Hakko has come out with a new digital soldering station that offers a few upgrades over their analog version. The new FX-888D features a password lock, preset mode with up to 5 saved temperature settings, and an adjustment mode for quicker calibration.
The Hakko FX-888 soldering station has become quite popular since it first came out two years ago, and it’s easy to see why. The FX-888’s controls are precise, the iron is very well built, and the whole kit is very affordably priced at about $85.
I finally ditched my bare-bones Radio Shack 30W soldering iron for the FX-888 soldering station when it first came out. Many successful solder joints later I have zero regrets.
Digital Controls and Presets
Digital controls are definitely easier to use than an analog dial, especially if you switch temperature setting regularly, but it’s not exactly an essential feature. The preset feature could be handy, but if you mainly deal with one solder alloy and temperature savings there are negligible time and effort savings over keeping an analog dial locked-in where you need it.
I suppose this is more useful if you have multiple users at the same bench in an industrial setting. Applying a password allows you to lock in settings or prevent other users from switching modes (such as the calibration mode).
FX-888D Versus Analog FX-888
Switching from the analog FX-888 to the digital FX-888D will cost you an extra $10-12 or so. The FX-888D’s street price of $92 is still very affordable for what it offers.
Speaking as a home user of the FX-888, the FX-888D does not seem to be a substantial upgrade, unless of course you do work with multiple temperatures often. The upgrade from Hakko’s older 936 soldering station or other brands’ entry-level products is much more substantial.
If this digital model were available two years ago when the analog version first came out, I might have purchased it instead of the FX-888, but maybe not.
Edit: It appears that Hakko is replacing the FX-888 with the FX-888D. As per their discontinued products list, the FX-888D is the successor to the FX-888. In other words, if you were waiting to upgrade to the FX-888 and prefer analog controls to digital, you might want to pick one up while you still can.
Like the analog FX-888, the FX-888D is ESD-safe and comes with the same iron (FX-8802) that accepts T18-sized soldering tips and nozzles.
More Info(via Hakko)