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Tuesday
Jan172012

The Hakko 808 Desoldering Tool

Back when I first started working on electronics I learned to desolder just like everyone else, I was taught to use a solder sucker or desoldering wick. These two methods always seemed awkward and the results were often poor. The solder sucker would not usually get all of the solder off the pad on the first attempt and the desoldering wick required a lot of heat to work well. Using either of these methods often caused the traces and pads to lift off the circuit board and require repair.

Last year when I was searching around for hot air rework station I ran across a new tool, the Hakko 808 desoldering tool. What makes the 808 such a great tool is the vacuum pump that's built into it. All you have to do is place the opening in the tip over the component lead on the back of the circuit board, making sure that you are heating the lead and not the solder pad, wait a few seconds and pull the trigger. The vacuum pump sucks up the melted solder which flies back into a container, where is splashes against a metal plate and hardens.

There's a ceramic filter pad behind the splash plate which protects the vacuum pump from the smallest particles and fumes. You do need to clear away the hardened solder periodically otherwise it will block the suction form the pump. There is a wire tool that is used to clear the tip if it gets plugged up with solder. I found that if you desoldering a short piece of lead from a circuit board it can be sucked into the tip and clog it up.

On of the most difficult types of circuit boards to work on are double sided, through plated boards. I have found it almost impossible to desolder these types of boards with a sucker or wick. The first day I had the 808 I used it on one of these types of boards. I could not believe how easy it was. The very first capacitor actually fell off the board when I desolder the last lead. Amazing.

I have found that on many newer modern circuit boards which have been waved soldered, there's not much solder on the pad. The 808 relies on the heat it produces to heat the component lead, which then heats the solder on the through hole. Sometimes it's necessary to add some solder to the joint before desoldering it. This seems to aid in the heat transfer process.

The street price of the Hakko 808 is around $180.00. While this is not super cheap, if you plan on repairing more the two or three units it will pay for itself with the time you will save.

I believe that the Hakko 808 is one of the very best tools you can have on the work bench. It will easily pay for itself in just a few repairs and even in less time if you calculate the savings in time it takes to repair damaged pads and traces.

As an example of how well the 808 works here are some pictures of it in action on a double side circuit board with through plated holes.

This cap is one of many on this model of board that needs to be replaced.  This is a double side, through plated board.

 

On the back of the board i have added some solder to the pads.  This will aid in the Hakko 808 in melting the solder through the hole to the other sid eof the board.

 

Here arew the same pads after removing the solder with the Hakko 808

 

As I turned the board over, what did I see?  The cap actually fell out of the mounting holes!

 

Here the the empty desoldered holes, ready for a new cap.  This entire process took less than 15 seconds to complete.  

Anyone who says that they can accomplish the same steps with a solder sucker or wick just as quickly will change theri minds if they use a Hakko 808 just once.

Best money spent ever, hands down!

See all of the Hakko 808 pictures.

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