Solder Station

So many choices I hadn’t seen before. I may have to re-think my budget. As far “eye appeal” the Hakko 888D and the Weller have my vote. I’ve been soldering for over 40 years and have never used/owned a quality iron. I’m anxious to try one.

You can’t go wrong spending a little extra and getting a quality solder station. :+1:

I bought one of those around 1980. It served me well. Never gave me problems. I sold it to a buddy of mine after I purchased the WESD51 about 10 years ago. It’s still going strong after all these years.

I don’t have that exact model but mine is very similar. These things are like most of the budget stuff that comes out of china, you can have thousandth’s of people review them praising how great it works but you could still end up with a lemon. My 992d was purchased from ebay with no brand name at all. I’m pretty sure most of these budget stations are made by the same company and they will put what ever name you want on them if you buy enough.
You could replace the element in your iron if that’s the problem.

Having used a few of the irons with integrated tip heater cartridges, the JBC, Aoyue 2930, and TS100 are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. They really are just better than the old slip on Hakko style and with the TS100 being pretty reasonably priced it’s hard to suggest something else if that’s your price range. Haven’t used a TS100 yet but the Aoyue and JBC just heat up crazy quick, so much more efficient at transferring heat from the cartridge to the tip if there isn’t a gap in there. Personally I’ve got the Aoyue and while I love it the handpiece can be slightly wonky in making a good connection, need to work on that at some point.

I’d forgotten about Pace. I wish you hadn’t posted that link. I want one. :slight_smile:

ADS-200 / 8007-0580 is £205 from Farnell UK. Looks very nice from the specs and video. 120W. Lots of metal. Simple to use. The iron stand is clearly better than Weller. I like the tip change too.

I have two handles so I don’t have to change hot tips. But if I only had one handle changing tips would take time.

Their video targets the Weller magnestat irons. I didn’t realise they were still popular.

I’ve soldered for like 10 and only used a crappy 30W all in one iron.
Was a great upgrade to get the 1010.
It’s like the lowest end weller model but from the new digital series, so even though it is “low end” it’s a brand new design and still got more power and features than almost any other station at that price.
Heats up in seconds, tip lasts a long time, very precise temp control, etc.
This thing should last me decades of soldering :slight_smile:

Can confirm the ADS200 is awesome.

Dang, that was fast-literally!

Wow that is fast. Is that your video? If so, do you like that suction vice? Where did you get it?

Yes it is my video. The vice is alright, I got it from harbor freight. The vise part is good but the suction part kinda sucks, it does not stay very well. I have since upgraded to a Panavise where the suction is awesome, courtesy of a screaming ebay deal.

After using a 40 watt Radioshack pencil iron for years this soldering station upgrade was well worth it. I have done some simple mods in the same time I have waited for my old iron to heat up. No need to go all out but the direct heat irons (Hakko FX951, Pace ADS200, JBC CD-1BE, TS100, TS80, etc) are worth it 100% if you will end up using them a lot

If you want the best, choose a Metcal.

The latest Wellers are good, but I trust a Metcal better than anything else. MX series (not the “budget” PX ones).

The tip is heated by RF power (basically it’s like an induction cooker on a micro-scale), and regulated by Curie-point loss of magnetism.

If auditing a potential supplier, and I see a Metcal on every bench, that is a big tick in the box.

Not cheap though.

So why are they supposed to be better? Why is this method of heating supposed to be better?

It actually has a noteworthy downside - you can’t change the temperature. You need a specific tip for a specific temperature. This might be a big deal for a hobbyist who doesn’t always build the exact same circuits every day.

At first glance they are just another kind of direct heated tip iron.

Don’t knock it until you have tried it. There is a good reason why these $500 irons sell, steadily, and nobody appears to have knocked them off yet.

Twiddly knobs, flashy displays, perhaps a separate calibration stand, count for nothing when you can just turn the thing on, and 60 seconds later be ready to go. Absolutely consistently. Once you know, and can trust, a tool, you can do almost anything.

Melting solder isn’t rocket science. Making a good consistent reliable ergonomic trustworthy tool is a different art. And if you have to use it every day, for a full shift, not just dabbling about as I do, these things really do matter.

Oh, and the quality of the bits really does make a difference.

I dare-say you can get the same or better results from a Chinese knock-off of a Hakko, for 1/10 the price. That’s probably the best choice for most.

I’m just trying to explain that better things do exist and can make life much easier, if the investment is justified.

There are also $3000 soldering irons from JBC that sell.
Unless your job is soldering stuff 24/7, there is no reason why you need to spend that much money even if it is better.
My cheap weller station also heats up in 60 seconds, has a very consistent temperature, and is reliable with plenty of good tips available.

I ordered Hakko FX888D this week. I am in Europe, so I was cosidering also Ersa stations (Pico, Nano) and even JBC CD. But they are still much more expensive and spare parts as well.
From my point of view FX888 is still a good value for the money, even for 150Eur (final price incl. vat).
Get some decent spool of solder, some fluxes, tools etc. and you re ready to go for many years of realiable soldering.

A Metcal MX-500S is £533 from RS and $535 from Oki. That is well out of most hobby budgets.

Ok, thanks for your reasoning.
I wasn’t knocking, I just wanted a reason.

I see Home Depot has the Hakko FX888D on their website.