Recently I purchased the “Best SMD 898D Rework Station, it was not my first choice in fact I actually bought it with a refund I received from Amazon Canada because the flashy station arrived not in working order. At the time I decided to downgrade the reworking station in price and get a couple other things I needed.
It was shipped from another country but the shipping was reasonably quick
I really did not know what to expect to be honest while not entirely cheap it was not overly expensive either, the fact that the price was on the lower end and that it arrived with more bells and whistles left a niggling feeling in the back of my mind “you get what you pay for” now I gamble all the time on items from over seas that are much cheaper than those on the big online retail sites and while I do find good deals Ive also been burned many times, I take these on the chin because I know going in its a gamble its part of being frugal in the 21st century.
When I opened the box I was met with some actually decent perks, the little tools they often put in to sweeten the deal often they are akin to something you will get out of a coin operated vending machine in a little plastic bubble but again these were not too bad at all.
I say this from the point of view of someone who does DIY projects not a pro who spends 8+ hours a day parked in front of or using these tools so from that perspective they are more than adequate.
You get a solder sucker, a tube of standard diameter rosin core solder, and 2 different style “tweezers” (non magnetic and anti static)
I class those as the freebies but you also get 5 additional soldering iron tips in different configurations, and 3 heat gun tips with the accompanying tool to install and remove them if the wand is too hot to do bare handed.
The next thing out of the box was the soldering iron cradle, its made of steel with an aluminum tray for your wet sponge. the sponge itself is oversized it fits perfectly in the area under the iron tip itself but not in the aluminum tray. Which is where I’ve always put the sponge. So you have the option of trimming it to fit or putting it in the secondary location. The cradle itself is of good quality not chincy and thin I have seen much worse, there’s nothing really bad I can say about it.
The soldering iron is what you would expect it to be for todays market, its thinner than the older style of even a few years ago and its a ceramic core unlike some other models where the tip inserts inside the metal tube these tips are hollow and slide over the ceramic core and secured in place with a screw on ring. I am relatively new to this style but it is really growing on me the more I use it.
The soldering iron is also detachable from the main unit and has a multi pin connector that is held in place with a screw on ring. think old CB radio style connector.
The heat wand/gun, is new to me in that I’ve not had one attached to the soldering iron station, from what I’ve read (and experienced) they can be problematic and are usually the first thing to go on these type stations fortunately they are usually repairable, its the heating elements that seem to go on them but you can buy them separately. Some of the more reputable sellers will give them to you free if it craps out within a reasonable time if not they are not expensive.
Something that is important to note is that all of these wands have an auto on/off feature and if you are not aware of it, there’s a good chance you might think the gun is defective. This can happen as soon as you unbox it or sometime down the road if the events align in the right way.
The wands cradle has magnet in it, these are there to trigger the on/off of the wand that overrides the controls on the base unit. when it is placed in the cradle and comes in proximity of the magnets it shuts off when its lifted off the wand is supposed to turn back on and operate at the parameters set on the base.
Sometimes if its placed in wrong or turned off and the wand is in or out you lift it out of the cradle and it wont come on. something goes catawampus and it appears defective. Other times it will blow air but no heat. Both of these are usually just because something gets stuck cycling between placing it in and out of the cradle between turning it on and off or off at the master switch it usually rights itself again and you are back in business.
The heat wands cradle is movable you simply remove the two screws into the side of the controller unit then remove the 4 screws on the underside that old the plastic cradle and magnets to the metal bracket. Then move it over to the opposite side attach it again with the two screws then orientate the cradle in the correct direction and reattach with the 4 screws.
If you do not follow both steps the cradle will be backwards and not hold the wand in the correct placement.
The case for the controller is a sturdy metal which along with being durable it also acts as a heat sink to keep the temperature low.
On the back of the SMD 898D you will find the master switch and power cord along with the master fuse. The power cord is the standard computer monitor and desktop PC style.
In the same port as the power in is the Master fuse compartment its the glass vial style akin to the style found in pre 1990’s automobiles. The only real difference is its half the size maxing out at about 1/2 an inch. You see a lot of these appearing back on the market in items coming from Asia. so their pretty easy to come across if you end up needing one.
THEY DO NOT SUPPLY ANY SPARES
The unit is easy enough to operate the turn dial controls the heat gun fan speed. Levels of increasing cfm from 1 to 8. which temp and speed you require will depend on your project but some websites do offer suggestions they also suggest you can use the wand for defrosting and even making snacks that is up to you, if you want to try it.
Both the wand and soldering iron are controlled by the 3 buttons on the front. The enter button both cycles through the temperature and between the wand and iron.
Each of the two tools have their own dedicated on/off switch as along with the previously mentioned master power switch on the back.
It is a little funky to get the hang of at first as you use the enter button to cycle through from one screen to the other then you stop at the number you wish to change and use the arrow buttons to select your desired number then press enter to cycle through to the next placement.
Alternatively you can stop on the first number and then hold the arrow button up or down and simply run through the entire scale from 0 to 480
its up to you and your level of patience.
The soldering iron has a useful and frankly cool feature, if you leave it in its cradle unmoved for a period of time, the master control puts it into “sleep mode”. By this I mean it actually powers down or at the very least rolls back the temperature to the iron so its not left unattended at full power potentially causing a fire or damage to the reworking station.
I do not know about you but on other units I have had both stations and stand alone soldering irons I’ve left them on after being called away or interrupted and there have been a couple occasions I forgot about them overnight.
Having had those experiences I tend to try to be much more mindful, of my soldering stations but having this feature as a backup to my attention to this detail really helps put your mind at ease.
Another nice thing about the 898D is that parts are realisably available in fact on eBay alone you can get most every part including complete replacement heat wands for under $20. However be aware of what you are purchasing as this model number seems to come in many configurations different placements for switches and cord ends digital displays and dials, all placed under the same model number along with the multitude of slightly different models. Just be sure of what your buying as you do with anything on Ebay.
Below is a couple galleries you might find useful if your still unsure or have unanswered questions.