Description: This hot-air rework station is great for professionals and hobbyists in need of tight temperature tolerances and large air flows. This unit displays a digital readout of the actual air temperature with a flow rate of up to 23L per minute. This very powerful unit can be used for multiple applications including standard SMD reflow/repair/removal, thermal IC stress testing, thermoplastic welding, and shrink-wrapping.
Dimensions: 224 x 126 x 110mm
Based on 50 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
It purrs and pumps out regulated hot air. I can remove a single component on a surface mount board quickly and easily without disturbing the components around it. The temperature setting is digital and it reaches temperature quickly. I prefer an electric skillet for re-flowing a whole board, but I can re-flow with this in a pinch. Changing a resistor or capacitor value is a snap.
Without a nozzle it’s great for heat-shrink tubing. I can set the temperature to activate the shrink without overheating things inside. I can use it in its stand so both hands are free.
It looks sharp too. I don’t know how they make it for the price.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
This thing just oozes quality. Other reviews cover everything you need to know. Just adding another voice to the choir. Make sure you watch the YouTube intro video.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I’ve been using the Sparkfun Hot Air Rework Station for a few weeks and have been really enjoying it. I’m pretty sure it’s just a Sparkfun branded Madell 850, which is good news. I used to work for a company which used 20 or so of the Madell stations all day every day for shrinking heatshrink and hot air rework. I was in charge of repairing them, and they were very sturdy machines. Mostly, the element would fail, after a few years, but that’s to be expected. Occasionally you’d have an issue with the conductors breaking due to mechanical fatigue (where the wires enter the machine), but it was pretty rare.
On arrival, I did have a bit of vibration noise coming from the machine. I opened it up and it was just a heavy gauge wire running to the pump, vibrating against the case. I zap-strapped the wire to a strap clamp and problem solved. That’s part of the beauty of these machines, they’re simple to work on.
Very happy with the hot air rework station. If you do SMT work or lots of work with heatshrink, this is the tool you need. Sturdy and well built.
3 of 3 found this helpful:
This thing is basically a magic wand that costs $115. You can wave it over an SMT component while barely tugging with a pair of tweezers and the component will come up, usually in reusable condition. You can do the reverse of that. You can make tiny grilled-cheese sandwiches. You can light cigars. I’m pretty sure that at 900 centigrade you can melt aluminum. Why pay more?
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I just wanted to start working with SMD components and designs, but the hand-soldering smd process is a pain in the [censored].
I didn’t wanted to spend my money on something cheap that simply doesn’t work so I gave the 303D a try and I was surprised of the excelent quality and easy to use.
Now I want to work only with SMD components because this thing make its incredibly easy to do.
I recommend to get one of these is one of the best investments that you could made.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
The small nozzle was broken when received.
Hi, We’ll help get you a working nozzle. I’m going to send you a private email to work this out with you. Thanks
2 of 2 found this helpful:
These rework stations continue to perform day after day and have not let us down in the 14 months since we purchased the first one. We just bought the second station, and already have it working overtime.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
This hot-air rework station is one of the best I’ve used. The temperature control with digital readout is fantastic. I don’t have to guess as much about whether or not I’ll scorch the PCB.
8 of 8 found this helpful:
I’m an experienced electronics hobbyist who’s done lots of through-hole soldering, but relatively little SMD stuff. (I built a SoftRock RXTX transceiver – which has quite a few SMD parts – using only a soldering pencil. It was a huge pain.)
After spending an evening using the 303D to solder some practice kits, I’m a believer. It takes a little practice, but it’s easy to use and produces great results. Surface tension and the solder mask do all the work for you.
Every tried to use a soldering pencil to connect an SMD part where some or all of the pads are completely underneath the part? Can’t do it. With hot air, it’s a snap.
Soldering an SOIC with lots of pads? Good luck not making bridges between adjacent pins with a pencil. With hot air, just smear a line of solder paste across the pads on the board, put the part someplace close to the right position, and heat things up. The solder mask will make the solder “bead” to just the places it should be, and the surface tension will actually pull the part into exactly the right position.
Need to desolder a surface mount IC with 40 pins, and still be able to use that IC when you’re done? Hot air is the only way.
The 303D heats up fast, is easy to read and adjust, and runs quietly. (There is some fan noise on the higher air speeds.) Note that I haven’t used any other hot air rework stations, so I can’t compare it to others, but I’m super-happy with this purchase.
