Re: Kit building solder station

Dan Reynolds

Rob, I recently purchased one of those YiHua 936 (actually a Hakko clone and will take their tips). My favorite soldering iron power supply shot craps and wanted a backup. I think it's pretty good especially for the price - almost a ridiculous price in fact. I used it a little bit and I'm pleased. Like I said I wanted it as a backup.
My main iron is a Metcal. I'm not bragging -- I fell into an incredible deal and I think the Metcal irons are probably the best there is. It's a big heave black box - all heat sink, with a slender super flexible cable going to a very comfortable handle. The tips are more like cartridges that determine the heat range and tip size etc. There must be 100's of tips for them.There are several generations and styles of these stations including rework stations with vacuum and such. 
I was very fortunate to get one. I couldn't normally have afforded one and wouldn't pay that much for a soldering iron! But a great ham I met online and I horse traded some kits and stuff and that's how I got one. He worked where he got the old ones from his workplace and restored/refurbished and sold them at hamfests and such to make mad money to supply his hobby. These are professional stations and sell for BIG $$ when they're new. They're induction heated. Mine can melt solder in about 2 seconds. Seriously. The cord as I said is super flexible. It's actually coax. The induction part runs at 27 MHz. Talk about a dummy load just heating up!
If you get a chance to get one that works, with handle, power supply and some tips you need to try one. Mine has this heavy iron base with sponge and it won't move - it's great. Trust me you will never turn back. 
PS One thing I absolutely learned - have a back up! That's why I kept the YiHua till I replaced the power supply on mine.
Dan Reynolds -- KB9JLO

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