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August 4, 2009
about 5 years ago
I've been using this for over a year now and it gets a lot of use. I was pretty skeptical that at this price it wouldn't be too great of an iron, but it was a lot better than I thought.
For sure this is no super high end soldering station, it's built to a price, a price that hobbyists can afford without breaking the bank but I have had no problem using it for all sorts of work.
Surface Mount down to 0805 so far- I've used this for small surface mount work. I've done 0805 components no problem and have also hand soldered multiple ATMega328s and ATMega2560s using the included super fine tip.
Through-Hole - I also do through hole work with this soldering iron, I use the larger Hakko 'chisel' tip for anything that's not an SMD. Lot's of standard sized components have been across the tip and it's never a problem.
Big Connectors - I fly electric R/C stuff. I have used this to solder Deans, XT-60 and barrel connectors with no problem at all. The Hakko chisel tip retains enough heat to make a quick solder joint without melting the connector housing.
Stripping PCBs - I also use this thing to strip parts out of printed circuit boards (mostly switch mode power supplies with big caps, coils, wires, resistors, heatsinks, etc). I use the chisel tip and never have any problem removing 10 gauge wire, heat sinks, etc. Though I usually find adding a little fresh solder helps to remove some stubborn parts.
Component longevity - Both tips have seen quite a bit of use but are still in good condition and hold their tin without spottiness. Even with reaching some high temps while stripping PCBs or soldering large connectors hasn't ruined the stock tip or the Hakko chisel tip.
The sleeve that holds the tip on tends to loosen up once the iron first heats up after changing the tip, you just need to tighten it while it's hot.
That bronze colored cover over the mesh tip cleaner is pretty cheesy as others have mentioned, it doesn't stay in well, but it stays in 'good enough'. I think if the cover was designed to 'snap' into a couple of grooves on either side it'd be nice.
It's not tiny, but it's not the most comfortable iron to hold either. My fingers tend to cramp up during long sessions, it'd be nice if they had a sleeve for it that would make it quite a bit thicker to hold onto. It's easy enough to wrap something on though.
Summarized: I love it, I would buy one again and recommend on to other people and will never deal with another standard wall plug iron again.
Note: I only use this with leaded solders and solder pastes. I've not used it with unleaded solders or solder pastes.
about 9 years ago
Whoa, and it's within my price range, good job!
No public wish lists :(
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