Author Topic: IRONS!  (Read 19242 times)

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Offline ecowarriorTopic starter

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IRONS!
« on: February 23, 2011, 08:49:47 pm »
Couple of things - Dave, step away from the multimeters - do a review of some different soldering irons maybe? Different price brackets same as you've done with the multi's?

Secondly (reason for the above I guess), I've got a Weller SP25L - Wellers were recommended as being good quality, and I'm sure they are.... so WHY am I on my 5th tip after only two small electronic projects?  They are the Weller MT1 tips, and for whatever reason the tips seem to break a chunk off after a while.  What am I doing wrong? I'm quite gentle with the iron to be honest, I'm not over-sponging it (at least, I don't think so), I've got a little can of that tip-cleaner/tinner and use that every now and again, but... well, I'm going to have to order yet another set of tips again now, and I don't know why.  I don't remember older soldering irons I've used in the past being quite so fragile?
 

alm

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 09:08:03 pm »
Secondly (reason for the above I guess), I've got a Weller SP25L - Wellers were recommended as being good quality, and I'm sure they are.... so WHY am I on my 5th tip after only two small electronic projects?  They are the Weller MT1 tips, and for whatever reason the tips seem to break a chunk off after a while.  What am I doing wrong? I'm quite gentle with the iron to be honest, I'm not over-sponging it (at least, I don't think so), I've got a little can of that tip-cleaner/tinner and use that every now and again, but... well, I'm going to have to order yet another set of tips again now, and I don't know why.  I don't remember older soldering irons I've used in the past being quite so fragile?
The red Weller soldering irons are their cheap consumer-level ones, the good quality ones are the blue ones (eg. WSD81). The SP25L appears to use the horrible screw which is guaranteed to get stuck and break at some point to retain the tip.

Using lead-free solder on tips that were not designed for this also tends to decrease their lifespan, probably because the flux in lead-free is more aggressive. Not sure if the MT1 is designed for lead-free.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 09:24:12 pm by alm »
 

Offline ecowarriorTopic starter

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2011, 09:19:48 pm »
'spose it could be the solder - it's lead free silver solder I'm using.

The way I'm using up tips it might just be cheaper to go get a better iron!
 

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 10:38:26 pm »
Soldering iron tips are constructed as below:



As you can see in the core you have copper to transfer heat effectively to the tip. The nickel plating serves as a base for the chrome plating which does not form a metallic bond with solder (it doesnt 'wet').

The tip of the...tip is coated with iron that forms a metallic bond with solder. A layer of tin is applied during production of the tip. The thickness of the iron varies, it is particularly thick for ERSADUR tips pictured.

When you scratch the tip, apply excessive force, bend it or otherwise damage the iron plating, the copper core is exposed. Tin literally dissolves copper. As a result, after a while your tip looks like it had a piece of it bitten away. Do not feed solder directly onto the tip!. Lead free solder has much more tin (almost entirely tin) that leaded solder. Use leaded solder whenever possible and wash your hands before eating!.

Iron oxidises in oxygen.  Applying a layer of solder on the tip protects the iron from reacting with oxygen. Always apply solder before putting the iron back in the stand.

This reaction happens faster at elevated temperatures. Use the minimum temperature that will create consistent solder joints and/or get a temperature controlled soldering iron. For lead-free solder 320 deg C is a good starting point.

Cleaning the tip on a wet sponge causes thermal shock to the layers of plating. Different metals contract at different rates therefore repeated cleaning causes the layer stack to fall apart. Get a dry tip sponge.. The mild abrasive action cleans off residues of burnt flux too.



Use the tip cleaner only if the above have failed, otherwise you wont need to.

Tin forms intermetallic bonds with the iron plating on the tip, 0.5 micro meters being typical. Every time you clean your tip some of the iron that formed the bonds with tin is wiped away. Tips will eventually die.

Following the tips in bold will maximise the life of your tip.

I have an ERSA ICON-2 that I can review, but I don't have the hot tweezers for it. It is at the top of the range for hand soldering/desoldering that does not involve IR. Dave can review some of the lower end stations/irons, but there is not much to it and I dont think he has such a thing about soldering irons. But I am sure other members have very good stations that they can post reviews of. I also have access to a great value for money OKI PS-900 which I could slip under the door for a review.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 10:43:38 pm by Alex »
 

Offline ecowarriorTopic starter

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 10:57:27 pm »
That's fantastic information, thankyou.

