Solder Irons

  • Review of Hakko FX-888D Soldering Station

    “Wow, this beauty is beyond expectations...” 

    You could swear this line was used to describe an Oscar-worthy film or a Santorini sunset, but you might be surprised to find these words pulled from the review of a Hakko FX-888D Soldering Station. From hobbyist to professional, it doesn’t really matter what level you’re starting off at when purchasing this product. The updated version of the popular FX-888 boasts all of the old features buyers loved with the addition of new features including a digital calibration that simplifies the setup and operation of the product. The unit heats up in seconds, rising to an adjustable temperature range between 120 and 899 degrees Fahrenheit (50-480 degrees Celsius). To make your soldering experience even easier, you can preset up to five temperatures. The lightweight handset is easy to maneuver and includes a T18-D16 Tip. The entire unit is a compact 4.75 lbs., built to take up less of your bench space, and is ESD safe.

    Hakko T18-D16 Soldering Tip

    In a recent piece by Marco Schwartz, an electrical engineer who writes blog posts on various products, he described the Hakko FX-888D as one of the top soldering irons for beginners and hobbyists due to its easy-to-use settings and features. Schwartz gave the product a 4.5 out of 5 stars, commenting on the useful cleaning station that holds and keeps the tip clean at all times. He loved the password function of the FX-888D which enables the user to lock the settings if desired to prevent them from becoming altered. Schwartz went on to say, “All of the features mentioned above are well documented in a manual that comes with the Hakko FX888D-23BY soldering station. Therefore, you are able to understand how to fine-tune the settings and use the soldering station for best results.”

    Regardless of what you intend to use your soldering station for, the FX-888D is worth the step up from the cheaper options you can find on the internet. Testimonials from those who have bought and loved the product include:

    • “I finally decided to stop buying the $15 cheap ones and buy something that will last and do a great job. No regrets.” -Austin K.
    • “It is one of the best investments I have ever made. After years of using those flimsy, cheap soldering irons you can buy at discount department stores and other big box stores, it is a pleasure to use a precision soldering station like the FX888D.” -Vintess
    • “Great first soldering station. I would never use a cheap unit again.” -Eficker
    • “This Hakko just gives you more for your money.” -R. Davila

    If you wish to add a high quality and reasonably priced soldering station to your workspace today, look no further than right here on, a proud seller of Hakko products.

    Check out this demonstration of the Hakko FX888D:

  • Remember to use our Tip Finder™ to find the right tips for your soldering station!

    We know how difficult it can be to figure out what tips will fit your particular soldering station. We introduced the Kimco Tip Finder™ to help you discover a wide array of soldering tips that will work with your station of choice.

    We regularly update the Tip Finder™ to include new tip series and stations. If you still have trouble finding the tips you need, do not hesitate to call us!

    Check out the how-to video below.

  • Why Isn’t My Soldering Iron Tip Tinning?

    weller soldering ironOne of the frustrations in the electronics assembly world can be when your soldering iron tip cannot be tinned. Tinning is a necessary step for all new tips. By tinning the soldering iron tip, you can keep the tip from oxidizing. The fine coating of solder that is applied to the tip is critical to the soldering process, as the tip transfers the heat from the iron to the joint that you are trying to solder.

    The real secret to tinning your soldering iron tip lies in the timing. You need to get the coating of solder on the tip before it gets hot and begins oxidizing, which can make this process a challenging if not impossible one. To prevent this oxidation you need to act quickly and efficiently applying the solder.

    Your soldering iron tip also may not be tinning if there is an oxide layer. In this case you will need to first clean this oxidation off of the tip before the tinning process.

    Another sign that there is a problem and that you will not be able to tin the soldering iron is if the tip keeps turning black when you try to solder. Less expensive soldering irons will have a tip that is more likely to get black carbon on it, contaminating your tip with this in turn. If this is a reoccurring problem, it may be worthwhile to invest in a higher-end soldering iron which will save on productivity, not to mention operator frustration, in the long-run.

    Weller is a popular manufacturer of soldering irons that can help to eliminate this problem. The Weller TCP12P Controlled-Output Field Soldering Iron is a great choice.

    KIMCO Distributing offers a wide range of soldering irons, including those from Weller. Visit to browse the soldering irons available.

  • What do I need to know about Lead Free soldering?







