Hot air station - is cheap a waste?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Crispin, May 19, 2015.

  1. Crispin

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 4, 2011
    Hi folks,

    I am about to embark on some SMD work for the first time. I've been soldering, both through-hole and clumsy SMD, for about 22 years. Current project requires a new Arduino (ATmega32u4) to be soldered which will get tedious with a fine tip and wiping away the mess.

    So, looking on fleabay the hot-air stations range from £20-odd to £100 odd. Is cheap foolish? Is £100 too expensive? I'm trying to gauge where the "good enough for heavy-hobby" is.

    I've only ever had two Antex adjustable irons - they're not the cheapest but have been worth every penny and served well over the years. I would rather by the right thing than the wrong thing twice.

    Comments and suggestions :)

  2. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    I've had a Kendal 898D for several years now and I find it a good tool for not very much money. It had both a hot air tip and a conventional iron off one controller station. It works good for the occasional prototype use, I don't think it would stand up long in every day production use.

    An assosciate also has one, his hot air tip broke at some point, and I lost the tip on mine. Don't know the cause of his failure but mine was from rough handeling.

    The good news is replacement parts for both sides are also available. The conventional tip is on a plug and simple to replace, for the hot air tip you need dig inside and unscrew individual terminals.

    I found all this stuff off EBay from China. Cost for the station (with shipping to the states) was under 100 USD.
  3. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
    Look for reviews of the ones you're considering.

    I have an Aoyue 2702A+ that serves me well. Think I paid ~US $150.
  4. Crispin

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 4, 2011
    Thanks guys,

    The Aoyue looks nice but is pricey here - £250. It's a bit much for my budget at the moment (other toys need buying)
    I'll go for around the £100 mark and see how that fairs for me :)
  5. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009