Soldering Station Replacements

essdee
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby essdee » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:46 pm

David, that's great - many thanks for the research. I will report back on my Antex issue after Friday's test run at a friend's.

I am emailing John McAleely separately (he is also working on my fritzed outgoing PM issue as well..!) to ask that this thread now be separated, so that a new heading, more relevant to soldering stations, carries all entries after my discovery that the tip cleaner is not such an issue as I had thought in my originating post.

Cheers,

Steve

John Palmer
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby John Palmer » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:07 pm

David Thorpe wrote:I've now has a chat with a very helpfulchat at Dancap Electronics. They've been associated with Hakko for 31 years and sell the FX-888D in both blue/yellow and silver at £118.78 including VAT and carriage. He was a bit taken aback by my question as to how low the unit will go - he'd never been asked it before and couldn't imagine why anyone would want to solder at less than 200 degrees. I explained about whitemetal, we looked up the Hakko Europe website which said 50 - 450, then he looked at the manual and it said 200 - 450. The Hakko comes with five preset temperatures and he thinks that the lowest preset is probably 200, but the presets can of course be changed and he also thinks that a temperature as low as 50 could then be set.

Anyway, he's sending an email off to Japan for clarification and should get back to me tomorrow. I'll keep you advised.

DT

First the good news (perhaps)

The FX-888D manual accessible on the Dancap site is copyrighted to 2012 and gives a temperature setting range of 200-480 degrees C. However, if you refer to the manual held on the Hakko documentation site (https://doc.hakko.com), you'll see it's copyrighted 2012-2015 and gives a temperature setting range of 50-480 degrees C. Seems likely that the manual held by Dancap is an old version and that Hakko have enlarged the setting range.

Now the bad.

Whilst doing some research on this, I noted that by changing the bit on the iron attached to the soldering station it's fairly easy to get into a situation in which the temperature being displayed on the station is significantly different from the true temperature of the bit. Looking through the manual for ways of dealing with this, I noted that the default set temperature is 350 degrees C. However, that is no guarantee that the temperature attained by the bit will actually be 350 degrees C, and so far as I can tell the only way of accurately calibrating bit temperature involves a suitable soldering iron thermometer, whether after changing the bit or otherwise. Dancap offer the Hakko version of these, the FG-100, but the price is a bit of a facer: c. £140 for the non-certificated version and c. £165 for one with calibration certificate.

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David Thorpe
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby David Thorpe » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:18 pm

One of the things some people don't like about with the Hakko is the user interface, which consists of two buttons. These, or a combination of them, perform all necessary functions and some people have found them difficult at first although, as with all new things, people also seem to get used to them. However, it also seems that changing the temperature calibration and changing the iron temperature are similar procedures and some people, especially new users, have ended up accidentally changing the calibration. Neither the manual not the Hakko website tell people how to get out of that situation, and so quite a lot of people were left baffled (and annoyed), but there's plenty online to show how to reset to factory values including (now) a tutorial in the Hakko knowledge base. It's a very simple procedure. What might possibly concern me is that after resetting the device it may be desireable to adjust the tip temperatures so that they are within specification, but I doubt that would be any problem to me as I never require exact temperatures, just temperatures that work.

But most people don't seem to have these problems. As the Hakko is a popular iron in the USA, I looked it up on amazon.com and saw that it had had 330 reviews, 86% of which were five star and 9% four star so most people seem to get on with it. In any event, I'll mention it when I chat to Dancap tomorrow.

