Author Topic: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)  (Read 74285 times)

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Offline vtl

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Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« on: July 03, 2011, 05:13:04 pm »
You've probably seen these dirt cheap soldering stations on eBay; they can be had for just under $40 AUD delivered. I think a lot of the people with the branded stations will probably just dismiss them as cheap Chinese trash, but here is a review with pictures. I've had mine for about a year, using it pretty frequently. I got mine off ebay for under $40, just search "936C soldering station" and you'll get a ton of hits.


The unit:





 
This is the unit, pretty standard; it’s got temperature control, the holder with sponge. It’s the 220v version and the cord is directly wired to the station. They provide the unit with an adapter for the mains plug for your country. Unfortunately because the power cord is wired directly to the unit, you’ll have to mod the power cord to change the plug. Would not be difficult due to the simple wiring inside though.







 
This is the soldering pencil dismantled. At the base of the heating element theres a temperature sensor for the feeedback loop. Surprisingly, spare parts are readily avaliable on ebay. The iron came with a super fine conical tip which was utterly useless for general soldering. Its only useful for very small components because of the heat capacity.
I bought a chisel tip off ebay for a few dollars. Suprisingly the chisel tip came in Hakko packaging and the tip was tinned. Very happy with it.





 
One of the huge advantages of this iron is that it accepts standard Hakko 900M tips. The soldering pencil plug on the front of the unit is not Hakko compatible though. From the front of the unit you can see it has temperature control. The LED on the left lights up when the unit is heating up and goes out when it’s up to temperature. It’s running on a feedback loop so typically when its reached a steady state you’ll see the LED blinking on and off every couple seconds or so.

One important aspect of an iron is the time it takes to heat up. From cold, the iron took 52 seconds for the LED to go out and could melt solder. Certainly acceptable, those cheap Jaycar/DSE firesticks take ages to heat up. This thing is advertised as 50w iron, if you don’t trust the specs here’s the reading from a power meter:
 






 

The holder comes with a sponge in a removable tray. What I found was that the ring (marked in red) was painted with a paint that was unable to withstand the heat of the iron. So you get tiny bits of melted paint on the iron which is a pain. I ended up sanding the ring to bare metal and now its fine. The paint ends up flaking off when you do this so didn’t take me long. This is the only real gripe I have about the quality of the iron.


Dismantling:
Sorry, I did try to get the front panel off but it requires desoldering of the socket and I didn't want to attack it with my old firestick soldering iron.




 
Seems to be pretty simple construction, we have a single sided PCB on the front and most of the box is dominated by the transformer.







The tip is indeed grounded to mains earth. On the right the earth wire goes to the front panel to the front socket.



 
The PCB is just a single sided board and all the components are through–hole.
Most of the joints are quite good, looks like its gone though a wave soldering process. However, the wiring is soldered by hand on the production line and theres some flux residue. All the joints look fine though.
The left blob of goo is for the fuse on the top of the board, probably to reduce the possiblity of arcing on failiure. The glass fuse is soldered in, so it would be quite annoying to replace, especially having to remove all the goo.


Verdict:

Overall, I quite like the station, its served me well over the past year and works very nicely. Two things I’d recommend:
- Get a chisel tip, the fine conical tip is useless
- Sand off the paint on the rim of the holder


I've used this thing for general purpose through hole and SMD soldering, drag soldering for ICs up 0.5mm pitch with absolutely no problems. I think the quality overall is quite decent and certainly not worthy of being called cheap chinese junk. Sure a lot of stuff coming out of eBay is very questionable, I bought a hot glue gun from ebay that was downright dangerous in terms of how it was wired to the mains. But this is certainly worth a look if you want a decent iron.
 

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 05:23:18 pm »
The name is hilarious!

Dave.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 06:55:58 pm »
I think a lot of the people with the branded stations will probably just dismiss them as cheap Chinese trash

Not dismiss, but call it what it is, a cheap Chinese ripoff that isn't too great but apparently works. I won't want to have one of these around in a professional workshop where it would run 8 h/day, 5 day/week. But for occasional hobby use, why not?

Can you peak between the front plate and the PCB to identify the microcontroller they use? The 936 clones I have seen all had a 8051 kind of controller.
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Offline vtl

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 07:42:21 pm »
I think my main intention was to just say its not a peice of garbage that will attempt to melt your hand off. Yeah sure its a chinese knockoff but I think it'd hold up well in a Pepsi challenge when you look at the quality of the joints you end up with.

I just had another look at the front panel and seems like the pot knob you just pull it out. Don't know how I missed it before haha

Heres the front:



This thing is fully analog, no microcontroller in there. The DIP IC is a dual opamp and the TO-220 is a BT136-600E logic level triac and the little transistor is a 2N3906 npn. From the markings I don't beleive any of them are name brand parts. In the unlikely event anything did go wrong itd be a pretty easy fix though with the exclusive use of throughhole components.
 

