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November 12, 2010 AT 9:55 am

Hakko soldering station… “bulletproof & like an extension of your hand”

Hakko936 Lrg-2

Pt 10541
Hakko soldering station… “bulletproof & like an extension of your hand” – FreakLabs.


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9 Comments

  1. I second that. I liked the one I used at work so much, I went out and bought and identical one for home. It is by far the best soldering iron I ever got my hands on.

  2. I normally try not to gush about any technology, but I’m definitely a Hakko fan. I have a Hakko 474 desoldering gun, Hakko 936 soldering iron, and Hakko 852 hot air rework + vaccuum pen. I also outfitted the Tokyo Hackerspace witht six Hakko 926 soldering irons. They didn’t appreciate it until they had to use cheap soldering irons at a Make event. Here are some things you might not consider when buying a soldering iron but make a huge difference:

    – Fast heatup times. I measured my Hakko 936 and when you turn it on, it heats up very fast so you can start soldering quickly.

    – Temp control. I vary the temp control based on the amount of heat needed to solder or de-solder certain components. It’s sometimes difficult to solder pins attached to ground planes because they dissipate heat quickly so adding some extra heat makes things much easier.

    – Interchangeable tips. Soldering is all about heat transfer. I often use a large bevelled solder tip like the 900M-T-3C because they can transfer heat well and are make soldering fine pitch parts easy. But when I need to get into tight spaces, it’s nice to be able to switch to a needle tip.

    – The large cast-iron base is awesome! When you’re trying to remove the solder from the tip, sometimes the sponge just kind of smears it. I smack the tip against the cast-iron base and it just knocks all the solder on to the sponge. In my house, the only thing I’m allowed to manhandle is the soldering iron.

    Finally, the thing has lasted forever and I abuse the machine. I solder and de-solder boards in large batches and very often. It’s on for hours at a time, and the only maintenance I do is switch tips about once a year.

    So in summary, I’m unaffiliated with Hakko, but definitely a fanboy.

  3. I love a good soldering station. They make me happy in my squishy innards.

    I’m completely neutral on brand. I’ve had a Weller 921Z for about 10 years. The up side is that it’s still going as strong as the day I bought it. The down side is that they discontinued them years ago, and they’re not compatible with modern Weller irons or tips. I have two tips left, a small chisel and a point, and some day I’m going to need a replacement, so…

    I think I’ll try a Hakko next time, just to mix things up. Probably not a 936, though. I’d like to get one of their soldering/desoldering combo stations. My solder-sucker-fu is OK, but a nice desoldering station would be so much better, and I’ve heard Hakkos are really top notch.

  4. @freaklabs – I’ve still don’t understand why large ground planes need a higher temperature. They will require more energy to reach the same temperature, but aren’t these supposed to be regulated irons? 380C in free air is the same as 380C on a copper sheet – just one requires 2W and the other 50W to get there quickly.

  5. I’d have to guess it’s because large ground planes radiate a lot of the heat they absorb away before it can be effectively used.

  6. After rereading my above statement I realize it isn’t quite clear.

    The rate of loss from the ground plane may exceed the rate at which the iron can resupply heat and regulate itself, so the iron is always playing catch up.

    Regulated does not mean “always perfect” — there are constant fluctuations, not to mention delays between the sensor and the control system.

  7. In my case, I solder down a lot of SMA-type RF connectors which usually have a center conductor and four legs that connect to GND. To solder down the legs, the legs and the area surrounding the legs need to be above the melting point of the solder. However the legs are connected to the entire body of the RF connector.

    If I use my normal temp setting to solder it down, it takes a long time to heat the leg since you have to basically heat the entire body. Also, having the connector body at high temp for too long may damage some of the insulation of the connector. So the trick is to use a high temp setting which will heat the local area up quicker than the rest of the body. It allows you to solder faster and prevents damaging the connector insulation.

    The other thing I use the temp knob for is de-soldering pins connected to GND plane with a solder sucker. Sometimes, I’m too lazy to fire up the desoldering gun so I just use a solder sucker. But it’s a pain in the ass on pins connected to GND planes because they take time to melt the solder and dissipate heat quickly. So I sometimes use a higher temp setting on those pins.

  8. In my case, I solder down a lot of SMA-type RF connectors which usually have a center conductor and four legs that connect to GND. To solder down the legs, the legs and the area surrounding the legs need to be above the melting point of the solder. However the legs are connected to the entire body of the RF connector.

    If I use my normal temp setting to solder it down, it takes a long time to heat the leg since you have to basically heat the entire body. Also, having the connector body at high temp for too long may damage some of the insulation of the connector. So the trick is to use a high temp setting which will heat the local area up quicker than the rest of the body. It allows you to solder faster and prevents damaging the connector insulation.

    The other thing I use the temp knob for is de-soldering pins connected to GND plane with a solder sucker. Sometimes, I’m too lazy to fire up the desoldering gun so I just use a solder sucker. But it’s a pain in the ass on pins connected to GND planes because they take time to melt the solder and dissipate heat quickly. So I sometimes use a higher temp setting on those pins.

  9. I have a friend who has a Hakko 936 clone. It’s *OK*. By OK, I mean, better than a $10 firestarter. However it’s definitely NOT a 936, and there are a few things about it that should put off even the modest hobybist: The handle seems much weaker than a real 936. The circuitry seems flaky and often doesn’t hold temperature very well, and most annoying, the recovery and output are FAR below the real 936. I’ve soldered large brass gears, motor shafts, and lead battery terminals with my 936 and it’s highly impressive. I think the heating element in this may not be nearly the same quality. I feel like it’s worth the extra for the original 936 from Hakko.

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