Topics

Hakko FR-301 alternatives?

Jean-Paul
 

Hello all, this old EE has used solder wick and various spring loaded solder suckers, all are slow, and damage delicate PCBs. Due to maintenance, cost and bench space, I never got a rework station like the Pace. Now am restoring a number of TEK 2465/7B and 7000 plugins, so easily unsoldering components and ICs without board damage is a must.

Seems the Hakko FR-301 is highly regarded and gun style, needs no separate power supply/vacuum. (USA 120V model) But rather costly $250-350.

I have several other Hakko 926 (ancient analog control) irons quality and longevity is super.
I ask the Forums feedback on the Hakko, as well as lower cost alternatives.

Most of my work is thru hole, not SMD, perhaps 3-10 jobs in a year.

MANY THANKS

Jon

Harold Foster
 

I've had a Hakko 808 for about 8 years or so and it ranks as one of the best investments I've made in electronic tools - ties with my soldering iron, also Hakko. The FR-301 improves on a few things from the 808 and I would imagine it would be every bit as good and durable. I realize that I sound like a fanboy but it's an opinion that I have come to through a *lot* of use and abuse and the Hakko's just keep delivering.

In short they are expensive but, IMHO, very much worth it.

Hal

Paul Amaranth
 

I use Metcal equipment and have the DS1 desoldering gun. Some people
don't like the venturi vacuum generator, but it never bothered me.
The handpiece is small, light and easily positioned. It's great
for, say, removing NVRAMs.

Once I got a Metcal I never looked at another iron. None of my other
gear has been touched since.

Pricey, but they're all over the used market and you can get something
for reasonable money. Probably not a good fit for you if you like your
current stations.

Paul

On Tue, Jan 07, 2020 at 04:49:05AM -0800, Jean-Paul wrote:
Hello all, this old EE has used solder wick and various spring loaded solder suckers, all are slow, and damage delicate PCBs. Due to maintenance, cost and bench space, I never got a rework station like the Pace. Now am restoring a number of TEK 2465/7B and 7000 plugins, so easily unsoldering components and ICs without board damage is a must.

Seems the Hakko FR-301 is highly regarded and gun style, needs no separate power supply/vacuum. (USA 120V model) But rather costly $250-350.

I have several other Hakko 926 (ancient analog control) irons quality and longevity is super.
I ask the Forums feedback on the Hakko, as well as lower cost alternatives.

Most of my work is thru hole, not SMD, perhaps 3-10 jobs in a year.

MANY THANKS

Jon





!DSPAM:5e147e4b293962061714628!
--
Paul Amaranth, GCIH | Manchester MI, USA
Aurora Group of Michigan, LLC | Security, Systems & Software
paul@... | Unix & Windows

Jean-Paul
 

Paul, I was the designer in 1991 of the Metcal SP-200 with a 500 kHz resonant mode power supply, I have several protos and comple units, and collection of the tips, stands. Agree that Metcal is the best! But I never explored their desoldering WS, thought they require an air compressor supply?

My other solder stations are ancient Hakko so I am a fan of both, just never got the urge to pay 100s $ for a tool seldom used...till now!

Many thanks
Jon

Paul Amaranth
 

Hi Jon

I got lucky and ran across a lot of MX-500P supplies for cheap, so I
have them distributed around. The auto shutoff is also a great feature
(especially for me ! :-)

Yes, they do require an air supply which may be a big downside for
some. I use a cheap ($39 HF special) oilless compressor stuck in an
enclosure to keep the noise down. It is useful to have air around the
bench anyway.

I keep thinking I'll get around to putting a tank on one of the Gast
oilless compressors I have laying around, but it hasn't annoyed me
enough to do that (yet).

Paul

On Tue, Jan 07, 2020 at 06:48:16AM -0800, Jean-Paul wrote:
Paul, I was the designer in 1991 of the Metcal SP-200 with a 500 kHz resonant mode power supply, I have several protos and comple units, and collection of the tips, stands. Agree that Metcal is the best! But I never explored their desoldering WS, thought they require an air compressor supply?

My other solder stations are ancient Hakko so I am a fan of both, just never got the urge to pay 100s $ for a tool seldom used...till now!

Many thanks
Jon





!DSPAM:5e149a49296971339315998!
--
Paul Amaranth, GCIH | Manchester MI, USA
Aurora Group of Michigan, LLC | Security, Systems & Software
paul@... | Unix & Windows

EricJ
 

I use a DS1 also. I too like it a lot. I have a tiny little compressor I use for it that I made from an old A/C compressor, it's about as quiet as an air conditioner or fridge running.

