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Old 20th Feb 2024, 1:05 pm   #1
Julesomega
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Default Recommendations for solder rework station

I'm feeling the need for a rework station that melts and sucks away the solder on PCBs, tagstrips and valveholders. I know there's a Pace rework station with a motor-driven vibrating solder tip, but I cannot justify such expenditure, so I'd be interested to hear what others have found useful.

I am an Antex enthusiast and I see their 760RWK hot air rework and digital soldering station is sensibly priced at £250. CPC and RS have many types and brands on offer, and I am attracted by those having standby facilities to keep the bit at reduced temperature until you pick it up, but those I've looked at make no mention of replacement bits, which I consider a prerequisite. Antex supply spare bits for all their current and recent products.
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Old 20th Feb 2024, 2:48 pm   #2
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

Not sure what you mean about the Pace rework station, the ones I've used have a motor driven vacuum pump inside the base station and use hollow tips in the iron, the waste solder collects in a tube inside the iron. Even second hand are too pricey these days, consumables include the tips, filters and the seal (which doesn't last long enough).

A cheaper alternate is the Duratool or similar from CPC/RS etc. https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=206861

Beware buying any unsafe non-compliant soldering irons, from various well known online trading platforms, they do not meet UK standards, may lack earth/ground connections and have dangerous copper coloured iron or aluminium core mains cable.

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Old 20th Feb 2024, 3:24 pm   #3
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

Thanks David, don't doubt that I will buy a reputable brand from a UK trade retailer! The vibrating bit is shown beautifully in this video which was recently linked from this forum:-

Repair of SMPS Unit
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Old 20th Feb 2024, 3:36 pm   #4
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

It's not vibrating, there are no moving parts in the iron, the tip is being moved around by the person using it (some bits of the video are sped up too), the noise is the pump in the base station.

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Old 21st Feb 2024, 9:32 am   #5
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

I have a couple of the Antex 760, they do have some anoying quirks, the first is the main power islolator is located at the rear, the two switches on the front put the iron and hot air to sleep but the transformer remains on all the time.
Second quirk is the cable connecting the hot air tool is pvc and has gained numerous melts over the two years.
No de soldering ability.
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Old 21st Feb 2024, 11:48 am   #6
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

I can see now that the head is not motorised, David; the guy is very adept at using the tool. I had forgotten about the recent thread on desoldering, but that must have seeded the idea in my mind!

Stephen, do you mean that the unit does have de-soldering ability but is let down by the cable vulnerability?

I think I'll go for the Antex, and will buy direct from the manufacturer at a lower price than from CPC. I'll order some spare bits when I find which I use most.
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Old 21st Feb 2024, 12:10 pm   #7
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

Does not have the ability.
Speak to Ian at Antex, good guy to talk to.
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Old 21st Feb 2024, 12:58 pm   #8
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

The Antex hot air rework station is for rework on surface mount PCBs, just a very specialist device that blows hot air at soldering temperatures. The iron that is included with it, is just a regular soldering iron, it will not de-solder through hole parts in the way the Pace or Duratool does.

I don't actually own a hot air rework station, but do own two Pace soldering irons, one Pace de-soldering iron and recently added a Pace tweezer soldering iron to the set.

We used the Duratool de-soldering iron at work along with Pace, Weller and Hakko versions, the Weller & Hakko spares for the older de-soldering irons became impossible to obtain, hence they bought the Duratool.
We now have a very expensive Metcal, but when I was last at work (off work due to health at the moment) they still hadn't sorted out a compressed air supply, to be able to use it's de-soldering iron. The Metcal uses air & a Venturi system instead of a motor driven vacuum pump.

David

Last edited by factory; 21st Feb 2024 at 1:08 pm.
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Old 21st Feb 2024, 1:10 pm   #9
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

I've a Hakko FR301 desoldering tool which I'm very happy with. Makes removing 40 pin DIP ICs from a pcb possible without damage, before I'd usually have to snip the leads off. But they are not cheap in the UK.

