Which soldering ion has the longest longevity?
Jul 6, 2008 at 12:57 AM Post #16 of 40
FS2 said most of what I wanted to say.

Keep your temperatures to at or below 350.
Clean your tip constantly, the brass wool cleaners are the best to use.
Use plenty of flux, on your iron and on your job if needed.

But I really cant understand how you've been going through tips like you have. I've had my 936 tip for over 2 years and it's seen a lot of use and abuse, I've even forgot to turn it off and left it on for a few days at a time, clean it only when it starts to become a problem to solder and the brass cleaner brings it back to near new every time. I've never taken real good care of it, it's just always worked fine
Jul 6, 2008 at 1:19 AM Post #17 of 40
I continue to have great luck with my Hakko. I used a 936 for years and moved to a desoldering station a couple years ago. It soldiers on and I haven't had a catastrophic tip failure, either. They wear out, but I usually use the sponge between every joint and keep the tinned.
Jul 6, 2008 at 4:10 AM Post #18 of 40
basically, the ratshack iron sucks. Personally I relegated it to semi-hot-knife/hot-metal-nail duty after the first tip got unusable. (probably took even less time than yours did)

lead-free solders also destroy iron tips not designed for lead-free pretty quickly. The brass sponge thingy might help. Make sure you keep your tips tinned--you might even want to leave a blob of solder on the tip when you turn off the iron to further reduce the likelihood that it get oxidized while not in use
Jul 6, 2008 at 1:52 PM Post #20 of 40
Hi all,

I am currently looking at this and was struck at how similar this item is to the Hakko FX-951. I have been told by the seller that this item accepts Hakko tips. I forgot to ask him if this is a genuine Hakko brand or something else (I'll shoot him that question). In the meantime, what do you guys think of this?

Jul 6, 2008 at 2:35 PM Post #21 of 40
There's a lot of hakko knockoffs around. This is the first that I've seen that (appears) to have Japanese text on the logo, though, so it might not be. I think most people have found that the knockoffs are usually pretty close in terms of performance; they just have a couple of little things here and there, like a different connector or not enough thermal insulation for the soldering iron handle.
Jul 6, 2008 at 4:40 PM Post #22 of 40
Another vote for the Hakko 936. It's worlds better than that ratshack crap (I would know, as I went through two of those wretched things before I got the Hakko). There's really no comparison in quality. Plus there's a nice selection of tips and a hot tweezer attachment if you need it (I did).

Jul 7, 2008 at 4:20 AM Post #23 of 40
just thought I'd get in on the Ratshack bashing. Yes they really do suck THAT much. I now use Xytronic 379, and I love it. If you want so save a little bit of dough I'd go with it or a CSI or other Hakko 936 clone, but like others have said, you also can't go wrong with a genuine Hakko 936. You'll be suprised how a good iron makes DIYing so much more enjoyable
Jul 7, 2008 at 7:38 AM Post #24 of 40

Originally Posted by Zorander /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hi all,

I am currently looking at this and was struck at how similar this item is to the Hakko FX-951. I have been told by the seller that this item accepts Hakko tips. I forgot to ask him if this is a genuine Hakko brand or something else (I'll shoot him that question). In the meantime, what do you guys think of this?


The 951 is a brilliant iron, runs rings around the 936. Though the feature on the 951 that you want is the dual temperature settings where there is a microswitch in the holder that when you put the iron in the holder it switches the temperature to a standby one (like 150C) and when you pick it up it heats back up to the soldering temperature (like 400C). This is great as you don't corrode your tips from high temperatures and you can run the tips a bit hotter than you would on a normal iron as it only heats up to that for when you pick it up. It heats up in less than 10 seconds when you pick it up and beeps when it gets to temperature, we have them at work and they are usually switched on for 10 hours a day and aren't used constantly so the standby is a must.

Just with that ebay cheap knock off, I don't think there is a switch in the stand, so I don't think that it'll do the standby mode. If you are wanting a 951 then buy a genuine one, otherwise you my as well buy a 936 as you don't know what quality you'd be getting with this ebay knock off
Jul 7, 2008 at 4:19 PM Post #25 of 40
Yeah, the radio shack irons are terrible. The tips get eaten away even with gentle solder. My genius brother borrowed my radioshack iron once and was using acid flux
core, and the tip was eaten half way through on the side of the tip. The tips are absolutely terrible. I upgraded to a Weller WLC100, and it has served me pretty darn well. I bought 2-3+ extra sets of tips, and have only gone through one, which again, was used by my brother with acid core solder. I hear great things about the Hakko irons, and from what i gather, the hakko would be an upgrade to the WLC100, as well. I jumped the Hakko and recently picked up a Metcal MX500 on ebay, but it hasn't come in yet. I look forward to many hours of fun, and instant heating. DIYing is more fun when you're not limited by the tools you're running.
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:50 AM Post #26 of 40
When I was at Metcal we did a _lot- of research on tip life and how to maximize it.

The major soldering iron manufacturers (Metcal, Pace, Hakko, Weller. ect) plate their basically iron tips with nickel. The nickel can stand up to the corrosive chemicals found in the flux and the fact that tin/lead itself is corrosive to iron. The nickel plating is far more tolerant but has poor thermal conductivity (compared to iron).

Thicker nickel will make the tips last longer (until the nickel eventually erodes or is damaged into failure) makers choose between long life (more nickel) and poor thermal peerofrmance or less nickel with the opposite trade off. Generally they opt for less nickel since the tips perofrm better and die sooner - both pluses for the manufacturer.

You can extend the life to your tip bu keeping it clean (thereby keeping the corrosive chemicals off the tip), working at the lowest temp setting possible (I recommend 650F) and never using it as a prying tool (sure to cause cracks in the nickel which begins the end of life process). Also, if you are not using it, turn it off. One more thing - invest in one of the brands listed above - you will save money in the long run
Jul 8, 2008 at 4:30 AM Post #27 of 40
On a friend's recommendation, I went with a Metcal (MX-500). It has completely changed my DIY experience. Heats up practically instantly, and there's no problems with too much/not enough heat (assuming you have the right tip for the job; Metcals change temperature by changing to a different tip). The only drawback is that tips can get pricey, but they are very high quality, and just about any tip geometry you could want is available.

BTW, are you THE Joe Curcio?
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:29 PM Post #29 of 40
Metcal MX or SP (less expensive) are great irons that are really worth the price if you do a lot of soldering. The Weller "Silver" series are pretty good too as are the Hakko "FP" series. I've not seen good performance from either the Hakko 9xx nor any of the Pace MBT series. But any of these are light years ahead of the Radio Shack, Temna (sp?) or other house brands.

Joe Curcio of Curcioaudio & Dynaco-Doctor.
Jul 9, 2008 at 12:53 AM Post #30 of 40
You know, I'm really surprised that so many people have had such terrible longevity problems with the Radioshack soldering irons. I have used one for about a year or so regularly, and I haven't replaced the tip yet - it still holds heat relatively well, and I might just get a new tip because they're 1.50, and I wouldn't mind paying that much to have one just for the sake of it. Granted, I have the 15 watt one, so the tip is much smaller than the stupidly large 30-watt ones; it resembles a generic one. I wouldn't say it's an outstanding iron, and I've had experience on 200+ dollar stations at school that kicked its ass, but I wouldn't call it bad by any means.

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