I'm definitely still at the budget end of electronics but still, I'm sure I can get this iron of mine to laster longer than a couple of capacitors and a resistor!!!
 

Alex

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 11:08:33 pm »
Hey, np.

For further information check on the IPC website www.ipc.org. They do standards and training material that you have to pay for, but also do excellent samples that can be found here http://www.ipctraining.org/demos/index.html

In particular you can watch this specific training movie on soldering tip care. http://www.ipctraining.org/movies/dvd15c.wmv. The music and acting is terrifying to say the least but the information is spot on.

There is a wealth of information on soldering on the IPC website for free. Over to you.
 

Offline Zad

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 08:54:15 pm »
Health and safety people look away NOW.

Maybe it is the blatant disregard for just about everything, or just a side effect of learning to solder before I was 7, but I acquired a knack of flicking excess solder off the bit. It sounds dangerous, but I have had far fewer incidences of solder splashing back or nasty metal bits flying around with this method, than I have from using a sponge. If that doesn't work, then spit on your finger (yes, elegant I know) and quickly *wipe* it across the bit. For obvious reasons, don't lick your finger. Kitchen towel seems to be better than sponge if you want to really clean the bit before re-tinning.

Don't come running to me if you try any of this and die or something, but the lifespan of my bits tends to be of the order of years rather than hours.

Offline Time

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 09:02:06 pm »
I also use the flick method.  I have pretty good aim.
-Time
 

Alex

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 09:03:29 pm »
Also good for desoldering  ;)
 

Offline Wim_L

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 10:55:12 pm »
Yeah. Melt the solder, then shake the board until the solder (and perhaps the components) come falling off. Surprisingly, it often works better than a solder sucker.
 

Offline pmrlondon

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 10:16:40 am »
I have tended to use catalytic gas soldering irons for a while - partly because sometimes I need to solder in awkward places where the available power sources do not include mains and might not even include 12V DC. I borrowed a rechargeable iron once but found it awkward.

In any case, I too have had tips fail a lot since trying to use lead-free solder. Oddly, my "quick" supplier, who also supplies my present soldering iron, no longer supplies any other kind of solder. The tips for that soldering iron do not last if used with lead-free solder, or at least, haven't as yet, quickly getting eaten away. New ones might be better. This effect actually led to the tip outlasting the catalyst more often than before.

I'm actually on my third gas soldering iron - the first one had to be scrapped as it was hard to get parts for and the second, an Antex, developed a gas leak. The one I have now is actually a rebadge of the Antex, so at least the flame torch and hot blower are still good.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 01:17:43 pm »
My next review will be the FX-888
Reviewing and comparing soldering irons is kinda hard, but buying them is kinda easy.
Stick to the major name brands, and use genuine tips, get a variable temp one, and that's about it.
You pretty much can't go wrong with any of the major name brands.
Lots of personal preference involved in this sort of stuff.

Dave.
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 01:54:53 pm »
You pretty much can't go wrong with any of the major name brands.
if reviewing the brand name is easy, maybe how about the technique of soldering (Dave's way). i just got shocked watching video #168 (lab setup) when the conical tip is said to be terrible. i use it all my life. there are problem sure, but i get used to. maybe i should look the chisel type next time.

Yeah. Melt the solder, then shake the board until the solder (and perhaps the components) come falling off. Surprisingly, it often works better than a solder sucker.
i pull the component with hand or other tool while melting the lead's solder. shaking and solder suck is the 2nd last solution after brute force. i fell shaking the board will damage the other components i try to salvage. just my way :P

Nature: Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness (Stephen L. Talbott): Its now indisputable that... organisms “expertise” contextualizes its genome, and its nonsense to say that these powers are under the control of the genome being contextualized - Barbara McClintock
 

Offline Zad

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2011, 06:03:37 pm »
I don't understand the liking for conical soldering iron tips either, I guess it is because I was brought up on flat tips, so that is what I am most adept at using. When you have been soldering since before you started school, I guess these things can get quite deeply ingrained. I just don't see how you can get decent heat transfer with a rounded / pointed tip, but Limor Fried (Lady Ada) seems to like them. It would be awfully boring if we all liked the same things wouldn't it!

