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Which soldering station should I buy?

Posted 17th May 2013 at 07:47 AM by rjm
Updated 20th May 2013 at 05:20 AM by rjm

Thinking I should get a new soldering station.

I've had my eye on a Weller station for the longest time, but put off getting one for one reason or another.

Looking at the selection, I think the choice comes down to the two following models, or, indeed the equivalent made by another company:

WTCPT (link)

WES51 (link)

The main difference is in the WTCPT the tip temperature is fixed, but rigorously controlled, while the WES51 has user adjustable power but the tip temperature is left unregulated.

I'm leaning towards the WES51 as being slightly more in line with my own style of work: I'm more likely to want higher or lower temperatures depending on the job at hand than I am to require "700F" exactly.

Update 1.

A little concerned the WES51 is only 50W max. That's less than the maximum I use now for the tough stuff.

Hakko has two models in the price range I'm looking at: the consumer grade analog FX-888 (discontinued but still widely available), and digital FX-888D.

Update 2.

Also Pace soldering stations.

Update 3.

Bought the Hakko FX-888 new on ebay for ~$100 shipped. It and the 888D both cost ~$150 here in Japan, so it was a considerable discount. Weller is almost a non-existent presence here, so going with Hakko (a Japanese company) is smarter so far as spare parts availability goes.

Irrespective of price and performance, I deliberately chose the analog interface of the 888 over the digital controls of the 888D as a matter of convenience. The idea of having to combo-press buttons (enter+up) to simply change the temp did not appeal.

Thanks to everyone who contributed!
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Total Comments 6

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    i have the wes51 and i love it
    permalink
    Posted 17th May 2013 at 12:37 PM by jtktam jtktam is offline
  2. Old Comment
    merlin2069er's Avatar
    I picked up one of these... not bad for what I'm doing.

    Hakko FX-888 Soldering Station: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific
    permalink
    Posted 17th May 2013 at 01:43 PM by merlin2069er merlin2069er is offline
  3. Old Comment
    rjm's Avatar
    I think the Hakko FX-888 is no longer a current model, it is replaced with the FX-888D with a digital display and push button controls.
    permalink
    Posted 17th May 2013 at 10:05 PM by rjm rjm is offline
    Updated 17th May 2013 at 10:28 PM by rjm
  4. Old Comment
    wintermute's Avatar
    I bought a Hakko 936 many years ago and have never regretted it. The only regret I had was not buying one sooner!! The FX-888 was it's replacement (and now the FX888D)

    I've not used the newer models but I have never been anything but 100% happy with my 936.

    Tony.
    permalink
    Posted 19th May 2013 at 12:22 PM by wintermute wintermute is offline
  5. Old Comment
    dimkasta's Avatar
    A few months back I was looking for the Hakko or a Weller. Unfortunately the Weller ones seemed considerably overpriced here in Greece. I then searched for Hakko with no luck. The internet had much better prices, but the shipping costs most of the time were ridiculous. I ended up buying an ERSA which was on sale at a local hardware store, and never regretted it.
    Still going strong with no issues and I really like the timer safety stuff.
    permalink
    Posted 20th May 2013 at 07:36 AM by dimkasta dimkasta is offline
  6. Old Comment
    rjm's Avatar
    Which model did you get? The 0ana60 seems like the basic one, it goes up from there. (and I mean, way up!)
    permalink
    Posted 21st May 2013 at 11:31 PM by rjm rjm is offline
 
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