HAkko FX888D......Weller WTCPT it is NOT!!

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A while back My 25+ year old Weller WTCPT Soldering system died a quiet, yet pungent death.  I was not a fan of having to change tips for heat settings, but as 700F usually fit the bill I did not gripe much as I only needed 800F once in a while.  TO replace it with the same exact Iron/Base was almost $200.00 so I had to use an old Radio Crap 20watt iron while I searched for a replacement, or the $$ for the Weller.

 

I saw the Hakko 888D with the Digital temperature adjust and said looks good.  It was $107.00 as opposed to $177.00+ for the Weller and took up a little less space on the bench.  I ordered it and three days later It arrived.

 

I should have sent it back.

 

Yeah it's nice, but the little iron is, well , THIN.  It actually hurts to use during long soldering sessions as my hand cramps up.  At first I thought this might be a sign that I need to take a break, but it turns out there was another reason....TIME.

 

Time?  Huh? What does time have to do with soldering.

 

Simple.  This little iron cannot keep the tip temperature constant.  Even on 800F+ the connections on a DIP package look horrible after three pins as the joints go cold so you have to rework them or go VERY SLOWLY. Which means it takes MORE TIME to do the same job, and in the process the parts get very hot, and ones hand cramps.  I shudder at the thought of building another one of those 900 T-1 LED clocks with this little unit.  The Weller with a 700F conical tip flew through the job.  I wouldn't DARE try to solder heavy pro audio 1/4" or XLR connectors with this thing.  I think it would pass out.

 

   I had to solder 5 M328's in TQFP package two days ago.  King Samperi gave me a really great tip on how to solder them and get machine like results, but it requires an iron with a good tip and the ability to get solder braid hot fast to work.  Well the Hakko with a heavy tip and 800F just could not cut it.  Made a mess out of the job and I went and dug up a Radio Crap 60watt iron to clean things up with the solder wick because the Hakko couldn't get it done.  Very Sad.

 

I inspected the heater/tip assembly and I can see that the ceramic element is right at the end and the tip slides over it.  Which is the correct way to mate them, but I see no temperature sensor anywhere near the tip of the heater.  It appears to be at the back where it always stays hot.  No wonder this thing cannot regulate!

 

A while back I had a thread about hot air soldering stations and I purchased an inexpensive unit that came with a small SMD soldering iron that mated to the base.  It has a better temperature regulating capability than the Hakko and the whole unit was under $60.00usd compared to the $107.00 I paid for the HAkko.

 

 

Now I did read the reviews on Amazon(I did not buy it through Amazon....dumb move) and the overwhelming majority gave it 5 stars, but the ones that gave three or less complained about the temperature regulation issue.  Makes me wonder if the folks that gave three or less are the ones who make a living using a soldering iron and the 4+ raters are "sometimes solderers".  I should have went with the pessimists on this one.

 

So now I am going to have to save up the $200.00+ to replace what I had for many trouble free years.  Why $200+ since the iron/Base is only $177.00?  I threw out all the spare tips I had purchased as I didn't think I would need them as I had this revolutionary new solder station.

 

Thee are times when the old, Analog ways of the Jedi are what makes the Force so powerful.

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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I have a Hakko Fx951 soldering station that I have been using for about 7 years.  It is temperature regulated.  As you might presume, I do a lot of soldering with that thing.  I've had no trouble with temperature regulation.  I run it at 700 degrees and, when I need more power, I simply replace the tip/heater with one that is capable of doing the job.

 

Where I work, we've tried all of the popular soldering station brands and models.  It seems that the Hakko FX951 soldering station is multiplying out on the manufacturing floor, even over the higher end Hakko models..

 

The only thing I would like to see in the Hakko FX951 soldering station is, they be compatible with the higher end models that allow the use of tweezers.

 

Back when I purchased the Hakko FX951, I paid about $135.00 for it.  But the tips do get a bit costly.  The handle and tips are sold separately. I don't know what the price range is today.  They must be cost effective, else my employer would not be replacing the other brands with the Hakko FX951 models.

 

EDIT To ADD:

 

I purchased my Hakko FX951 from TEquipment

 

http://www.tequipment.net/Hakko/...

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

Last Edited: Wed. Apr 5, 2017 - 04:09 AM
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I love my Hakko FX888D and have no problems with it so far. I use a medium sized chisel tip with 60/40 (lead free). I've tried using leaded solder (because I accidentally ordered it instead of lead-free) and it is horrible. Not good wetting action at any temp.