I remember when I started Uni, we did a few months at a local college learning physical skills such as machining, soldering, wiring installation etc (truly an excellent idea). One of the challenges we were set, was to make a simple "house" (a cube with a tetrahedron on it) from copper wire soldered together at the corners. One thing I remember was how utterly useless some of the high-flying students were, the other thing I remember is the disappointment on the lecturer's face when he tried to pull my neat shiny joints apart.

Amazing how 60W precision temperature controlled irons seem to have somehow become essential for even the most casual of electronics hobbyists now, when even 10 years ago most technicians here were perfectly competent with relatively cheap fixed power irons. I guess "gear inflation" hits most hobbies, it is the classic deception that people new to any particular hobby think that more gear (and more expensive gear) will make them better at it more quickly, or will be a substitute for skill.

Offline Neilm

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2011, 06:26:37 pm »
.
 I guess "gear inflation" hits most hobbies, it is the classic deception that people new to any particular hobby think that more gear (and more expensive gear) will make them better at it more quickly, or will be a substitute for skill.


Everyone want the "latest and greatest". One guy at work the other day was complaining as his iron did not have a temperature readout. I couldn't help remembering one time I had to repair a PCB. I was in a desert miles from anywhere. The only thing I had was a very old gas pen iron. It just about got hot enough to melt the solder. Still think I should have tried a magnifying glass.

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Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2011, 06:29:07 pm »
I don't understand the liking for conical soldering iron tips either
i like something that can do the job by me only thinking of it :D chisel/flat tip is nowhere to be found here locally. conical/round tip is everywhere, and i started soldering after i finished my study :P i have this tips, dont know what to call it, shape BC/C and shape K in http://www.hakko.com/english/tip_selection/series_t18.html but i keep them as spare, in case my conical become unusable, dont know how good they will be, any hands on advice appreciated. and i bought the temp control due to being afraid of damaging temp sensitive smd parts.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 06:35:16 pm by Mechatrommer »
Nature: Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness (Stephen L. Talbott): Its now indisputable that... organisms “expertise” contextualizes its genome, and its nonsense to say that these powers are under the control of the genome being contextualized - Barbara McClintock
 

alm

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2011, 09:27:00 pm »
Amazing how 60W precision temperature controlled irons seem to have somehow become essential for even the most casual of electronics hobbyists now, when even 10 years ago most technicians here were perfectly competent with relatively cheap fixed power irons.

Some alternative reasons:
  • Parts were larger back then (eg. more SOIC instead of TSSOP, QFN or BGA). Cheap irons often don't have a wide selection of tips (if you have any choice at all).
  • SMT wasn't as dominant.
  • Almost nobody was using lead-free solder.
 

Offline ilikepez

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2011, 02:30:58 am »
Can anyone recommend a battery operated soldering iron? I know the butane ones are much better but not an option where it will be used (aluminum smelter). Just looking for something for occasional PCB work and lots wire tinning in the field.

I have a Hakko FX-888 on the way too. Seems like a good unit and it should be a big improvement over the Radio Shack one that I have used for years.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2011, 11:44:32 am »
You won't find a decent battery powered iron. Those which are powered from a couple of AA cells are only a few watts and are operated via a normally open switch which is fine for quick, simple jobs but not for anything serious.

A real soldering iron needs too much power to be supplied from a battery for long periods of time, a couple of AA cells will only supply 12W for 15 minutes, so it isn't practical. The only solution would be to power a 12V iron from a sealed lead acid battery or 10 C or D cells connected in series.

Here's a link to a 35W 12V iron which is temperature controlled, fixed at 370oC
http://cpc.farnell.com/1/1/3619-tcp-soldering-iron-12v-tcp12v-cooper-tools-weller.html
data sheet

Battery life will probably be a couple of hours when run from 10 4500mAh NiMh C cells connected in series, although it's difficult to estimate accurately as it will depend on the ambient temperature and what you're soldering.

There seem to be a greater range of 24V irons but that means using 20 NiMH batteries, although AA cells will probably do as the current requirements will be lower.

 

Offline Thomas

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2011, 05:10:06 pm »
How about the Weller WSM 1C? http://www.coopertools.eu/page/showPage/lang/en/pageId/45/p/6380/lastPageId/13081
It looks half decent: 40W, 1 hour LiFePo4 battery.

There is also a version without battery, WSM 1.
 

