Saturday, March 24, 2012

A kit builders "magic" tool

I really enjoy kit building I find it to be a nice pass time when the propagation is not co-operative and the bands are slow. With kit building it's a learning curve starting out with basic kits and moving up to kits that
contain SMT components....I have yet to dive into that pond. There sure is a reward when you have spent time
Replacing a cable
assembling a kit and then to see it work is  a great feeling.
Recently I had to open up my Elecraft K2 to add an internal antenna tuner and battery. I had not had the top off the K2 for some time.....I was amazed at all the components to which I thought..."I actually put all this together" For those of you who build kits like me you have run into times when things just don't go as planned. I have soldered components in the wrong  place. There has been solder run onto two pads instead of the one the solder was intended for and so on. I would bet there are a lot of kit builders out there who have their own stories.  As kit builders we all have our "tools" from soldering stations to multimeter's

Hakko at work
and everything in-between. One tool I purchased about a year ago and really don't use all that often but when used it sure has gotten me out of many binds. The "magic tool" as I call it is the Hakko 808 desoldering tool. In the past I have used the hand pump, hand bulb and soldering iron and bulb combo. These did an ok job but at times all had failed me. The Hakko 808 is very efficient at removing soldering mistakes and at the same time saving the component if placed in the wrong location. The Hakko heats up very fast, the vacuum pump is powerful, maintenance is minimal lastly its very user friendly for filter changes. I know that solder mistakes only happen now and then but it's sure great having the right tool for the job at hand.

The finished product


  1. Thanks for this tip Mike, looks very handy! I usually use de-soldering braid when I make one of those blobby mistakes with mixed results. Until just recently I haven't had a soldering iron that is suitable for the increasingly tiny components and pads on kits these days, but now that I do I may have to add the 808 to the tool set.

  2. Good afternoon Casey, yes the 808 sure does make short work of repair or replacing. I noticed the other night while testing my Elecraft KAT2 there was a resistor I instaled but was not supposed to until one test was done. It's no problem to remove this resistor in a snap do the test then solder it back in place.