View Full Version : Cheap Chinese Hot Air Stations

04-07-2013, 12:58 PM
I'm looking for a hot air rework station. Since I'm only going to use it once in a while at a hobbyist level, it doesn't make sense to pay the price for a Hakko, Pace or other industrial-quality machine. Looking around on the Net, I discovered this unit (http://www.amazon.com/REWORK-SOLDERING-IRON-STATION-handles/dp/B004ZB9D4O/ref=sr_1_5?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1365357220&sr=1-5&keywords=hot+air+rework+station), made in China and marketed under various brand names, selling in the $80-90 range. Reviews seem decent, but online reviews aren't always reliable. Has anyone here tried one of them?


04-07-2013, 02:15 PM
To be honest, Carl, I'm not familiar with them. I've used just about everything else on the market. If you wait and watch, you should be able to pick up a used Pace for about one to two bills. IMHO it's well worth the difference. In fact, if you aren't in a hurry, I have a couple of older Pace units out in one of the trains. Let me look and see what I have. The unit itself isn't so bad, but the vac handles can get pricey. Anyway, let me see what I have that I can part with. Details to follow, flem at ten.

04-07-2013, 02:30 PM
Well, I'm not in a huge hurry. I'm building an SDR from a kit that has a lot of SMD parts, most of which I can handle just fine with a fine tip on my regular soldering iron (and lots of magnification) but there's one particular part that's giving me grief and I need a hot air rework station to fix it.

04-08-2013, 08:20 AM
+1 on the Pace. For the price of a new Weller 3000 series, I picked up roughly $12k worth of Pace power units, hand pieces and tips. Judicious shopping was the key. That stuff isn't cheap...but parts are available.

Once you use it you won't want anything else, especially where rework jobs are concerned.

04-08-2013, 08:39 AM
We have a PACE machine that looks EXACTLY like that here at work and it is used all the time. Many times per day. It is the ONLY possible way of getting multilead SMT ICs off the PCB without damaging them or the board. I recommend placing Captom tape AROUND The IC so that the heat doesn't cause the adjacent parts to float up when heated.

We also use it to heat ICs with ground planes on the bottom to attach them when there is no other way of soldering them. Come over to the Radio Hospital sometime, Carl and I will show U our system.

04-08-2013, 10:52 AM
There are a few of these power units (minus handpieces) on eBay at the moment:


Add a Sodr-Pen, Sodr-X-Tractr (SX-70 preferred), Thermo Tweez and Thermo Jet handpieces plus tips and you're ready for darn near any project short of BGA rework.

04-08-2013, 11:09 AM
Call this guy up and see if the unit is still available. If it has more than the PSU, soldering iron and desoldering handpieces it's worth the asking price:


04-08-2013, 11:12 AM
Those high-end Pace units are out of my price range even used. But how about this one (http://www.ebay.com/itm/PACE-PPS-200C-Soldering-Rework-Station-with-handpiece-and-foot-pedal-Lower-Price-/261196651493?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cd0889be5)? Remember, I'll probably only use it a couple of times a year.

04-08-2013, 11:47 AM
That one uses 110VAC-powered handpieces. I would be concerned about zapping CMOS with it should something happen to the grounding system.

Look for a SensaTemp or Intelliheat version. Uses 24VDC heaters and won't be as likely to cause problems.

FWIW, I snagged an MBT210, iron /SX70, tips, stands and a bunch of accessories for $120 shipped from CL.

04-08-2013, 12:01 PM
What I would have to offer you is something like http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pace-PPS-85-Soldering-Station-/151012148924?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item23290686bc#ht_893wt_912 this but the price would be a lot closer to something you would like. I'll see if I can dig one out today when I take the next weed whacking break.

04-08-2013, 12:05 PM
Okay, thanks, Eddie! Maybe we can work out a trade for weed whacking assistance or something. I have more time than money these days.

04-08-2013, 05:13 PM
These things sure are pretty, but I don't have a clue what I would ever use one for. Considering I have managed to make it 45 years at home and in shops without one--it's not looking like the need will arise anytime in this life. I am pretty well restricting myself to stuff made before 1980--and homebrew tech circa 1965.

Besides, I never saw a rework job that a 150W soldering gun and a can of freeze spray could not handle...:cool2:

04-08-2013, 05:46 PM
You could get in on the local television repair scene, man. You could be the Emmett of Mayberry of your time.

04-08-2013, 06:47 PM
You could get in on the local television repair scene, man. You could be the Emmett of Mayberry of your time.

Been there, done that, have the souvenir snow globe. Ran for my life in 1983. Ahhh, those halcyon days of youth and big parts*... :evil:

Now I am content to do my best not to be seen on local television. :cool2:

* Possible double entendre here...

04-08-2013, 08:47 PM
This right here is a heckuva deal:


With all the optional handpieces you can even repair damaged boards.

My permanent bench setup will feature two of these along with a pair of PPS85As and an MBT210 as a backup/parts unit.

This stuff works and it works well. JBC and Metcal are of similar quality though not "all in one" like the Pace units.