--Eric

On Jan 7, 2020 8:36 AM, Paul Amaranth <paul@...> wrote:




I use Metcal equipment and have the DS1 desoldering gun.  Some people
don't like the venturi vacuum generator, but it never bothered me.
The handpiece is small, light and easily positioned.  It's great
for, say, removing NVRAMs.

Once I got a Metcal I never looked at another iron.  None of my other
gear has been touched since.

Pricey, but they're all over the used market and you can get something
for reasonable money.  Probably not a good fit for you if you like your
current stations.

Paul


On Tue, Jan 07, 2020 at 04:49:05AM -0800, Jean-Paul wrote:
Hello all, this old EE has used solder wick and various spring loaded
solder suckers, all are slow, and damage delicate PCBs. Due to
maintenance, cost and bench space, I never got a rework station like the
Pace.   Now am restoring a number of  TEK 2465/7B and 7000 plugins, so 
easily unsoldering components and ICs without board damage is a must.

Seems the Hakko FR-301 is highly regarded and gun style, needs no
separate power supply/vacuum. (USA 120V model) But rather costly $250-350.


I have several other Hakko 926 (ancient analog control)  irons quality
and longevity is super.
I ask the Forums feedback on the Hakko, as well as lower cost
alternatives.

Most of my work is thru hole, not SMD, perhaps  3-10 jobs in a year.

MANY THANKS

Jon





!DSPAM:5e147e4b293962061714628!
--
Paul Amaranth, GCIH             | Manchester MI, USA
Aurora Group of Michigan, LLC   |   Security, Systems & Software
paul@...              |   Unix & Windows





Dale H. Cook
 

On 1/7/2020 9:36 AM, Paul Amaranth wrote:

I use Metcal equipment and have the DS1 desoldering gun.
I use an older Metcal SP440 desoldering station in the shop and have several tips. The tips have been out of production for years but I have searches running and have been able to keep spares in stock for the tips that I use.

I seldom have to do PCB desoldering in the field as most of the semis that I have to replace on PCBs are socketed, and I don't have to deal with surface mounted components as my clients are small broadcasters with older equipment. For things like small transistors and passive components I use a desoldering tool equipped with a pump similar to a metal solder sucker.
--
Dale H. Cook, Radio Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
https://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html

Dale H. Cook
 

On 1/7/2020 9:48 AM, Jean-Paul wrote:

But I never explored their desoldering WS, thought they require an air compressor supply?
My Metcal SP440 has its own vacuum pump and reservoir.
--
Dale H. Cook, Radio Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
https://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html

George Langston
 

Jon,
I recently bought the Hakko FR-301, and I've only had it for a couple of months but I'm extremely happy so far. The build quality is superb and it's light and takes up very little bench space. It has performed better than expected - you do have to occasionally empty the cartridge which is a peace of cake. Also plunge it out with the provided tool. I still use my Soldapult for point-to-point stuff due to the amount of solder involved. Overall I think the Hakko FR-301 is a very good deal.

-George

Bert Haskins
 

Well, I'll probably be "drummed out of the corps" for this but I  use a unit like  this (ebay 323812940966) for component replacement.
I like it well enough that I bought a second one for backup.
I'm mostly a software guy but this unit is more that adequate for what I do now.
One day I replaced over ten of those POS TI sockets using this and did not have any circuit board damage.

-- Bert

Jim Ford
 

For $11.96 you could buy several. Jim Ford Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------From: Bert Haskins <bhaskins@...> Date: 1/7/20 10:19 AM (GMT-08:00) To: TekScopes@groups.io Subject: Re: [TekScopes] Hakko FR-301 alternatives? Well, I'll probably be "drummed out of the corps" for this but I  use a unit like  this (ebay 323812940966) for component replacement.I like it well enough that I bought a second one for backup.I'm mostly a software guy but this unit is more that adequate for what I do now.One day I replaced over ten of those POS TI sockets using this and did not have any circuit board damage.-- Bert

12ax7
 

Through strong recommendations from others in the group I bought a desoldering gun about 8 months ago. My Hakko FR-300 eBay purchase came with various sized nozzles. It works great and has saved me a number of times from yanking the thru hole ... through the hole. I also use it with the larger nozzles for vacuum tube point to point circuits.

Now, I only use my “plunger” to desolder larger solder blobs, typically on a chassis, and occasionally use a solder wick.

