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Old 05-08-2018, 07:39 PM   #10
momaka
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Join Date: May 2008
City & State: VA (NoVA)
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Default Re: Soldering Equipment

For a soldering station, I recommend anything that uses a T12 or T15 -type of tip. These are the ones that have the heating element and sensor built into the tip and they have pretty good performance, especially considering their price ($2-3 USD per tip usually). AVOID stations that come with "900M" style tips.

As for the station itself, go with whatever your budget allows. That said, I do recommend getting a station that has at least 60 Watts of output if you plan to do work on motherboards. I have a 75 Watt station (CSI 2900 - a close of the Aoyue 2900, I believe) and with several large tips (namely a T12-D52 bevel tip), there's almost nothing I can't desolder with it. I even often use it with my 30 Watt soldering iron to remove TO-252 MOSFETs directly from motherboards without hot air or pre-heating.

Now, for hot air... I can't really make a good recommendation. I acquired a KADA 852D+ from a friend of mine a few years ago and I still haven't outgrown it. But then again, I hardly do any work that requires hot air anymore, so I can't make any suggestions. I have heard that stations with a fan in the handle (not an air pump in their base) a better. I've used one briefly, and indeed they are more quiet and just as powerful (if not more powerful), so they may indeed be better. They are pretty cheap nowadays too.

Whatever you get, I do recommend that you open it and double-check all the wiring and soldering before powering it on. It's possible that some of these stations may have safety flaws. The majority of them, however, are just built too cheaply and so may have crappy soldering that needs fixing.
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