Offline insurgent

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2011, 03:21:18 am »
Can anyone recommend a battery operated soldering iron? I know the butane ones are much better but not an option where it will be used (aluminum smelter). Just looking for something for occasional PCB work and lots wire tinning in the field.

Hakko makes this that runs about $30
http://www.hakkousa.com/detail.asp?CID=49&PID=2434&Page=1

It doesn't specify wattage, just that it does 600F for 120 minutes. It would probably be OK for the PCB work but unknown how it would perform for wire tinning or any other similar work.
Since it runs on 4xAA cells and based on Hero999's info above, it may not cut the mustard for what you are looking to do with it.

Quote
I have a Hakko FX-888 on the way too. Seems like a good unit and it should be a big improvement over the Radio Shack one that I have used for years.
I almost bought that unit as well. I ended up with an FX-951 off of ebay with 3 tips for $170. A tad bit more than I wanted to spend but it was a good price and I'm a sucker for LED displays. ;)

 

Offline kaptain_zero

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2011, 02:28:18 pm »
Hakko makes this that runs about $30
http://www.hakkousa.com/detail.asp?CID=49&PID=2434&Page=1

It doesn't specify wattage, just that it does 600F for 120 minutes. It would probably be OK for the PCB work but unknown how it would perform for wire tinning or any other similar work.
Since it runs on 4xAA cells and based on Hero999's info above, it may not cut the mustard for what you are looking to do with it.

From the spec sheet at Hakko USA it appears to only consume 5W to 6W depending on the battery type:

Quote
Model Name    FX-901
Part Number    FX-901/P
Power Consumption    Alkaline batteries (AA)  6V (6W)
N-MH batteries (AA) 4.8V (5W)
Battery    Type AA x 4 (not included)
Outer Dimensions (w/o cap)    212 (L) x 40 (W) x 23 (D) mm
(8.3 x 1.6 x 0.9 inch)
Weight
(w/o batteries)    76 g (0.17 lb.)
 

Offline nukie

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2011, 01:56:54 am »
I don't understand the liking for conical soldering iron tips either, I guess it is because I was brought up on flat tips, so that is what I am most adept at using. When you have been soldering since before you started school, I guess these things can get quite deeply ingrained.

That's true, I grew up using conical tips because my 18yrs old cheapo Hakko Red 30W with standard conical tips was the only one I can afford back then. I tried hard to switch to flat tips but never got used to it. It was too troublesome to rotate it around. Nowadays I solder mostly smd, with a 0.2mm conical which I doubt they have it in flat.

I just don't see how you can get decent heat transfer with a rounded / pointed tip...
Flux and a bit of fresh solder on the tip is a great way to transfer heat.

One thing I remember was how utterly useless some of the high-flying students were, the other thing I remember is the disappointment on the lecturer's face when he tried to pull my neat shiny joints apart.
Skill takes time to develop. Your lecturer got PWNed.  :D

Amazing how 60W precision temperature controlled irons seem to have somehow become essential for even the most casual of electronics hobbyists now, when even 10 years ago most technicians here were perfectly competent with relatively cheap fixed power irons. I guess "gear inflation" hits most hobbies, it is the classic deception that people new to any particular hobby think that more gear (and more expensive gear) will make them better at it more quickly, or will be a substitute for skill.
These stations are essential for they are mostly grounded/earthed. Those two pin cheapies are not. Fast heating, soldering stations such as the new Hakko FX-888 are actually a bargain to those medieval tech nichrome irons. See how the topic starter had his tip corroded? I have 936 tips made by Hakko, Vanier Solder and chinese clones. They lasted for years and still going without a hint of corrosion. This is because heat coming out from the core instead of heating from the outside. Same as highend Metcal, Weller, JBC, Antex(maybe not so high). The expansion of the tip happens from the inside then to the outside.

