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Soldering Stations - what you have pros and cons

Discussion in 'Handy Tools & Equipment' started by AussiePhil, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    I have a GOOT RX-711-AS
    The RX-711AS soldering station is a precision, Japanese manufactured instrument with excellent temperature stability and anti-static characteristics.

    The light weight soldering pencil has a grounded tip and incorporates a ceramic heater with an integral temperature sensor. The sensor provides precise tip-temperature information to the heater controller which maintains the selected heat setting with a high degree of accuracy. The silicone cord is incredibly supple.

    The control panel includes the digital temperature display panel, a rotary temperature control, calibration control and a display changeover switch to display either the desired or actual tip temperature. The panel is secured behind a darkened see-through cover which prevents accidental temperature changes but can be easily accessed when required.

    * Safety approval number QASTE4930.
    * 230-240VAC supply voltage
    * 24VAC output voltage
    * 65 Watt capacity heater
    * 200 - 480°C temperature range
    * ±3°C temperature hysteresis
    * 1.1Mtr iron cable
    * 1.3Mtr mains cable
    * 0.5mm tip supplied

    http://www.goot.co.jp/e/item.html?c=58
    --------------
    Pro's
    * 0.5mm tip perfect for fine work even with SOIC SMD.
    * Can leave on all day and not worry about the tip
    * Adjustable temperature
    * Fast heat up

    Con's
    * That fine tip as supplied is useless for soldering big things like fuse clips etc on 3oz and 4oz boards, it will work on 2oz boards but struggles.
    * The range of different tips is extremely hard to find to buy.
    * Expensive compared to the typical ebay soldering station.
    * A second Soldering Iron is required for heavy duty work.

    Would I buy another one - Yes

    Cheers
    Phil
     
  2. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Im looking at getting this soldering iron as my old soldering iron is a bit old and worn. Whats your thoughts on this unit

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/60W-Soldering-Iron-Station-Digital-Temperature-Control-/360257737610?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item53e108d38a
     
  3. OP
    OP
    AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    Based on what I read it looks good, the 4 bonus tips with different shapes is good, if you buy one it would be good to write up your opinion.
    The only thing is it doesn't mention ESD or if it is ESD safe. not really something to stop you buying one of course

    Phil
     
  4. Steve22537

    Steve22537 Full Time Elf

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  5. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Well guys I have finally spent the cash and have purchased a Aoyue Int2702A+, i should have the unit in about a week or so and then ill do a review. Looks like this should see me through most things for the next few years.
    For you Aussie members ive purchased the unit through Ludatronics so it is a 240vac unit instead of 220vac that can be sourced directly from China. The prices are good compared to other places ive looked

    here is the link to Ludatronics and the solder station that i have purchased

    http://www.ludatronics.com.au/page77.html
     
  6. DanoNJ

    DanoNJ Full Time Elf

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    That's one fancy station you got there, Eddie! Have fun with it!
     
  7. tuppet

    tuppet Apprentice Elf

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    On the other end of the scale...
    I have this: http://www.justtools.com.au/prod2084.htm - weller butane soldering iron.

    Pros:
    - sitting on the roof and a wire breaks? that's ok, there's a soldering iron in your pocket ready to go, just light it up and go for it. No power cords, very fast heat up time. **Just don't put it back in your pocket when you're done...**
    - Sitting in the garden testing a board but find a broken join? - yeah, you get the idea. handy dandy solder.
    - need to solder a wire inside a box? short tool, no wires, very easy to manouver.
    - can be used as a great heat gun (red hot iron vent near the tip releases impressive amounts of hot air, which works wonderfully on heatshrink). No need to carry both tools.
    - who doesn't want a portable blow torch?


