Can someone recommend decent soldering/desoldering station

I worked today to fix my BIL's plasma TV. I had to replace a couple of bad capacitors in the power supply. Working with a regular soldering
iron was rather unpleasant and inconvenient. So, I want to ask, would anyone recommend a decent soldering/desoldering setup.
i
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On 04/07/2011 12:16 AM, Ignoramus21203 wrote:

For outside work, I have an old Ungar iron that works very well for soldering and augment it with a similar vintage SoldaPullit vacuum. The SoldaPullit's are the only mechanical vacuums that I have used that work worth mentioning. I also use solder wick for cleanup.
Inside, I use a Pace solder/desolder station.
The Metcal soldering irons truly are the hot setup though. I have never seen or used a Metcal desolder station.
BobH
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On Wed, 06 Apr 2011 19:16:16 -0500, the renowned Ignoramus21203

There are some cheap Chinese units sold for cell phone modders that work okay.
Personally, for everyday use, I use a Weller solder station and a Pace desoldering tool (graphite vane vacuum pump) for through-hole parts.
If you want the best, try to score a used Metcal set. They use RF and work on the basis of curie point of ferrite to deliver almost instant heat to the work. IIRC, the desoldering tools require shop air, which might not be a problem for you.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
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Well, fixing the Pace would be good, assuming it's at all affordable to do so - sometimes a problem with high-dollar systems. I've been happily using a Weller TC iron (tips come in 600-700-800F versions - generally use the 700) for decades, for general work - and with a new sharp tip, for SMT work and rework as well.
Given scale of work and budget, I opted for a Aoyue (chinese) hot air rework station (after making enough money with the old Weller to buy it) rather than a Hakko - that happens to include a digital TC iron, but I've never used that part of it (I'm really happy with the Weller). For that (and others) you can get (extra cost accessory) a "hot tweezer" iron which is more useful (faster) for two-terminal devices than the hot air is. If (or when) I did (or do) a lot more of this type of work and made more money at it, I'd probably get a Hakko and be done with it.

Both of these sound like you needed flux and/or fresh solder with flux - add some and suddenly the old stuff behaves much better. These days you also have to be aware of the lead-free solders seen on RoHS gear, which can be irritating to work with and prone to odd failures from things like growing tin whiskers (crystals.)
Also check board for varnish-like coatings, which you may need to scrape off the working area if they were applied post-soldering.
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On 04/07/2011 07:29 AM, Ecnerwal wrote:

A trick I use when lead-free solder things get difficult, is to dilute the lead-free solder with leaded. That has a lower melting point, and so makes the rework much easier.
Jon
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I took a picture of what I have. It is called "APE SMD-2000M" soldering/desoldering station.
A few years ago, I could not make either of them work, so I just kept them in a corner.
Perhaps, now that I have a little more experience fixing stuff, I should take another look at those stations.
http://igor.chudov.com/tmp/APE-SMD-2000M/
http://igor.chudov.com/manuals/SMD_2000M_Manual.pdf
i
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On 4/9/2011 1:24 AM, Ignoramus30421 wrote:

Looks like the cat's meow for both through hole and SMT. Go for it.
Kevin Gallimore
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Iggy, Looks impressive indeed - like one of those projects we can all get going real good if we just do......(however long it takes) <G> whats the hand-pieces like, what sorta tips did you get, is there a cleaning kit, etc etc.? - does it work - its obviously had a hard life - this new thing - is it going to help, or get in the way. And not meaning to be rude, honest, but you DO know how to hand solder, the basics is being able to do it without a complex machine. Getting in the way, mostly. Needing maintenance. I got trained in the Aviation industry on How to Solder Properly....thought I knew how before I did the course. Nearly went insane making up wire grids, 1 inch square, then soldering every intersection. 3 months of it. There was a glass case in the foyer - some bloke had gone nuts, years ago, and built a Really Impressive soldered wire frame Spanish Galleon from all the practice attempts littering the place up..
I got machines like that - Chinese knock-offs of HAKKO, usually. (Yours look a tad more classy - production line stuff, or high level servicing.) Good luck with it. My stuff is the soldering equivalent of the 9 by 20 generic lathe. They work ok, saved me neck a few times, but for 80% of the time, the plain ordinary temperature controlled iron for $40 just chugs along. I know how to solder, who cares if its got a bullshit temperature readout.Pissed off with Weller - went great for 20+ years, nice iron. Then started dying, all the new spares were crap, didnt last. Even bought a new one, same thing - just crap. The other 20% - well, usually a $10 100w beast got ages ago - half inch tip... lethal design, but gets lots of heat into a joint. Relic Scope irons here in Oz..- crude but effective technology using a carbon tip pushed against the rear face of the bit - 3.3V, 30 amps peak. You could get them hot enough to light a cigarette. Anything in the car, no worries. not too good on transistors and IC's though.....I had a version of one in my cable jointers van - big lead acid 6v battery. 30ft of cable to the iron. Worked well, if you looked after the battery. I did, knew about SG and stuff like that, had hygrometer, voltmeter, kept an eye on it. Could work all day if it had to. Had enuff grunt. Was Good.
Andrew VK3BFA.
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I'm very happy with a Weller WESD51 digital tip temperature controlled soldering iron, and a cheap Radio Shack (but that's redundant, isn't it) solder sucker.
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You may want to also post to sci.electronics.repair..
Rich
On 4/6/2011 7:16 PM, Ignoramus21203 wrote:

