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buffi

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I've used a cheap ZD-915 desoldering station from Amazon for a while now, and it worked somewhat ok at first, but have started giving me issues, so upgraded to a Hakko FR-301 and want to write a quick review of this thing.

TL;DR: Basically, it's so much better. Buy this instead.

While it's a lot more pricey, the pump is builtin so it's more portable and just nicer to work with (no need for a big extra cable for the pump to keep straight). Desoldering DIP IC's with this is very pleasant. It also heats up FAST compared to the station I used to use. No more waiting for minutes to get things warm. Build quality feels great, overall a quality product.

Made a video where I desolder a big-ish DIP rom. As you can see in the video, it does get a bit clogged up at one point and needs a quick poke with the cleaning rod. Also featuring a cameo of my daughters voice asking me what the fuck I'm doing.

 

MegaMan

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Looks like it did a good job. I’ve thought about these but I’ve been hesitant to buy one because in some reviews with similar desoldering stations with built in pumps, people say that the vibration from the pump actually scratched the pcb which scared me. Did it scratch any of your pcbs?
 

Dloop

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I've had this for a while and the main problem I have is it clogs up too often before the cannister and it's not always visible easily. So you end up trying and trying but not understanding why it won't suck up everything. Then cleaning it and it does a great job again until a short while after it clogs.

Edit: I've never had it scratch a pcb, but I've had pads lifted due to not understanding the above mentioned issue and tried too many times
 

buffi

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I've had this for a while and the main problem I have is it clogs up too often before the cannister and it's not always visible easily. So you end up trying and trying but not understanding why it won't suck up everything. Then cleaning it and it does a great job again until a short while after it clogs.

Edit: I've never had it scratch a pcb, but I've had pads lifted due to not understanding the above mentioned issue and tried too many times

Yes, this has happened twice for me so far, once in this video!

Feels like you have to poke in it periodically
 

Sp33dFr34k

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I have one of those Aoyue 474A+ desoldering guns. I think all of them clog up pretty quickly if you're doing a lot of IC's with a lot of pins. But for example, I did my NVS4000 PSU yesterday totaling about 40 caps and that went more than fine. For through hole caps you really don't need one, but it makes life way easier. Cleaning up old solder with desoldering braid is a pain if you need to do a substantial amount. I'm glad I bought it, for the price it's really okay, I don't use it very often. But when I need it, I'm very glad to have one :)
 

bodgit

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I find it clogs more frequently if you try and desolder with the PCB surface flat, so the gun is pointing down. Holding the PCB vertically so the gun is horizontal seems to clog less often. I guess gravity is fighting the molten solder.

After a while you can tell when it's clogged as the pump sounds more laboured. I've gotten into the habit of just running the cleaning wire in and out every X number of legs/pins I desolder, and I now always clean it when I've finished before I switch it off.
 

buffi

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Cool, I’ll try vertically next time sounds like a good idea!
 

dos

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I use an FR-300 at home and an FR-301 at work. Keep your finger on the trigger for about one second after you've lifted it off the board and you'll have way fewer clogs. I'm at the point where I rarely clean mine until the plastic catch tube is full of solder.
 

Shin

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I use a zd-915, vertical pcbs, I always add solder to each pad I want to desolder, letting it mix with the old one (and a bit of flux can't hurt I guess (if cleaned up afterwards)

about pulled pads or scratched pcb, I actually try to stay 1-0.5mm (and trying to heat the component leg) above the pcb and had good results. (my simple thinking was that if you actual touch the surface you're trying to vacuum, it will produce less good result than vacuuming while lifting the vacuum just a bit, more air pressure etc)

(also, thank you guys for mentionning the unclogging thing/tool since I clearly don't do it enough apparently😅)
 

kazuo

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I also got an FR-301 recently after years of suffering with an Aoyue station, and... my God. I regret everything. Should've just bought one of these sooner!

It's honestly nuts how much this thing has simplified and eased doing things like recaps, pulling chips, basically anything that requires removing solder. It's literally changing my life. Unbelievable. I haven't had issues with it clogging, but I frequently clean it during use, as well as before and after. Just a habit I built up with the Aoyue since that thing is completely useless if it gets even a tiny bit gummed up.
 

Sp33dFr34k

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I also got an FR-301 recently after years of suffering with an Aoyue station, and... my God. I regret everything. Should've just bought one of these sooner!

It's honestly nuts how much this thing has simplified and eased doing things like recaps, pulling chips, basically anything that requires removing solder. It's literally changing my life. Unbelievable. I haven't had issues with it clogging, but I frequently clean it during use, as well as before and after. Just a habit I built up with the Aoyue since that thing is completely useless if it gets even a tiny bit gummed up.
Can't say I share your experience.. which model Aoyue did you have?
 

kazuo

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Can't say I share your experience.. which model Aoyue did you have?

Aoyue 701. In retrospect, It's been junk since the day I bought it. Weak suction, clogs all the time, probably did more harm than good overall. No amount of babying that thing with constant cleaning, greasing everything, chanting incantations made it anything more than a very large waste of space. I was convinced for quite some time it was just me... now I know better.

Glad it is working for you, though!
 

Sp33dFr34k

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Aoyue 701. In retrospect, It's been junk since the day I bought it. Weak suction, clogs all the time, probably did more harm than good overall. No amount of babying that thing with constant cleaning, greasing everything, chanting incantations made it anything more than a very large waste of space. I was convinced for quite some time it was just me... now I know better.

Glad it is working for you, though!
Maybe because you're using a 3-in-1 station? I generally avoid those kind of all in one devices as in my experience there are concessions being made when combining functionality into 1 device. @PascalP you wanna chime in here? Worked pretty much perfectly the other day right? :)
 

AlxUnderBase

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I used ZD-915 , but i purchased FR-301 from Japan to have a alternative desoldering tool ! Anyway , i also use mechanical like what is in picture with good results :happy:
 

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PascalP

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Maybe because you're using a 3-in-1 station? I generally avoid those kind of all in one devices as in my experience there are concessions being made when combining functionality into 1 device. @PascalP you wanna chime in here? Worked pretty much perfectly the other day right? :)
Need to read back the rest of the thread, just read your post so far ;)
But yes, your Aoyue (don’t know the exact type) works great, did your NVS4000 PSU + sound amp and also the bigger ground planes on some of the caps went pretty well, no cleaning or nothing clogged for the full project :thumbup:
 
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