Watch the SparkFun video – it’s helpful. I found the “middle of the dial” air speed setting a little too fast; it was blowing my 0402 resistors all over the bench. [Edited to add: I was using the smaller of the two nozzles shipped with the unit. In the video, they were using the larger one. That’s why I needed a lower air speed setting.]
If you’re on the fence, and especially if you’re struggling to solder SMD stuff with a pencil, jump on this. It’s one of those “Where has this been all my life?” tools.
I’ve only used it a few times but it’s already payed for itself.
In my stupidity I had forced a micro usb plug into a SMD micro usb jack and the extra force broke the jack off. Since I had the rework station and a cheap usb microscope, I decided to see if I could use the rework station to reattach the usb jack. It worked, and my $125 duet 3D printer board is working again. This station is worth every penny.
Best $100 I have spent on a rework tool!
I have only used it once to remove a 16 lead TSSOP component I had soldered in backwards. It was easy to unsolder it and re-solder it in the correct way. I was able to reuse the component. For the price it was a bargain!
Thirty six years in the electronic repair & service industry! Been using Pyro-Pen all these years but this hot-Air machine is so great already paid for itself the first time I used it!!!!! Thank you Sparkfun. Mike Nab@ Mike’s Electrnics.
I have soldered SMD components using a soldering iron before, not really fun. So I decided to buy this station and now it is fun. The price is right, its features are right and it is really easy to use.
If you have not used hot air for soldering SMD, watch the videos on YouTube. It is really easy, you only have to watch for using the right amount of soldering paste, the right temperature and the right air flow.
solder melts very quickly, air blows most of it from the joint so the components are usually clean enough to use without removing blobs of solder from leads.
It is a wonderful equipment to rework boards of other devices.
I don’t yet know how well it works. I have not used it, plan to do so soon. Will let you know what happens.
I’ve wanted one of these for years but never committed to buying one. I finally did and I’m so glad I bought it! The build quality is excellent. It has some nice features like automatic cool down. It also comes up to temperature quickly and the controls are easy to use. It took some experimenting to find the best settings and skill to use, but I was eventually able to get all the parts I wanted desoldered from the board, and of course for 44 pin QFP surface mount chips that would be almost impossible to do with any other tool.
The station arrived in good shape and within acceptable time. The station worked as advertised and seems to hold it’s temperature. I was able to remove and replace SMDs with no problems and no overheating.
Does what it says on the box. Had no issues using it. fixed a few things with it already.
I haven’t owned another rework station, but from my limited time with it, it works really well for what I need to do. If I had to say anything negative, it would be that the air-tube is a little short for my workstation. Another 6 inches and it would have been perfect for me.
We tried one of these where I work and I liked it so much I bought one for home.
It’s quiet, fast, simple to work and very responsive. You can set the air-flow exactly as you need it for perfect re-flow without blowing parts off the board. It doesn’t take up much space so it’s convenient to have it on the bench. I actually use it for more than re-work. It’s also great for the occasional heat-shrink job and drying stuff.
It seems many of the off-the-shelf nozzles fit if you feel the need for other shapes. You simply can’t beat the deal if you want the simplicity along with a good display.
Well built at a glance. Heats up fast, does the job. Amazing price.
Seriously - this has become my go-to tool for just about all IC removal tasks. With a little practice and some skill you won’t often need to change the tips for different package sizes. Also great to have one tool on my bench for heat-shrink, welding plastics, and hot air solder work.
Excellent quality typical of products vetted and distributed by Sparkfun. Has adequate cool down time and parts are easy to swap should the unthinkable happen.
It takes about 45 seconds on high to pop a single kernel if popcorn - if you can keep it from blowing away.
This is a great hot air tool. But like every brand it has it’s downside. At A25 this unit will blow parts off the board still if your not careful with it. Other units I own have a much finer control of Air and allow you to dial it down to almost nothing for working with 0201 parts and 01005 parts. I would not recommend this hot air for parts under 0805 but I have used it with success on 0603. If it had more air control or a greater range of air control I’d give it a 5/5.
I just used it to remove 20 pin through hole header and was surprised it worked. Also great when I want to soften and bend acrylic or activate heat shrink. I tried to remove a solid state relay that had a 15mm x 15mm solder down heat sink and I was not successful after 20 minutes of heating. Professional units are priced 5-20 times the cost of this unit so this is an amazing value.