My 2 cents,
Jeff

Dave Wise
 

How do you operate it? I see a button - does pressing it energize a pump? Does it come with instructions?

Thanks,
Dave
________________________________________
From: TekScopes@groups.io <TekScopes@groups.io> on behalf of Jim Ford via Groups.Io <james.ford=cox.net@groups.io>
Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2020 11:45 AM
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] Hakko FR-301 alternatives?

For $11.96 you could buy several. Jim Ford Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
-------- Original message --------From: Bert Haskins <bhaskins@...> Date: 1/7/20 10:19 AM (GMT-08:00) To: TekScopes@groups.io Subject: Re: [TekScopes] Hakko FR-301 alternatives? Well, I'll probably be "drummed out of the corps" for this but I use a unit like this (ebay 323812940966) for component replacement.I like it well enough that I bought a second one for backup.I'm mostly a software guy but this unit is more that adequate for what I do now.One day I replaced over ten of those POS TI sockets using this and did not have any circuit board damage.-- Bert
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

12ax7
 

Hi Dave,

Not sure if your question is directed my way. The FR300 has 3 controls, 1) an on/off switch to heat up or turn off the gun, 2) a temperature dial, and 3) a trigger to engage the vacuum when you desolder.

I got my manual from the internet. There are a number of pretty good Youtube videos, including some directly from Hakko on how to use the FR300/301. As George L says above ... it has great build quality and is a breeze to maintain and use. You can see that in the Youtube videos.

I would also recommend buying one of the holders/stands for the gun. The "chopstick stand" that comes with the device is ok, but after a while you'll likely get frustrated having the "hot" gun laying down on its side and in the way.

Jeff

KB6NAX
 

Bert, my drum beats hail and hearty for anyone who can do a job with el-cheapo tools and the results are no different than using the super expensive "I wanna have one too" tools. I jest a bit but over the years I gave up on the idea of owning a de-soldering gun for one simple reason: With all of the garbage I work on all sorts of stuff gets into the suction channel, shards of oxidized solder, charred wire insulation, and flux ash. Taking time and effort to clean out the suction channel and emptying the collection cartridge was time wasted. If I constantly worked on circuit boards alone a gun would be great to have. So it's solder wick, hand desoldering pump, poking through clogged plated through holes, draining solder off of overloaded terminals, etc. So to have a big clunker taking up space on my work bench is a non option. Repairing and replacing damaged pads, often from previous rework, is all part of the job. -Arden

Mlynch001
 

I am cheap, so I took a chance on a CCC (Cheap Chinese Crap) ZD-985 Vacuum desolder station @ about $119.00 (about 2 years ago) delivered in 2 days. Amazon has a great return policy, so when I got it, I immediately started cleaning components off of old boards, for practice and as a "stress test". Figuring that this thing would throw craps in an hour or two, I was greatly surprised! The thing came through with flying colors. No return needed. That was almost two years ago, it still works great. I am not sure how much solder this thing has removed, but the gun has been cleaned many times with large globs of solder being removed from the gun each time. The ZD-985 also came with a bunch of extra parts, tips and filters. The only parts needed, so far, are the little filters that go inside the gun. For a cheap alternative, this thing is more than acceptable. It sure beats solder sick, manual solder suckers and the like. Much less likely to damage a precious board with this tool. Is it equal to a genuine HAKKO? I doubt it. Is it 90-95% of what a HAKKO is? I say it is for me and I have $200+ in my bank account as a result. The sad thing is that some HAKKO products or components are being sourced in China, and ruthlessly counterfeited there as well.

--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, AR

guy232
 

I bought the fr301 new on the bay for around 250. Works great, tons of vids on youtube too showing operation & disassembly (fr300 is similar to 301)

The best part about the 301 compared to the cheaper alternatives is that it maintains resale value quite well. When the Fr-301 came out there were quite a few guys selling their old fr-300s for $180-200 and they actually sold.

The 301 is also handy because it can be stored away in the case and put on the shelf or in a drawer to free up real estate it you dont use it much.

Thomas Garson
 

Hello Jean-Paul,

Not to dissuade you from getting a good desoldering tool, but before you do that, get yourself some Chip Quik.

Chip Quik is very low temperature solder that readily alloys with normal solder when the two are melted together, thus drastically reducing the melting temperature of the resulting amalgam.