Those cheapos tips don't have proper coating on the tips for a start. And guess why some people on the net warn not to apply solder directly to the tips? I have been applying solder to my tips since as early as XTs computer, I've destroyed screw clamped tips but not on temperature controlled iron tips. I seen some solder station tips that are badly damaged in the industry but those are due to 2-3 years of constant misuse(temperature dial maxed out) and lack of maintenance.

i have this tips, dont know what to call it, shape BC/C and shape K in http://www.hakko.com/english/tip_selection/series_t18.html but i keep them as spare, in case my conical become unusable, dont know how good they will be, any hands on advice appreciated.
My experience with genuine Hakko tip, is they start to corrode from the inside which is uncoated but it's nothing to be alarm of. The surface where you will be soldering will last many years if you clean your tip regularly with the damp sponge. If damp sponge doesn't work, don't panic. Just feed generous amount of normal 60/40 solder to the tip, let the flux remove the oxidization and wipe on sponge again. There's a tip cleaner made out of brass wool which will not scratch the tip coating and cause thermal stress. I just use the damp sponge it's much exciting to hear it sizzle.

If you use anything stronger than RMA flux then extra care is required. In that case, don't stab the solder on to the tip.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 02:23:50 am by nukie »
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2011, 06:56:35 am »
My experience with genuine Hakko tip, is they start to corrode from the inside...I just use the damp sponge it's much exciting to hear it sizzle.
If you use anything stronger than RMA flux then extra care is required. In that case, don't stab the solder on to the tip.
thanx for the tips. but i've been doing that the same, sponge, sizzle, tinning etc. i was wondering the difference between different tips shape (cone, slanted cylinder, knife shape). and i would like to add for very stubborn dirt (i dont know where they come from) where sponging and tinning dont work, i just put the tip in the container full of zinc cloride flux (plumber's flux) and clean with sponge/cotton, a shiny like new tip i will have, but be careful it will corrode the uncoated part, but i dont care much since thats not where i'm soldering. and tips are replaceable anyhow. but i dont see any need to replace it soon albeit its corroded part, sand paper will fix it i think, but no need yet. just me.
Nature: Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness (Stephen L. Talbott): Its now indisputable that... organisms “expertise” contextualizes its genome, and its nonsense to say that these powers are under the control of the genome being contextualized - Barbara McClintock
 

Offline nukie

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2011, 02:18:37 am »
and i would like to add for very stubborn dirt (i dont know where they come from) where sponging and tinning dont work

I get those from occasional accidental PVC soldering :D. The stubborn dirt will dislodge after sometime. If you are concern about them, turn up the heat and stab some fresh solder around the spot. The flux will eventually work it's way from the sides. Damp sponging will only lower the temperature of the tip surface and make it harder for stubborn spot removal.

While the iron is hot, you can try with a piece of dry paper, it acts as very mild abrasive. Failing that, try scraping with a piece of throw away wooden chopstick that you usually get with sushi or chinese takeway. Both methods will result in burn & smoke so move to fresh surface frequently. I've never used sandpaper for dirt removal only when I need to reshape the tip for soldering parts such as SC70 packages.

Where in Malaysia did you get your Hakko?
 

Offline ilikepez

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2011, 11:56:56 pm »
Hakko FX-888 arrived today. Nice iron, I spent about 2 hours catching up on all the little soldering jobs I have been putting off. It heat up so quickly I thought there was a problem at first, but I checked the temp and it was right on the money.

Its well built and solid feeling. I like the stand which is probably one of the more stable stands I've ever used. I wasn't soldering anything huge of course but it kept its temp just fine.  Much better then the Radioshack plug in ones I've used over the last couple years.

The only thing that didn't feel completely solid was the plug for the iron. It was a little loose. Not that you yank it much or even plug and unplug it that often, but its the first place I would check if it suddenly stops working.

Over all I think the Hakko was a good buy for the 100 usd I payed after tax and shipping.
 

Offline shadowless

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2011, 01:09:44 am »
I am using the FX888, generally there is not much design to these industrial tools but i really like the design thoughts put into this iron.  The layout of the base station is really neat and clear. The smaller footprint is ideal for me to store away as i do not have a permanent bench. The metal stand is well made with the cleaning sponge and brass shaving integrated and easily removable for clearing the solder debris. The stand is design specifically for the iron so that it slot right in at the collar and does not move around.  It is a very good piece of industrial design and it makes soldering a joy.

It heats up fast and maintain temperature well. Turns on and off by a mechanical switch at the base station on the side which i always do when i stop to prepare the parts in between solder.

I am looking to get some tip tinner, any advice on which brand to get?

 

Offline Trigger

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2011, 05:41:33 pm »
I went with the FX-951 because the heating element and sensor is part of the tip and the sleeves allow for quick changes since I'll usually end up using a few different tips as I work through a board for different components.
 

