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    Desoldering station recommendations?

    vtshopdog
    vtshopdog

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    Desoldering station recommendations? Empty Desoldering station recommendations?

    Post by vtshopdog on Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:24 pm

    Anybody have recommends for reasonable priced desoldering station?   Thinking would like to keep it sub $150 or so.

    I was gifted a 50 year old Mac 1700 receiver last summer and finally got around to checking it out. It plays and sounds pretty good but it’s a ticking time bomb for cap replacement.

    Debated  running away or going down the restoration rabbit hole. Answered by ordering a recap kit so rabbit hole here I come.  Have always gotten by with wicking braid and a solder sucker, but there are a ton of caps crammed into tight spots on this thing and an affordable desoldering setup might make this project more fun.

    Any recommendations appreciated. Thanks
    Peter W.
    Peter W.

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    Post by Peter W. on Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:29 am

    There is a danger when purchasing one-off tools for one to go cheap. A "proper" re-work station will start in the $200 range and go up from there. If you look to purchase "American", that price will easily double-or-more. There is a brisk used/eBay market, but you will not be entirely sure of what you are getting.

    Metcal, as a brand, comes to mind.

    And, then, there is Amazon.
    vtshopdog
    vtshopdog

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    Post by vtshopdog on Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:01 pm

    Thanks for bumping the price point Peter, my wallet appreciates you!!

    Two old saws come to mind:

    A good tool hurts the day you buy it, a cheap tool hurts every time you pick it up.

    and

    My nightmare is I die and my wife sells my stuff for what I told her I paid for it


    What do you think of all in one units like this Hakko.  Something easy to store away and get back out would be nice on my multi functional (wood, electronics, skis and bikes) workbench:

    https://www.hakkousa.com/products/desoldering/fr-301-desoldering-tool.html

    Good thing I got the Mac for free - If I had a brain would have finished cleaning it up and sold fully functional "as is" for probably $450 or so, but it does sound and look kinda nice, now curious to hear it restored.  I've done a number of separate components, but this will be my first restore of an integrated amp/tuner and the insides are flat up crammed so doubtless I'm gonna get worked over at some point.  (hey each preamp PCB has 24 - count 'em - wires connected)

    cheers, Tim
    Peter W.
    Peter W.

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    Post by Peter W. on Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:23 am

    MY only concern with all-in-one units is clearance. And that is a small concern as one always has the braid-and-iron option. Looks like a good tool.
    cci1492
    cci1492

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    Post by cci1492 on Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:19 am

    sKiZo
    sKiZo

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    Post by sKiZo on Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:49 am

    Overkill for the occasional project - a decent pistol type should do you nicely.

    I like the Jameco BenchPro - compact, no bulb to squeeze, and easy to get into fairly tight spaces. Also has good heat - it's listed at 30w, but mine tickles 40w. Recovery time is a bit slow, but that's incentive not to rush the job. For circuit boards, set the tool on the connection, give it a slight twist, and push the vacuum release button, and the solder magically disappears, usually in one shot. Point to point, I mostly just heat the joint and pull them apart.

    Replaceable tips too. Only caution I'd have is to make sure the tip can "breathe" when the iron is hot. Either set the gun flat on the bench or use an open spring type holder with good ventilation so the plastic barrel doesn't heat and soften. (Don't ask me how I know, eh)  clown

    https://www.jameco.com/z/SA6-R-11-Long-UL-Listed-Electric-Desolder-Pump-Blue-_2168261.html

    Oh. And whatever way you go, some solder braid for final cleanup is a good thing, and also plan to tin and clean the tip regularly as you would any other iron.
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    j4570

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    Post by j4570 on Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:00 pm

    I have one similar to the Jameco one. It was about $25 but came from Amazon. It's good for projects like this, it's basically a solder sucker and an iron in one.

    It will take more time, but how many amps are you going to do?

    There's also a reason people get paid good money to recap these things. It take time!

    Jason
    vtshopdog
    vtshopdog

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    Post by vtshopdog on Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:48 am

    Thanks for input everyone, one driving issue is the receiver in just bristling with connections and rebuild is something I want to do for fun, not frustration.  It’s probably at front end of early 70’s trend to multiple balance/tone/loudness/mute switches plus has 13 panel lamps and 6-tube tuner section all stuffed into a chassis small enough to fit one of their standard walnut cases (Imagine a quart jar of vintage passive components and wire scraps dumped in a 16” square pan)

    For the moment I’m lurking about watching for a used Hakko and have also located a reasonable deal on a new one.  Buying desirable, quality used tools can essentially turn into a free rental as one can use it and flip for similar price (assumes it arrives in working order...) plus you get to do your task with a quality tool.

    Happy to hear any more opinions, still weeks out from starting.
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    Jedidiah

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    Post by Jedidiah on Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:21 pm

    I too started recapping / fixing receivers a while ago for fun. I did more than i care to admit with the spring loaded solder sucker.

