Hot Air Soldering Station combo

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by BreadCrum6, May 22, 2013.

  1. BreadCrum6

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    18
    3
    Hello all. I am looking to get a new soldering iron and would like your expertise on which is best for my buck and what to avoid.

    My previous iron was one I got from Radio Shack for about $20 about 6 years ago. It's held up over the years but it has its limitations, plus I have the money to blow so I figured why not. I have a $85 budget and am looking to buy the iron listed at the link below. What really attracted me to it was the hot air gun and the price. Does anyone have any experience with it or know of a better bargain?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-852D-2i...542?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ac33b49ce
     
  2. Stuntman

    Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    181
    47
    Few thoughts I will share:

    In my experience, most hobbyists and even most professionals will use their basic soldering iron overwhelmingly more than any hot air gun, vacuum desolderer, or hot tweezers. My point, worry about a good temperature controlled soldering iron above everything else. Make sure parts/tips are readily available. My weapon of choice:

    http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-Analog-Soldering-Station/dp/B000BRC2XU

    There are others, but I really like this iron, ESPECIALLY the auto-off feature. I ditched my old Hakko (Fakko) 936 in favor of this model. I've also used some of the cheaper units that worked very well. Again, the auto-off feature is stellar IMO.

    Now, onto gizmo's and gadgets. Hot air guns have their place, but they are far from a regular use item for me. In fact, about the only time I use mine is when I'm REPLACING an IC. (and yes, for the occasional leadless pakage).

    The unit you listed I am not familiar with, but I would put some bacon on the line that if you looked up the company Aoyue, you would find that one of their products is either exactly like, or closely resembles that unit. They seem to be the mother of most economy hot air and soldering irons. I have one of their (Aoyue) reworks stations and it does very well.

    The bottom line, yes, I have used economy hot air systems (of similar origin) and they generally work fine. However, I reiterate that a quality soldering iron is something I would much rather spend the bulk of my funds on, then worry about a cheap hot air gun later.

    This has some good points worth noting:
    http://hackaday.com/2009/02/20/tools-aoyue-968-3-in-1-soldering-and-rework-station/
     
    ErnieM, BreadCrum6 and ke5nnt like this.
  3. BreadCrum6

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    18
    3
    Excellent response Stuntman. The Aoyue 968 model looks impressive. It has great reviews, I just hope the fume extractor is detachable.
     
  4. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    7,386
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  5. edwardholmes91

    Member

    Feb 25, 2013
    181
    18
    I both agree and disagree with Stuntman. He is correct, you do need to question whether you really need a hot air station or not and whether you would rather spend the bulk of your budget on your soldering iron. The reason I disagree though is he says "most hobbyists and even most professionals will use their basic soldering iron overwhelmingly more than any hot air gun". I work at a company called Capula and they have a repair shop that I worked in for quite some time and the hot air station was used just as much as the soldering iron to replace surface mount ICs and the likes.

    It has to be said, Weller are a good brand and at $85 you can't really go wrong.
     
  6. Stuntman

    Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    181
    47

    Yes, the fume extractor is a little hokie. I will admit, I've never used the soldering iron on my multi-station, but IIRC, the smoke absorber can be easily removed.

    I am not necessarily suggesting the 968, just realize that there are many configurations out there.

    I will make a note: Be careful when choosing the actual soldering iron as there are be two topologies commonly used. First, the standard heating element covered by a tip, secured by a screw metal shield (ErnieM's picture shows on of these). The alternate incorporates the heating element and tip into one piece, as with this:

    http://www.circuitspecialists.com/content/94079/bk3000lf-0.jpg

    The reason I note, is these irons typically heat faster, higher wattage (70W often), and get hotter than the standard removable tip irons. Often they are recommended for the more stubborn lead free solder. However, a big minus in my book, is buying replacement tips will be substantially more expensive. Hence why I use a standard style soldering iron for 99% of my tasks.

    Not meaning to be lengthy, but just some notes you may find valuable.

    Stuntman
     
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