Offline reagle

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2011, 01:27:03 am »
I've been waiting for a good deal on a Metcal on ebay for quite a while, until it finally hit me that for my home use a brand new Hakko FX-888 setup is a better deal than a used Metcal with unknown life left in the power supply and pretty expensive tips. Should see my Hakko in a few days :)

Offline insurgent

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2011, 02:54:42 am »
I went with the FX-951 because the heating element and sensor is part of the tip and the sleeves allow for quick changes since I'll usually end up using a few different tips as I work through a board for different components.

Hey Trigger,

I have an FX-951 as well that I purchased off of ebay. Do you have the "sleep" cable that runs from the base to the handpiece stand? If so, would you please check continuity on it and let me know how it's wired? I know the stand switch is working but I tried a standard audio cable but it didn't seem to work and was wondering if theirs was wired different so they could sell a $0.10 cable for $10.00 :D
 

Offline reagle

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2011, 11:40:48 pm »
Got my Hakko FX-888. Awesome quality, even has a signature of the designer on a little tag on the bottom. That's attention to details!

Offline Trigger

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #31 on: May 27, 2011, 12:00:22 am »
I went with the FX-951 because the heating element and sensor is part of the tip and the sleeves allow for quick changes since I'll usually end up using a few different tips as I work through a board for different components.

Hey Trigger,

I have an FX-951 as well that I purchased off of ebay. Do you have the "sleep" cable that runs from the base to the handpiece stand? If so, would you please check continuity on it and let me know how it's wired? I know the stand switch is working but I tried a standard audio cable but it didn't seem to work and was wondering if theirs was wired different so they could sell a $0.10 cable for $10.00 :D


It's wired straight through tip-tip, mid-mid, base-base
 

Offline RCMR

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2011, 02:46:45 am »
I know everyone's going to say "don't skimp" but I was wondering whether any of those myriad of soldering stations you see on the Chinese websites are worth the money.

I was going to buy the reflow gun that Dave reviewed recently -- until I saw all the other bad aspects raised in the forums so I've decided to give that a miss -- which leads me to also ask - are any of the low cost (ie: <$120) Chinese hot air rework stations worth the money?

Right now I get buy with an uncontrolled 25W iron that I run through a light dimmer (to set the temp -- but without regulation) and it's working just fine but I'd like to get something a little more sophsticated :-))
 

Offline nukie

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2011, 03:30:47 am »
If you know how to fix stuff then it's really bang for buck. Treat them as a kit that requires disassembly then re-assembly. Add some heatshrink, do some rework on the shitty soldering and wiring then you are done. The plastics, metal pieces, electronic components are manufactured so the quality can be considered consistent. It's the workmanship that counts.
 

Offline insurgent

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2011, 04:29:12 am »
Quote
It's wired straight through tip-tip, mid-mid, base-base

Thanks Trigger. The standard cable works fine. What's strange is that I tried it before and I didn't work at all which is what made me ohm out the switch. I just tried it again and the sleep function works fine. Must have has a bad connection the first time.
 

Offline ilikepez

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #35 on: May 30, 2011, 04:09:38 pm »
Somehow I ended up ordering the Hakko FX-901 battery operated iron. I think it snuck into my cart with some books I was buying online. Anyway I got it and it actually works alright. 4 AA batteries give it power for about 60 minutes. Enough to do a bit of soldering anyway. It heats up to a good temp and solders well, but it doesn't seem to recover very quickly. Which of course it wouldn't, its only a 7W iron.

Anyway, for doing a few small soldering tasks out in the field I would recommend it. But if I was going to spend more then fifteen minutes soldering I would seriously think about going back to the shop.

Its pretty well built. Good solid feeling plastic. The switch is a bit cheap buts its only a $30 iron. It does end up being cheaper then the butane powered alternatives, so I'm keeping it.  I can post a video of it sometime if people are interested.
 

Offline insurgent

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2011, 03:05:45 am »
Hi ilikepez,
Thanks for the info. I, for one, would be interested in seeing a video or pic review of this unit.
 

Offline Ronnie

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #37 on: June 22, 2011, 07:02:52 am »
My next review will be the FX-888
When will this be? I bought a FX-888 last Jan 2011 from Hakko Philippines.
 

Offline shadowless

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Re: IRONS!
« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2011, 10:11:26 pm »
I think it is part of the recent soldering review video.
 


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