Being done with pencil type soldering irons (fixed temperature, no changing tips) that I use for my electronics projects, and unable to use my current (now old) solder iron, due to is larger tip, for precision work, I started to look for a replacement.
Everyone talks good about the Hakko 936, Hakko 888 and Wellers, but these in Europe/PT, without being Chinese counterfeit copies, are pretty expensive, (around 200€/250$ mark) and are only available in Ebay, or other online retail stores in China or HK.
At the end I’ve bought an Aoyue 9358 soldering station.
Overall I’ve seen that reviews available are positive (see Amazon, for example).
It uses Hakko tips, or compatible Hakko tips.
It is not expensive. Around 60€
Replacement parts are available, if any thing goes wrong.
So, the review:
It come nicely packaged. The station is heavy due to it’s large transformer, and construction seems solid. It also came with a replacement ceramic heating element. Regarding the design, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I thinks is ok. Maybe the font for the Aoyue trademark, could be a bit more modern…
The soldering Iron is light, and, at least for me, ergonomic. a very nice improvement from my older soldering iron. The cable connecting from the iron to the station might be a bit short, but enough, at least for me.
It came also with a soldering iron stand and solder stand in aluminium, nicely made. The holder allows the soldering iron to seat nicely, and in my case it has space for those irons with fumes extraction.
The tip provided is a conic 1mm tip, not ten tips like US customers can get on their package.
When on, the digital panel glows red.
After powering up, it heats up fast. Around 10s/15s to reach the target temperature that can be set between 200ºC to 480ºC.
I’ve tested it with lead free solder (Iron temperature set at around 350ºC) and lead solder ( at around 280º/290º).
It seems to keep and maintain the temperature during heavy soldering. Had no trouble soldering out in sequence a lot of DIP packages and connectors.
The station also has a sleep feature that can be activated that puts the iron to sleep if not moved for a while. We can ear the sensor on the iron if shaking it.
So overall a nice station with a nice price.