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1200 posts

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# 255746 27-Aug-2019 13:10
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So my mechanical keyboard adventure continues and my next one will be a non-hot-swap PCB, so I will need to solder the switches in.

 

I am hoping I would then learn a new skill from this and broaden its application in due course!

 

 

 

Looking for ideas on a soldering station which is:

 

1) Reliable

 

2) Safe

 

3) accurate and consistent temperatures

 

4) Good for general electronic/PCB work.

 

5) I don't really care about the heat up time.

 

6) n00b friendly

 

 

 

There seem to be a million Chinese clones around on Trademe and I am not sure which are as good as the original and which are trash! Hakka seems to be the name-brand of choice, but the NZ prices for those are outrageous compared to the US, so not going there. DOSS seems to have a good selection and are an Australian owned outfit...though I am sure it is all still Chinese clone units!

 

 

 

Any recommendations ideas? Want to keep it below $150 and ideally under $100 if possible, but I also want  a unit good enough to make things as easy as possible for me, rather than something I am always fighting with!





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396 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2306736 27-Aug-2019 13:51
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Not quite a soldering station, but steer clear of the magnifying glass type stands with built-in alligator clips, most (with soldering iron sitting in the holder) are top heavy and will just fall over.  Many are cheap and a pain to work with.  

 

I would say you'll get a number of makes and models referred that would probably be suitable. Definitely go something with a solid sturdy base, variable heat and changeable tips (especially since you're doing PCB work) I'd also supplement it with the common light blue silicone thermal pad you see around (cheap enough but very handy, not just heat protection but also makes the small parts you're working on stand out)

 

As you say there are plenty on Aliexpress and similar, I generally look at number of sales of a particular product then see it's average rating and most definitely have a read of the customer reviews on it and check the photo's that people upload - sometimes they look more crap than the marketed photos :-)  I also do a quick Google search of the same with "review" added to the end of the search criteria - more than often someone else has evaluated the product online. Having a quick look, "Yihua" seems to be a pretty popular brand with fairly good features for the price (and around the $150 mark or less you're willing to pay) on Aliexpress.

 

 





 

 


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  # 2306742 27-Aug-2019 14:11
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I bought a Hakko 936-AQ28 cheap (USD$65) off Ebay about 5 years ago and have been suitably impressed. It still works great but i'm by no means a pro and probably use it less than once a month for general kids toy/gadget repair. I would question the accuracy of the thermostat but it works and I rarely need to worry about it being too hot.


 
 
 
 




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  # 2306824 27-Aug-2019 15:44
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chimera:

 

Having a quick look, "Yihua" seems to be a pretty popular brand with fairly good features for the price (and around the $150 mark or less you're willing to pay) on Aliexpress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes - they were one of the ones I was considering!

 

 

 

https://www.trademe.co.nz/electronics-photography/other-electronics/other/listing-2287872138.htm?rsqid=6f4a1534d1af450b912863a32c9fea92-002

 

 

 

Was only $85 and there are others higher up the scale...





.



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  # 2306837 27-Aug-2019 15:54
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chimera:

 

I generally look at number of sales of a particular product then see it's average rating and most definitely have a read of the customer reviews on it and check the photo's that people upload - sometimes they look more crap than the marketed photos :-)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one seems to be a winner based on that method!

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32803295956.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.39b19670ayvCFn&algo_pvid=b01bf492-0207-4b50-b480-9db0f4b1f18a&algo_expid=b01bf492-0207-4b50-b480-9db0f4b1f18a-4&btsid=58bc7329-2250-4d35-884d-9472b8ae172f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_1,searchweb201603_53





.

396 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2306841 27-Aug-2019 16:03
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Item:

chimera:


I generally look at number of sales of a particular product then see it's average rating and most definitely have a read of the customer reviews on it and check the photo's that people upload - sometimes they look more crap than the marketed photos :-)  


 



 


This one seems to be a winner based on that method!


https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32803295956.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.39b19670ayvCFn&algo_pvid=b01bf492-0207-4b50-b480-9db0f4b1f18a&algo_expid=b01bf492-0207-4b50-b480-9db0f4b1f18a-4&btsid=58bc7329-2250-4d35-884d-9472b8ae172f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_1,searchweb201603_53


Yeah that one is on my favorites list too :-) While I’m not a big fan of buying crap quality and throwing stuff out, it is at a price point that it’s worth a try and also has reasonable reviews.





 

 


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  # 2306851 27-Aug-2019 16:30
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Ones that take the old hakko style tips generally have a poor fit between the element and the tips, so the heat transfer is useless, or else they are so tight that you cant change them. The later ones like that second link with the contacts and element in the tip are so much better I would go that way. Sure you lose out on the $5 for 12 replacement tips in different shapes, but if they dont actually get hot quickly and hold temperature because only a tiny part is touching, those tips are useless to you anyway.





Richard rich.ms

731 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2306921 27-Aug-2019 18:49
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As always I recommend the TS100 - it's a soldering station in a stick and very versatile. I own two of them and you'll find a bunch of positive reviews in the net.





- ISP1: T-OneBox FTTH modem, 1/.5G, full DS, VID 7, VoIP + ipTV streaming flat

 

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- NET: ZBOX nano, 2 C2960X-48TS-L, 2 GWN7630, GWN7610, EL1600USB (UPS)

 

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  # 2307028 27-Aug-2019 20:27
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Tinkerisk:

 

As always I recommend the TS100 - it's a soldering station in a stick and very versatile. I own two of them and you'll find a bunch of positive reviews in the net.

