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Old Sep 17, 2012, 11:31 PM
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Replacement soldering station recommendations?

Title sums it up. My Weller EC1002 started acting up on me tonight. It may just be in the pen, or the whole unit may be bad. This model was discontinued in '02, so even if my unit was the very last one ever made (highly unlikely), it's still 10 years old.

I'll look more into repairing this unit, but I'm also researching a bit in case replacement is necessary. Right now, the prime candidate is the Weller WESD51, which is the digital version of the replacement for my iron (WES51). Looks like I can buy a new one for $90 or so.

I plan on doing a LOT of soldering in the future, with my increased involvement in RC an FPV. I'd like to get a unit that is versatile, capable, and durable. Anyone have any suggestions aside from the WESD51?

Update: purchased a Hakko (sp?) FX-888, and I'm very satisfied with it.
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Old Sep 18, 2012, 12:20 AM
Stuart
srnet's Avatar
UK, Cardiff
Joined Dec 2008
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Try a Forum search on 'soldering station'.

Couple of threads recently on this topic.
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Old Sep 18, 2012, 02:58 AM
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Australia, WA, Drummond Cove
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I'd recommend Hakko. They are good quality have a wide range of powers and controllers. However they are a bit pricey.

Also, it may not be what you want but I recently made my own.

This is a list of the parts
1. A digital temperature controller ($20 Ebay like this one http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/PID-DIGIT...item27cb1b61a8)
2. A Hakko soldering iron ($7.69 Ebay http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI....:X:AAQ:AU:1123)
3. A 5 pin XLR Audio Cable Connector ($2 Ebay like this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-pcs-XLR-Au...item23216e3bf9
4. A 24V transformer I had lying around to supply the iron heating element
5. An old computer power supply box to hold it all
6. An old 240v LED I had lying around to show the Mains power active
7. A Soldering iron holder ($2 I think off Ebay)
8. A variable resistor and a bit of board to put it on to calibrate the temperature
9. A couple of rocker switches off old PSU's for switching the mains and heating element
10. Later I added a couple of spools to hold the solder reels on the top for convenience.

I reckon its as good as or better than a lot of top brand units for what I do.
If you want more details (circuit diagram etc) let me know and I'll post it for you.
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Old Sep 18, 2012, 06:09 AM
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They say Hakko is usually good. In the US you can get these from sparkfun.com for $100:

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10553

It's temperature controlled, really good value. Maybe get some extra tips there and some other stuff for tip maintenance.
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Old Sep 18, 2012, 10:20 AM
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Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tom from B&D Enterprises. B&D is an authorized Hakko distributor. The Hakko FX-888 is is nice little unit. We are currently offering a promotion on these for all RCgroups.com members @ $76 each plus free shipping. If you would like more information, pm me or email me at tom.jones@bdent.com
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Old Sep 19, 2012, 09:45 AM
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Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Joined Sep 2007
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Could you please post your diagram on how you put this together?

I have a soldering station that is playing up and I have been curious to see if I can just get a digital temperature controller and just use that to fix this unit?

Mine is quite old and I have tips and parts for the handle - just the actual board/controller has failed and will not shut off the power to the heater element.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tignmeg View Post
I'd recommend Hakko. They are good quality have a wide range of powers and controllers. However they are a bit pricey.

Also, it may not be what you want but I recently made my own.

This is a list of the parts
1. A digital temperature controller ($20 Ebay like this one http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/PID-DIGIT...item27cb1b61a8)
2. A Hakko soldering iron ($7.69 Ebay http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI....:X:AAQ:AU:1123)
3. A 5 pin XLR Audio Cable Connector ($2 Ebay like this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-pcs-XLR-Au...item23216e3bf9
4. A 24V transformer I had lying around to supply the iron heating element
5. An old computer power supply box to hold it all
6. An old 240v LED I had lying around to show the Mains power active
7. A Soldering iron holder ($2 I think off Ebay)
8. A variable resistor and a bit of board to put it on to calibrate the temperature
9. A couple of rocker switches off old PSU's for switching the mains and heating element
10. Later I added a couple of spools to hold the solder reels on the top for convenience.

I reckon its as good as or better than a lot of top brand units for what I do.
If you want more details (circuit diagram etc) let me know and I'll post it for you.
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Old Sep 19, 2012, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.bd View Post
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tom from B&D Enterprises. B&D is an authorized Hakko distributor. The Hakko FX-888 is is nice little unit. We are currently offering a promotion on these for all RCgroups.com members @ $76 each plus free shipping. If you would like more information, pm me or email me at tom.jones@bdent.com
Tom,

I just ordered a unit from Amazon, which it says is fulfilled by B&D Enterprises. Is your phone number 800-458-6053? If so, then I just ordered a unit from you, via Amazon.

I'll be honest, having this as your first post left me with some concerns (RCG has had spamming issues on the past), so I spent $4 more to order through Amazon (with a feeling of security). If, however, you are the same B&D, then I'll be sure to voice my support when my unit arrives.
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 07:18 AM
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Australia, WA, Drummond Cove
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deswong View Post
Could you please post your diagram on how you put this together?

I have a soldering station that is playing up and I have been curious to see if I can just get a digital temperature controller and just use that to fix this unit?

Mine is quite old and I have tips and parts for the handle - just the actual board/controller has failed and will not shut off the power to the heater element.
deswong
Attached is a circuit diagram and a copy of the manual for the controller.
I'm not great at putting together circuit diagrams so please forgive me if it doesn't follow normal schematic rules.

