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.
Each 303D Hot-Air Rework Station has two knobs on the front of the case to control air flow as well as temperature. These knobs are labeled Low to High allowing you to adjust the 303D almost immediately. This rework station even has a detachable power cable so if you happen not to like in North American you can replace it to fit your own standard plug provided it still uses 110/120V.
Note: We are currently updating the photos of this product and should have new ones up within the week. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience.
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.
“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.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Competent - You will encounter surface mount components and basic SMD soldering techniques are required.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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Based on 26 ratings:
2 of 2 found this helpful:
Only problem is I had to replace the zip ties that hold the air tank to the pump they failed in the first 15mins. Caused horrible noise and vibration. Simple fix cost one star...
1 of 1 found this helpful:
When I received the station it had a loud vibration noise. I contacted the tech department and was told I could open up the unit if I felt comfortable. Upon opening the unit I found the 2 zip ties that hold the air chamber to the air pump were both broken. I replaced the zip ties and added some foam padding around the air tank and the unit is now quiet and works great. Other than that minor problem, the rework station has done everything I have asked of it.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I have an older Pace MBT with the hot air 'Thermo-Jet' handpiece which is fine for small things but needed a more robust hot air rework station. In looking at the options there were a load of really cheap and really questionable choices and a few brand name high dollar choices.
The Sparkfun 303D in terms of price is 1/10 the cost of a Hakko or Pace reflow station and works just as well. It is relatively quite and the auto-cooldown feature is really nice. I also like that it has two easy to adjust knobs which make adjustments very quick and easy.
I have also found myself using it as a makeshift PCB preheater. I was using a small HG-300D for this but found that the SFG-303D can also be used and not only preheat a large area before rework you can also spot heat a heavy trace to assist with desoldering. It makes removing large connectors on wide ground traces much easier.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I like this thing quite a bit. Compared to other rework stations I have used, it seems to have much better temperature control. It heats up unbelievably fast, it is comfortable to use and easy to control. I was, however, a little disappointment to find that the airflow setting goes from pretty high to absurdly high. I immediately set the airflow to the lowest possible setting and have not seen any need to increase it since. The high airflow makes the tool slightly more difficult to use in situations where you have a lot of densely populated components, but with care it is still usable.
Works well. As someone else mentioned, I pulled mine apart and found that the zip ties holding the tank on were both broken. The workmanship inside is good as well.
I bought this instead of a more expensive (e.g., Hakko) unit, and very glad I did. So far, I've only installed a few 8-pin SOIC devices, but the unit is simple to use, the temperature seems accurate and settles in just a few seconds. More elaborate circuits to come !
its great for soldering/desoldering smd components and occasionally THT. unknowingly held the wand over a page of notes and burnt it.
I've only worked with a few of these machines so I cannot attest to what I may be missing, however it has done everything I've needed it to; and at a super price! Sparkfun just made a xytronic-killer!
-Alex www.BrainLubeOnline.com www.McAlpineDevices.com
this unit is just what I was looking for , heats up quick , quality built little unit. i am going to have fun with this , and it was a fraction of the price of some other units i seen on line
I bought this to finish a double sided PCB. Typically I use the hotplate method. I might be inclined to use this on single sided boards too. Only used once so far.
I have had trouble soldering surface mount devices with my soldering iron. Surface mount is currently the best way to get components. The first time I tried it, it worked great at soldering on a 8 pin SOIC device. I have soldered multiple devices sincie and it works great, even including shrinking heat shrink tubing.
Excellent control over air, I just need to work on the temperature control better. If you're not careful, you will melt through the solder mask of a PCB.
This is the second unit for me. The first one ran flawlessly for nearly six years, but one of the thermocouple wires broke right where the cable enters the box, and I couldn't find a replacement cable. I may take the cable apart and replace/repair the broken wire, but for now the new one I am sure will last longer than the first, as I will be taking much better care of the cable than I did with the first unit.
Worked right out the box, was prefect for my application, real intuitive. I appreciated the sparkfun manual.
I bought this over a lot of more expense models because I trust sparkfun I really like it--after a few weeks of intense fabrication it works nicely. Airflow is a a bit high as others have mentioned--I find that using the larger nozzles solves this but it would be nice to have a weaker blower in further models.
I am recommending this to the guys at the lab!
Work as expected and heats up very fast. Minimum air flow could be lower but so far it didn't resulted in any component flying away.
Have bought several brands of hot air rework units and this one has been found to perform well in constant production usage. We bought three units for our repair techs.
I’ve had this for over a year now and have been very happy with it. I like that it has an internal diaphragm pump rather than the blower in the handle that a lot of cheaper stations have. It’s quieter and makes the handheld part lighter too.
I wish it could switch to Fahrenheit as well as Celsius, but as far as I can tell there’s no way to do that (despite having the indicator on the display, which is misleading). Also, the minimum air flow is “25%” and that can even be a bit too much (especially if you use the smallest nozzle). Even on the lowest setting it tends to blow components away... whoever designed it probably couldn’t get the PID tuned right for super low flow and set the minimum at 25% (understandably).
This is the perfect tool for soldering large SMT parts, such as ATmega168 or power supply inductors (with a jar of solder paste). The handle is more comfortable than the previous model. The fan is also more powerful. I bought one in 2017, but that one was sold with a company. It's so handy that I bought another one.
Con: the manuals are not online. I'll never find small odd-sized manuals, so I had to scan the manuals and saved on my hard drive (with backup). Would be nice if the manuals were under the "documents" section of the web site.
For the moment I am using the Hot-Air Rework Station 303D to put kits together, one "Gikfun DIY SMD SMT Welding Practice Soldering Skill Training Board Ek7028"and 3 Evil Mad Scientist's kits. Setting the rework station to 350 degrees and using the larger of the 2 included nozzles and the lowest air speed setting made assembling these kits amazingly easy, even the tiny 0402 sized components. I love that it is from Sparkfun and that replacement heating elements are available if I ever need them.
First time using a hot air rework station. After practicing on a throw-away board, it was pretty easy to do the real work I wanted to do without messing things up. Just make sure you have flux, soldering paste, and isopropyl alcohol for clean-up. The whole assembly ended up being larger than I expected. I expected it to be about the size of my soldering station, but it's about the size of a toaster.
Bought this to repair a FujiNet, where the surface-mount USB micro port can pop off the PCB if you move the device while USB is plugged in. This repaired the device successfully.
This also seems OK for freshly soldering SMD - that point in time where you do not have an oven but you want to solder things that were too difficult with a soldering iron. Just remember an air tool can blow things around.
I have also used this to smooth out PLA objects from my 3D printer. Done with care, the objects look improved. See people's YouTube videos.
Noise levels are quite tolerable. NICE. You will hear some humming and clicking from the power supply. ((I am happy there is no piezo to "chirp" whenever the device temperature reaches the preset.. my Aoyue iron does this and it's the same chirp fire alarms use)). So you could use this at night while someone sleeps in the next room, with the door closed anyways.
I've wanted a reason to get one of these for a couple years and in my kind-of-new job I get to repair emergency alert devices. So I finally had justification for purchase. This is my first rework station so can't compare it to anything other brands. I can say, for desoldering antenna connectors from circuit boards, it works great! Controls are easy. Display is easy to read. Hose/wire length is ok although I could use another couple feet. I'm looking forward to trying surface mount soldering just for fun now.
This hot air gun works very well