Offline Chet T16

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2011, 08:03:44 pm »
I just got an Atten 938D which seems to be a slightly updated digital version of yours.

Couple of pics:



The boards inside are labled 936D so like i said, only a slight update with the 938D! Thats a PIC16F688 in there





It has the same BT136 in there too



If anyone wants more pics of anything let me know

Chet
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Offline saturation

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2011, 10:40:17 pm »
Thanks for the tear downs and photos!  Will study the photos and post later.

Hakko has let the clones go for years but began litigating ~ 5 years ago.  There are copies that look and work alike, such as AOYUE, to those that try to pass off as the real thing. If you want one of these types, get them while you can. 

http://www.hakko.com/english/company/ip/



With the 936 out of production, its less likely you'll fall for a counterfeit from eBay.

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/531570/is-this-a-counterfeit-hakko-936


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 Saturation
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 01:11:53 am »
Had a good look.  While there are a lot of superficial similarities, its inside were there are big differences.  But all depends on the type of duty these devices will see, the heavier the the use, the more the subtle advantages of the original are more apparent.

Hakko's somewhat humorous documents detail where a lot of the cost goes into making irons, where small variations in heat stability, or subtle design, will show itself in errors or damages that won't be visible except in a busy production line, or in having to meet government or military regulations that are of no consequence to home users.

http://www.hakkousa.com/detail.asp?CID=49,112&PID=1249&Page=7

Early this year a ham operator decoded and posted the entire schematic of the genuine 936, here, and his website has hi resolution pdfs.

http://www.n0ss.net/index_general.html



« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 01:13:38 am by saturation »
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Offline thmjpr

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 08:20:08 am »
Nice pictures

One of the great things is definitely the cheap/high quality tips. As you said they come in hakko packaging, made in japan. The body is also laser engraved.


 

Offline nukie

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2011, 09:00:00 am »
I don't like those flimsy converter plugs, IEC computer cables are everywhere, cut the plug off and swap the cable for the correct plug type. Those converters are fine for temporary use but the cheap ones don't fit tightly.

Those fake tips from ebay comes in fake packaging too. Hakko has changed the printing on the tips packaging a few times making it harder to spot. There's almost no difference in the printing on the packaging but if you buy a few tips of the same model you will see large inconsistency in their shapes when compared to a set of real tips. Don't be fooled by the laser inscription on the tips thinking they are real. Hakko actually supply their tips in bulk to authorised dealers in Japan that doesn't come in any packaging.

Having said that, I have many clone tips too, they work just as well I don't see any difference. The real tip actually turn ugly blue & brown earlier.

In grade A clones, you get a better transformer, I don't know what's the difference but it was what the store owner said, in-line mains fuse holder and genuine Hakko heating element . The wire is flexible but Hakko cable is lighter and has softer feel. When replacing heater element, look at the through hole vias, some clones don't have plating in them at all. So soldering on the copper trace surface won't work, you need to route the wires through the hole to the other side.

Almost all clones I've seen in China electronic stores do not have a foam grip. So if you got a real Hakko you got a foam grip. The Hakko 936s originate from Japan factory, most units after 1990s are made in Singapore. Likewise for FX-951. Early models of FX-888 were reported to originate from Japan but the later ones are made in Malaysia.

In terms of technology and complexity, the 936 is no match to advanced units like Metcal, JBC and the likes but turns out, simple things that works, wins. That's why they are so many clones out there. FYI, I saw the very first FX-951 clone sporting a yellow/blue 936 handpiece just a little under 3 weeks after the real FX-951 was released.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 10:43:37 am by nukie »
 

Offline bxs

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2011, 10:05:23 am »
Thanks for the photos, one Soldering Station will probably my next buy, so very interesting.
 

Offline vtl

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2011, 07:02:14 pm »
After taking the unit apart for photos numerous times I decided to just to change out the plug to the good ol Australian one.


Its fairly simple and doesn't require butchering anything. Was a bit annoying because I had to use my old soldering iron firestick and all the plating had long been worn off.



This shows the connections. You just desolder the live wire from the switch and desolder the ground from the tab. I could've desoldered the neutral from the front but that would require getting rid of the white goop so I didn't bother.



This units got a very nice screw-in stress relief for the power cord, makes it easy for modding. Heatshrunk and tied everything down and thats the final result.
 

Offline thmjpr

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 01:26:50 pm »
I don't like those flimsy converter plugs, IEC computer cables are everywhere, cut the plug off and swap the cable for the correct plug type. Those converters are fine for temporary use but the cheap ones don't fit tightly.
...
FYI, I saw the very first FX-951 clone sporting a yellow/blue 936 handpiece just a little under 3 weeks after the real FX-951 was released.