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Iggy, was the set made using lead-free solder? This may have bee your problem. Regular soldering irons may not get hot enough unless you have an adjustable heat unit.
I will check the name of the ones we use for lead-free and add that info to the posting tomorrow. I know they use RF to heat the tip.
Regular solder suckers also work for lead-free solder, but you have to be quick before it solidifies.
Paul
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I am not sure, this is a 6 or so year old plasma TV.
My problem was that a) solder indeed did not want to melt easily and 2) It would not stick to the soldering iron well etc.

I have two good news on this front.
First is that I really did fix the plasma TV. The problem was two bulged caps in the power supply, which I replaced.
Second is that I have a Pace 2000 soldering/desoldering station, in some disrepair (military surplus). It does not quite work. I set it in a corner, but after looking at Pace website today and seeing $5k USD price on that station, I will try my best to fix whatever issues it may have.
i
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On 4/6/2011 11:37 PM, Ignoramus21203 wrote:

I will be the contrarian. I have an OK Industries soldering/desoldering station. What I use is a 18 Watt Antex soldering pencil and a Soldapullt. If I had a bunch of connectors to desolder I would switch to the OK.
Kevin Gallimore
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Glad you got the thing fixed and the bulged caps are a frequent failure device. The lead-free thing is from July 2006. That was when all consumer type electronics that were sold in the EU had to be basically lead-free. Companies began to ramp-up to lead-free about a year before that, perhaps earlier. Probably 3/4 of the boards we build are now lead-free. Much of the cables are also.
I just checked the lead-free area and the irons we use are the OKI/Metcal Smartheat PS-800 and PS-900. Also Weller WES51 an EC1002, both adjustable temperature units. I think one of the latter is a 40 watt iron for handling connectors, etc.
The advice to add leaded solder to lead-free will work well for the repair stuff you did, but we can't because all stuff going to the EU must be certified to be within their requirements (lead-free).
Paul
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On Apr 6, 9:37pm, Ignoramus21203 <ignoramus21...@NOSPAM. 21203.invalid> wrote:

I've used a Pace as well, but pasty solder that doesn't stick sounds like the lead-free stuff to me. Had a miserable time trying to pull decayed through-hole caps on a motherboard with that stuff on it. Wouldn't wick and stuck like glue. Wouldn't suck out, either. Ended up doing the cap wiggle maneuver, heat one leg, push the top over to pull the lead as far as it would go, do the other side the same, repeat until extracted. Then drill the holes out with a small bit. Had to watch the heat so the plating didn't come along with the leads. The replacements got a dose of the good old stuff, some Sav- Bit Ersin I keep around for such occasions. I tried the dilution with regular solder bit, the original stuff didn't mix at all.
Stan
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This is what I did too, wiggled the caps.
Then I used an awl to make holes, together with a soldering iron. Melt, push awl, etc.

I think that my other problem is a 10+ year old paste flux. Could it be?
i
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For all electrical soldering I use rosin core solder. The rosin is the flux.
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DanG wrote:

I apply extra liquid rosin flux as well. It floats oxides out and results in a great looking, shiny joint.
Kester 186 is also available in a pen applicator for electronic soldering. http://www.kester.com/SideMenu/Products/HandSolderingMaterials/FluxPens/tabid/263/Default.aspx
--Winston
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Um... what sort of paste flux might that be, Ig?
What might not have been a problem when you used it could certainly turn out to be one in a year or two.
LLoyd
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Ignoramus30421 wrote:

Probably not, assuming it still has the same "paste" consistency as it's always had. Even if it'd dried out to crust and lumps, it should melt in use; you could try dissolving the crust and lumps in alcohol. I'm pretty sure that rosin continues to be rosin, unless it gets moldy or something.
Hope This Helps! Rich
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