Out of the box I like thing. I teach building trades apprentices soldering, brazing and welding. This thing is a hot air torch, not nearly as hot as an oxy acetylene flame. There is a learning curve involved. Do some practice before you cook your expensive parts. Be prepared to destroy a couple of things before getting the hang of heat management.
The temperature and airflow are nicely adjustable.
The adjustable heat and fan levels work well with this unit. The digital read out display is a nice feature. Still trying to figure out the optimal temperature and fan rates with reflow solder. Very good quality for the money!
I bought this to remove PIC32 QFPs that occasionally have technical difficulties while in my care. This thing works great, I really don’t know how I lived without it. I have tried using it to solder down parts with pads underneath them, mainly 4 pad oscillator chips and it works for that as well. Whenever I try that though it makes me a bit uncomfortable not being able to see if I melted all the solder. Also have trouble getting the solder paste to stick to the pad, it always wants to come up on the syringe, anyone have any helpful hints? I gave it 4 stars, would have given it 5 if there was some built in holder for the unused nozzle. Currently storing the nozzle in a drawer, if I ever need the larger nozzle I am likely to forget where I put it.
Glad you’re enjoying the Rework Station! Regarding the solder paste, I talked with one of our guys in Production, and he said that, when possible, he’ll apply the past to the component, rather than the board. If that’s not possible, he’ll apply a think bead, and then remove the excess with an iron afterwards. Hope that helps. Happy hacking!
This is a good rework station. For a hot air station it is not suitable for solder reflow for small components because it blows them off the board when the solder melts. I guess one would expect this though since it is advertised as a rework not reflow station.
I don’t know if you have ever tried one of those soldering hot air stations where the blower is in the handle. I have and they remotely work, but not well. For some reason, having the blower in the machine and sending air through the tube into a heating element is superior. I had a very similar soldering station at my desk at work and I never knew how good it was until I had to trade it in for a cheaper station with the blower in the handle. Originally I had no problems reworking SOIC and SMD components but when I changed to the cheaper station, I could only rework SMD such as resistors and capacitors. I had a difficult time with SOIC parts. And don’t get me started on voltage regulators. Impossible. So when I wanted a personal soldering station, I opted for this one. It was a little more money than I wanted to pay but the soldering quality is outstanding. The digital temperature readout is phenomenal. It’s quick to react and the cool down period after the power shuts off is wonderful. I am quite impressed with this device and have no problems desoldering large components. If you are debating on whether you should spend $50 for a cheaper soldering station, then stop. Buy this one. As far as soldering is concerned, you will not regret it.
But I did give it a close look and the build quality is good. I powered it up and it sure looks impressive. I’m going to give it a good workout over the holidays.
This rework station is just that, it is great for repairs and some light assembly or bare board soldering. The adjustable air flow is very convenient for new work.
This is my first rework station. Looking around, they can be very expensive. Because it had sparkfun’s name on it, I decided to get it. It seems of good quality. It’s pushing hot air! I’ve used it to remove a few pieces. It also does shrink wraps so much better than a hairdryer!
So far so good. Everything is working great. Have done some desoldering and small surface mount soldering with it.
I looked at what was available in Hot Air rework stations, some were a low price but of questionable quality. I came a across the Spark Fun 303D and watched the video. The folks at Spark Fun did great job in sourcing this machine. It works a feels like you would find in a top end PACE. What can I say, it works very well and you wont be sorry to buy one. Thanks Spark Fun!
For many, many years I’ve been successful with traditional soldering irons. Lately, though, I’ve gotten involved with surface-mount components and more ambitious desoldering/rework and have struggled a bit. I decided to give hot-air a try and took a chance on the SparkFun 303D thanks to the other positive reviews and the reasonable price. I’ve just completed my first project (removing a SMT crystal to repair my STEMTera board) and it was flawlessly easy. I’m impressed with the relative precision, overall effectiveness, and sturdy packaging of the 303D. I have more SMT projects in mind and am looking forward to them now that I have such a great tool on my workbench. Definitely recommended.
I was a little dubious of the effectiveness of the machine, but I figured I’d give it a try for a project and was pleasantly surprised. I was able to quickly and easily replace a couple chips on an expensive circuit board.
Solidly built, extremely fast to get up to temperature, precise temp and airflow adjustment, nice comfortable grip, kink resistant hose, replaceable element. Love it!