 

I almost always run it at 600 F and I've done some fine pitch SMD stuff and through-hole components. No problems other than my hands shaking. The SMD stuff I've done down to 0.35mm pitch (very few) 0.5mm and some 64 QFP packages. Gel flux and drag soldering, and rarely do I need to touch it up with solder braid/wick.

 

However, I only do a few boards and I probably don't do nearly as many soldering jobs as most of you folks (nothing commercial yet either). The Hakko is only my second iron.

 

[Edit]

The 0.35 pitch being the smallest might be wrong. I thought I had some regulators that were 0.35 but they were 0.65mm.

My digital portfolio: www.jamisonjerving.com

My game company: www.polygonbyte.com

Last Edited: Wed. Apr 5, 2017 - 05:33 PM
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Jim, I have to agree with you, after using an off shore made iron, I dragged my ol Weller back up stairs and I'm glad I did! 

Hope I can still get some new PTA7's for it.  Save up and get another Weller. 

 

Jim

 

 

Mission: Improving the readiness of hams world wide : flinthillsradioinc.com

Interests: Ham Radio, Solar power, futures & currency trading - whats yours?

 

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ki0bk wrote:

Jim, I have to agree with you, after using an off shore made iron, I dragged my ol Weller back up stairs and I'm glad I did! 

Hope I can still get some new PTA7's for it.  Save up and get another Weller. 

 

Jim

 

 

 

Ki0bk,

 

I have eleven (11) PTA7 soldering tips and no longer own a soldering iron to put them in.

 

If you PM me your home address, it would be my pleasure to  get them on their way to you.  I'll try to get them in the mail by Saturday, April 8, 2017.

 

 

 

EDIT TO ADD:

 

@jgmdesign,

 

    If your old Weller is still functional and you just happen to need PTA7 soldering tips, I'm sure that Ki0bk wouldn't mind if a few were diverted your way.

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

Last Edited: Wed. Apr 5, 2017 - 08:11 PM
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ki0bk wrote:
Hope I can still get some new PTA7's for it.

It doesn't appear to be an imminent demise...

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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microcarl wrote:
If your old Weller is still functional and you just happen to need PTA7 soldering tips, I'm sure that Ki0bk wouldn't mind if a few were diverted your way.

 

Thanks Carl, but in my OP:

jgmdesign wrote:
My 25+ year old Weller WTCPT Soldering system died a quiet, yet pungent death.

 

Something shorted out in the pencil and both it, and the transformer in the  base unit overheated and melted to the point of my lab smelled of melting epoxy and magic smoke.

 

JIm

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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Are they on sale on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/WTCPT-Tem...

 

 

I got a Metcal last year (STSS-02) , and havent looked back since.

 

I bought tips from this seller , he's nice   (look for tips here)

 

MX500P auto-turnoff , dual outout (only one active, at a time) , but w. 13sec to full heat that's not a problem to switch to the other output.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Metcal-M...

The METCAL MX-H1-AV "pencil" is the same as i have, and i like it a lot. It's super light , but thin.

You'd get the "Sleep workstand"  (WS1)  ... I'd love to have that one,

 

No sleep stand

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Metcal-M...

 

 

The PS2E is as powerfull as the MX500P (some say more) , but doesn't auto turn off. (EDIT  He says it auto turnoff)  , then i might have the STSS-02 , as mine doesn't turn off )

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Metcal-P...

 

 

Needs a bit of cleaning , but i'd bet it works fine - but no auto sleep - Could cost tips

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Metcal-S...

 

A DIY Set (but you'd need a stand + the tip removal PAD)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/METCAL-R...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Metcal-M...

 

 

DON'T fall for the Metcal 200's - You'd want the ones w. the Coax connected handle (13.6MHz RF  w. STCC tips)

 

 

 

I actually think i have 2 used but complete WCTP's in the basement , too bad shipping would kill the deal.

 

 

/Bingo

 

Last Edited: Sun. Apr 9, 2017 - 07:42 PM
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Ohh ...

 

I saw a nice offer for a Talon MX on ebay.fr (80 €), so i grabbed that one , and a MX500P PSU for 100€ on ebay.de

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1pcs-Use...

 

Now i have 2 metcals  cheeky

 

 

Used the talon for the first time last week , replaced a 10K 0805 0603 resistor w. a 1k5 , on 10 boards (Arduino BluePill STM32's)  , took less than 3 min per board , incl setup.

 

The wide Talon tips should make it super easy to remove SOP or TSOP's  , i got 5 Talon tips from the .fr guy for €30  , super thin to super wide.