    As most companies start the slow transition to lead free solder over older methods of lead solder it is helpful to learn a thing or two about this relatively new technology. Though there have been many products made specifically for lead free solder applications, it was not until recently that many started to see the benefits of a fully lead free solder.

    Solder Strength

    Though most larger companies have opted for lead free options as a measure to both cut costs and help the environment, most at home soldering is still lead based simply because it is still widely available. There are some additional advantages to lead free solder such as overall tensile strength. Though initial products that were made for lead free applications lacked strength that lead solder had, there have been great advances in the overall strength of lead free solder materials. For starters, SAC305 contains 96.5% tin, 3% silver, and 0.5% copper making for a very strong solder when it is used. Another popular lead free alloy is of course SN100, this contains 99.3% tin, 0.6% copper, and a small amount of silver and nickel. Both of these present great options for those that are looking to make the transition to fully lead free solder.

    Personal Health

    Another helpful tid bit about lead free solder is that is it far less likely to cause you and the environment harm with long term use. Of course, if you are only using solder once or twice a month or less, you are not going to be exposed too much lead. However, if you solder very often it may be beneficial for you and your health to use a lead free alternative. There have been many regulations passed that are geared toward reducing the amount of harmful substances like lead and others from widespread use.

    Temperatures and Solder Mixing

    It is important to keep in mind when using lead free solder that it is at its strongest when it is pure. This means that you should never mix lead free and leaded solder together because it can potentially weaken your joints. Lead free solder is easy to use and does not require any special soldering irons either which is a great help to those that simply want to switch their solder material. It is important however that you pay close attention to the melting point of your lead free solder as it will differ from traditional solders. For example, SAC305 melts at 217°C while SN100 melts at 228°C. If you pay attention to the specific elements of your solder it should be simple enough to get your solder in tip top shape in no time.

    Lead-Free Soldering

  • Hakko FX-100 and T31 Tips Uses Latest Technology for Easy and Safe Operation

    Hakko-FX-100-Soldering-StationHakko continues to show its competence for making soldering an easy and safe operation with the introduction of the Hakko FX-100. The unit is for use with T-31 Tips.

    Hakko FX-100 Features

    The Hakko FX–100 is an inductively heated (IH) solder iron. IH irons heat quickly thanks to a rapidly changing magnetic field. The soldering iron tip, a conductor, is in the magnetic field and cultivates an electric current. This current heats the T-31 tip more quickly than other irons heat their tips.

    This technology has the unit heat-up quicker than soldering irons that heat by using resistive heated elements that get energy from the power supply.

    Another feature that makes the Hakko FX 100 so easy to use is that it needs no calibration.

    The soldering station is one of the easiest to use thanks to the simple way a user programs it for using different tip shapes or solder alloys.

    Other features include:

    • A power activity display that provides non-interruptible dynamic feedback on thermal load at the tip of the soldering iron;
    • Large Backlit display;
    • Safety auto power off feature;
    • Password protectection prevents unauthorized people from making system changes;
    • Minimal workbench footprint;
    • Ergonomic handbook that is lightweight with burn resistant cord to allow for outstanding user agility;
    • Tip sleep feature that preserves the life of the T-31 tips and cuts oxidation when the iron is idle; and
    • Meets or exceeds requirements under all applicable standards.

    Features of T-31 Tips

    The T-31 Series tips come as cartridges and the tips receive more power from the IH power source. As with all Hakko tips, the T-31 series of tips are long-lived. These tips come in a wide assortment of shapes from which to choose. The technology Hakko employs in the T-31 tips use iron plating similar to the renowned long-life Hakko T15 tip series.

    For more information about the Hakko FX-100 and T-31 tips, email Kimco Distributing at sales@gokimco or call us at (800) 521-9197.

  • Streamlining processes with enhanced features of the Hakko FX-100


    Hakko-FX-100-Soldering-StationMaking your job easier is a breeze when you have the right tools. In an industry where having a soldering tool that performs to the highest standard matters, the new Hakko FX-100 and T31 soldering tips complete the job. One of the newest members to the Hakko product family, this new technology stands out through the use of IE (induction heat) which allows the heat to reach the soldering tip efficiently and effectively.

    What does induction heat do?

    This helps the iron by working through a magnetic field that quickly changes through an electrical current to assist rapid heating of the tip, which comes in a variety of sizes. Although the Hakko-FX 100 is a soldering iron, the design and lightness of the device looks and works more like a handpiece.