I have only used this piece of gear once since I bought it. I’m new to SMT repair, but this unit seems to work as advertised. A smaller nozzle than what is supplied would be a good addition to the product’s included components.
Other than that, I dialed up a temp to remove a small SMT resistor and that worked perfectly. Takes a bit of adjustment to set the air flow and temperature, but not hard to figure our. A nice sister product would be a small hot air blower for the bottom of the PCB for preheating the bottom of the PCB.
Quality looks good, seems well made. I’m sure I will get a lot of use from this items as time goes on.
I meant to give this review 5-Stars, but submitted it before I selected the 5th star.
I use to have to drive into work when I needed to do Hot-air work on the weekend. It gets plenty hot. With the digital display it is easy to get the same temperature again.
My only complaint is that it does not turn up the fan speed when cooling down. That is why only 4/5.
Pro tip: When soldering a QFN part, tin the pads on the part first and use flux. If you’re the one laying out the board, make the pads stick out from under QFN parts so you can get the heat under it.
I started out soldering SMD with an iron. That was a nightmare of solder bridges and burning traces off of the board. After that I briefly experimented with the hot plate method that Sparkfun was advocating at the time, but found it too difficult to regulate the temperature and get a uniform heat transfer from the hot plate to the circuit board.
After that I moved on to the toaster oven and got good results by turning it on and off when it reached certain temperatures in a way that approximated the reflow profile provided by the solder paste manufacturer.
This product addresses certain issues that I ran into with the toaster oven method.
One is that it frees me from the need to populate the entire board before baking it. This can be a problem since I sometimes jostle a previously placed component while positioning another one, or cause things to become misaligned while sliding it into the oven.
Another issue is that the $30 toaster oven does not produce a uniform internal heat distribution, so some portions of the board become too hot in order for other areas to become hot enough. With this tool I can control the application of heat to each area and pull it back if it looks like something is getting too hot.
I recommend using the large nozzle for soldering and the small nozzle for de-soldering. The small nozzle produces enough pressure to blow away the solder paste. This is bad if you want the paste to stay in place and melt, but good for cleaning residual solder off the pins of a part that you intend to re-use.
Good luck in all that you do, Alexander W. MacFarlane IV Ph.D.
Works as expected. Works fine using a 300W 220V -> 110V converter.
I cant believe the quality of this tool for 114.00!!!!!!! great piece of equipment Thanks Sparkfun.
I haven’t used it a lot yet, but it has been a tool of excellent quality so far. Since this is my first foray into hot air work, there is a bit of a learning curve. Rather than head right into it, I’ve been learning a lot by taking old pcb’s and playing around with them.
Easy to use, easy to setup, and excellent results.
I am really happy with this Hot air rework station. It’s probably one of my favourite tools in the arsenal.
I’ve built a few SMD prototype boards using it. QFPN-100 chips I am using soldered and removed without issues. As well as all the other “jelly bean” SMD components. It’s perfect for prototype work and it has also retired my heat gun for shrink tubing.
The build quality seems great as well. All tools should be like this! Single purpose, simple to use and no frills. Would buy again definitely.
It quickly heats up, the controls work well, and it doesn’t take long to cool off when I turn it off. The attachment for holding the hot end is convenient. Only complaint is that it only comes with the two nozzles. It would have been nice to include a few more with it.
If you are getting low airflow when the “Air” Dial is turned up, make sure that you have the nozzle securely attached. With the nozzle, you will get more air flowing through the hot air rework station’s handle.
There should be two nozzles that come with the unit. One has a small diameter of about 4.08mm. The other should have a diameter of about 8mm.
“S-E” usually means Sensor Error. It’s a common error. Sometimes it goes away after messing with the dial and the temperature will display properly again. Other times it indicates that the heat sensor is failing. The rework station might be able to be revived by removing and re-attaching the heater. Another tech support rep thinks it’s oxide building up on the connections. This results in fooling the controller into thinking the heater has failed.
Units displaying the “H-E” usually means there is a heating error. It might be that there is something with the heating element failing or not connected properly. Try checking the connections to see if the heating element needs to be re-seated. Last resort is getting a replacement heating element. A last resort is getting a replacement heating element.
The 303D needs about 4.75 amps at 120 volts AC to function. If you’re using a voltage converting transformer to operate the 303D on 240 volt power, you will need a transformer that is rated for 600 watts or more. If you should happen to need to replace the fuse on your 303D, a 6.3 amp 250 volt fast blow fuse like one of these is what you should use.