Do I really need a hot air station?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by xibalban, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. xibalban

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 4, 2013
    Hello everyone,

    I wish to dive seriously into electronic PCB prototyping, and creating my own circuits from salvaged electronics parts, etc. I looked around for the "must-have" tool kits for an amateur hobbyist but found no bundle.

    Recently, I have come across an Atten 8586 rework station which features a 2-in-one temperature controlled system with:

    1. A soldering iron
    2. A hot air tool
    Should I go for it? I know that I'll use the soldering iron mostly, but what are the uses of the hot air tool? I would be doing primarily the following tasks:

    1. Salvage components from old boards, mostly through-hole components, and hence a lot of desoldering.
    2. Soldering jobs, again mostly through-hole components
    If a hot air tool isn't useful to me, I'd better go for a Hakko 888 station. Hakko costs about $83 and is Japanese made.
    Atten costs about $42 and is made in China.

    Please advise!
  2. darrenhopper

    New Member

    Apr 8, 2013
    If your donor boards are not to be rebuilt then the hot air unit will make for much faster component removal.
    The air gun can be used to melt the solder holding all pins on most components simultaneously & the component can be removed leaving the solder on the board.

    It also has the advantage of working with surface mount components.
  3. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    I have that or a similar dual station. It is decent not great quality. A friends hot air unit died when the fan stalled. But mine still works 2-3 years on now.

    Hot air is great for removing SOIC and other SMD parts.
  4. nigelwright7557

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 10, 2008
    I use a temperature controlled soldering iron for soldering SMD.
    I found the hot air gun useful for removing SMD without removing the pads.
  5. xibalban

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 4, 2013
    Thank you each one of you for your inputs.
    Now, the question boils down to:

    "For my specific requirements, do I really require the hot air tool?"
  6. PatM

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    Not required, but it will surely make your efforts much easier.
    I actually use my hot air more than the soldering iron
  7. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    If you plan to do any SMT get the hot air.. Makes it SOOOOOOO much easier to remove and resolder SMT parts.
    No need for a hot air with through hole.
  8. kubeek


    Sep 20, 2005
    Removing through hole parts with hot air is SO MUCH easier compared to normal soldering iron + solder wick etc. Especially for anything with more than four pins.
  9. xibalban

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 4, 2013
    Well, I am an amateur and would play mostly with "through-hole" components. The venture into electronics may lead me to SMT/SMD, perhaps, someday.

    Is ATTEN brand "good" enough?
  10. vk6zgo

    Active Member

    Jul 21, 2012
    They had an "El Cheapo" hot air station at my last job.

    The Soldering Iron was quite good,as long as you didn't try to use it for
    jobs which were too heavy.
    Luckily,we had a Weller WTCP for those jobs.

    Found the hot air facility pretty useless,except for shrinking heatshrink tubing--it was brilliant at that.

    I can't remember the brand,but the iron was definitely better than the Hakko ones we had at my previous job.
    (They put me off Hakko for ages)
  11. vortmax


    Oct 10, 2012
    No need. Don't be intimidated by SMT components. In many ways they are easier to work with than through hole. The only advantage I see with through hole is that you can prototype with solderless breadboard...but if you are at the point of fabbing a board, there isn't a good reason not to use SMD. SMD also conserve board space, which let you make your boards smaller and cheaper to produce if you use a service like OSH Park.
    ErnieM likes this.