    The FR-300 was with out a doubt the best tool purchase i have made for my electronics tinkering. You can adjust the temp. You dont have to worry about over heating the board because there is a tiny bit of solder that the spring sucker can't get out. Or worst yet you have to heat and pry something at the same time because the contacts didn't get cleaned.

    100% game changer for me.
    Shortly after I ditched my solder station for a Hakko as well.

    I purchased mine from Amazon knowing if i didn't it could be returned. I have seen them come up for cheaper than i paid. The FR-300 was replaced by the FR-301, i wouldn't go any further back than the 300.

    Also here is a pretty informative video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZLQzBOOQbw
    vtshopdog
    vtshopdog

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    Post by vtshopdog on Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:26 pm

    Update in case anyone cares:

    I ended up with a NOS Hakko FR-300 on eBay for a great price and using it, well, “what Jedediah said”

    For P2P connections there was a short learning curve to get efficient, but pulling components from PCB’s?  OMG it’s rediculiously fast and easy.  Totally happy with the purchase and easily pays for itself in frustration not endured.
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    BNR_1

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    Post by BNR_1 on Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:02 pm

    vtshopdog - can you share your lessons learned when using your desolderion tool on ptp? The standard size tip that comes with the Hakko is 1.0 mm. Was that adequate in size or one of the lessons learned? I always wondered about these desoldering iron for ptp, turret board, etc. application. No doubt very useful for pcb boards.
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    Jedidiah

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    Post by Jedidiah on Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:15 pm

    @vtshopdog Great to hear you like the FR-300

    My Tips(pun):
    I use the 1.0 all the time. For me the trick is to keep the unit clean when you are sucking up potentially a lot of solder on PTP or other large junctions.When i say clean i mean using the 1.0mm tip cleaning tool, along with pulling the tip off and cleaning the tube. You can hear the pitch in the vacuum pump change as build up starts to occur. Even with big goobers of solder on OEM binding posts and other type PTP connections. I find the 1.0 is able to create a better "seal".


    Sometimes i flow more solder on the connection first which allows the solder to be removed more easily. (PTP or thru hole) If there is only a small amount of solder on the connection sometimes the suction isn't enough to grab and pull it off. Which is where adding more helps.

    Wiggle it! esp for PTP as you are desoldering wiggle the wires / etc to keep it from creating a bond with the residual.

    Circles for thru hole. Place the tip down on the board pad, then i move the unit in a circle while agains the pad to make sure i have the entire area heated and molten, then i apply suction. This also allows you to move the components lead that is thru the hole around to help with removal from the board.

    The only time i use the unit on anything other than the lowest heat setting is when i have to desolder very large connections that might have "heat suck". eg binding posts / RCA's or other things that are mounted to a metal chassis that pulls the heat away.

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    BNR_1

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    Post by BNR_1 on Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:07 pm

    Jedidiah those are good pointers. Interesting that the 1.0mm tip suffice even for non-pcb jobs. Never thought about too large of a tip may allow for vacuum leak producing less then an ideal situation. I can also imagine that the heat needs are going to be more demanding (i.e. heat loss) resulting in longer contact time.
    vtshopdog
    vtshopdog

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    Post by vtshopdog on Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:38 am

    My learning curve on PTP desolderIng involved stranded wire often wrapped and crimped with really solid mechanical connections before solder was applied at the factory. Project was a half century old McIntosh receiver and some terminals were at angles that presented poor contact for the tip of the gun. For solid  wire leads a blob of new solder on tip to aid heat transfer and wiggling the gun and/or back side of lead works really well.  

    Stranded wire wrapped and crimped connections are hit and miss.  Often enough solder will stay in the wire matrix that a number of strands remain bonded to a terminal even though probably 95%+ of solder is removed.  For these I took to keeping my iron running and get what I could with the vacuum them simply heat up the wire with solder iron and pull it off with pliers. All in all pretty fast once I had a system.

    I got into some really tight quarters on the preamp section PCBs with the tool - no way without it.  The tool is excellent, but like all tools one must decide if investment is appropriate for your needs.
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    BNR_1

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    Post by BNR_1 on Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:03 pm

    vtshopdog wrote:My learning curve on PTP desolderIng involved stranded wire often wrapped and crimped with really solid mechanical connections before solder was applied at the factory. Project was a half century old McIntosh receiver and some terminals were at angles that presented poor contact for the tip of the gun. For solid  wire leads a blob of new solder on tip to aid heat transfer and wiggling the gun and/or back side of lead works really well.  

    Stranded wire wrapped and crimped connections are hit and miss.  Often enough solder will stay in the wire matrix that a number of strands remain bonded to a terminal even though probably 95%+ of solder is removed.  For these I took to keeping my iron running and get what I could with the vacuum them simply heat up the wire with solder iron and pull it off with pliers. All in all pretty fast once I had a system.

    I got into some really tight quarters on the preamp section PCBs with the tool - no way without it.  The tool is excellent, but like all tools one must decide if investment is appropriate for your needs.

    Thanks for the info. I agree those stranded wires wrapped around turrets are much harder to remove. The solder gets into the gaps of the strand and provides a very robust connection that is good until it has to be removed.

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