DT

dclift
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby dclift » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:21 am

I have been following this thread with interest and gasped when I read the price of the Antex 690D. The Physics Department at the university in which I worked in a former life used Hakko soldering stations and, as I recall, the lab technicians were very happy with them. I have used a second hand Hakko 926 for many years, but this model is no longer available. A couple of years ago I purchased an FX 888D for AUD165 plus VAT (just under GBP100 without VAT) and used it for 'normal' soldering before resetting the temperature to 120 deg for whitemetal. As others have indicated, resetting is a bit of a faff and I have no idea what the actual tip temperature is but I have used it on whitemetal with 70 deg solder with great success. I use the old one for my other soldering needs. There is a wide selection of tips available (at least from the supplier here in Australia) and changing bits is a simple operation. It does seem that there are a lot of counterfeit Hakkos on the market, so anyone considering a purchase should be careful in choosing a supplier. You can find the instructions on its use at (amongst other places) http://www.electrolube.com.au/pdf/manuals/HAKKO-FX-888D-Manual.pdf. They take a bit of understanding, not helped by the small print size, but, despite these shortcomings, I can say that I have been very satisfied with the two Hakko models that I own and would not hesitate to purchase another FX 888D if my 20 year old Hakko 926 gave up the ghost, or even if I got fed up with changing tips for different jobs. Happily it uses the same tips as the FX 888D.

I hope that this is helpful.

David Clift,
Melbourne,
Australia.

essdee
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby essdee » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:46 am

Many thanks for this David, the info on tip range especially - promising. I am getting very tempted by a genuine Hakko now. Bit of a shame about the resetting 'faff', but no doubt one gets used to this.....

Cheers,

Steve

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Andy W
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Andy W » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:32 am

Being a bit of an old dinosaur I haven't ever used a temperature controlled solder station. I just have a 25w Antex for brass and a 16/18w for the occasional white metal wagon.
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

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David Thorpe
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby David Thorpe » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:23 pm

As promised, Paul of Dancap Electronics got back to me. He's heard from Japan. If the serial number of the FX-888D is after 05888313042724, then you can put in whatever temperature you want between 50 and 480 degrees centigrade. All the units currently stocked by Dancap have a serial number after that.

I also asked about the problem John Palmer referred to. Basically, Paul told me that if you change a heating element (not a solder tip), in a few cases the temperature after that could be a little bit out, not a huge amount, but more than the plus or minus two degrees specified for the unit. He hadn't come across the problem of muddling up the calibration and temperature control settings, but Hakko are currently updating their instructional video on setting and changing temperatures and that should dispel any problems.

So there it is. If you do think of getting one, I do heartily recommend Dancap (http://www.dancap.co.uk). They are official distributors, have been involved with Hakko for many years, and their units are guaranteed genuine and are possibly the best priced in the UK. They have the professional looking silver one as well as the more common blue and yellow one, and are also extremely helpful.

DT

essdee
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby essdee » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:37 pm

Superb, David - much appreciated and many thanks.

Hello, Hakko - and, sorry Antex, but......tough old world.

Cheers,

Steve

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David Thorpe
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby David Thorpe » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:53 pm

Now please don't blame me if you don't like it! :oops:

My wife is going to get me one for my next birthday (still a few months away)

DT

essdee
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby essdee » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:18 pm

Well...thanks to the kindness of John Brighton, I have today been able to prove that my Antex 660TC station still works (phew), and it is the TC50 iron that is kaput - so a call to Antex for a new element seems in order for now. Not such a drain on the wallet as I had originally feared.

However, the resultant feedback on various soldering stations currently available, notably Hakko, has certainly been illuminating and will be very useful when preparing for the eventual demise of the 660TC.

My grateful thanks to all who have contributed to this thread, in both its original query re tip cleaner, and the subsequent diversion towards soldering stations, especially low-temperature ones. A classic example of the value of this forum, I feel.

Cheers,

Steve

Philip Hall
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Philip Hall » Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:13 am

Steve,

When this happened to me a while ago I think it was cheaper (or maybe it was marginal but easier) to get a new iron rather than an element. That was from Antex rather than an outside supplier.

Philip

dal-t
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby dal-t » Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:03 am

Small things and small minds, maybe, but I always take some enjoyment in changing an Antex element - it's the assumption that you'll have another iron available to solder the connections. I usually use my Weller!
David L-T

essdee
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby essdee » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:34 am

David -ah! A very good point......no where the heck is it..? Now have two dead Antex bodies so perhaps two new elements be in order.

