(Topic ID: 222329)

Is this a decent desoldering gun for board repair?


By twinmice

1 year ago



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  • 17 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by goingincirclez
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    #1 1 year ago

    Looking to buy one and saw this. Thanks Mike Paris

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    #2 1 year ago

    Not familiar with this one. The one that seems to be the most popular is the Hakko FR-300 (which replaced their 808 model). I have this one and let me tell it makes a WORLD of difference when doing board work as opposed to the manual suckers or that one that Radio Shack sold. Not cheap (around $250-300 USD) but worth every penny. The only quibble I have with it is that it only comes with only one tip (1.0 mm) in the standard kit. If you get one of these I recommend getting the 0.8mm and ESPECIALLY the 1.6mm tips; there are a couple of other sizes but these three should cover the bulk of jobs you run across.

    #3 1 year ago

    I have one and it has been working great so far.
    I did a unboxing and review of it here

    #4 1 year ago

    I am interested in this thread. I need one of these but really don't have the funds for a Hakko.

    #5 1 year ago

    As always...get what you pay for, I'm sure.

    #6 1 year ago

    At least it comes with a stand. My Hakko 808 didn’t.

    #7 1 year ago

    450 degrees??? Wtf good is that...obviously chinese problems off the bat.

    If I had plans on keeping a piece of equipment around long, I wouldn't buy something that may not have parts available down the road...

    ALWAYS new, tempting china junk coming out....been there done that....buy real equipment or just buy lots of descent suckers and parts for the money.

    #8 1 year ago
    Quoted from pacmanretro:

    450 degrees??? Wtf good is that...obviously chinese problems off the bat.
    If I had plans on keeping a piece of equipment around long, I wouldn't buy something that may not have parts available down the road...
    ALWAYS new, tempting china junk coming out....been there done that....buy real equipment or just buy lots of descent suckers and parts for the money.

    450 is C, not F. Converting to F is 842 degrees. Not commenting on quality, but 842F is not too bad.

    I'm still old school and use solder wick, but at some point I can see me flipping for a desoldering station. Haven't lifted a pad yet! But you have to take your time, and then some!

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from chucktee:

    Not cheap (around $250-300 USD) but worth every penny.

    I wavered on it for a fair amount of time before finally pulling the trigger on the hakko FR-300 (the FR-301 is now available, which has a few improvements over the FR-300). I use it all the time now. It makes desoldering quick and easy.

    I've been satisfied with it.

    #10 1 year ago
    Quoted from mbwalker:

    450 is C, not F. Converting to F is 842 degrees. Not commenting on quality, but 842F is not too bad.

    Got you. Was like 450F is crazy low. Lol.

    #11 1 year ago

    I guess not everyone can afford or wants to spend $300 on a nice desoldering station. Heck, that's a price a cheap EM.

    So for someone that that does repair a couple of times a year - yeah, might be just fine.

    I admit tho, having the right tools does make a diff (coming from a guy that has Harbor Freight stuff out in the garage). And I work in a lab that has good soldering equipment...hard to go backwards.

    Looking at it from the 70,000' level - if it does work reliably, the biggest concern would be the availability of replacement tips. Might work fine, but if you can't find a replacement tip, then that is a big issue. Anyone know if it takes standard tips? Apologies, watched most the video, but skipped some parts...

    #12 1 year ago

    I dont get it... if you plan on a lot of use, buy the right equipment....if you only going to use it a dozen times, why is a sold-a-pult and solder wick so terrible???

    #13 1 year ago

    Completely agree PacM,

    I use good solderwick w/a lot of flux, and it works great. One problem is if the lead of an IC is skewed to the side of the via - solder always seems to be stuck in there. It takes a little bit of gentle work to center the lead so you get all the solder out w/solder wick. Plus if the lead is firmly pushed into the via - that take a little extra work to free that up side too. Based on experience, a desoldering station helps to alleviate those issues somewhat because you can 'wiggle' the lead to really clean out the via w/o putting stress on the pad.

    At the end of the day, I guess it all comes down convenience for people and how often they desolder parts.

    I recently removed a multi-pin chip to install some NVRAM from Pinitech. I bet a spent a couple hours all told using solder wick - going slowly. But it was just for one of my own pins on my own time, and it came out clean with no issues. The massive ground plane leads were a royal PIA, but I got thru it. But if someone was doing a repair as a business, time is money, and I would think they would flip for a good desoldering station. I was about ready to order a good desoldering station by the time I was done!