 

/Bingo

Last Edited: Mon. Apr 10, 2017 - 04:58 PM
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Hi Jim,

 

how long do you have to save for enough to buy a new Iron?

I hope more than 1/2 year...

 

Maybe you should check out the TS100

Reviews of this USD50 iron are so excellent that I almost bought one even though I have a Weller PU81.

This review is worth watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

 

I especially like the part where he demolishes the tip. Pretty thick durable steel with a copper core. Not bad for this price range.

 

If the handle is too thin for you, then drill a hole in a 2x4, get a knife and do some old fashioned wood carving and give it some paint.

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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I can afford....somewhat..... to replace the HAKKO with the Weller anytime I want.....  Work is so slow right now that it is not worth it to me to bother at this time.

 

JIm

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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Don't you want Daniel to experience a good iron?

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Let him suffer so he appreciates the finer things when they do come

Ha ha

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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Paulvdh wrote:

Hi Jim,

 

how long do you have to save for enough to buy a new Iron?

I hope more than 1/2 year...

 

Maybe you should check out the TS100

Reviews of this USD50 iron are so excellent that I almost bought one even though I have a Weller PU81.

This review is worth watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

 

I especially like the part where he demolishes the tip. Pretty thick durable steel with a copper core. Not bad for this price range.

 

If the handle is too thin for you, then drill a hole in a 2x4, get a knife and do some old fashioned wood carving and give it some paint.

 

I'm impressed. Good capacitor dog too. Well trained.

 

277,232,917 -1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

Measure twice, cry, go back to the hardware store

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So you decided to get rid of it: https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/sale-hakko-fx888d

 

cheeky

Top Tips:

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So I have an update on the thing.

 

I became so frustrated with the thing I sent an email to Hakko USA.  They were very nice about it, and sent me a guide to use in order to check out the unit before sending it back.  They told me in the guide that I MUST use a Hakko FG-100 Tip Thermometer (or Equivalent thermocouple device) to calibrate the soldering iron.  An Authentic Tip Thermometer is over $250.00usd retail.  Ebay has them for $60.00 used or less if I want a 'look-alike'  The Iron only ran $107.00 plus delivery so I was not spending another bloody dime to calibrate the thing. 

 

I called Hakko and was assigned a Customer assistant.  She was very nice and understood my resistance to purchasing extra gear and emailed me an RS label so I could return the unit for checkout.  I sent it back and waited.

About ten days later I received another email telling me that the primary problem with the iron was that it was -200 degrees F from the set point.  THey also wrote that the tip was seized to the heater(bull***) with signs of corrosion.  Thats funny as the tip was brand new out of the package and was used once.  They also said that the retaining nut looked used....well hell yeah, I used a pair of pliers to remove the nut from the handle to replace the tip as it was screwed on so tight!

 

This final note I found interesting:

NOTE - Recommend temperature adjustment when replacing a soldering iron, a soldering tip, or a heater, and the use of a tip thermometer (Hakko
FG-100/FG-101). Also, recommend tip replacement to avoid future tip failure and better heat/tip performance.
 

So, what HAkko is saying is that EVERY time I change the tip I need to re-calibrate the soldering station?  THE digital readout is not accurate? I emailed back my Customer assistant explaining that if this soldering station was truly Temperature controlled then the Engineers that designed it must have missed that in the design requirements as a true temperature controlled iron can sense the tip temperature and control the heater accordingly.  Her reply was that she would pass this information on to the engineering department.  What else is she gonna say?  

 

I did a site search to find this thread and apparently there was another thread about this issue a few years back with the fix being the purchase of a knock off Tip Thermometer and recalibrating the unit.  This sounds like an obvious design flaw that HAkko has no intention of fixing.

 

Looks like I am stuck with this turd.  I will pull the marketplace advert as I certainly wont pass this thing on to a fellow community member.

 

The really sad part is that my $50.00 Ebay hot air/SMD iron rework station seems to out perform the Hakko regarding maintaining tip temperature!

 

In the meantime I am saving my shekels for the Weller WTCPT with the tips that have the temperature embossed on the back of the tip and MAINTAIN the temperature stamped on them.

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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jgmdesign wrote:
In the meantime I am saving my shekels for the Weller WTCPT with the tips that have the temperature embossed on the back of the tip and MAINTAIN the temperature stamped on them.

Uhm, I understand all your frustrations, and after al this time you probably forgot my post #10

A few years back I bought a pretty expensive Weller to replacle a cheapo soldering station but after the first euphoria it became a bit of a dissapointment.

It does the job, but because of the long sleeve over the soldering tip it tends to work itself loose after a few heating / cooling cycles.

