Author Topic: Weller WES51 Digital soldering station vs. Hakko FX888 soldering station  (Read 55105 times)

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Offline boostedsupra

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hello forum, i am in my first year of college for my electrical engineering degree. we are doing lots of lab work, lots of precise soldering. the tool kit we received has a less than stellar Weller 25W SPL23L soldering iron, pretty much junk in my eyes for doing precision work on detailed boards and components. i watched the review on Youtube about the Hakko FX888 soldering station, i liked the Hakko and have heard nothing but good about them.  i was recommended by a friend who is an EE in the Avionics field, who does lots of bench work to look into the Weller WES51 Digital soldering station. i am torn on which to go with as i have heard lots of horror stories about how Weller's quality has gone south ever since they moved their main production plant to Mexico. I know the Hakko is a manual twist nob to increase temps, as the Weller is a manual twist nob with a digital temp readout, and the price is a little more for the Weller, but i wanted some unbiased opinions on these units, pro's and con's, durability of both, how precise the temp is on the Hakko vs. the Weller, and so on. thanks so much
 

Offline free_electron

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Digital readout is overrated. Get the WES51. 50$ cheaper but the same iron ...
If you really want to do precise work : start searching for a WSP80 or used MT1500 ...
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Offline IanB

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I own the FX888 and like it. The quality of design and construction is good and it feels nice in the hand. The manual knob for temperature control is all you need really. Since the iron has regulated temperature control you just find the appropriate temperature setting for the kind of solder you are using and leave it there. Digital temperature displays are just like flashing lights on a hi-fi system--they don't improve the sound quality, they just look fancy.
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Offline boostedsupra

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free electron:i just found and have my eyes on a Weller WSD80 station with the WSP80 80W iron, of course it is used but in great shape and a great price, is that a pretty decent unit?

IanB: yeah i hear ya about the whole flashy digital lights. just was not sure at how accurate a simple twist knob is compaired to a unit that has a micro processor regulating the temps. the twist nob can get bumped and throw the temp off versus having a digital temp lockout that does not allow the temp to fluctuate, and stays at the desired temp. another nice feature on the Weller's both analog and digital is auto shut off, something the Hakko lacks, while it is not needed, a nice feature to have.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 12:50:31 am by boostedsupra »
 

Offline T4P

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Auto shut off -
Only useful if you are such a person who always forgets . Save your money with the FX-888 .
Anyway in where i live the Weller WES51 ( the analog version ) still costs 100$ more then the FX-888 .
And frankly , any reasons for needing auto shut off ?  ;)
 

Offline SharkWrangler

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The Hakko FX-888 has a temperature lock that you can control with a set screw. While it's not as simple to use as a digital lock, it still provides that function if you find to you need it.

I'd also recommend the Hakko as an excellent iron for the money.
 

Offline IanB

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just was not sure at how accurate a simple twist knob is compaired to a unit that has a micro processor regulating the temps.

The digital readout on the display has no influence on the speed and effectiveness of the temperature control loop. Quite honestly, the accuracy of the control knob is one of the least important factors when selecting a soldering station.

Quote
the twist nob can get bumped and throw the temp off versus having a digital temp lockout that does not allow the temp to fluctuate

This could be a concern, though I have never found it to be an issue. If you are worried, there is a lock feature on the dial to prevent it being turned accidentally.
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Offline amspire

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I vote with IanB. I always go for the controllers with the knob over the digital controllers if I can help it.

When the knob has the molded pointer, I don't even have to look at the position - I know where I want it by feel for normal use, where I want it for soldering a connection on a ground plane of a multilayer board, and where i want it when I am not currently using the iron, but I still want it hot so it is almost ready for use.

Not worried about accidentally knocking the knob. You can tell by the way the iron behaves and the solder oxidizes if the temperature is way off anyway.

Richard.
 

Offline boostedsupra

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thanx everyone for the comments, and Ian, thanx for the info about digital vs.analog. after doing some more online research the Hakko seems to be the better choice, for price and quality, i keep seeing people having lots of quality issues with the newer Wellers, from failing power switches, to transformer issues. Would not expect that from a company who used to have a great reputation and seeing how the cheapest analog station starts at $110 US and goes up from there. and i really dont wanna buy a used discontinued model, because of possibility of the unit not working and the availability of finding parts.  will post some reviews and pics of the Hakko in action on some lab projects at school when i recieve it. thanks
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 03:43:17 am by boostedsupra »
 

Offline free_electron

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The analog knob on the wellers turns very hard. For a reason.... If you bump it , it will not turn. You need to firmly grasp it to change it.

