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Thread: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

  1. #1
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    Default SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    Wife asked me if I want anything else for my Birthday/Christmas. After just destroying a board trying to put an SMD chip on a using my CSI 1A iron, the obvious answer is an SMD station. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    One other thing. How well would the tweezer soldering attachment on a CSI Station 1A would it work as an SMD Station?
    Last edited by michaelc; 11-30-2015 at 10:09 AM.
    Michael



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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    I picked up a hot-air rework station from Spark Fun a few years ago and it's served me well - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10706. Built quite a few boards with it using solder paste and repaired a few as well.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    I was looking at this one. Does anyone have any feedback? It's a few dollars more than the Sparkfun one but it includes a pre-heat option. http://www.circuitspecialists.com/sm...-csi-t001.html
    Michael



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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelc View Post
    I was looking at this one. Does anyone have any feedback? It's a few dollars more than the Sparkfun one but it includes a pre-heat option. http://www.circuitspecialists.com/sm...-csi-t001.html
    One like this will work just fine. I bought this one, and I really like it. It warms up very quickly, much faster than my CSI1A.

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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    I'm a huge fan of the Aoyue 968A+.

    The hot air rework on the Aoyue is just adequate, and the vacuum pickup is a joke. But that smoke absorber that's attached to the soldering iron is fantastic. It runs circles around any Weller or Hakko bench top smoke absorber. My Hakko iron is gathering dust because of this.

    I've tried seeing what it would take to equip a Weller/Hakko with a smoke absorber like that, and it would be > $1000, so for its price the Aoyue is a bargain.

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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    Deon, if hot air is just ok and vacuum is a joke are you recommending it solely on the smoke absorber?


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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelc View Post
    Deon, if hot air is just ok and vacuum is a joke are you recommending it solely on the smoke absorber?

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    The hot air is good enough to do an occasional surface mounted component. Like if you need to do a couple per board and only the occasional board type of thing. I use it for those generic surface mounted breakout boards that you get from Sparkfun & Adafruit - and it's fine for it.

    I've used it on QFN-44, SOIC-16, TSSOP-8, and components down to 0805 with success. I've tried for fun on a 0603 and 0402 - I got the 0603 to stick but I didn't test to see if it worked. The 0402 acted like I put a tornado on it, and flew off into the abyss.

    The heat isn't consistent on it if the airflow is low, and if you increase the airflow it will blow your components off the board. I deal with maybe 50 to 100 surface mounted components per year, so for me it's not worth getting a higher end one. YMMV.


    EDIT: Caveat - I see there are recommendations above for stations like the 852D+. That's also an Aoyue / clone and I don't expect those to work any better than the 968A+. So the 968A+ may in fact be better than some of these - I'm comparing it to the only other rework station I've recently used, which is a Hakko FR-801. But that's in a very different price range.
    Last edited by deonb; 11-30-2015 at 10:23 PM.

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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    I bought one of these, http://www.ebay.com/itm/390722563336...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT and absolutely love it!! Great for SMD soldering, built two of Ron's 8U boards (http://ronsholidaylights.com/) with it and a couple of other SMD projects. Super accurate, and has a power supply and circuit tester built in. Works perfectly, and you can't beat the price. A+++ in functionality!!!
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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by deonb View Post
    EDIT: Caveat - I see there are recommendations above for stations like the 852D+. That's also an Aoyue / clone and I don't expect those to work any better than the 968A+. So the 968A+ may in fact be better than some of these - I'm comparing it to the only other rework station I've recently used, which is a Hakko FR-801. But that's in a very different price range.
    Just because you don't "Expect" it to work any better than yours, doesn't mean it doesn't. Mine works great!

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    Default Re: SMD Soldering Station Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by rstehle View Post
    Just because you don't "Expect" it to work any better than yours, doesn't mean it doesn't. Mine works great!
    Mmm. Hard to know if that's expressing a difference in performance, or difference in expectation.

    Acid test: If you misalign e.g. a TSOP on a board and heat it with yours, would it correct itself back to the pads like it would inside a reflow oven (i.e. without having to coerce it with tweezers)?

    It won't do that with my Aoyue. It did that with the Hakko I borrowed.

    It's quite possible that my Aoyue / model is just a dud and that even cheaper priced ones work better than it. Could also just be my technique. Or could be that I just expect more from it.

    But I remember with the Hakko I commented to the owner - why does anybody buy a standalone reflow oven?? Whereas I've never thought that about my Aoyue.

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