Buy FX-888D now or wait and get FX-951 ?

Thread Starter

DarthVolta

Joined Jan 27, 2015
237
I have a cheap soldering iron, and time to upgrade. I could get a genuine FX888 this weekend. Or I could save up, for the FX951. Are they really that different tho. I've watched some reviews, and what really stands out is the extra price!!! They are 2.8x more money. Surely it's not 2.8x better tho.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
9,944
Hakko is a good brand, but I'm not going to pay $250 for a soldering iron for hobby use unless it also has a hot air and solder removal tools.

You can pick up a good used Weller on eBay for around $50. My preferred iron uses tips that set the temperature (TCP type).

I'd get a decent soldering iron and spend the money you save on components and other test equipment.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
1,599
I have the FX888 old one before it went digital and I love it. Worth every penny and replaced my Weller soldering station. It just works perfectly every time.
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,674
I JUST bought a FX-888D, haven't even used it yet past making sure it works. It heats up fast and the cord is longer than the one it replaced. The instructions that came with it are not clear.. that or I didn't have the patience to read them lol, but if you setup preset mode and program in the few temperatures that you use most then that makes the 2-button interface a lot easier to live with. There are a number of good youtube videos showing how to do it. It's small and there seem to be a number of aftermarket tips for reasonable prices so that helps. I would say get the FX-888, and with the money you saved get a hot air station and powered solder sucker (desoldering station) if you don't have them already. Those tools will up your game 10x.
 

Thread Starter

DarthVolta

Joined Jan 27, 2015
237
Since a $30 iron has done well enough for me, I'll get a new FX-888d.

The price has to drop on the fancy tip irons, I don't solder near enough, it would be a waste of money.
 

ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
871
I just bought a 888D, got it from Digi-Key, just to be sure it was the real deal.

I would recommend the unit, it heats up incredibly fast, and the controls are easy to use, the iron holder is heavy and very solid, as is the control unit and the iron cord is nice and long...and very flexible.

Nice choice of tips, I don't think you could go wrong...unless you end up with a clone.
 

Thread Starter

DarthVolta

Joined Jan 27, 2015
237
Yup, I just ordered the best rated 1 on amazon. I must say my cheap 1 with cheap tips has done well, but it's slow, low power, and the handle cord broke has wires showing.

Hmmm I should order some tips too.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
1,599
I work on smd to thru hole and smaller wires and headers with mine. The tip that came with it has worked for everything. You can get tips but the little chisel tip that comes with it is pretty great.
 

Thread Starter

DarthVolta

Joined Jan 27, 2015
237
Jeez this new Haako is wwaaayyy better than I expected, I didn't realize my old iron was so weak, slow and it's tips are huge. How much Kester solder did I waste on it, a lot .

However I really miss the potentiometer control, Hakko could have at least added a up AND down button.

But wow, using the solder pump and solder wick, was so much better than my $25 iron. Makes me wonder what my 862D hotair station is like compared to the next level up that probably costs $350



Soldering is so fun and looks so cool. I watched a video of guy with some 1" blade tip doing BGA videocard stuff, and I couldn't understand how it looked so easy...well I bet the soldering iron station he has is great.


So looking on ebay/Amazon, a pack of 8 or so tips are $11 and up. About what price are a pack of real Hakko tips ? I don't even need a pack I guess, just a few extra types would be a good start for SMD and big chip stuff.

I really messed up 2x trying a 64 pin fine pitch chip. The poor little things, and the PCB got damaged, and I suppose that means I'LL have to bodge leads on for traces, but that would be good practice. Or I could try w/ hotair, and see if my cheap solder paste is fit to use.
 
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Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
1,599
My $30 hot air station works great and frequently make small batches of pcb at a time.

The Hakko is pretty amazing. I like my old 888 with the potentiometer. It has a locking allen screw so I can’t accidently bump it. I have one fine chisel point tip and pretty much takes care of everything. Keep it clean and it will last years. So you can try the cheap tips or just get genuine. No clue what they cost. Never had to get one :)... I believe it’s going on 7 years now.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
9,944
You can pick up a good used Weller on eBay for around $50. My preferred iron uses tips that set the temperature (TCP type).
I'm a big fan of those types of soldering irons. The heating element from my unit from the 70's failed a year or two ago and a replacement element was about $25. After I replaced the element, I decided to buy a couple backup units so I'd never be without an iron again (I have a hot air station with a soldering iron, but the iron isn't ergonomic and I went without while I was waiting for the element to arrive).

The backup irons cost me $30-40 each shipped. When I looked at the price of heating elements again, they were in the $35 range, so I decided not to buy any spares. Hopefully I'll get 20 years from the new element.
 
I ditched the FX-888 because it just had poor heat. There is a large air gap between tip and heater. Now I keep using my Weller's for large through-hole soldering, and am trying out T12 clone station for small SMT work. It does pretty good.
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,674
I ditched the FX-888 because it just had poor heat. There is a large air gap between tip and heater. Now I keep using my Weller's for large through-hole soldering, and am trying out T12 clone station for small SMT work. It does pretty good.
Something must have been wrong with your FX-888. I have one and there are absolutely no issues with the heat at all. Is yours still under warranty?
 
FX-888 is a high quality soldering station, don't get me wrong but compared to Weller, Metcal and FX-951, overall it is dissapointing for me.
I bought a few for use at work to replace 937's and a 926. From a legit Hakko distributor and not fakes. The FX-888 works OK but not really an improvement over them as I expected.

Changing tips, I see the airgap and there's the problem - you can't get good heat transfer that way, for both the sensor or the heater. Take a look at your tips and notice they are loose around the ceramic heater. I think that's why Hakko invented the T12 and patented it. Zero air gap making FX-951 superior.

*** DO NOT use Hakko 900 series tips with the FX-888, they sorta fit but the air gap is twice as big! Even worse performance. The proper tips are Hakko T18 series for the FX-888.
 
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