I do not find that really accepable for a EUR280 heated stick.

I bought the PU81 which was supposed to be "fast" and it takes abut 20s to heat up.

A bit annoying if you want to turn it on for 2 or 3 solder joints.

 

I've watched some reviews about the TS100 and it seems to outperform  my PU81 in every way.

Because of it's construction there is also no way that a tip could work itsef loose.

Separate tips (with heating elements) cost about EUR 10 which seems reasonable.

Integrating the tip with the heating element is the best way to improve performance (above a certain level).

"Professional" brands have been doing this for years, but prices were not fun for hobbyists.

TS100 seems to be a marvellous thing.

 

The "fast" part is not only about initial warmup, but also about maintaining constant temperature.

With irons where you can replace the tip without changing the heating element then the detection of the tip cooling down because you started a solder joint is low.

(Except for an iron like the Weller magnastat but I don't know if they still make these).

(Edit: Quote" temperature stamped ... " That is probably the magnastat).

And even then, heat transfer over such a joint is never going to be optimal.

Because of the high temperature heat transfer compound is also not an option.

 

I also have good confidence in tip life of the TS100.

At the end of the video from Post #10 he demolishes the thip (over heating on purpose and such) and at the end he files a tip down to see what's inside.

Copper kernel with a nice thick steel sleeve.

Watch the video, it's hilarious, and iges a very good overview of the capabilities of the TS100

 

There is a bit of a hidden cost with the TS100. It needs a separate 12 to 24V power supply.

I think I would gladly exchange my EUR 280 Weller PU81 for a EUR50 TS100. Power supplyes I/'ve got plenty.

Lot's of hobbyists tend to use a Li-Ion battery pack to run the thing on site.

Sometimes having 2 solering irons is a big plus (removing smd resistors and such).

 

If you want to stay with weller.

They sell sleeves ( EUR10) with a plastic nut on them.

With those sleeves you can easily replace the tip when the iron is hot or tighten it when it's worked itself loose.

 

 

Edit / Addition:

You've gotta love this JBC tip cleaner if you've got a soldering fetish:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

(But for my hobby level soldering I don't even dare to look up it's price).

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

Last Edited: Thu. Jan 25, 2018 - 04:58 AM
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I used to have Wellers at work, but a couple of years back we switched to JBC. They are a whole different league. Price wise they were only marginaly more expensive than a Weller, but they are so much better in handling, heating and keeping heat, not to mention tip changing in no more than 2 seconds (1 to extract the old and 1 to put the new tip in) . I am thinking of buying one for myself at home too as it works way better than any weller I have used sofar

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Some time ago there was a discussion in the comment at one of hackaday's articles.

People who come from some el cheapo soldering iron and then go to a weller say they are wonderfull.

People who had personal experiences with both Weller and better stuff such as JBC often agree that the Weller's do not deliver the performance you expect for their price.

 

From what I have seen (and heard / read) from the TS100 it will almost deliver the performance of a JBC for a very small price.

Build quality also looks good.

And replacement tips inclusive the heating element for EUR10 give the promise of a long life.

Tip and the heating elements are the parts that wear out.

 

And if you want to dive deeper:

Almost anything n the TS100 is open source. Schematic & software.

Where else do you get a soldering iron with an USB interface to adjust parameters.

 

And it has a bunch of parameters to adjust. And they are not just a gadget factor.

It has for example an accelerometer inside and if you leave your TS100 unattended for some time it can trhrotle back temperature (leas wear but still fast warmup) and it can cool down completely after some time if you forgot to turn it off.

I also like the 2.1/5.5mm power connector. Easy replacement for the power cord.

 

This whole thing is designed with , usability, hackability and servicability in mind.

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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Paulvdh wrote:
This review is worth watching:
Thank you for I was not aware ... his humor adds well to his video.

 

P.S.

Another thanks all around for his spot welder mentioned in that video (extremely local battery shop, with the CD welder, went out-of-business; have a dead microwave oven)

P.P.S.

Paulvdh wrote:
If the handle is too thin for you, then drill a hole in a 2x4, get a knife and do some old fashioned wood carving and give it some paint.
Might consider Sugru.

 


YouTube

Quick DIY Spot Welder without microcontroller

by Marco Reps

Oct 17, 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU1e-zq9hrw (3m48s)

Sugru

Family Safe Formula

https://sugru.com/family-safe-formula

...

 

(1/4 page)

Kinder to your skin

... as well as fixes that involve extended contact with your skin.

 

...

