Let's Make Robots!

Hakko 888 review (Do I really need to?)

This is more of a follow-up to my review of the "9936" soldering iron that disappointed me so badly in my last blog entry.  Let me begin by saying that the problem with the iPad is that it makes it way to easy to buy things while you're taking a crap.  When I got the news that my refund for the last abortive attempt had been deposited back into my Paypal account, it didn't seem like dropping twice again what I'd just gotten back was a big deal, and I heard the voice of Limor Fried echoing in my head from her "Ask an Engineer" a month ago saying "Just get a Hakko." So I did. (Not to mention Cobaltphoenix seemed so happy with his Sparkfun 936 and Gareth with his Make-your-own-housing model-I just had to know what I was missing out on.)

(Photo courtesy of Chris the Carpenter's pals at "Dangerous Prototypes.")  This one isn't mine, but it looks just like it.

I couldn't wait to get going, so I started copying Serv-O's voice board into my K-9 unit.  Already I can tell a slight difference in the quality of the welds.  Smaller joints, less solder being used, less blobbularness (my word but you know what it means.)  Also, I like the cool manly blue and sissybird yellow color scheme.  The 30 second heat-up is awesome and the 3 kinds of tip cleaning impress me too.  The handle is light and doesn't get as hot as any other one I've ever used.  The fact that it has a on/off switch is a new thing to me too.  Plugging and unplugging an iron is such a hassle after all (I'm hoping the sarcasm comes through there.)

Yes, I know it's a total vanity purchase and I've sworn off SMD, but I'm turning 41 next month and I have 3 kinds of cancer so this is my version of a sports car.  I intend to enjoy it for all it's pretentious worth, but at the same time, it really does seem like it would be worth the money for someone who did this day in/day out as a professional-even if this is listed as entry-level for Hakko.

 

Update 7/25

Oh yeah... baby... this thing is the iron God would use if he was upgrading from a 25 watt.  The more I work with it the more I love it and the better my work looks and I feel about my work.   As many joints as I've done the last two nights on an old iron I'd have blunted a tip by now.  The T-18 that came on it barely looks touched though.  You can't imagine how great the fast heat up is after years with the mains plugs. As Merser implies, sometimes better tools do make a difference.

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That's pretty tough with your health mate, sorry to hear that. You don't need to question your purchase. They rate highly those irons and you deserve it. "Soddering" is one of the key tasks in our hobby and your only as good as the tools you use. They also say a bad tradesman blames his tools but I say crap to that.
I use a one hung lo brand of temp controlled iron I bought from jaycar and while it's effective when I wanted to buy replacement tips they said sorry we don't stock that model anymore. What? like only after 2-3 years mate.
Bet you won't have that problem with the Hakko.