The circuit is basically pretty simple.
Power comes in through the plug and goes to terminals 1 and 2 of the controller. Earth is connected to Chassis A fuse and mains switch are put inline with the active.
I put a power LED on the mains that I had lying around off an old charger but this is optional. I don't know the construction of the LED unit. An LED on its own would blow so it must have a small circuit in the unit (resistance).

The 24v transformer also came off the old charger I had and it is connected to the mains.

The soldering handle cord has 5 wires coming through the 5 pin plug. Black and yellow are the heater, Blue and red are the temperature sensor (Thermistor) and the green is earth connected to the body of the iron.

Pins 13 and 14 on the controller are the relay connection. So the heater black wire is connected to the 24v side of the transformer. The yellow heater wire inside the box is connected to pin 13 of the controller. Then from pin 14 the yellow wire goes through a switch and to the other side of the 24v.

The thermistor wires are connected to pins 9 and 10 of the controller which is the sensor input. If the sensor in the soldering iron was a k-type thermocouple then that is all that would be required. Unfortunately the thermocouples in the HAKKO irons are a themistor so it needs a resistance across pins 8 and 9 so that the controller can correctly sense the temperature. A 10k ohm variable resistor is connected and this resistance needs to be adjusted to calibrate the temperature correctly.

To calibrate the temperature I placed a k-type thermocouple on the tip of the iron and connected it to my multimeter. I then adjusted the zero offset in the meter menu's and the resistance to get the temperatures correct. There re other ways to get the temperature calibrated but this worked for me.

It is important to set the controller to PID control to get precise temperature control as the on/off control method is very rough. Once I had set up the parameters in the controller I found it would heat up to temperature within 60-90 seconds and controlled to within 1-2 degrees of the setpoint. If you end up getting the same type of controller (Model N2006P) I can post the settings for you. Just let me know

Down the track I may put a second controller in the box and add a second Soldering handle of 80-120W for big jobs. There's still plenty of room in the box and occasionally I would prefer a high power large tip iron.

Cheers
Hope this helps
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 10:35 AM
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UPDATE:
I opened the box up, tidied up the wires and made a labelled picture that may be easier to see how its made
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by motoguy1 View Post
Tom,

I just ordered a unit from Amazon, which it says is fulfilled by B&D Enterprises. Is your phone number 800-458-6053? If so, then I just ordered a unit from you, via Amazon.

I'll be honest, having this as your first post left me with some concerns (RCG has had spamming issues on the past), so I spent $4 more to order through Amazon (with a feeling of security). If, however, you are the same B&D, then I'll be sure to voice my support when my unit arrives.
Motoguy. We are indeed the same company. I checked on your order. It looks like you should see it on Monday. Enjoy. If you ever need any additional tips or accessories, hit me up. There should be a flier enclosed with your FX-888 showing all of the available tips.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 07:27 PM
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Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Joined Sep 2007
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Thank you for the pics and diagram! That sounds like a great project for me I have a spare iron and tips for mine as I never expected the actual controller to fail.

Opening the soldering station I was shocked at how simple it was - just an OP-AMP driving a Triac.

Mine is a K type Thermocouple so this sounds like a great replacement, rather than $150 to replace the soldering station with a new one and not being able to use the spare iron etc.

How did you find the Automatic PID calculation go? Did it work well? Or did you end up entering values manually?
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Old Sep 25, 2012, 06:09 AM
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Australia, WA, Drummond Cove
Joined Jun 2012
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Good luck with the project deswong. You are right it is pretty simple.

I enjoyed doing it. As soon as I can find that higher powered 24 soldering handle I will be spending time finishing it off making it into a two handle station.

The controller I used (shown in the pics) has an auto tune facility that sets up the PID values. I only had to run the tune routine once and it was perfect. I would thoroughly recommend these controllers, although it looks like there are others that are just as good out there.

With a K-type thermocouple the circuit is even easier because you don't need the calibration resistor. You simply connect the thermocouple leads across pins 9 and 10 and ignore the pin 8.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 08:13 AM
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Joined Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.bd View Post
Motoguy. We are indeed the same company. I checked on your order. It looks like you should see it on Monday. Enjoy. If you ever need any additional tips or accessories, hit me up. There should be a flier enclosed with your FX-888 showing all of the available tips.
I received the soldering station on Friday (or was it Saturday?), which is exactly what the shipping estimate suggested. Thanks for getting it shipped same day the order was placed! I did indeed receive the flier with the unit, so I'll take a look at which tips I may need.

I've been using the unit over the weekend to build my FPV ground station, make harnesses, etc. So far, I like the Hakko FX-888! If only I could have purchased it in colors other than yellow / blue!

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Old Sep 26, 2012, 02:29 PM
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If only I could have purchased it in colors other than yellow / blue!

[/QUOTE]


The yellow / blue will grow on you.
They actually came up with the color combination to:
A: Make it harder to counterfit
B:Promote the 'green' mfg processes. Yellow + Blue = Green
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Old Sep 29, 2012, 07:55 AM
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Japan, Tokyo, Chiyoda
Joined Oct 2010
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nice thread, I needed the same kind of info

hey Tom, how come you sell those for 76USD, when I can only find them for double that price here in Japan ?!?

also, is the tip that is sold with it small enough for RC needs (boards and connectors etc) ?
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