rocking the bench tools

Todd: I'm about to upgrade my bench from mickey mouse to mikey mouse. What is your take on soldering stations/reworkstations and desolder guns?
I'm thinking about the Hakko FX888 but I don't know jack about smd versus lead work on old synths and new ROHS stuff. (Their 808 desoldering gun looks pricey but good (thinking of redoing a very old cd4000 and tantulum loaded Quadra synth.) And then there is a s-load of rework heat guns and options with more tips then gramma's cookie cutter collection. I did take the plunge on the in-circuit capacitor ESR70 tester from Peak and that insane tiny oscilloscope/signal generator for tracing audio in vintage synths. Anyway interested to hear your thoughts on bench tools.


  • You checked into?
  • Oh man. There is really not enough space in this box for me to wax pedantic about a proper bench. It's the heart of a nerd, really.

    First, read this article:
    The pictures are broken. Deal with it, or buy the book (it won't let you down).

    I gotta get to work for client stuff pretty soon, so I'll keep it brief:
    If you don't already have a better iron, the Weller WTCPT is the cheapest good iron I know about. I have one and use it a lot. Get several tips, fine ones for SMT and bigger ones for PTH. It's a tank.
    I also have a Metcal SP-200 which I think is discontinued, but it it amazing. It holds temp great, heats up fast, and you can change tips on the fly.

    For de-soldering I use the den-on sc7000z. They are hard to find but they beat up on the Hakko 808 which is the only other gun-type I know of. This tool is f*&king invaluable for PTH repairs, but you can't treat it badly. You have to keep it clean and not suck up ants, bits of wire, etc etc or it will jam. Never use it near any hole that had stranded wire in it.

    For hot air rework I use a Hakko 851, and keep it on the finest tip I have (3mm or so) pretty much all the time. I don't have any fancy QFP tips or the like. I like this station. I used a Sparkfun Aoyue knock-off once and it was a real POS, overheated, changed pressure for no reason, etc etc.

    One day, I would like a pre-heater, but I don't have one yet.

    Those are just the solder related guys. As far as test gear....
  • tanks toddd
  • bought a dso201 single oscilloscope and signal generator in a colour ipad stye case w/a very nice probe for $79 from HK. Here in 5 days. Wow. auto calibrates, built in signal generator, usb, DIy forum for it, minisd card slot for waveforms (load/save), 2 hours on battery. 2mhz Big thumbs up from an amateur. Does what I need for tracing an arp 2800 vco circuit.
  • edited October 2011
    got a message in with howard electronics, they refurbish the den-on sc7000z, trying to get on their list. Odd product buy in usa one price, buy in Canada it doubles. $530!
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