Follow up review: S-998P, Cheap Desoldering Tool

Some time ago I posted about a desoldering tool that I had purchased online; the S-998P. Since then, I’ve used it on and off, however it’s only recently that I got a chance to really use it in anger.

In an effort to tidy the house and organise the garage, I decided to finally address my “scrounge cabinet”. As I’ve said before, I’m a scrounger from way back. Part of it is me wanting to reuse things that would otherwise end up at the rubbish tip (reduce, reuse, recycle)… Go Planet!

… Captain planet, anyone? Why hasn’t that been remade yet?

… Oh, whatever. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, another, probably larger, part of it is that I like free stuff. Anyway, a great source of free electrical components is old appliances, like:

  • Printers
  • Microwaves
  • Photocopiers
  • Etc

So whenever I get my hands on these items (normally on kerbside collection weeks, or from the bin outside my nearest photocopier repair shop), I put them in the garage until I’m able to get the screwdriver onto them and dismantle them. Once dismantled, the circuit boards and mechanical components go into my Scrounge Cabinet (and entire filing cabinet which, until recently, was bursting at the seams with Stuff).

The problem is, I hadn’t gotten around to removing the individual components that I wanted from the much larger assemblies (i.e. a few high current resistors from a 20cm square circuit board). Enter the S-998P.

So I spent some time in the garage desoldering large and small components, probably a total of at least 400-500 soldered connections. And how did this process go? Really well!

The good:

  • Near complete removal of solder, allowing removal of components with negligible effort
  • Very easy to empty waste solder from the waste canister.
  • Very easy to keep the inside of the barrel clear using the steel cleaning tool that cane with the desoldering tool… once I realised that I needed to.
  • Easy enough to tap a thin nail into the barrel to force out a 2cm long obstruction that formed in the barrel, before I realised that the barrel needs cleaning every now and then.
  • Very fast melting of small and medium size solders
  • Vacuum pump performed well at all times.

The not-so-good:

  • When desoldering large contacts, the tool needed to be pressed firmly against the solder for a while before it melted. And when doing medium sized contacts, I would need to let the tool have a break for several seconds, between each component, to build up some heat. A little more power would have been nice.

All in all, I was very happy with the S-998P’s performance, and would happily recommend it to a friend. I’d be interested to see what new and improved versions are available, and what they have to offer.

Happy scrounging!

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