Hot air guns are, as factory says, primarily for SMD rework.
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Old 21st Feb 2024, 1:55 pm   #10
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

Pace here, really good, but it's the older model that needs unblocking more frequently.
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Old 21st Feb 2024, 2:58 pm   #11
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

The unit linked in the original post looks suspiciously like one of the cheap Chinese units albeit with an Antex iron rather than the usual Hakko clone.
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Old 21st Feb 2024, 8:16 pm   #12
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

I've got an old RS/Pace MBT100 with a vacuum pump in the base. I got it from a rally years ago. I had to replace the heater, which was £50, but its been OK otherwise.
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Old 22nd Feb 2024, 11:38 am   #13
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outrun_uk View Post
The unit linked in the original post looks suspiciously like one of the cheap Chinese units albeit with an Antex iron rather than the usual Hakko clone.
You're paying a lot for that Antex iron!

https://www.aliexpress.com/i/33024466814.html
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Old 22nd Feb 2024, 11:46 am   #14
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

Yes but those deathtraps bought direct from China, bypass all the relevant safety standards & regulations, that Antex products have to comply with. As I referred to in post #2.

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Old 1st Apr 2024, 11:56 pm   #15
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

I ended up buying the RS PRO 137-2292 de-soldering station with several sizes of bit, and the Antex rework station which is a soldering iron plus hot air blower with a fine nozzle and temperature control.

Worried by the warnings of others, I tried a bit of light de-soldering but have been using the Antex unit for all soldering work until the other day. I wanted to de-solder a used multi-pole DIN connector which is not exactly heavy-duty and the de-soldering was set up on the bench. I really should have paid more attention to the warnings in the earlier post Duratool desolder gun mod where Les and Martin make the same point about leaving it to heat thoroughly, and keep sucking until the sucked solder has cleared from the gun.

I applied a touch of flux to the first tag on the workpiece, there was about a second of sucking before the gun clogged up solid and the pump sped up. The collecting tube came out easily releasing many blobs of reclaimed solder, and revealed a 'tail' of splayed out strands of now solid solder projecting from the inner end of the heated tube. Reapplying heat melted the solder at the nozzle end but not the inner end, even at 430°C which I didn't fancy exceeding, and I had to apply external heat from the Antex heat gun and iron bit at similar temperatures, when the unclogging tool started to penetrate a bit further each time between shaking out streams of solder by shaking downwards. A major palava.

The current model has a quiet cooling fan but the pump when triggered is still a bit noisy for a quiet evening; I will use it set on a bit of foam rubber underlay.
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Old 2nd Apr 2024, 12:41 am   #16
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

I forgot to say that any de-soldering tool should not be used for anything other than removing components from a PCB. Solder tags, valve holders, Jones plugs and the like should have the solder melted with an iron and be vigorously shaken somewhere safe. Those Weller heatproof mats which retain small objects are ideal for this.
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Old 2nd Apr 2024, 10:24 pm   #17
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

I'd have to disagree with the above. My Pace is excellent for clearing solder from tags, valve holders etc whilst in situ.
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Old 2nd Apr 2024, 10:59 pm   #18
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

I notice you appear to have your desoldering iron set to 160C - Too low, mine always sits around 360C - do not be tempted to drop the temp when it's turned on and not in use - get it hot and keep it hot until finished with and cleaned.

Also, if possible, try a different holder, one that will hold the element in a vertical position to allow a better heat soak up the barrel when at rest.

Likewise, I've had no problems removing solder from tags, pots, connectors etc.
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Old 2nd Apr 2024, 11:18 pm   #19
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

Quote:
Originally Posted by wd40addict View Post
I'd have to disagree with the above. My Pace is excellent for clearing solder from tags, valve holders etc whilst in situ.
I'm envious, shaking wet solder off really messes up the carpet

Well spotted Terry, I only turned it on for the photo so it was showing the default minimum setting. Which end do you set upwards, presumably the handle end?
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Old 2nd Apr 2024, 11:45 pm   #20
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Default Re: Recommendations for solder rework station

Just seen your desoldergun stand in another thread about SMT components - like I expected, nozzle end downwards
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