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New soldering iron or station?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by TTL, Aug 4, 2015.

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  1. TTL


    Oct 24, 2013
    I've been using a 30W (or is it 25W, I forget) soldering iron for years. It's nice for ICs and stuff but a little wimpy for other things. I also don't have a proper stand, having gone through several cheap ones with sponges, so I'm asking myself if I should take the plunge and buy something proper.

    A quality soldering station seems like the best bet, but for my hobbyist DIY needs I'm not sure if I can justify the cost (fake and hazardous cheapo eBay offerings aren't an option) although I read in several forums that the Hakko FX-888 is a great deal. I also know that some soldering stations double as a desoldering device, which could be very useful (instead of struggling with a solder-sucker or a wick and hoping for the best), such as the Atten 8502D which seems to give you a lot for the cost although I know nothing about the brand quality. As for Weller -forget it as they're way too expensive where I am.
    Then there are soldering irons with adjustable temperature such as the Hakko FX-600, Goot PX-501 or Goot PX-601.
    With a good stand/cleaner (not the sponge type which I've learnt "shocks" the tips and eventually damages them), could the latter be a cheaper alternative to the more expensive soldering stations, or are they meant for different uses?
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    The FX-888 is probably what I would buy if my existing similar iron fell off the perch.

    I also have a station similar to the 8502D (except mine is analog and Chinese) -- this is great for surface mount work, but only marginally helpful for desoldering through-hole components. It is really good for heatshrink too.
  3. TTL


    Oct 24, 2013
    I'm a bit concerned about the membrane buttons of the FX-888D which I understand replaces the FX-888 which had a physical knob instead. I also prefer a more "immediate" action than entering menus, pressing multiple buttons etc. I suppose it's just cheaper for the manufacturer to produce and easier for them to get people into buying a replacement unit when it breaks ;)
    Unfortunately the FX-888D, like everything else here in Norway, is very expensive: around US$ 200/€ 183 to be exact, plus shipping. Weller is even more expensive unless you want one of their red toys. An alternative is to order from abroad, but with the added taxes (25%) and shipping I'm not sure if that's worthwhile when you also lose the local warranty in the process.

    Thanks for explaining the desoldering option as that doesn't seem to be of much help here, as I'm not into SMDs yet. I also have a hot air gun for heat-skrinking sleeves. Fortunately desoldering isn't something I do too often.
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