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Solding iron recommendation - redux


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#1 Shruska55

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 10:31 PM

I've looked through the links/forums here on Slotblog and the consensus choice to replace my old Unger is the Hakko 601 as of December 2018. The latest iron thread I found. Has anyone had any experience with the Hakko base station models? My question is regarding the choice between having a base station temperature control such as the Hakko FX888D-23BY  $110 list price versus the 601 $92 list with the temp control on the handle.

 

I'm making a broad assumption that the FX288D iron to station cable is lighter weight as is the iron handle itself compared to the 601. The spec sheet seems to state that the FX288 has infinite temp control with in the stated range. One ad blurb stated it had a 35% faster recovery than their 900 series. It also has the ability to pre-set 5 temps in addition to the variable set. Lastly, it has a 7 tip optional package if others are needed. I realize that some of the features are personal choice based on requirements.

 

The underlying question is Can anyone say whether it has  a Hakko 601 Best in Show level reputation for performance and quality?

 

Thanks,

Scott

 


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#2 MSwiss

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 11:21 PM

For Retro chassis building, stick with the FX601.

On the, FX888, 899 degrees is not enough, IMO.

I'll add, on the FX601, when I finally had to replace the tip, it was hopelessly stuck in it's shell, and I had to replace it, also.

Fortunately it's not a very expensive part.

While I was getting the part for the Hakko, I switched back to my Weller/Ungar, and got a reminder on how it still has the best handle of all time.
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#3 Rotorranch

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 05:08 AM

I was very happy with my Hakko FX888, until I tried to get the motor out of my old T-Flex... I couldn't! I ended up using my old Hakko 455?

 

The FX888 just wouldn't cut it. The old iron dropped the motor out with no issue, just as it has for the past couple of decades!

 

I agree with Mike Swiss 100 percent, I still love my Ungars! Still one of the best irons out there.

 

Rotor


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#4 Racer36

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 06:32 AM

I have an almost brand new FX888. It’s sits in the cupboard while I use my 601 for everything. The only complaint about the 601 is the stiff cable, but it’s not a show stopper.


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#5 tonyp

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 07:26 AM

601, I’ve never had the need in all my slot car years to have an iron where I needed to turn the power down. The 601 goes to 11.
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#6 mreibman

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 08:42 AM

the only 2 irons I hear people talk about are the Hakko and the Ungar (now Weller).

 

I am still using Ungar and Weller, and no plans to switch. I suppose if I had NO irons, I might go with the Hakko. But I have been using the 45W and 50W ungars for 35 years.

 

To resolve the "no temperature control" on the Ungar, I use a dremel tabletop speed control, and generally have it set to about 3/4 on my bench at home. I rarely have to turn it up or down. I recently got another one used that had a kolhoza control on the cord.  I have also used a lamp dimmer cord to do this. All of these methods have no issue except for an additional cost.

 

I recommend the 37UG (50W) heating element with replaceable tip, although the 45W is adequate.

 

The most popular tip for general use is the PL133 (long taper chisel) although I sometimes switch it out for the PL113 for fine work like repairing a controller. This is a much smaller tip.

 

As always, your mileage may vary.


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#7 dc-65x

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 10:20 AM

Here's what I've been using and am happy with:
 

Hi Dan,
 
Everyone's given great advice. You may be using a setup like mine, a Weller (Ungar) handle...
 
Weller-7760handle.jpg
 
... and fixed 1100 degree tip heater:
 
Weller-3350wheater.jpg
 
You should also get a variable heat control as you don't need 1,100 degrees to solder on lead wires and dialing down the heat when the iron's just sitting there lengthens its life:
 
60014inlandtempcontrol.jpg
 
Since I'm lazy, here's all I do to keep my iron good to go. When I install a new tip/heater:
 
1.  With the iron off, dip the tip in paste flux
2.  Turn the temperature control up about 2/3 of the way
3.  Touch 60/40 solder to the tip and as SOON as it starts melting coat the tip generously (tilt your head back to avoid the massive amounts of smoke :laugh2: )
4.  Once the tip is coated, turn off the iron and wipe the excess solder off in the magical and wonderful device pictured below:
 
Hakko599b.jpg
 
I no longer use a wet sponge. EVERY time I'm going to solder a joint I wipe the tip in the Hako Tip Cleaner.
 
When done soldering:
 
Turn the heat off and let it cool down a bit, put a dab of 60/40 on the tip and rub it around inside the Hako. It will rub off the nasties from the tip and tins it to shiny goodness. :)
 
Hope this helps, it sure works well for me.


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#8 MSwiss

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 10:49 AM

Great advice from  Rick on properly tinning the tip.

 

An iron idling at full temp, is the tip's worst enemy.

 

If you plan to use it at full heat, but have moments in between, where you are planning, cutting, etc., and you don't want to turn it down and up, and then wait for it to get up to full heat, get yourself a small fan, to keep air flowing over the tip.

 

That simulates use and will keep the tip nice.

 

I've left irons on overnight, and with the airflow, the tip still looks great the next day.