    This new technology has additional enhancements:

     - Top-notch heat supply
     - No calibration needed
     - Power Assist function and backlit display
     - Password lockout
     - Programmable heating profiles
     - Great thermal recovery and responsiveness
     - Automatic detection of drops in temperature
     - Burn resistant cord

    The pre-set heat settings are helpful, and being able to program personalized heating profiles will same time and setup when having to change tip shapes or alloys. Another important safety feature is the tip sleep function. This will allow the reduction of heat while the device is not in use.

    The Hakko FX-100 is a great advancement in soldering iron systems, proven with each use. Streamline your processes through a new step in technological innovation that can make a huge difference in the way work is distributed and handled. The Hakko FX-100 can speed up wait times and provide a safer solution for soldering projects.

    For more information on the Hakko FX-100, T31 tips and increasing productivity, visit the site.

  • What soldering tip do I need?

    Solder tip finding toolSoldering can be at once an incredibly rewarding and fun thing to do and a complete hassle. Without the right information, finding a tip that fits the job you are completing may be difficult. There are a few different tips that are specific to certain jobs and knowing a bit about them can make all the difference.

    Chisel Tips- chisel tips are perhaps the most common soldering tips on the market. They are easy to use, easy to come by, and are an all around great tip that fits plenty of different needs. For those just starting out, this type of tip is almost always best to get a feel for your soldering iron and your solder tip. This tip is good for creating smooth joints, smoothing over solder deposits, and more. This is truly the all around tip and should be part of any kit.

    Pointed Tips- This type of tip is almost always best for pin point work. This means that it is good for small detail work. This type of tip is good for moving the solder around after it has been deposited on the area you are going to be working with. It is perfect for creating small solders and pinpointing where you want your solder material to land and ultimately stay. This type of tip is great for both advanced and beginning users and is great for any soldering station. The Edsyn LT602-1LF tip is a fantastic pointed tip.

    Rounded Tips- these tips are great for depositing solder and for creating strong joints. This type of tip is great for beginning users and for advanced users and are perfect for depositing solder. If you are looking for a good solid soldering tip, round tips are great and offers stability in soldering for those that may not be all that sure about what they are doing.

    Mini Wave Hollow Tips- hollow tips are great for depositing solder and for moving around solder material while it is still hot and creating smooth joints. Hollow tips are great for both beginning and advanced users and are a great all around tip. Hollow tips generally feature a small well that can hold solder material at the tip to make for easy depositing.  One of the most popular Mini Wave tips is the Pace MiniWave.  Pace originated the patented tip design and we feature it on our site.  Keep in mind, the Pace MiniWave tip can only be used with the Pace soldering stations.  If you have a different soldering station brand, call (800) 521-9197 or email us for options.

    Solder tips do not have to be confusing. It takes just a bit of practice and a bit of information and you can easily and quickly find the tip that is right for your job. The tip makes all the difference and can make soldering much easier.

    Soldering tip locator







  • PCB Repair Made Easy with the Weller WLC100 soldering station

    Weller WLC100Repairing and maintaining printed circuit boards can be difficult. Though most that deal with PCBs on a daily basis know how fragile they can be, it is important that the correct tools are employed when repairing these fragile circuit boards. There are a few common issues that may solicit repair with a PCB, things like broken connections and loose wires are among the most common. Having a tool like the Weller WLC100 40 watt Hobbyist Solder Station is the best way to insure that users are able to quickly and efficiently repair issues that may arise.

    This station has the capabilities to restore both bulky and delicate repairs. This is a 40 watt station so it has the power to create powerful and lasting connections that are not likely to break with light use. This station is light, easy to move, and easy to use which makes it perfect for small and intricate repairs. The machine is light weight so it can be used on the spot for quick repairs. It is also relatively inexpensive so money can be spent on other materials. With a machine like this, money can be spent on more important things like connection material and soldering material to insure a safe and durable connection.

