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Pace soldering station on Ebay, what else do I need?

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Chris Wilson:
This soldering / de-soldering station is on Ebay here in the UK. The seller gives no real info, but can anyone familiar withthese things tell from the (good) photos just what's included, and what else I would need to make it solder and de-solder none surface mount components from typical PCB boards? I have a clean dry source of pressure regulated compressed air, that's no problem. I am not sure if thes have an inbuilt pump or not. Can you still get bits for these? I have found Pace UK's phone number, I'll ring them tomorrow, but would value any independent opinions. Thanks. Here's the link:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pace-MBT-SensaTemp-PPS-85-E-Solder-Station-ThermoTweeze-Thermopik-3-Channel-/320805758436

Hakko stuff is hard to find over here, used. Cheers.

Fraser:
Chris,

I now have a lot of PACE soldering and desoldering equipment and I had already seen the item your are referencing. I decided not to buy as it isn't truly a desoldering station in its current form. I will explain.

The PPS85 is quite an old station but I believe it has an inbuilt pump which is good, provided it isn't a turbine pump with a lot of hours on it ....the turbine pumps are rated at 1500 hours before replacement is required ! They cost around GBP150 +VAT. If a diaphragm pump is used, they last a lot longer.

The set that is for auction contains a thermotweeze minus bits and a thermojet. there is another handpiece that is not detailed. It may be another (new) thermojet. The thermotweeze is designed for SMD device removal and the bits are mega expensive. expect to pay around GBP40-50 per pair ! The Thermojet is designed for very small SMD rework. It is a pretty wimpy device and has little use except on individual SMT IC pins. Useless for removing an SMT IC. Thermojet tips are crazy prices for what they are. Again, expect to pay GBP40 per tip ! There is no desoldering handpiece as far as I can tell. The desoldering handpieces also cost a fortune. A new one will set you back GBP175 or so and a used one, around GBP100 ! The desoldering tips can normally only be purchased in packs of 5 at around GBP25+VAT per pack. You will been at least two sizes of tip so that will be GBP50 for more tips that you will likely ever need.

There is no soldering iron included. PACE soldering irons are well made but use expensive tips costing around GBP5 each....but you have to buy them in packs of 5 just like the desoldering tips. You sometimes find them individualy on ebay for around GBP7-8 each. The soldering iron itself will cost you around GBP 130 + VAT. Spare elements can be found on ebay for around GBP75 !

I have spent quite a lot of money on PACE kit but I have one rule that I tend to follow, if it isn't a complete PACE solution that has all the major parts that I require...pass on it. I have found PACE kit to be good but the parts prices are typical commercial rates that will quickly empty your wallet.

This is why a seller is willing to take GBP240 for a kit that would cost you more than GBP2500 new....it isn't complete.

I have a beautiful PACE Hot Air Rework station for which I paid around GBP50 the other day. Its superb quality and has all manner of programming options to set ramp temperatures and duration BUT, and it is a big BUT, it is without its heater element. An Aoyue heater element will set you back around GBP10 delivered or a cheaper Chines supplier will sell one for GBP3 delivered. Both work and are rated at around 250W 220-240Vac. Now the PACE heater... that is a differnet matter... PACE have combined the heater with the exhaust tube to make a nice simple plug in heater module....very nice...the price ? GBP460 + VAT please...tat is 460 +VAT in case you think I entered a typo ....CRAZY prices for the commercial world.

I love PACE kit but can't recommend it on cost grounds... consider some of the better Chinese offerings unless you have lots of spare cash.

Hope this helps...sorry if it's long winded and a bit of a Rant  ;)


UPDATE: The MBT 2xx series stations use a long life diaphragm pump. This looks to be such a unit.

Chris Wilson:
Wow, what a fantastic reply, thanks for taking the time to go into such detail, I am so glad I asked!! I will definitely pass on this, there's no way I could justify that sort of money. I find all this soldering / de-soldering stuff advertised a bit of a minefield. I am not one to buy the cheapest, but nor do I need something more appropriate to a production environment. I do need SOMETHING half decent to solder and de-solder with, beyond my current 18 watt Antex iron, and an el cheapo soldering gun. I also have a "big boy" 100 watt plus iron for heavy work. I tried a friends commercial soldering station a while ago and was amazed how much better it was having proper control of the iron's tip temperature. I am happy to buy used, but we do not seem to get the Hakko stuff many rave about over here in the UK, at least not used on good old Ebay. I have, being in the motor racing game, air bottles and compressors for compressed air, and I can refill air bottles myself. I believe some vacuum de-soldering stations rely on an external pump for compressed air? I have that covered.

As you said, a complete kit is what I need and hope to find, not something I immediately need to spend a fortune on just to make use of the thing. I'll keep looking, there are so many different ones, from so many different makers, it's a bit daunting. Again, thank you so much, I could well have made an offer for that and been in a right mess. All the best!

PS Looking at your lab I need a bench lamp, ideally one with a built in magnifying lens, my eyesight has become more focal length fickle of late, bloody age is creeping up on all sides! :(

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