Back to soldering...

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by AF2F, Nov 20, 2020.

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  1. K1APJ

    K1APJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just another $.02 here-

    My standard soldering equipment for the past 15 years or so has been the Weller WMP Micro Pencil and the WSP80. I understand that a lot of people don't prefer Weller anymore, but those units have been satisfactory for what I would call "serious hobby" use. However, based on many positive reviews of the Hakko FX-888D, I decided to purchase one along with a bunch of tips as a "science project."

    While it is certainly a competent iron, my personal view is that it is quite large for circuit board work. Yes, you can get very small tips, but the design of the handpiece puts your fingers quite a distance from the work which makes precise control difficult. No problem using it for larger connectors and vintage gear, but personally I don't think it is the best choice for modern electronics. Perhaps the Hakko FX-951, maybe I'll pick one up one day when I get some "mad money." But, for now, I'm sticking with the old Weller WMP for circuit boards.

    Now, if your standard of comparison is an Ungar or Lenk or American Beauty, the FX-888D is truly magnificent.
  2. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mark (W7EKU) -
    I would appreciate it , IF you do not reference Steve Johnson’s web site.
    He went from an occasional collector ... to ?
    He “lifted” photo and documents from my earlier posts with images of my restorations (here on QRZ) and BAMA Mirror documents (which I scan from my original paper library and donate) ... THEN marked as “his property/Copyright”.
    I sent an e-mail to him to Cease this activity (which he ignored).

    Weller does begin with an iron alloy tip, THEN Plates with Copper and Nickel.
    They had a specific brochure that explained the process several years ago.
    Weller/Ungar (Germany/Mexico), Hakko (Japan), Pace (Maryland/North Carolina), Metcal/OKI (Japan/South Korea), Ersa (Europe).
    All of the traditional soldering companies have had a number of challenges over past 20 years.
    1.) Requited RoHS compliance of Soldering equipment (new & repair parts).
    2.) Loss of Component Level Electronics training, from high school shops & removal of community college/tech school labs. Computer repair is just change modules.
    3.) Asian cloners (Taiwan/mainland China) and EEVBlog hacks from India and eastern Asia introduce misinformation and ignore 60 years of industry knowledge/experience (lack of language skills/culture differences partially responsible).

    In past 45 years, I have been disappointed with all the mfg. at some point. The closure of retail electronics stores (not including Radio Shack’s changes since 1990s) is a huge loss for the amateur radio hobby.
    Ironically, this confusion (“throw away mentality”) resulted in some of the cheapest and nicest acquisitions to my electronics bench.
    * New solder station did not work (new ~ $275) ... no takers/bidders for $35 asking price. *

    I noticed that this station was only introduced autumn of 2018, so it was virtually NEW.
    I paid the $35 — AND the station was still Under Warranty (introduced previous year).

    NO Cost for repairs (newest control board) at Vass, NC (and updated firmware).

    ADS200 AccuDrive® Production Soldering Station with TD-200 Tip-Heater Cartridge Iron
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
  3. AH7I

    AH7I Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've always been happy with Weller tip life. I was not too happy with the 1010. I bought one a month ago. $100 at microcenter.

    Speaking only for the example I had (took it back after 4 weeks) :
    It took a good 45 seconds to come up to temp. It is supposed to be temp controlled but the control loop was inconsistent. Sometimes it would not detect a temp drop and the tip would go cold. When it seemed to be working properly, the delay between tip cooling and detecting that the tip had cooled, combined with the low heat capacity of the small mass tip, resulted in wide fluctuations in tip temp. It was not suitable for my use... through hole PCB repair. It did feel good in the hand.

    From what I've read, in the price range, the Hakko 888D is more responsive than the 1010. When they are back in stock at microcenter, I'll try one.

    73, -Bob ah7i
  4. AF2F

    AF2F Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't get it. If you reread my original post you will understand why.
  5. AF2F

    AF2F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is Weller and Hakko like Ford and Chevy? You need to own both then.
    I did own a Chevy truck and I do own 2 vintage Ford diesel trucks. One is being restored and the other is still on the road occasionally. That's my other hobby. Maybe I will get a Weller iron one day.
    BTW my first experience with modern soldering iron (cheap unbranded) was when I was repairing fuel sending unit in a Ford truck.

    Matt - AF2F
  6. AH7I

    AH7I Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll let you know after I try the Hakko.
    My impression of the Weller 1010, based on one sample is:
    Nice Iron. Crappy controller.
  7. N7EKU

    N7EKU Ham Member QRZ Page


    Well, I've done a ton of small SMD work with my Hakko and also with Weller irons at work. Both had similar tip-to-grip distances. I certainly wouldn't say that they are only good for large work. I imagine tens of thousands of users get along fine with them too.

    Certainly though, those Weller short irons would be nice to have :) I've not seen them advertised before so it is great to know about them. As often with fine work, the shorter the handle the better!

    The problem I had with the one Weller model we used is that sometimes I had a hard time gettng the temperature right, and I hated the "auto-off" feature which you couldn't disable -- just when you were ready to solder a delicate setup, you'd find the iron cold. Ugh!

    W9GB -- I have no idea who that dude is; I just did a quick google lookup for old soldering irons. How is anyone supposed to know the people you have a beef with?

    73, Mark
  8. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    you know, I've had the same Weller for years, and it works just fine. I'm sure the folks who don't use them have their reasons.... but mine has worked well for many, many projects.

    I think soldering irons are much like golf clubs: folks always want the new driver, but the truth is that the person swinging the club is far more important than the brand-name of the club being swung.
    KP4SX likes this.
  9. G4COE

    G4COE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nah use a proper soldering iron.....
    the good ol' poker in a coal fire thats what I used as a kid knew high to a grass hopper, when I built one 'valve' radio's on OXO tin's, many shop keepers were happy to supply free of charge - talk about cold joints eh? Oh, and don't forget the flux.

    I do prefer my Ersa soldering station though - instant heat.

  10. AH7I

    AH7I Ham Member QRZ Page

    I picked up a Hakko 888D. The Iron is a Hakko fx-8801. I exercised it a bit yesterday. Compared to the Weller: It heats up faster, 37 vs 45 seconds; There is a greater variety of tips available; It's better documented; The Hakko tip is a little more difficult to change than the Weller.

    Overall? Hakko has: Better performing iron but not quite as nice to hold and more difficult to change tips; Better performing controller but not as easy to use.

    73, -Bob ah7i

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