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Review: Hakko's FX-888 SMD-Safe Soldering Station

For anyone involved in assembly line or service soldering, the Hakko brand needs no introduction. Their latest offering, the Hakko FX-888 Soldering Station features a number of upgrades and improvements over previous models and should find a ready market in the assembly industry, service personnel and technicians and advanced hobbyist users.

Review by Ross Tester

This new soldering station is suitable for both leaded and lead-free soldering so it will serve now and well into the future.

The FX-888 is in fact the successor to Hakko’s popular 936 soldering station but with a number of important refinements. These include a faster thermal recovery, a higher heater output (now 65W) and a new tip design which has a larger copper mass and improved thermal transfer, achieved by shape changes.

Output of the new model is 30% greater than its predecessor. As a result, recovery time to 350°C is 20 seconds faster and the drop in tip temperature is also reduced.

As you can see in the graphs reproduced below, thermal recovery is outstanding.

The most striking change, though, is in the overall appearance of the station. Depending on your viewpoint (and age?) it could be described as both more modern or more retro – take your pick – gone is the industrial “square box”, replaced by a smaller, more rounded ABS case in cobalt blue and yellow.

Size matters – and when it comes to a soldering station, the smaller the better (consistent with the power to do the job).

The FX-888 controller is just 95 x 118 x 136mm – considerably smaller than the 936 model and, we believe, smaller than any other similarly-powered controller.

Both the controller and soldering stand “feet” are positioned on the extremities for added stability

The station is in two parts, the controller box and the iron holder. The controller has a large temperature dial, calibrated from 200°C (400°F) up to 480°C/880°F. Temperature stability is claimed to be ±1°C.

Thermal calibration is via a screwdriver hole in the controller – and a tiny screwdriver is stored in a slot on the underside of the controller.

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