Once treated with Chip Quik, solder in a plated through hole, even in a 6 layer board, will stay molten long enough to suck it out or wick it at a temperature low enough to preclude significant damage to a quality PCB. It is often possible to gently remove a many legged through hole IC from a PCB using ChiQuick just by melting it into the solders and using a Wiha Ausheber.

My work includes rework DSP products that make extensive use of multi layer PCBs that mix through hole and SMD components. Chip Quik can be melted into those tiny flat pins on 100+ lead SMD LSI chips, again, allowing them to be removed, without physically damaging chip or pads, as all pin connections can be melted simultaneously as not destructive temperatures.

Once parts are removed, holes and pads can be easily cleaned with wick and retinned with regular alloy solder.

If I had to choose between a directed hot air desoldering station and Chip Quik, I would take the Chip Quik.

Thomas Garson
Aural Technology, Ashland, OR
By my calculation, the dynamic range of the universe is roughly 679dB,
which is approximately 225 bits, collected at a rate 1.714287514x10^23 sps.

On 1/7/20 4:49 AM, Jean-Paul wrote:
Hello all, this old EE has used solder wick and various spring loaded solder suckers, all are slow, and damage delicate PCBs. Due to maintenance, cost and bench space, I never got a rework station like the Pace. Now am restoring a number of TEK 2465/7B and 7000 plugins, so easily unsoldering components and ICs without board damage is a must.
Seems the Hakko FR-301 is highly regarded and gun style, needs no separate power supply/vacuum. (USA 120V model) But rather costly $250-350.
I have several other Hakko 926 (ancient analog control) irons quality and longevity is super.
I ask the Forums feedback on the Hakko, as well as lower cost alternatives.
Most of my work is thru hole, not SMD, perhaps 3-10 jobs in a year.
MANY THANKS
Jon

John Crighton
 

Hello Michael and the Group,

there is a review of this ZD-985 on youtube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft50m8UU5WQ
An old workmate of mine bought one and he is delighted with the performance
of the ZD-985 in removing large components from double sided boards.

I have an old Hakko 700 de-soldering station. It cannot remove large components as easily as the ZD-985
For me it seems to loose heat too quickly, from memory the element is around 40W. (For the ZD-985 a power of 80 Watts was mentioned in the video)
The parts are expensive for the Hakko 700. I have difficulty finding them.here in Sydney. The unit is 30 years old so once the heating element fails in the
gun, the unit is finished. Maybe I am expecting too much from Hakko in long term after sales service. The little rubber diaphragm in the vacuum pump is
not available from Hakko in Sydney. That tiny piece of thin rubber is a consummable and should be available. To me, Hakko is letting me down.

For hobbyists and enthusiasts, this cheap and cheerfull ZD-985 is probably a better investment than a Hakko.

Regards,
John Crighton
Sydney




I am cheap, so I took a chance on a CCC (Cheap Chinese Crap) ZD-985 Vacuum desolder station @ about $119.00 (about 2 years ago) delivered in 2 days. Amazon has a great return policy, so when I got it, I immediately started cleaning components off of old boards, for practice and as a "stress test". Figuring that this thing would throw craps in an hour or two, I was greatly surprised! The thing came through with flying colors. No return needed. That was almost two years ago, it still works great. I am not sure how much solder this thing has removed, but the gun has been cleaned many times with large globs of solder being removed from the gun each time. The ZD-985 also came with a bunch of extra parts, tips and filters. The only parts needed, so far, are the little filters that go inside the gun. For a cheap alternative, this thing is more than acceptable. It sure beats solder sick, manual solder suckers and the like. Much less likely to damage a precious board with this tool. Is it equal to a genuine HAKKO? I doubt it. Is it 90-95% of what a HAKKO is? I say it is for me and I have $200+ in my bank account as a result. The sad thing is that some HAKKO products or components are being sourced in China, and ruthlessly counterfeited there as well.

--
Michael Lynch
Dardanelle, AR

Dale H. Cook
 

On 1/7/2020 4:37 PM, Arden wrote:

With all of the garbage I work on all sorts of stuff gets into the suction channel, shards of oxidized solder, charred wire insulation, and flux ash. Taking time and effort to clean out the suction channel and emptying
the collection cartridge was time wasted.
The filters in my Metcal SP440 catch all of the garbage and keep it from clogging things.
--
Dale H. Cook, Member, NEHGS, AGS, MA Soc. of Mayflower Descendants;
Plymouth Co. MA Coordinator for the USGenWeb Project
Administrator of https://plymouthcolony.net