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a newbie question about soldering station

a newbie question about soldering station

I am newbie electronic hobbyist. Actually, I am working in software. But, recently I got drawn into electronics design. I decided to buy my own soldering station. I checked a few review sites. Most of them recommends either Weller or Hakko. such as this Hakko soldering station Hakko fx888 is the model I am looking into. It has very positive amazon reviews too. But, I asked a couple of my friends in hardware companies. For some reason, none of them know this brand... Most of them recommend me Weller. What is your experience? Is Hakko fx888 OK? I expect to work on discreet component most of the time and occasionally surface mount. Thank you very much.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

I have no idea, either. Don't know Hakko.

But it seems quite OK. You will need a somewhat higher temperature than before (RoHS lead-free tin) and the Hakko covers that.

The "heart up" time is OK (should be "heat up" - why do they not change that? and I like the possibility to pass-word protect temperature setting. Nice feature.

Why don't I and other engineers know about the Hakko? Probably because we don't shop for soldering stations very often. And when we do, we reach for Weller (or perhaps Ersa). It is like asking about a DMM. Most guys say Fluke - without thinking. Even if there are around a dozen DMMs that are better than Fluke.

I will surely buy one Hakko, it looks very much OK to me. And I need a couple of soldering stations. Thanks for the tip.

Gunnar Englund
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Don't know the Hakko.
But a main argument for me for choosing Weller is that you'll get replacement tips and other accessories EVERYWHERE.


RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Hakko FX888D is the entry level Hakko. Better is the Fx950, (I have one, and it is very good.) The digital version is the FX951, it has sleepmode, which is good if you are inclined to forget the iron is turned on. These ones are 70 watts, which I regard as a minimum these days.
85 different tips are available for these irons. By the way, I also have a Weller iron, the 100 watt 240 volt temperature controlled unit, ideal for working on the car electrics.
Another good make is the Goot, these are similar to the Hakko.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Any Hakko will be good. Frankly, they're better than Wellers.

Keith Cress
kcress -

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Looks like I'm a rookie, too! smile

You learn a lot on EngTips.

Gunnar Englund
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

We use Hakko at all soldering stations at work.. 20+ (they replaced all the failing weller units we had).. They are great units..
We have a bunch of the FX888 units and a bunch of the older FP-102 units.. A vacuum desoldering tool and some Fx-601 pencil irons for the tough stuff and have never had a problem in 7+ years.. Just routine tip replacement.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Pace had some very nice stations for through-hole and SMD work. Arguably better than the contemporary Weller designs and certainly favoured by the shop floor girls. The Weller units were still good, but just not as good. smile

Not familiar with Hakko. Something to look at in future.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

I've never heard of Hakku either. It looks like an OK setup. Also order some extra tips if you do get one.

At work we've been using Metcal soldering stations. They have worked well.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Hakkos are as good (though not as popular) as Weller when it comes to pure resistive irons. We use a brand at work that I had never heard of until starting there, and all of the techs swore off Hakko/Weller in favor of them... can't remember the name offhand, but it's three letters, a non-US manufacturer. They are nice machines.

If you want to go the RF route, MetCal can't be beat... love mine, but you'll pay a premium for it compared to resistive types.

Dan - Owner

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

MacGuyver, are you thinking of OKI solder stations by chance? They own Metcal now it seems, which was always a popular brand with techs.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Metcal PS2 or MX series using the STTC- type tips is the best. But you don't want to get one, because if you ever do you will never be satisfied with anything else. With these, you can take a SMT size tip, solder a 0603 part, turn right around and tin a 10 awg wire with the same tip, and immediately go back to soldering SMT - all with ease. Of course, it goes a little faster if you change tips. I use the same iron with different tips to do SMT and put together wire harnesses using 6 AWG cable. Fine pitch ICs - no problem.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Looks like more people know Weller. Metcal is a little pricey for me. Thank you very much for the input.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Looked it up today. JBC... specifically the Nano for small work, though the Micro is supposedly nice to use, too. Get a Nano, their hot air system for reflow work, and a desoldering station... all combined, that should make up a really nice workstation. The crew here are big fans, particularly due to the wide tip selection on both the soldering stations and the desoldering stations.

Max, what extra you pay for the OKI/MetCal is gained back in quality/efficiency. I don't have to swap out tips to go from small work to large, as the RF is able to keep the heat output up and pour heat into a thick wire (within reason, of course). Speed assembly and rework.

Dan - Owner

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

Metcal soldering irons are pricy. I bought a used one for my personal work off eBay. Even then still more than than a new Weller. Avoid the Metcal SP200 soldering stations - these are Metcal's attempt at a lower cost version of their good solder stations. They work well, but not as good at their MX series.

RE: a newbie question about soldering station

The Hakko FX888D (digital display) should be less than $100 and beats anything in that price class. I just furnished one to my daughter, a home school teacher, and she thinks it is better than was supplied by Murata when she worked there. Also, for $20 more, a Hakko calibration unit is nice. I have used American Beauty, Weller and Pace, but the FX888D beats them all. Check out UTube, search FX888D.

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