In last decades, the structure of electronic devices and gadgets have gone through drastic changes. Discrete components, such as transistors, diodes (LEDs), resistors, capacitors, etc., have become much smaller, while component density has risen by times. What’s more, virtually all devices use chips or microcircuits, and the quality of electronics, as well as its reliability, have massively grown. That said, it is impossible to do maintenance service and repairs of modern devices with the equipment and tools that were in common use in the not-so-distant past.
Traditional electric soldering irons with continuous heating are by no means suitable for the maintenance of modern electronics. First, the soldering tip in such an iron is too thick, which does not allow for soldering up miniature electronic components. Secondly, this soldering iron gives up too much heat, which can ruin all neighboring electronic components on the circuit. Thirdly, you cannot work with brazing solders (now commonly used) because the soldering iron does not have precise temperature adjustment.
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To repair electronics, special repair equipment has been developed – soldering stations. The fundamental difference between a soldering station and an ordinary soldering iron lies in the function of precise and smooth adjustment of heating temperature available in soldering stations. As of today, there are plenty manufacturers that produce various models of soldering stations differing in tools set, power and fields of use. These can be big infrared service kits, soldering stations, as well as mini soldering stations. All these devices can contain the following repair tools (in various combinations):
- soldering iron;
- hot air gun;
- desoldering gun;
- hot tweezers or vacuum pick-up tools;
- infrared preheating station;
- board holder.
Big or rather expensive professional BGA rework systems can have a maximum number of working tools. However, the vast majority of manufactured devices contain one or two tools, usually a soldering gun and hot air gun. These tools (a soldering iron and a hot air gun) are sufficient when performing practically any assembling and disassembling procedure. If low-power repair equipment contains only one tool, it is put into the category of mini soldering stations.
What Is a Mini Soldering Station?
In fact, this category is rather tentative. It contains rework equipment based on its functionality and capacity. Most mini soldering stations are devices that consist of a low-power soldering iron, as well as the main station with that helps to adjust temperature. Heating elements of this type of soldering equipment can vary wide vary in power, from several Watt to several dozens of Watt. This equipment class includes mini soldering stations, hot air guns, as well as desoldering hot tweezers. The common features uniting all these devices are relatively small power and limited functionality. However, it is now a drawback; it is a specific feature of this class of equipment.
Fields of Application
In fact, a mini soldering station is a very convenient tool used by many professionals. Its major advantage is its compact size. A small soldering iron with a thin soldering tip and the function of precise temperature adjustment enables you to desolder and replace electronic components in smartphones, tablets, mother boards, etc. quickly and safely. Needless to say, a mini soldering station will not cope with big or massive parts where a powerful soldering iron is needed for desoldering, but when you need to remove small elements, a mini soldering station is essential and irreplaceable. Moreover, a mini soldering station will be perfect for educational purposes and as a hobby. For those who are keen on engineering or make their first steps in radio electronics, a small soldering station will become a trustworthy assistant when designing and assembling microcircuits.
Manufacturers of Mini Soldering Stations
GOOT, a Japanese company, is one of the most famous and popular manufacturers. Products of this brand are reliable and high quality; they also have excellent technical specifications. Next, many models have antistatic protection. Finally, all mini soldering stations of this brand are compatible with a wide range of replacement soldering tips, which substantially increases equipment functionality.
At present, Proskit and Aouye mini soldering stations are probably the best choice based on the price to quality ratio. Both companies manufacture interesting budget models with soldering irons with power from several Watt to several dozens Watt. Both professionals and novices (amateurs of electronics) successfully use these devices.
In international online stores, they offer a wide range of mini soldering stations of Asian soldering equipment manufacturers. Among these products, you can find both interesting top-quality products at affordable price and soldering stations of low quality. Before making a purchase in an online store, read reviews about this product – as many as possible. It will help reduce the risk of getting a low-quality product.