less expensive alternative to the hakko FR-301?

Thread Starter

uraniumhexoflorite

Joined Oct 23, 2016
216
I saw the hakko FR-301 and was interested in it since I do a lot of desoldering. It's really expensive and I was wondering if there were any cheaper alternatives. I don't need it to be top of the line or look nice. I just want a desoldering gun that works fairly well and allows me to recover the solder. Thanks. :)
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,015
  1. I have 2 (one at home and one at my work office), the Aoyue 474A++ and the Zhongdi ZD-985. Both work very well. The Aoyue seems to be more solidly built, especially the gun as I find the Zhongdi is a bit fragile (on my second gun for that one), but the shape of the gun on the Zhongdi makes it much easier to get into tight spaces so that's the one I prefer to use. If I had to do it again I would buy 2 of the Zhongdi just because of the gun shape, but I would expect to have to replace parts now and again (was $45 for the replacement gun).
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
9,851
I have a Radio Shack unsoldering tool that sold for about $17 as part of a set. A similar device may be available from other sources. This device, with the squeeze bulb vacuum pump, works very well, but the copper tips are hard to find now. Certainly it is less fancy than the others but it works quite well. But why do you want to recover the used solder?
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,015
It's not for recovering the solder, it's for removing solder from parts. I have one of those Radio Shack desoldering tools too. It works OK, but until you've used one of the vacuum pump models you really don't know what you're missing. It's like a solder shop vac. Not only for desoldering through hole components, but even for things like cleaning off pads of SMD parts. Slather on some flux, gently rub the tip around while occasionally pulling the trigger and presto you have clean pads. You can desolder and clean up things in seconds that would take several minutes using other methods. At least for me anyway.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
9,851
It's not for recovering the solder, it's for removing solder from parts. I have one of those Radio Shack desoldering tools too. It works OK, but until you've used one of the vacuum pump models you really don't know what you're missing. It's like a solder shop vac. Not only for desoldering through hole components, but even for things like cleaning off pads of SMD parts. Slather on some flux, gently rub the tip around while occasionally pulling the trigger and presto you have clean pads. You can desolder and clean up things in seconds that would take several minutes using other methods. At least for me anyway.
None of my employers thought that such a device could be withing the allowable expenses. So we had solder suckers and solderwick. But then, mostly we did not unsolder things. The budgets went for more important items like executive coffeemakers and fancy chairs for the VPs. And for my home use the Radio Shack desoldering tool is adequate most of the time.
 
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