Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Q&A: Hakko Rep Dave Ford Talks About the FX-951 Soldering Station

Here's the first of a three-part interview series focusing on the three Hakko products (FX-951 Soldering Station, FR-801 Hot Air Rework System, and the FM-203 Dual-Port Soldering System) that are part of our 30th Anniversary Partner Promo. Our Hakko rep, Dave Ford, provides expert answers about what makes these systems stand out.

We begin our series with a look at the Hakko FX-951 Soldering Station:

Our 30th Anniversary Promo offers two versions
of the Hakko FX-951.
Q Source: Hi, Dave. What should our readers know about the Hakko FX-951?
Dave Ford: The FX-951 is the next step beyond conventional soldering stations in that, instead of using a replaceable tip over a semi-permanent heater as in the Hakko FX-888D, the FX-951 uses Hakko's advanced T-15 Series Composite Heater/Tip Cartridges with an FM-2027 Connector Handpiece.

Q Source: You said the FX-951 is the next step beyond conventional soldering stations, can you elaborate on that?
Dave Ford: OK, let's look at conventional soldering stations like the FX-888D. The use of soldering pencils with replaceable tips and semi-permanent heaters has been the workhorse of the "through-hole" era. For those assemblies where components had wire leads that went through a hole in a circuit board, pads were larger and connections were accomplished relatively slowly when compared with the fine surface mount connections we see today. A small selection of tips was adequate to achieve acceptable connections in most cases.

Q Source: So what has changed and how does the FX-951 address those changes?
Dave Ford: Well, surface mount connections have much lower thermal mass and may be much smaller and more complex than earlier through-hole connections. They are much more susceptible to bridging, and heat from the connection being worked on travels much more readily to other connections along the same trace, which could compromise work previously completed on the board.

The Hakko FM2027-02 Connector Assembly
is included with both FX-951 promos.
Q Source: And how does the FM-2027 using the T-15 Tips help prevent this?
Dave Ford: Power and speed. When soldering in these situations, the goal is to get on and off the connection as quickly as possible, while observing the soldering rules that apply to avoid thermal damage. By having less metal in the tip, better monitoring, management of thermal loss, and lightning-fast recovery the FM-2027/T-15 Tips combo provides the controlled heat needed to make the proper connection in the least amount of time. "Set temperature overshoot" is also potentially bad. Hakko's composite tip technology eliminates this potential.

Q Source: Can you tell us about the selection of T-15 Tip styles?
Dave Ford: Well first off there are many different types of connections on surface mount parts. The tip selection offers the ability to solder connections individually or in mass such as with Hakko's QFP, tunnel, and bar style tips. The rest of the collection offers tips for special circumstances, ergonomics, and just plain personal preference…different things work better for different hands.

The Hakko T15-D24 Chisel Tip is one of the tip options
offered in our promos.
Q Source: What are the costs of using the FX-951?
Dave Ford: The FX-951, while being a SMT professional assembly workhorse, is also Hakko's economical introduction to composite tip technology. Because Hakko manufactures their own tips they have control of the plating process, resulting in long lasting, relatively inexpensive soldering tips. The FX-951 presents a low cost to buy on Day One and a low cost to own based on Hakko's reputation for long tip life and equipment durability.

Q Source: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about the FX-951 Soldering Station?
Dave Ford: Yes, there are a few other impressive features:

  • First, no calibration is ever required—in fact there is no means provided for customer calibration
  • The FX-951 meets IPC specs right out of the box
  • Another nice feature is the two piece connector-grip handle - the padded handles come in various colors and can reside in the tip holder with a tip for easy identification of what alloy is used with each particular tip
  • The FX-951 also features a security card key to provide process control on the production floor

Q Source: Excellent information. Thanks very much for your time, Dave. We appreciate you sharing your expert Hakko knowledge with our readers.
Dave Ford: No problem. Thank you. Remember, the FX-951 is packed with user and process features and is the popular choice for SMT manufacturing facilities.

To place an order for the Hakko FX-951 Soldering Station please visit 30th Anniversary Partner Promo Page at QSource.com or contact us via phone (800-966-6020) or email. Please check back soon for the remaining two parts of this interview series, which will look at the FR-801 Hot Air Rework System and the FM-203 Dual-Port Soldering System.

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