I have four of the wsp80 irons. They are still in production and will be for a long time. As for spare parts. You can get parts even for 40 year old wellers. There will be parts for wellers even after all of us have decomposed to dust ...
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Offline saturation

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Either the Weller or Hakko go for ~$80 on Amazon.com, as far as I've tracked them they are literally at each others throats in price for over a year, and in reviews its between 4.5 versus 5 stars, respectively.  Given those differences, the Hakko is a better bet in quality, but Weller isn't far behind.

However, Weller as a company is far worse to deal with compared to the friendliness of Hakko USA.

The WESD51, digital readout is not worth the extra money, particularly for individual use.  Its basically an analog station with a digital readout, still requires manual calibration, WESD refers to it as temperature "offset".  It far more tedious to do,  than simply turn the cal pot on an analog station so the printed scale points to the right temp as shown by a tip thermometer.  If you read the manual for the WESD, it would make Rube Goldberg proud.



« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 04:04:56 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline voltamp

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I also want to buy the hako fx888, the problem is I cannot find one rated at 220v (for use in Europe). Any ideas where to look for?

Thank you
 

Offline Bored@Work

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I also want to buy the hako fx888, the problem is I cannot find one rated at 220v (for use in Europe). Any ideas where to look for?

As discussed several times on the forum, 220/240 V versions are rare and expensive. Deal Extreme offers one for approx. $120, although people are worried it might be a fake.
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Offline nanofrog

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If you're looking for a name brand, then Weller is probably going to be your best bet, particularly for a new station. Used might open up other opportunities, such as Ersa or JBC for example, but these are rather expensive new. Other than that, you'd be looking at the stuff coming out of Asia (there are reviews here).

Weller Europe: http://www.cooperhandtools.com/europe/electronics_products/weller/index.htm

Hakko is available in Europe (220V version), but it was 135GBP last I checked.
 

Offline typeglob

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Deal Extreme offers one for approx. $120, although people are worried it might be a fake.
I have one of those and I'm convinced it is a fake. Works fine, and looks genuine enough, but there's a completely different PCB in there and a differrent power switch, transformer and diameter of cable to the iron (thought it is heat-resistent silicone).
 

Offline T4P

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Deal Extreme offers one for approx. $120, although people are worried it might be a fake.
I have one of those and I'm convinced it is a fake. Works fine, and looks genuine enough, but there's a completely different PCB in there and a differrent power switch, transformer and diameter of cable to the iron (thought it is heat-resistent silicone).

I'm not convinced it's a fake. It's just a MIC version but not OHL
But it is still wwwwaaayyyyy too much for being a 936 inside
No point buying the DX one when you can have a 936 for much less ( Because, like i said it's the same )
 

Offline voltamp

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So which do you think is better, buying a weller station at 220v or buying the 110v hakko and using a 100w 110 to 220v transformer?
 

Offline Codemonkey

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You can buy 230V Hakko irons in europe from Dancap Electronics: http://www.dancap.co.uk/soldering/fx888.html
 

Offline voltamp

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I have contacted with them and they say they don't ship outside UK
 

Offline LEECH666

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My main soldering station is a WSD81 and I am very happy with it. Bought it used on eBay for around 120 to 160 Euro (can't remember the exact price). I've never dealt with the Weller customer service, but my station is out of warranty anyway.

Cheers,
Florian
 

Offline WorldPowerLabs

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However, Weller as a company is far worse to deal with compared to the friendliness of Hakko USA.


I've never contacted Weller, but Hakko's service is great.  Very responsive, and they actually stock parts for discontinued items (at fairly reasonable prices, too).

In the electronics lab of the company where I used to work, we had 936s going all day, 5 days per week without a single failure.  That's why I bought one for myself 8 or 9 years ago and mine still works flawlessly.  I've only had to replace tips a few times.  The Hakko irons are very comfortable in the hand, too.

My experience with using Wellers is limited to the older models, so I don't know how comfortable their newer irons are...

 

Offline nanofrog

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My experience with using Wellers is limited to the older models, so I don't know how comfortable their newer irons are...
The iron handles I have are quite comfortable IMHO (WMP & WP80 irons).

Weller's QC has declined compared to what you're acustomed to with the older models, and generally are expensive (a WMP or WP80 iron alone is $122USD; adding a stand brings it up to $158USD, either of which cost more than an entire FX-888 here in the US).
 