    Cons:
    - doing a long stretch of soldering? don't forget to break it up with time to refill the iron with butane every few hours.
    - butane is probably not good for you.
    - temperature variation is a little tricky to control, there is a dial but I have no idea what it equates to - just turn it up/down until it seems to melt the solder/heat the component fast enough.
    - doesn't come with a stand, does tend to accidentally get turned of if you push it into a standard holder too fast.
    - has a burning hot red iron on the side... right about where your face would be if you wanted to lean over and look right in close at what you're working on. This can get to be kind of uncomfortable, especially the hot air when it reaches your eyes...
    - see that lid it comes with? well, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it would be a lid to put on the iron to protect the tip... but it's not. It doesn't fit unless you remove the tip.
    - want a fine point tip? or a thicker tip? there isn't much of a range, and the default is pretty big. No SMD for this tip.

    All in all it is pretty useful, especially for christmas lights once they are installed in awkward places, but I would probably go for this as a second tool once you already had a nice temperature controlled stable iron for bigger projects.
     
  8. mrpackethead

    mrpackethead Full Time Elf

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    Hakko-FX951's are going to be my work horses. Very impressed with it, and tip selection is awesome. Lots of controlled power so you can jump between fine smd and large connectors with lots of copper without trouble..

    http://www.hakko.com/english/products/hakko_fx951.html
     
  9. Steve22537

    Steve22537 Full Time Elf

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    Thats a mighty fine station, where would the best place to purchase one be.
     
  10. Superman

    Superman I Have C.L.A.P and its very infectious Global Moderator

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  11. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    I just bought an Auyue 968 soldering station and so far am impressed. The soldering iron came with a fine tip and so far I have used it to build 3 LED Floodlights and have found it quick to heat, accurate temperature control (200-480C, 392-896F).

    The unit has a smoke absorber, which is effectively a small tube which sucks air from about 1cm above the solder tip, then passes it through filters in the base. Using it today I could only smell a slight hint of solder flux while using it, which is a brilliant, and definately better for your health.

    In addition to the iron, it has SMD hot air supply, probably not good enough to do large scale SMD, but for rework and small jobs I think it would be fine. It has excellent push button temperature control and monitoring, and an adjustable flow rate, as well as 5 additional shaped nozels to help direct air where you want rather than spilling out over a large area.

    Power. This thing is fancy, but even with all the gear turned off, it still draws 14 watts in standby, which was a bit of a suprise. The iron draws 28 watts when heating, and toggles on and off to keep the tip very close to the set point. The vacuum pump draws about 13 watts when running as a smoke remover. The hot air supply draws quit a bit of power, peaking over 600 watts when heating up, but averaging only 60 watts once it is at the set temperature, which was a suprise, and on turning off the hot air supply it blows air through the nozle until it cools to about 90c.

    I tried the hot air system and it seems to work well, although I think I need help on airflows, temperatures etc to get the most out of it.

    The item was sourced from Aliexpress for AU $182 delivered via courier in 3 days (Ordered Tuesday, arrived Friday)
     
  12. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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  13. pipersmall

    pipersmall Full Time Elf

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    They look like great stations but unfortunately my budget will not stretch quite that far for my first soldering iron. I'm just look at some more basic options and was hoping that something like this would be a suitable starter option: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/270921140726?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649 (also with this one I can pick up so don't have to pay for delivery ;) )
    Otherwise, do I try and extended myself to this : http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/270903986685?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649
     
  14. OP
    OP
    AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    Piper,


    Any iron will ultimately do the trick to start, the first DIY boards i soldered up were done with a $15, 240V soldering iron with no temperature control, soldering ends up 80% good technique and 20% soldering iron.


    What the better (more expensive) irons bring is often better temp control, greater selection of tips, ergonomics, etc and this will make the soldering experience better when you do 1000's of solder joints.


    Having said that, Iron choice one at least has variable temp control and is cheap, cheap enough that when you decide a better iron is justified that you don't stress the money spent on it.


    Cheers
    Phil
     
  15. pipersmall

    pipersmall Full Time Elf

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    Thanks Phil
    Thats a great help and at least it leaves some $$ left for some more blinky flashy.
     

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