 

 

 

 

This one?

 

 

 

https://www.trademe.co.nz/building-renovation/tools/hand-tools/other/listing-2289188852.htm





.



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  # 2307032 27-Aug-2019 20:44
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Tinkerisk:

 

As always I recommend the TS100 - it's a soldering station in a stick and very versatile. I own two of them and you'll find a bunch of positive reviews in the net.

 

 

 

 

Well I found it on Bangood with discounts etc for about NZ$72 delivered, so I got one! Nice and compact and more modern looking than the competition.

 

Thanks all - will let you know how I get on!





.

731 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2307105 28-Aug-2019 01:47
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Item:

 

Tinkerisk:

 

As always I recommend the TS100 - it's a soldering station in a stick and very versatile. I own two of them and you'll find a bunch of positive reviews in the net.

 

 

 

 

Well I found it on Bangood with discounts etc for about NZ$72 delivered, so I got one! Nice and compact and more modern looking than the competition.

 

Thanks all - will let you know how I get on!

 

 

You won't regret it. You can even load it with an alternative OSS which enables additional functions. You'll need a 12-24V DC power source. For mobile use, 

 

I have a cheap 12/24V booster module to reach 24V/3A from a car battery or LiOn battery pack. It's very handy.





- ISP1: T-OneBox FTTH modem, 1/.5G, full DS, VID 7, VoIP + ipTV streaming flat

 

- ISP2: 4G/LTE USB modem + TL-MR3020, 100/40M data plan (wireless fallback)

 

- NET: ZBOX nano, 2 C2960X-48TS-L, 2 GWN7630, GWN7610, EL1600USB (UPS)

 

- SVR: E3C236 32G/20TB, H2 16G/2TB, 4 HC2 14/4/1/1TB, HC1 1TB, 42 Jetsons

 

- IoT+3D: LoRaWAN, 5G, CCU3 (openHAB/MQTT), 2 Ender-3, UM2E+, UM3, CNC

 

- USR: NUC8i7HVK, EliteBook 840, Aspire E5, N2, X300, tablet, mobiles, 2 4K TVs

 

- ipPBX: GRP2613, GO-Box 100, SPA112 (Fax and W-48, a 1948 Siemens phone)


neb

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  # 2307367 28-Aug-2019 15:18
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You could also consider getting one of the infinite Chinese Hakko clones and then replace the pencil with a genuine Hakko. I got an FX-951 knockoff for a fraction of the price of the real thing, tossed the rubbish pencil it came with, and replaced it with a (relatively cheap) genuine FM-2028. That way you get quality Hakko parts (pencil, tips) without paying Hakko prices.

 

 

The thing with the cheap Chinese ones is that the important part is the tip and pencil, not the controller. With the easy availability of integrated controller ICs it's not hard to build at least an adequate solder station no matter how cut-rate it is, but to get a good-quality tip and pencil you can't cut corners.

 

 

Also, with a Hakko tip you know you'll be able to get replacements for years to come, while with a no-name that'll be gone next month there's no such guarantee.

19 posts

Geek


  # 2309008 1-Sep-2019 13:25
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chimera:
Item:

 

chimera:

 

 

 

I generally look at number of sales of a particular product then see it's average rating and most definitely have a read of the customer reviews on it and check the photo's that people upload - sometimes they look more crap than the marketed photos :-)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one seems to be a winner based on that method!

 

 

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32803295956.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.39b19670ayvCFn&algo_pvid=b01bf492-0207-4b50-b480-9db0f4b1f18a&algo_expid=b01bf492-0207-4b50-b480-9db0f4b1f18a-4&btsid=58bc7329-2250-4d35-884d-9472b8ae172f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_1,searchweb201603_53

 


Yeah that one is on my favorites list too :-) While I’m not a big fan of buying crap quality and throwing stuff out, it is at a price point that it’s worth a try and also has reasonable reviews.

 

 

 

I have the Quicko, seems to do a perfectly fine job. Heats up in seconds, and there are plenty of alternative tip shapes available for very little cost.


JWR

779 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2309180 1-Sep-2019 23:16
quote this post

netd:

 

chimera:
Item:

 

chimera:

 

 

 

I generally look at number of sales of a particular product then see it's average rating and most definitely have a read of the customer reviews on it and check the photo's that people upload - sometimes they look more crap than the marketed photos :-)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one seems to be a winner based on that method!

 

 

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32803295956.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.39b19670ayvCFn&algo_pvid=b01bf492-0207-4b50-b480-9db0f4b1f18a&algo_expid=b01bf492-0207-4b50-b480-9db0f4b1f18a-4&btsid=58bc7329-2250-4d35-884d-9472b8ae172f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_1,searchweb201603_53

 


Yeah that one is on my favorites list too :-) While I’m not a big fan of buying crap quality and throwing stuff out, it is at a price point that it’s worth a try and also has reasonable reviews.

 

 

 

I have the Quicko, seems to do a perfectly fine job. Heats up in seconds, and there are plenty of alternative tip shapes available for very little cost.

 

 

 

 

I think that is a pretty good option.

 

It does seem to be the newest model too.

 

They seem to allow people to change the default tip that is supplied.

 

The default one (K-type I think) is not really meant for soldering. It is for wicking up solder.

 

It might be better to change it for a smallish chisel-type.

 

But, like other people have said, there is huge range of tips that can be bought. More options than anyone would need really. Also, they are compatible with Hakko tips of the same spec.

 

 


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