Offline M. András

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haha try to consider the wrmp iron thats expensive, but really small lightwieght and easy to work with
 

Offline T4P

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haha try to consider the wrmp iron thats expensive, but really small lightwieght and easy to work with

Dude, the 936's handle feels good and isn't too big or too small, but an wmrp is plain overkill and modern weller is a POS
 

Offline nanofrog

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haha try to consider the wrmp iron thats expensive, but really small lightwieght and easy to work with
True, but the WMP and the WP80 are just irons (no power unit or stand). ;)
 

Offline M. András

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haha try to consider the wrmp iron thats expensive, but really small lightwieght and easy to work with
True, but the WMP and the WP80 are just irons (no power unit or stand). ;)
its only the iron http://www.weller.de/products/product.php?pid=51
the station and the iron's stand another story :)
edit: im thinking about eaither buying a new tip for this cos the stock one 1 f**** small (rt3) eiather a gull wing style rt10 or the 55watts one chisel tip rt11 or to buy a complete 120watts wp 120 set for higher mass soldering

sorry for the completly off topic
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 04:38:14 pm by M. András »
 

Offline LEECH666

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My irons from left to right:

Pace SP-2 Sodr-Pen - Kind of in between the other two. Not bad. Belongs to my 3 channel Pace MBT-250 (among other hand pieces).

The WSP 80 soldering pen that comes with the WSD-81 station is excellent in my opinion. Very light and fits my hands perfectly.

LR-21 soldering iron. Belongs to my older Weller WECP-20. Gets hot on the grip after a while. I wouldn't recommend it for continuous use and it's too bulky for my taste.

I don't use them 24/7 but i have a feeling that, even though they are old stations, they will last me a long long time.

I don't know the new Weller stations, but who really wants a freaking touchscreen (unprotected LCD?) on their soldering station? Is Weller trying to be Apple now or what?

Cheers,
Florian
 

Offline M. András

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if you are referring to the wx series stations. i dont know who had the idea of make the irons "smart" by giving it a simple small memory to store settings specific to it. while completly rendering the old irons useless with the station series cos it simply wont recognize them or dunno i dont have 1 and never will. i love tools which are multipurpose. as a base station it should be drive all of their irons (smiling at a wr3m rework station, but the cost of them makes me sad)
 

Offline nanofrog

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edit: I'm thinking about either buying a new tip for this cos the stock one 1 f**** small (rt3) either a gull wing style rt10 or the 55watts one chisel tip rt11 or to buy a complete 120watts WP 120 set for higher mass soldering
At least it's not a conical tip.  ;) But yeah, 1.3mm is too small for general use IMHO as well.

I'd go for the RT11 for general use, and the RT10 if you do a lot of drag soldering (I'd be concerned with getting too much solder in the joint for general use). Definitely cheaper than going with the 120W iron + stand + tips though (unless there's something you're doing that needs that large an iron).  :P
 

Offline EEMarc

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I bought a Weller WESD51 when I started my company a few years back making circuit boards. I used be really like it. It had very good tips that lasted a long time. It is fast to heat up and recover from heavy duty soldering. It even looks great. I liked it almost as much as the significantly more expensive solder stations that I've used over the years. The only downside I had was the complicated tip calibration albeit I am an EE which makes it not a big deal for me.

Last year, I recommended the station to a friend and bought a stock of tips. That friend wasn't happy when it showed up dead on arrival. Defects happen. Then I changed my old tip and started using it. I noticed almost soon after that the solder wasn't sticking to the tip in certain areas. It made is more difficult to use. After a thorough tip cleaning, it returned to normal... for a while. I switched tips to another and it was equally as bad. I am now going through tips at a rate of over $100 per year, from the original tips I purchased a few years ago. They also require much more cleaning. I feel like I switched back to a cheap soldering iron. Apparently Weller went cheap with their WESD51 tips.

Just this past week, another friend mentioned to me that he is considering switching his 4 Weller WES51 soldering stations to Hakko. I'll try his stations if he ends up switching. I am seriously considering switching to something else myself. It's kind of a shame because I really like the look of my WESD51 station more than any other station I've seen. The Hakko models look like they were made by Fisher Price.

 

Offline T4P

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But hakko is very reliable as of it now.
 

Offline saturation

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Ah, yes, but a good Fisher Price  ;D, why not have some nostalgia?  We enjoy our toys.  I have been buying my Hakko stuff direct from the USA office and bypassing the dealers, because there are no minimum purchases and you know it can't be counterfeit coming direct from the main office. 

Weller isn't the same company that gave us the older WESD51.  A company willing to design a station like the WX 2, even if it looks professional, is more toy like in functionality and adds uneeded complexity to its capabilities, raise a lot of questions about their motives; not to mention it was bug ridden on release.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/general-chat/weller-wx-2-soldering-station-product-video/msg106014/#msg106014

Here from eevblog user Wartex, How can you argue with Hakko's level of customer service? :

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/general-chat/hakko-customer-service/msg90760/#msg90760



..The Hakko models look like they were made by Fisher Price.


Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline T4P

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Wow  :o
 

Offline IanB

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The Hakko models look like they were made by Fisher Price.

But they work like champs! And why shouldn't engineers have a sense of aesthetics anyway? Does my lab have to look dull and boring just because I work in it?
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline M. András

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edit: I'm thinking about either buying a new tip for this cos the stock one 1 f**** small (rt3) either a gull wing style rt10 or the 55watts one chisel tip rt11 or to buy a complete 120watts WP 120 set for higher mass soldering
At least it's not a conical tip.  ;) But yeah, 1.3mm is too small for general use IMHO as well.

I'd go for the RT11 for general use, and the RT10 if you do a lot of drag soldering (I'd be concerned with getting too much solder in the joint for general use). Definitely cheaper than going with the 120W iron + stand + tips though (unless there's something you're doing that needs that large an iron).  :P
the problem with this micro pencil, when you tin large wires or high area of copper. its simply small you cant put force on the tip cos its too fragile, i already bent 1mm from the 90degree angle out when i knocked it out of the magnetic stand with the cable landed on the tip, and grabbed by the cable before it fully hit the wood a good 50cm fall, and the base unit can support up to 150watt, its the single channel version but with the same 150watts af the dual channel, however there are two wd1m station 1 is 80 the other is 150 watts, ohh and the thing loves to heat up the aluminium handle little warm, but not unconfortable, it heats up mostly when used at 400celsius or more than 10 minutes, nothing serious, side effect of the metal/metal contact. if someone intrested i can take pics from the thing at any angle
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 07:51:19 pm by M. András »
 

Offline nanofrog

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the problem with this micro pencil, when you tin large wires or high area of copper. its simply small you cant put force on the tip cos its too fragile, i already bent 1mm from the 90degree angle out when i knocked it out of the magnetic stand with the cable landed on the tip, and grabbed by the cable before it fully hit the wood a good 50cm fall, and the base unit can support up to 150watt, its the single channel version but with the same 150watts of the dual channel, however there are two wd1m station 1 is 80 the other is 150 watts, ohh and the thing loves to heat up the aluminium handle little warm, but not uncomfortable, it heats up mostly when used at 400Celsius or more than 10 minutes, nothing serious, side effect of the metal/metal contact. if someone intrested i can take pics from the thing at any angle
The larger RT11 tip should help though (would think it has more mass as well as surface area).

Since I'm using different irons on a WD1, I don't have that issue. Even the WMP seems to be a bit more sturdy (tip is mostly a stainless steel tube, with the tip just on the end). As both are plastic & silicone (there is metal under the plastic), I don't have the handle heating issue.

I've always wondered about that BTW, so thanks.  :) Newer ones appear to be aluminum as well. Not sure why they did this other than maybe can take a bit more abuse. But if the tips are that fragile, I'd expect a lot of tip damage before the handle, even if it were plastic.  :-\

The tips on the WMP don't have a lot of mass, so the larger iron is needed to tin larger gauge wire (14AWG & up turns out much better on the WP80; possible to go up to 12AWG on the WMP, but I have to crank the temp up substantially to get it done. For a one off, I've done it that way out of laziness. But if I've a few to do, I swap the iron.
 

Offline IdahoMan

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I think I want a Hakko FX888 type soldering iron, because of the metal-wool in the stand. But I can't find one, they are all stupid digital now.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 09:35:31 pm by IdahoMan »
 

Offline nanofrog

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I think I want a Hakko FX888 type soldering iron, because of the metal-wool in the stand. But I can't find one, they are all stupid digital now.
Zombie thread.  :P

FWIW, the digital variant replaced the analog unit a few years ago at least now.

As per brass wool, it's an easy add-on for any station that doesn't already include it (Hakko 599B is a good quality stand-alone unit for example).
 

Offline IdahoMan

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I think I want a Hakko FX888 type soldering iron, because of the metal-wool in the stand. But I can't find one, they are all stupid digital now.
Zombie thread.  :P

(snip)


Lol. Yeah, I know. But it's better to post to an existing Thread than to start a new one.

I think I am going to get the Weller WES51. Seeing that..

A. The Hakko can't be found anymore
B. The Weller tips are cheaper

I'll just cut the sponge in half and place some brass wool on one side of the tray, or something. :S

Is there anything I should know before I go ahead with the Weller purchace? Is there a good source to ensure I get a good, non-foreign machine and authentic tips? Any reason you can think of I should not go this rout?

Thanks.
 