    One thing I always tell myself is "when I do a repair, don't make a $1 part turn into a $300 repair if not needed" (i.e use judgement when buying tools, and I fail at that a lot of times). Tools like solderwick will get the job done, I guess it depends on how often a person does repairs and if they have the patience to do it right.

    #14 1 year ago
    Quoted from mbwalker:

    I admit tho, having the right tools does make a diff (coming from a guy that has Harbor Freight stuff out in the garage).

    I usually work my way up from cheap junky tools to nicer & more expensive tools if I find myself using the junky one enough. Although, sometimes it's an unnecessary struggle with the cheaper stuff.

    After a while, you kind of get a sense of what kinds of tools it's worthwhile to spend a little money on, usually based on the quality of the tool and how frequently it might get used.

    For instance, until last week, I didn't own a circular saw. I made do with either hand saws or a jig saw. I was just cutting 2x4's so I didn't need anything fancy, so I picked something up a smaller circular saw for about $40. I wasn't going to spend $150 on a fancy 12" battery powered circular saw. I probably won't get a whole lot of use out of the one I bought, but it sure made things a lot faster and easier with the project I'm working on.

    #15 1 year ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I usually work my way up from cheap junky tools to nicer & more expensive tools if I find myself using the junky one enough...

    Ha, so true.

    I buy the $10 cheapie one that barely works but is almost better than nothing. Then the $25 one that 'sorta works better' because I tell myself "this is all I need." Tired of the kludges for a tool...then on to $50 'on sale' one. Then finally the $100 one that I wanted in the first place. Then I fret over what do I do with the other 3 for a year before I donate to Goodwill or the like. Without exception!

    #16 1 year ago
    Quoted from mbwalker:

    Completely agree PacM,

    One thing I always tell myself is "when I do a repair, don't make a $1 part turn into a $300 repair if not needed" (i.e use judgement when buying tools, and I fail at that a lot of times). Tools like solderwick will get the job done, I guess it depends on how often a person does repairs and if they have the patience to do it right.

    I happen to have a Dremel tool and a standard soldering iron.
    That can get the job done too.
    I also do not like to buy a new tool for ever task.
    See previous post here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/desoldering-chips-without-pc-board-damage

    #17 1 year ago

    A desoldering tool (Hakko 300) is without a doubt the best tool purchase I have made in the past 5 years. The possibilities opened, time saved, and confidence built, far exceed the price.

    Is a desoldering tool necessary? In the strictest terms, no: I rebuilt a complete System 6 boardset - MPU, Driver, PSU, Sound, Speech - all with the $20 Radio Shack bulb and some wick. I replaced dozens of sockets and hundreds (thousands?!?) of thru-hole points. It was tedious and time-consuming and fraught with potential disaster. It was not easy! But even though that project was all about the challenge, when I first started I didn't realize the needs would be so comprehensive: "Eh, how many things will I need to change? This next one will fix it...." Oops! In for a penny, in for a pound.

    Still, I got it done, and it worked. I was proud of my technique and apparent skill. I was also surprised to find I sort of enjoyed the process. But man, what a pain!

    Enter the desolderer: the difference between simple repairs taking 5 minutes or half an hour. It often takes longer to remove boards from a machine than to fix the component! If I notice a bug during gameplay I might think "I can go ahead and fix that now" instead of "crap I'm out of time" or "I hate fixing these so I'll just live with the problem til it gets worse". And no more hand cramps!

    Even better, I don't need to be discouraged by projects that need boardwork, because time is reduced. I can tackle scary rebuilds - or at least get reasonable and cheap attempts in - before spending big $$$ on replacement boards. This is important when a problem confounds (replace component A to test... then B then test, now C then test, and so on). Depopulating a board to fix major damage is reasonable. I can experiment with other repairs for the heck of it. I can pull good but sensitive components off otherwise defective units to test and use them (whereas with a bulb/wick, you pretty much plan to write everything off).

    Way I figure, in just over a year, a $250 impulse purchase of a desolderer has saved me over $1,500 in purchase costs (from getting machines needing work for much less, to saving on repairs, avoiding the purchase of new boards, and sourcing my own component pulls...). PLUS side income repairing stuff for other folks. Not to mention the hours of time saved. Not to mention the satisfaction of spot repairs done in the nick of time.

    But I own a lot of games, and enjoy fixing things. If you only have a game or two and therefore just an occasional need to work on a board, and have no interest in comprehensive projects, you can get by without one. But if you'd like to repair boards whenever need or opportunity strikes, you'll love your desoldering iron and wonder why you ever did without.

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