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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Soldering iron or hot air rework station? October 7, 2010 10:16 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Hardware, Technology
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I need advice from my friends into building electronics. I have grown frustrated with years of using $8 soldering irons from Radio Shack and want to get into a Weller or Aoyue soldering station. My quandary is deciding between just a soldering station or a hotair rework station. My next two projects will be 1) replacing some bad caps on a circuit board and 2) resoldering some bad joints on another board.

I’m currently looking at the Aoyue 937+ Digital Soldering Station and the Aoyue 968 SMD Digital Hot Air Rework Station. Suggestions? Feedback?

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1. Eric Myers - October 8, 2010

The answer depends on how much you are planning to do, and what type of boards you will work on. If you are removing surface mount parts, then the hot air makes life much easier. If you are only working with thru-hole, then you could probably get by with just the solder station and a cheap plastic solder sucker. Another possibility is to have 2 soldering irons. That way you can touch both sides of a surface mount component at the same time. I have used all 3 techniques over the years, and the hot air is by far the best. It really depends on whether it is worth the extra ~$110. No matter what you decide, get a few different size tips. Have one very small one, one very large one for ground planes, and at least one somewhere in the middle. Having the variety of tips will make the different jobs easier.

2. Doug McCaughan - October 8, 2010

Thanks Eric! I was about to call you on this one.


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