Recently I ordered a hot air rework station from eBay. I decided to get a cheap one to begin with as I won’t be using it that much and it’s really just a fan and a heater so it doesn’t matter too much what quality the materials are. I based my choice mostly on price but also wanted some extra nozzles to use on different chip sizes.
I got it from ebay, the station I got is this one:
These are the specifications:
- Model: SONER-8786D
- Display: Dual digital displays
- Noise: <45dB
- Dimension: 15 x 10 x 13.8cm
- G.W.: 2.08kg
It’s a Soner branded one (I’d never heard of them) with adjustable temperature for both the hot air gun and the soldering iron. It’s important to have temperature adjustment on the hot air gun, you can risk overheating circuit boards without it.
Importantly for me it came with 3 different tips for the hot air gun in 5mm, 8mm and 10mm sizes. The nozzles look like the below, they are reasonably good quality.
I liked this particular rework station because it included pictures of the inside, which were difficult to find elsewhere. The other products I looked at only had pictures of the outside. Below is what the inside of this one looks like, you can see there is not much to it so paying big dollars for a fancy one is not really worth it. They also had a good picture of the circuit board which was interesting to see.
The soldering iron is pretty good too and comes with a finer tip than my other iron. I didn’t buy it for the soldering iron but it’s turned out to be decent enough to save me the hassle of getting my other one out when I just need to do quick jobs. Again I liked the fact they show you pictures of the inside of the iron, I guess I just like to see how things work!
Most importantly it has adjustable temperature gauges and dual displays. It’s important not to heat the PCB or chips too hot as they have a point beyond which the heat will damage the components. You can usually find this temperature in the data sheet for the device or chip.
The hot air gun is used to warm up the PCB board and chip sufficiently that the solder joining them melts. At this point you can use tweezers to remove the chip or other component from the PCB. It’s a fairly advanced task so good to practice on an old PC or Server motherboard!