ten degrees) will make a significant difference in the soldering performance. However, the FX-951 does solder quite well.

There are numerous threads discussing this very topic, for example:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/weller-wes51-digital-soldering-station-vs-hakko-fx888-soldering-station/
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 01:26:18 pm by pigrew »
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2016, 01:25:56 pm »
Either the Weller WES51 or Hakko FX-888D will fit within your budget, and are both decent stations.

The Weller uses a knob so is really easy to control. Hakko's UI isn't all that wonderful, but users deal with it (most don't change temps that often it seems). Hakko's tips have thicker plating than Weller's and will last longer with proper care (i.e. not unheard of for a Hakko tip to last 10+ years). Weller's tips are made all over the globe, and production coming from Mexico has a noticeable defect rate (where the WES51 + its tips are manufactured).

Also, keep in mind both of these stations are entry level models, not their best performers. I think of them as gateway stations; they get you hooked and then you trade up.  :-DD
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2016, 08:37:22 pm »
888D might be the last iron I buy. If you live in the US, where the station and tips are cheap and easily available, it is pretty hard to beat. UI is dumb, but once you get your presets programmed it isn't bad. At 65W, it will get most jobs done. For the footprint and cost, can't be beat.

The iron stand is perfect. I tried to build my own stand for a different iron, trying to copy my Hakko 888. How hard can it be? I was off by a few degrees here and there, and it turned out unbearable, haha. Hakko has been doing this for a long time and it shows in the details.
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2016, 10:11:13 pm »
Also, keep in mind both of these stations are entry level models, not their best performers. I think of them as gateway stations; they get you hooked and then you trade up.  :-DD

I started with a Hakko 936 and traded up to an FX-951, then scored a Metcal MX-500 very cheap.  I find that I don't change the temp on the 951, I keep mine set at 650F and have no issues.  I also have 700F cartridges for the Metcal and they also work fine.  As KL27X says, program your favorite temps and leave it.
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Offline k_sze

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2016, 01:02:32 pm »
The FX-888D is actually horrendous in terms of user interface. It may perform well in terms of thermal recovery and such, but it's a real pain to work with. The FX-951 has a similar UI design issue. You can find lots of complaints on the Internet.

The only control you need on a soldering station is temperature, and a knob has been the perfect interface. If you can spend a little extra, I'd suggest going for the FX-950.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2016, 04:32:20 pm »
Also, keep in mind both of these stations are entry level models, not their best performers. I think of them as gateway stations; they get you hooked and then you trade up.  :-DD

I started with a Hakko 936 and traded up to an FX-951, then scored a Metcal MX-500 very cheap.  I find that I don't change the temp on the 951, I keep mine set at 650F and have no issues.  I also have 700F cartridges for the Metcal and they also work fine.  As KL27X says, program your favorite temps and leave it.

A feature that is often overlooked here is the ease of changing tip shapes to fit the job. Much more important than adjusting temperature IMO.
Drain the swamp.
 

Online Zero999

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2016, 07:12:10 pm »
The title of this thread made me laugh "Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?"

It never has been the best soldering iron. They have always been much better soldering irons around.

What I think the original poster intended to ask is if Hakko fx-888d is the best value for money as a soldering iron for the beginner?

I have one. It's the US model but I'm in the UK so run it from a step down transformer. The only problem I've had is the temperature control has drifted wildly, with the indicated value being much lower than the actual temperature. I haven't done any real measurements  but I know it's wrong as I need to have it set to 200oC to melt solder, any higher and it's too hot. I suspect the actual temperature is probably around 300oC to 400oC
 

Online newbrain

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2016, 07:28:47 pm »
UI is dumb, but once you get your presets programmed it isn't bad.

This.
I am under the impression that a lot of complaints are from people who did not thoroughly read the "manual" (that scant leaflet). And the setting process is also annoying, but one has to do it only once.
Trying to change the temperature directly without presets is absolutely horrible, but, honestly, who really needs a 1° (C/F)?
It's also possible to limit the number of presets: I have three, but in practice only two are used a "regular" one for my Sn/Pb solder and a "high" one for lead-free (repairs, salvage).
Nandemo wa shiranai wa yo, shitteru koto dake.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2016, 01:57:29 am »
A feature that is often overlooked here is the ease of changing tip shapes to fit the job. Much more important than adjusting temperature IMO.
True, but in this case ($100 budget), both recommended irons use screw collar/nut type tip retaining methods. But honestly, they're not that hard or take an incredibly long time either. Of course, having additional tip retaining tubes makes it a LOT easier, and they're inexpensive IME.  >:D

Also please keep in mind that even some of the cartridge systems meant to be super fast & easy to swap out tips don't always quite measure up to the expectations. For example, the JBC equipment review by Louis Rossman certainly comes to mind (trying to remove a cartridge picked up the entire stand  :palm:). FWIW, I've never heard of this with the Compact line, and perhaps the iron handle itself just needed to be broken in as it were.  :-// But I'd imagine it might turn some customers off during a test drive.
 

Offline timgiles

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2016, 03:25:27 am »
FX-950 is a great iron. In terms of usability - the knob / dial works extremely well as you can imagine. Once you measure and offset your particular irons temperature, it is accurate across the whole range. Heats up as quick as anyone should need. Only fly on this great piece is cost. Prehaps in the US it is cheaper, but here is Europe it cost me (even in a sale) a tidy sum. The online shop I bought it from suggested it came with tips, it did not. So several real Hakko tips later, I had spent out almost half the price of the unit again for the bare minimum tips.

Since then I have bought 10 additional 'ebay' tips for it. The iron uses T12 and T15 which are identical except for being made for different markets. Read this as there is no difference between them except the ones sold in the far east are far cheaper.

So 4xT15 tips and a whole slew of T12 tips and I feel I can solder almost anything with my iron. Very happy - if a little light in the wallet!

One other thing to mention. Even though I received a perfectly packaged soldering station, that was clearly brand new, the manufactured date is 2007! So it had sat in various warehouses for 8 years!!
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Is the Hakko fx-888d still the best soldering iron?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2016, 03:46:40 am »
FWIW, the FX-950 isn't available in North America, as there's no need. The FX-951's MSRP is only ~$270 here.

Sadly they don't have anywhere close to a deal like this for the rest of the world, and it sucks.  :--

Best deal in the EU is probably the i-Con Nano for simple plated tips, and the JBC Compact series for cartridge tips (the 2700 series analog station is still being manufactured, and can be had for ~300EUR shipped IIRC; Weidinger Edition for example).
 


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