Interesting, thanks for the info.
 

Offline ciccio

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2011, 03:36:43 am »
Interesting: I'm looking at the photos of the UAKKO unit.
for what I see, the mains switch is wired to input  LIVE  conductor (brown) and the fuse is wired to NEUTRAL (blue).
This saves two pieces of wire, and maybe 50 cents of cost, but it's not allowed by any safety regulation:
LIVE must go first to fuse, then to switch.

Look at the real HAKKO schematic,  that is how it should be..




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Offline saturation

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2011, 05:48:45 am »
We've had an interesting but related issue with the Atten/Yihua/WEP 858D+ hot air workstation on eevblog; I had my 120V unit neutral wire as switched and the chassis wasn't grounded as paint insulated the casing from the ground wire; on another model on the thread the hot wire was connected by error as the chassis ground.

For no name and clone Hakko units,  it would be good to see a performance graph since there are some standards for soldering stations to meet, and it can be used to compare soldering stations with objectivity, than just subjective statements like 'heats quickly' and 'maintains temp'.  For example, the FX 888 brochures often show this graph in its sales brochure:



... and there are these, the green lines being less desirable.



To do such tests, all you need is a good thermocouple and a standard load, say a fixed sized copper coin or washer.

Interesting: I'm looking at the photos of the UAKKO unit.
for what I see, the mains switch is wired to input  LIVE  conductor (brown) and the fuse is wired to NEUTRAL (blue).
This saves two pieces of wire, and maybe 50 cents of cost, but it's not allowed by any safety regulation:
LIVE must go first to fuse, then to switch.
Look at the real HAKKO schematic,  that is how it should be..
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Offline gregariz

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2011, 06:17:37 am »
Frys have this for $69 at the moment... prices have really come down on this stuff. Prices of the Weller wes51 are down to $75. Those used to be well over 100
 

Offline ciccio

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2011, 05:05:10 pm »
Frys have this for $69 at the moment... prices have really come down on this stuff. Prices of the Weller wes51 are down to $75. Those used to be well over 100

If the price difference is so small, I think that I'll buy the Weller unit.... (the European version, model WS-51, has been discontinued and replaced by 80W model WS-81, thet costs more than 200 euros + VAT).
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Offline saturation

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2011, 12:11:23 am »
Yes, the Weller unit has a rebate, that's the final price; it may be different for other countries.
The Hakko is not stocked, so I guessed its just an old link.  I think for the most part most 936 have sold out; as when I couldn't find any more 936 for sale, magically the FX 888 was now available ... at least in the USA.

Frys have this for $69 at the moment... prices have really come down on this stuff. Prices of the Weller wes51 are down to $75. Those used to be well over 100
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Offline eternal_noob

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2011, 05:22:35 am »
I received my ATTEN 936b a week ago, and so far I'm pretty happy with it. It cost me only 48 USD or thereabout, shipping from China included, so I couldn't resist.
But I did some mods to the station and these include:

The original transformer was a wimpy 25VA unit which got pretty hot after some time in use, probably because the core is driven hard (high Flux Density) to preserve good regulation from the transformer. So, I changed it with a 50VA unit from an earlier project that never became anything. The thing is running much cooler now and the heat-up time has decreased from a little bit over 1 minute to 40 seconds when the temperature control is set at 325 degrees celsius. I can definitely feel that improvement when I'm soldering too. I also drilled a few holes here and there in the bottom of the case to try to increase air flow.

I changed the line cord to a longer one with a proper wall plug (German) for my country. I think I will also change the SPST line switch to a DPST when time permits.

To add some weight and make it possible to put some rubber feets on the iron stand, I cut out a piece of plywood, spray painted the edges black, then drilled a couple of holes in the stand and mounted the base plate with small rubber feets sticked to its bottom.


 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2011, 08:21:26 am »
Yes, the Weller unit has a rebate, that's the final price; it may be different for other countries.
The Hakko is not stocked, so I guessed its just an old link.  I think for the most part most 936 have sold out; as when I couldn't find any more 936 for sale, magically the FX 888 was now available ... at least in the USA.

Frys have this for $69 at the moment... prices have really come down on this stuff. Prices of the Weller wes51 are down to $75. Those used to be well over 100

There was still a 936 in-store last time I looked a few weeks ago, but they've been replaced by the new HakKo... so the only stock left is what is in store.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2011, 10:30:51 pm »
Looking at Farnell's offering, I note that real Hakko's are not available in many EU nations.  I presume they are not for sale there?

I was wondering how accurate and how quickly does the unit heat up?   See this thread:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=4208.0

If you have any eutectic lead free solder around, you can quickly test the calibration setting on your iron.  SnCu0.7 for example melts at precisely 227C. 