    Repairing PCBs does not have to be difficult. With the right information and the right machines and tools, repair can be quick and painless. There are two types of soldering that an at home hobbyist may run into. The first is soft soldering, this is the process they will most likely employ when repairing electronics like PCBs. With soft soldering, the process begins by selecting a very soft material as filler, this is generally a tin alloy. The process is called soft soldering because it is generally used on parts that have a very low melting point, because they have a low melting point, these parts must be soldered at a much lower melting point than other items like a piece of steel for instance. Another type of soldering that may be encountered is hard soldering. However, this is not likely to be the repair process chosen with PCBs. This process involves solder being applied at a very high temperature using materials like silver solder and brazing solder. Other products you may need could be things like small snips or tweezers, soldering material, and more.

    Repairing connections can be a tricky business and without the right information and materials, a repair can go horribly wrong. Without precision, delicate handling, and tools that can get the job done right the first time, many hobbyist and those repairing their own PCBs will be facing future repairs and even replacement. Taking the time to find a great tool to help with the necessary repairs to your PCBs is the key to getting a repair done right the first time. These repairs, when done correctly, can last for the remaining life of the PCB and can help to extend the life of older or even damaged PCBs to help save time, money, and effort in the long run.

  • Weller WLC100 Soldering Iron - Why it's the best hobbyist soldering iron.

    Weller WLC100 Solder Iron

    Just because you may not work in electronics repair or a related field for a living doesn't mean you don't enjoy electronics. Whether you're building projects for yourself, friends and family, like doing little repairs yourself or even mess with designing your own projects, you take your hobby seriously. And, as with any serious hobbyist, having the right tools for the job means a lot. You don't necessarily need professional grade tools but you still want to have high quality ones so you can get the most enjoyment out of your hobby as possible.

    When it comes to a good hobbyist soldering iron you want one you can trust to give you quality connections every time, one that will last and one that is easy to use. If you've ever owned or used a Weller solder iron, you know they make great professional products and their home hobby products are every bit as good as their pro models. For instance, the Weller WLC100 is a great soldering station that gives you plenty of professional features without the professional price tag.

    As an example, you get fine control over your heat. This is essential when working with different electronic components, especially if you're working with components that are sensitive to heat. Since you can have as little as five watts of heat coming through the tip, you can still make solid connections without worrying about cooking components or wires and making a repair situation worse. With the ability to go up to forty watts of heat, you'll also have the power you need to work with the largest and most cumbersome of connections with ease.

    Another great feature of the Weller WLC100 is the fact that tips are easy to change. Although it comes with the most flexible of tips, the ST3, other tips such as a fine point tip or a blade tip can give you the ability to work with different electronics (or other hobby) needs easily. Since tips are easy to change, switching from one project or even tip needs within the same project can be managed quickly, eliminating the need to have multiple soldering irons on hand. And, the custom foam grip means you'll be able to work with the soldering iron for hours with complete comfort.

    While you may not need truly professional tools to get the most out of your hobby, you still want good, solidly performing tools. If electronics is your favored hobby, you'll want a Weller WLC100 soldering station. You'll appreciate it every time you use it.

  • How to Guide - Soldering Basics and Best Practices

    Metcal MX-RM3E Hand Piece for MX500 Systems
    Professional pilots review the basics of flying every year, and recurrent training is good for just about any profession, including electronics assembly. So here’s a quick review of basic soldering steps and some best practices for each.

    The quality of a soldered joint is measured by its appearance, strength, and reliability. Solder joint quality depends upon the condition of the materials and the soldering process used. The soldering process in turn depends upon solder composition, surface finish of the PWB, and environmental factors such as flux chemistry and thermal conditions. A high-quality solder joint not only joins materials together, but also provides a reliable electrical connection.

    The primary soldering steps include:

    1. Tight solder contact with the materials being joined. A good point contact is more important than a large area contact.
    2. Slow heat application to all materials. Too rapid heating can result in cracks and poor electrical conduction.
    3. Using flux or paste to remove oxide from all surfaces and provide for smooth flow of the molten solder. Many manufacturers now use primarily “no-clean” fluxes.
    4. Sufficient heat to melt the solder so it flows across the surfaces and joins them with fillets that provide joint strength. Although the fillet size is an indicator of solder quality, too much fillet can result from excessive heating and lead to cracks and a loss of component lead flexibility.
    5. Proper cooling of the joint. Be sure that the solder freezes prior to handling the PWB. Moving the board can cause the joint to create an open or short circuit, or may result in poor reliability. Cooling time is just as important as heating time, as cooling too quickly can result in cracks or degraded electrical characteristics.


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