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New Owner of an Old Weller? Or just get a FX888D?

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If I had bought a WTL or WES When I bought my first Hakko 888 Analog about 2008 then maybe I would have saved a lot of money.

In the time I broke three 888 handles (to be fair i was quite rough with them, and not 100% sure both my replacements were genuine Hakko), then upgraded a few more times.... a friend who has been using his old blue Weller since even before I bought my 888 Analog, still working perfect - still the only iron he uses.

I saw you can get the base for an older Weller pretty cheap - under $50 shipped. Is it worth it even for an occasional usage, considering that price is base only -  I can imagine with tips and handle on top it exceeds the cost of a new FX888D. This got me wondering if it's worth it to buy some used old Weller or if I should just plunk down the $100 or so and toss a FX888D on the shelf as a backup unit should I need to replace my main iron again.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the matter.

Depends how you are breaking them. There looks to be Japanese import replacement Hakko FX8801 handles on Amazon for $50. A1560 heaters from are $20. B2022 nipples are $6.

Buy a Weller.

I've tried a few other irons but always end up back with the Weller.

I took inspiration from another user here and rewired the *expensive* Magnastat as a sensor rather than power switch and used it to trigger a triac.

I find a WTCPT beats FX888 for general purpose soldering. The Weller has more thermal mass, more heat and the Hakko is just frustrating.
T12 clones I also find not so great because they are cheaper tips which have more steel in the tip, copper is like gold in china. I have not tried a genuine Hakko cartridge.
Overall, I don't find T12 clones beat the Weller aside from tip variety and smaller ones better suited for SMT.

Have not tried WE1010NA USD $142 Mouser or Digi-Key and maybe that's worth looking at? (aside from the missing primary fuse fiasco).

I think the Magnestats fail due to contact arcing, the 24VAC solenoid-style transformers have tons of leakage inductance and Weller did add a small cap (in the handle) but it's too small a value to do anything. Adding a triac sounds like a very good way to go.

edit: added url

I use the Magnastat on mine to drive an SSR (I happened to have a suitable one), rather than a straight triac. Removing the capacitor made it become very intermitent - those silver alloy contacts are designed for current switching. Putting the capacitor back restored completely reliable operation, it provides just enough oif a current spike to keep the contacts clean when closing at 24V, but without wear.


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