If you set your iron for that, I'd be interested in how quickly it comes up to that temperature, on the Hakko 936 it takes 20 seconds, from room temperature to melting solder.  Note, for best results the iron really has to be at room temperature as if you've used it within 30 min or so, it can still be warm and it will seems to heat up faster.

I received my ATTEN 936b a week ago, and so far I'm pretty happy with it. It cost me only 48 USD or thereabout, shipping from China included, so I couldn't resist.
But I did some mods to the station and these include:

The original transformer was a wimpy 25VA unit which got pretty hot after some time in use, probably because the core is driven hard (high Flux Density) to preserve good regulation from the transformer. So, I changed it with a 50VA unit from an earlier project that never became anything. The thing is running much cooler now and the heat-up time has decreased from a little bit over 1 minute to 40 seconds when the temperature control is set at 325 degrees celsius. I can definitely feel that improvement when I'm soldering too. I also drilled a few holes here and there in the bottom of the case to try to increase air flow.

I changed the line cord to a longer one with a proper wall plug (German) for my country. I think I will also change the SPST line switch to a DPST when time permits.

To add some weight and make it possible to put some rubber feets on the iron stand, I cut out a piece of plywood, spray painted the edges black, then drilled a couple of holes in the stand and mounted the base plate with small rubber feets sticked to its bottom.

« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 10:36:30 pm by saturation »
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 Saturation
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2011, 10:34:03 pm »
If I didn't own a 936 I'd get the Fx 888 immediately.  Hakko's customer support is very good.  The build quality is high, the parts are easy to find and of high quality, and you get a whole lot of workstation for the price, a similar iron stand with the brass wool, sponge and rubber cleaner are worth $30-60 by itself; its typical to the find the station for $80.  At its lowest the 936 sold for $75.



There was still a 936 in-store last time I looked a few weeks ago, but they've been replaced by the new HakKo... so the only stock left is what is in store.
[/quote]
« Last Edit: August 01, 2011, 04:58:07 am by saturation »
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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2011, 11:28:11 pm »
If I didn't own a 936 I'd get the Fx 888 immediately.  Hakko's customer support is very good.  The build quality is high, the parts are easy to find and of high quality, and you get a whole lot of workstation for the price, the iron stand with the brass sponge and rubber cleaner are worth $10-20 by itself; its typical to the find the station for $80.  At its lowest the 936 sold for $75.

Hakko for $80? My God, which country are you in?
Here in the UK, 936 is over £100 plus VAT, plus shipping, and it's impossible to get the desoldering stations, like 472D from official Hakko distributors.
I'll be in Toronto for a couple of weeks, and I wonder if Canada is any better off Hakko-wise than us in the UK.
 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2011, 11:32:44 pm »
This is simply why you dont buy things from official distributors but from Chinese people on ebay. However i bought my fx-888 and tips from seller on ebay "niosales". He is wonderful to work with and situated in USA
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Offline saturation

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2011, 11:35:55 pm »
Yes, $80.  In Canada, $100 plus add GST.

http://www.all-spec.com/products/FX-888.html




If I didn't own a 936 I'd get the Fx 888 immediately.  Hakko's customer support is very good.  The build quality is high, the parts are easy to find and of high quality, and you get a whole lot of workstation for the price, the iron stand with the brass sponge and rubber cleaner are worth $10-20 by itself; its typical to the find the station for $80.  At its lowest the 936 sold for $75.

Hakko for $80? My God, which country are you in?
Here in the UK, 936 is over £100 plus VAT, plus shipping, and it's impossible to get the desoldering stations, like 472D from official Hakko distributors.
I'll be in Toronto for a couple of weeks, and I wonder if Canada is any better off Hakko-wise than us in the UK.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline eternal_noob

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Re: Huakko 936C Soldering Station (Hakko 936 Clone)
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2011, 05:15:13 am »
Looking at Farnell's offering, I note that real Hakko's are not available in many EU nations.  I presume they are not for sale there?
I can get a 230V version of the FX-888 for 270-300 USD from RS (Radio Supply), but some months ago I ordered a 115V version from the US instead.

If you have any eutectic lead free solder around, you can quickly test the calibration setting on your iron.  SnCu0.7 for example melts at precisely 227C.
If you set your iron for that, I'd be interested in how quickly it comes up to that temperature, on the Hakko 936 it takes 20 seconds, from room temperature to melting solder.  Note, for best results the iron really has to be at room temperature as if you've used it within 30 min or so, it can still be warm and it will seems to heat up faster.

Sorry, I do not have any solder like that around here at the moment, but I compared the temperature settings between the ATTEN  and the Hakko, and they seem to be pretty much the same at lower temperatures. So, I set the ATTEN at 250C and the LED extinguished after 20 seconds. I doubt if the tip reached the pre-set temperature at that moment - maybe add 5-10 secs for temperature stabilisation(?)
 


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