 

You can also position the fan to draw the fumes away


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#9 Bucky

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 10:49 AM

I've held the 888, and the quality seems top notch. I own a 601 and would be comfortable using it to torch a small village. I'm not sure if any iron can compete with the heat it puts out.
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#10 slotcarone

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 11:06 AM

I agree with Mr Swiss totally about the small fan. And of course it's all about transferring the heat to the work with the solder.
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#11 Shruska55

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 11:35 AM

Thanks for all the comments! I'm not getting rid of my old Unger. We've been together too long and it still has life in it. Consensus give the 601 has the edge. Plus, it has a decided advantage of being the better portable iron on race day! Hakko 601, c'mon down.

 

Scott


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#12 gotboostedvr6

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 11:47 AM

Everyone should have an ebay Fakko china special $5 iron as a backup. You never know when your $100 iron might fail.
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#13 Upfront slot cars

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 09:15 PM

Hakko 601 is the best iron on the market for any chassis work . You can find them for 60-70 bucks . Ive been extremely pleased with mine since I got them.
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#14 Tim Neja

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 01:16 PM

I have the 601's to use at the track--I use the 888 at home and I DO turn it down when I'm not using it on chassis building.  It heats up SO fast I don't need it cooking all the time.  And if you turn it down--the tip magically cleans itself perfectly!!  And as someone mentioned--tinning the tip properly to start, and a small fan keep it really nice also!!  Your mileage may vary!! 


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#15 Half Fast

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 01:28 PM

And when you really need some serious heat:

Attached Images

  • 4146j8V7doL._SL500_AC_SS350_.jpg

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#16 MSwiss

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 03:51 PM

For Retro chassis building, stick with the FX601.
On the, FX888, 899 degrees is not enough, IMO.
I'll add, on the FX601, when I finally had to replace the tip, it was hopelessly stuck in it's shell, and I had to replace it, also.
Fortunately it's not a very expensive part.
While I was getting the part for the Hakko, I switched back to my Weller/Ungar, and got a reminder on how it still has the best handle of all time.

The malady I had with my FX601.

I tried every way possible to extract the tip from the shell.

The main reason I posted was just to show how removing 2 1/2" inches of the sheathing, near the handle, made it more pleasurable to use.

20200313_154506.jpg
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Mike Swiss
 
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17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#17 dc-65x

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 04:40 PM

Man, is that iron as big as it looks? 


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#18 Bill from NH

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 04:55 PM

Would the use of a thermal grease have allowed the tip/shell to come apart? I have a small tube Ungar sold, but I've seen other brands in electronics stores.


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#19 MSwiss

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 05:02 PM

Would the use of a thermal grease have allowed the tip/shell to come apart? I have a small tube Ungar sold, but I've seen other brands in electronics stores.

Good point.
 
I may apply some heat transfer compound before I plug in the fixed iron.
 
I just had never heard of it as a problem.

 

 

Man, is that iron as big as it looks?

No, not at all.
 
It was just the angle of the pic I took.
 
Below shows what well used Ungar tips look like when you keep a fan on them.
 
The blue handled one has an element that is probably 2-3 years old, and used by my local racer, 3-4 times a week, virtually every week.
 
20200313_170020.jpg


Mike Swiss
 
Inventor of the Low CG guide flag 4/20/18
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#20 tonyp

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 05:40 PM

I have some Koford thermal grease that I use on my tips. I’ve had a few hard to get apart but never one that would not come apart. Not sure if it works or maybe I’ve been lucky.


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#21 Rotorranch

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 06:44 PM

I used a high temp copper based anti-sieze on my old 455. I guess I'll see if it works.

 

Rotor


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#22 dc-65x

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 08:33 PM

1100 degree 50 watt Weller heater with tip just screw right in the handle, no grease needed. But the things are expensive, about $40. I think this is definitely not a one size fits all thing. Seems like different irons excel at different things.

 

I just need an iron for building and not for weekly races. For me that Ugnar........ah........Wellar handle is like wielding a fine custom knife. It just fits my hand.

 

It's nice we have choices so we can choose what's best for each of us   :good:

 

 


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#23 Bill from NH

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 09:29 PM

Rick, i've had the threaded Ungar heaters freeze in the handle socket. That's why I use the anti-sieze grease. I have two handles from the 70's I use & a couple new ones kept in reserve. They are better balanced & just feel good in your hands, Lee Gilbert told me the same thing when he came back East during the early 2000's. 


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#24 mickey thumbs

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 10:28 PM

I love my hakko 601. Thanks, Mike for posting your misadventure. I left mine on overnight Monday and was too embarrassed to ask for help in rescuing it. The tip is severely oxidized beyond my ability to restore to a properly tinnned state, but it did come apart easily and the ceramic element looks ok. A new tip arrived today and I will look into installing a timer to prevent a recurrence. Anything I need to consider when choosing a timer for a high draw circuit like the iron? 


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#25 munter

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 11:46 PM

Thanks for all the comments here...they made me run off looking for a HakkoFX601 iron here in NZ.....Nope, no result due to the AC voltage difference 110V compared to 220V.

 

So I am looking at the irons by Goot which are also from Japan.

 

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