Offline KL27x

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There's some talk about the Weller tips being a crap shoot, ever since they started making them in Mexico.

I dislike the UI/firmware on the Hakko 888 as much as anyone. But I prefer it over my analog 888, now. The reason is that I use the same setting for 99% of my soldering. But if and when I have to bump the temp for something, I can do that and also set it back to exactly my default set temp without ever looking away from the microscope.

I cheated a little bit. https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/hakko-888d-interface-fixed/msg875006/#msg875006

But the stock UI isn't that bad when you figure out how to make presets. And I have experienced a heck of a lot worse, since then. Here's looking at you, Bakon 750D.

I never used the Weller, but take a look at the Hakko 888 iron stand, as well. It's really good.

 |O Just remembered the links are broken. Well, I'm gonna have to fix that, soon.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 09:26:28 am by KL27x »
 

Offline IdahoMan

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Woldn't you know it, I just bought a Weller.. the iron says "TC201", station says "TC202" ..soldering station at a yard sale for $10.

Good source for good tips?
 

Offline MosherIV

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IdahoMan, I just answered your other post.

Look for bit for the old Weller TCP irons, they use the same bits.
If you are using lead free, you will have to use the #7 tips for higher temperature.

Try Element14 or RS
 

Offline nanofrog

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There's some talk about the Weller tips being a crap shoot, ever since they started making them in Mexico.
Tips made in Mexico and Bosnia do have QC issues (PT & LT series' respectively). FWIW, back of the envelope calculations on the LT series tips I've bought shows ~ a 30% defect/early failure rate. Newer tip production is engraved as of August 2013 (source), so hopefully they've addressed the QC issues as well (still a lot of older stuff in the supply chain IME).

Weller tips made in the US, Germany, or Japan are of consistent quality IME however.  :-+ Of course you pay for it (~4x - 5x more IME, such as 3 & 4mm tinned face only bevel/hoof shapes).

For those that want simple, low cost plated tips + excellent performance, Ersa is currently the way to go IMHO (especially for those in the EU). In the case of cartridge tips, Pace's new AD200 will probably shake out to be the way to go for those outside of the US (Hakko FX-951 will be hard to beat here as a setback stand is included ~ $236 in terms of cost/features).
 

Offline labjr

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For those that want simple, low cost plated tips + excellent performance, Ersa is currently the way to go IMHO (especially for those in the EU). In the case of cartridge tips, Pace's new AD200 will probably shake out to be the way to go for those outside of the US (Hakko FX-951 will be hard to beat here as a setback stand is included ~ $236 in terms of cost/features).

I think the ADS200 will be hard to beat in the US market too. If TEquipment has a similar discount on the model with the setback stand, it may be under $245 US.  It's a 120W station. (FX-951 is 75w). Tips heat in half the time of FX-951. All tips will use the same handpiece so no need to buy extra irons. All metal construction.
 

Offline nanofrog

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For those that want simple, low cost plated tips + excellent performance, Ersa is currently the way to go IMHO (especially for those in the EU). In the case of cartridge tips, Pace's new AD200 will probably shake out to be the way to go for those outside of the US (Hakko FX-951 will be hard to beat here as a setback stand is included ~ $236 in terms of cost/features).

I think the ADS200 will be hard to beat in the US market too. If TEquipment has a similar discount on the model with the setback stand, it may be under $245 US.  It's a 120W station. (FX-951 is 75w). Tips heat in half the time of FX-951. All tips will use the same handpiece so no need to buy extra irons. All metal construction.
I suspect so, but am waiting to see what the street prices will be once they're readily available.  ;)

Performance wise, they do have an advantage over the Hakko. But keep in mind, it won't be noticeable for most tasks IME (it's the rare stuff that really sucks heat away that such stations can show off  >:D).

FWIW, I've found the 70 - 80W or so range tends to be the sweet spot for general purpose stations. I've noticed power has been increasing lately, but so has overshoot in order to reach those faster heating times.
 

Offline labjr

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I agree the power has been increasing. Soldering station wars seem to be good for the consumer. More features for less $$.

Maybe they should have the ability to edit ramp-up curves for delicate soldering. People who are used to old pencil irons can set it for like fifteen minutes.  :-DD   
 

Offline nanofrog

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I agree the power has been increasing. Soldering station wars seem to be good for the consumer. More features for less $$.

Maybe they should have the ability to edit ramp-up curves for delicate soldering. People who are used to old pencil irons can set it for like fifteen minutes.  :-DD
IIRC, Ersa's done this to some extent on the i-Con1/2/4 stations (no idea if this is available on either the Pico or Nano).
 


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