S

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Will L
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Will L » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:43 am

Philip Hall wrote:When this happened to me a while ago I think it was cheaper (or maybe it was marginal but easier) to get a new iron rather than an element. That was from Antex rather than an outside supplier.


No not quite, £42.60 for the element and £53.83 for the iron Antex prices.

However Radio Spare to the element for just £20.50 and the iron for £47.14
element - http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/soldering ... s/0608755/
iron - http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/soldering-irons/8771242/

The element has got to be a winner.
essdee wrote:David -ah! A very good point......no where the heck is it..? Now have two dead Antex bodies so perhaps two new elements be in order.


Like I said early on Two is good.

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Will L
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Re: Soldering Station Replacements

Postby Will L » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:44 am

Philip Hall wrote:When this happened to me a while ago I think it was cheaper (or maybe it was marginal but easier) to get a new iron rather than an element. That was from Antex rather than an outside supplier.


No not quite, £42.60 for the element and £53.83 for the iron Antex prices.

However Radio Spare to the element for just £20.50 and the iron for £47.14
element - http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/soldering ... s/0608755/
iron - http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/soldering-irons/8771242/

The element has got to be a winner.
essdee wrote:David -ah! A very good point......no where the heck is it..? Now have two dead Antex bodies so perhaps two new elements be in order.


Like I said early on Two is good.
Last edited by John McAleely on Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: adjust thread title for new location

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John McAleely
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby John McAleely » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:16 pm

essdee wrote:I am emailing John McAleely separately (...) to ask that this thread now be separated, so that a new heading, more relevant to soldering stations, carries all entries after my discovery that the tip cleaner is not such an issue as I had thought in my originating post.


Thanks for drawing this to my attention Steve. I've now done the split requested. Hopefully this thread is still the 'original', so that the conversation can continue without a hiccup. (The original start is here, should we want to discuss frying solder)

RichardS
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Re: Soldering Station Replacements

Postby RichardS » Mon May 01, 2017 7:49 pm

This appeared on a mailer I receive

http://www.railroomelectronics.co.uk/So ... 85052.aspx

I suspect it's far eastern but temperature range is shown as 50-450

They seem to sell several similar units.

Maybe of interest.

Richard
Kind regards
Richard

I'm not always a railway modelling heretic

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: Soldering Station Replacements

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Tue May 02, 2017 7:22 am

RichardS wrote:This appeared on a mailer I receive

http://www.railroomelectronics.co.uk/So ... 85052.aspx

I suspect it's far eastern but temperature range is shown as 50-450

They seem to sell several similar units.

Maybe of interest.

Richard


I have reservations about "unbranded" and inexpensive products such as these, where failure of the element may mean that you can't get a replacement. There are none shown (as far as I can see) on the site and the range of tips seems rather limited.

It is the cost of Antex spare elements, plus their policy of discontinuing spares for obsolete TCU irons after a period that has caused my decision to buy another established but cheaper brand of TCU when the element in my present Antex unit fails.

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John Bateson
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Re: Soldering Station Replacements

Postby John Bateson » Tue May 02, 2017 9:02 am

A couple of years ago getting fed up with my 50 year old iron, I bought https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004X25LW8/ref=pe_385721_133581491_pd_te_o_bx_ti/275-1323000-5109619 via Amazon for £60. It is of far east origin and I think is re-badged by a small number of companies including Circuit Specialists Inc from America.
Replacement parts are inexpensive (or cheap compared with Antex).

The new machine has served me well (as well as the W40 Weller I threw away) although I normally use the screwdriver blade at 400 degrees as the default setting. I had taken apart the Weller to try to resolve an intermittent problem and found the inside was a mega-kludge - so why do we place so much love and affection for these antiques?

John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
http://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

junctionmad
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Re: Soldering Station Replacements

Postby junctionmad » Wed May 03, 2017 5:42 pm

I use a hakko fx-888 with analog controls. I prefer that over the D version

Solders white metal


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