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Marco Reps also made a controller for an 250W JBC cartride:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

 

With link to Schematics (power stage, temperature measurement, lcd, atmega) and source code.

Sourcecode is pretty basic, 112 lines of arduino code. He didn't bother to add a pid algorithm, just on/off and setpoint.

 

@ Chaman #20

You really have to tame those microwave transformers for spotwelding small thin stuff.

I think I'd prefer to use a solid state relay and a mains power cycle timer.

 

For the handle:

Personally I prefer the look of a nicely varnished wooden handle to some plastic.

I thought of buying some sugru a long time ago, but it has a shelf life of a year or so. Not good for me...

Polycaprolactone is also an option.

3D printer if you have one...

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

Last Edited: Thu. Jan 25, 2018 - 05:53 PM
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jgmdesign wrote:
... In the meantime I am saving my shekels for the Weller WTCPT with the tips that have the temperature embossed on the back of the tip and MAINTAIN the temperature stamped on them....
I used one of those, some years ago, and rather liked it. I hope it has not been crapified.

 

I picked up a Taiwanese-made, Xytronic LF-3000 soldering station, for a good price, a few years back that I have been happy with. It is solidly built and uses high-frequency-heated tips, for quick heating and cooling (you can slip off a tip and slide on another within a few seconds of turning off the iron), and has a temperature sensing rod pressing against the butt of the tip for regulating the temperature.

 

Here are a couple reviews of it and the LF-3200, the current model. Jameco and Howard Electronics sell it in the U.S.

- John

Last Edited: Thu. Jan 25, 2018 - 06:57 PM
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Paulvdh wrote:
Maybe you should check out the TS100

Reviews of this USD50 iron are so excellent that I almost bought one even though I have a Weller PU81.

EEWeb Community

The Best Deal on Soldering Irons (Part Deux)

by Max Maxfield

March 30, 2018

https://www.eeweb.com/profile/max-maxfield/articles/the-best-deal-on-soldering-irons-part-deux

[ATTEN SS-50]

...

A little while later, Rick [Curl] sent a follow-up email saying, "I just remembered a quote from the late Bob Pease: 'My favorite programming language is solder.'  ...

...

 

...

The first thing I thought about was the Low-Cost PCB Soldering and Inspection Station I purchased a couple of years ago. This has proved to be a very useful addition to my soldering setup.

...

 

...

Adam [Carlson] then moved on to tell me about another iron he's been using -- especially when he travels. This is a TS100, which Adam's wife gave him for Christmas. 

...

... -- the DC5525 power port on the end of the iron is compatible with any 12-24V DC power source, which means you can use it in the home, at work, or in the field. 

...

I'm also not sure which (if any) TS100 flavors are better and which (if any) are worse. I'll ask Adam if he would care to comment on this. 

...

 

[comments]

...

 

2 days ago by  Adam Carlson

All the TS100's are essentially the same.  You can get different tips for them.  I have generally purchased my tips from Aliexpress. 

As for my impressions of the device?  I really like it.  It is so very nice to be able to have a small device that I can have on my desk that does not take up a lot of room.  It was also nice that I could throw it in my travel bag and have it take up less room than my small can of shaving cream. 

...

With the power supply that I have, the tip reaches 300C in a handful of seconds.  Much faster than any other soldering iron I have.  I use one of the Dart universal laptop chargers for it.

...

 


 

ATTEN Instruments

Soldering Iron

http://www.atten.com/products-2/soldering-iron/

SA-50 Adjustable & Constant Temperature Soldering Iron

http://www.atten.com/project/sa-50/

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"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Sat. Apr 7, 2018 - 11:03 PM
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Funny this thread was coughed up again....  I received an envelope in the mail from Hakko today.  I wanted to put it under water as I was not polite in any way when I filled out their survey and put some well thought words in the Additional Comments section.

 

What was in the padded envelope you wonder?  A package of customized HAKKO Post-It notes.  Hakko's way of "thanking" me for taking the time to fill out their survey with a token of their appreciation.  I personally think its their way of subliminally telling me to take my opinion and 'Stick it' cheeky

 

Whatever.  They wont be wasted thats for sure.  I'll put them in the box with the FX-888D when I give it away.

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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jgmdesign wrote:
... A package of customized HAKKO Post-It notes.  Hakko's way of "thanking" me for taking the time to fill out their survey with a token of their appreciation.  I personally think its their way of subliminally telling me to take my opinion and 'Stick it'....

Perhaps they are trying to be helpful: giving you a pad of stickies to post reminders to re-calibrate the tip temperature.

- John

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Ha Ha

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user