Yes, this is Pace's equivalent to Weller (WESD51) and Haako (937?) of similar configuration (Digital temperature readout). Good station. Case was thermoplastic. Model has been superseded by ST-50 (IntelliHeat Control Technology). ST-45 system is supplied with PS-90 (SensaTemp model).
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Looking for a Pace dealer / representative / distributor ?
They are expensive, but they do have a lot of special soldering tips for repair. OTOH, you'll only need special tools when you are working on a board with components on both sides and need to remove a component without destroying it. When working at one of my previous employers I had access to a Pace soldering station but I found my own tricks worked much faster than setting up the Pace.
If you are looking for just a soldering iron, I can recommend Ersa. Their soldering tips last much longer than the ones from Weller. Ersa also carries special tips for soldering fine pitch.
Pace sells special tips for removing ICs in surface mounted packages. They also have a tweezer like soldering iron (in fact 2 irons in one) with which you can solder both joints of SMT resistors and capacitors at once.
For soldering fine pitch I use a hollow tip (which is available from any major soldering iron manufacturor). It takes some practice, but it is manageble.
I remove fine pitch chips from epoxy (FR4) PCBs by heating the PCB
-carefully- with a paint stripper. This is non-destructive for the component.
Desoldering fine pitch chips on a board with componentes on both sides is more tricky (and destructive for the component) since the paint stripper method won't work. I run a enamel copper wire underneath the pins. Next I attach the wire to a component or via somewhere on the board. Finally I heat the pads one by one and gently pull the pins from the pads by pulling the copper wire. This method puts very little strain on the pads of the PCB so it can also be used on paper based PCBs. However, all the pins on the package get bend.
Thanks, g.b.. Your comments are hereby added to my d.b. of Pace experiences. I'm leaning toward buying this ST45 station. I'll have to buy tips on-line (I prefer to be able to dash down to the local electronics supplier when I need it *now*), but I guess I'll have to plan ahead a bit...
Remember that expect for the ST-25 and ST-45, Pace really doe snot target the hobbyists market - which is really where Weller, the Far East imports and some Haako models exist.
Oki(Metcal) and Pace are usually seen in the professional work place (production rework, SMT) with some Weller and Haako.
The only caution that I would add is this: The thermoplastic extrusions for the ST-25 / ST-45 or ST-65 are no longer available from Pace. At that time Pace made the ST-35/ST-55/ST-85 which were the aluminum extrusion case versions (with ability to mount the power supply base under a bench-top or bench shelf.
So my only warning is avoid heating / burning the case with hot iron - it will stay that way. When I do not deal directly with Pace factory - I work with Technimark and Chicago area Pace representatives - for parts, etc.