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Kendal 899D Review

December 13, 2011
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Some days, I mangle circuits. It turns out that reflowing parts in an anemic toaster oven with expired ROHS solder lacks the reliability of… you know, anything else. So I need to rework things. The old standby of wedging a knife under the pins while heating up the pads doesn’t work very well and tends to smoke chips. It was time. I decide it was time I made the investment in glorious reliability of a Hakko….

…but my budget told me I was getting a Kendal 899D.

I needed a hot air reflow tool more than anything. For my price point (that is, under $100), I had seen some reviews of the straight Hakko clones, but the remote pump and poor grounding practices I saw were just bad news. The Kendal is the type with a fan in the wand. This is a much simpler design in my opinion and I assumed much less prone to manufacturing shortcuts that would cause me reliability issues. But who knows.

The specs

  • 700W Total power usage
  • 100°C-480°C temperature selection on the hot air tool
  • 100°C-480°C temperature selection on the soldering iron
  • LED temperature display
  • Blah, blah, blah just look at the pictures

You can pick these up on eBay for about $90 delivered, and I got mine from this eBay store. In general, make sure any tool you get on eBay is the 110V version.

What’s in the box

You get the basics:

  • The main unit with attached hot air tool
  • The detachable soldering iron
  • An assortment of moderately useful soldering iron tips
  • Three hot air nozzles
  • A less useful “chip removing” tool or shrimp fork, I couldn’t tell
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The unit fully assembled

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The tools

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Soldering tips

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"Selection" of hot air tips

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They claim this is a "chip remover"

The sticker on top is great:

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Engrish is funny

Performance

To summarize: Works great.

Ya, I want to dislike this thing, but it does its job like a champ. I’ll let the video do the talking.

The hot air tool has a reed switch that is used to turn it off when its in the holder. There’s a switch that turn off this feature, but I’ve really had no use for it in yet. It heats up fast, around 5 seconds to get to 360 from a cold start. After you put it back it blows air through it until it cools off. It’s not loud, but the fan does have an odd whirring noise. Either minor interference or a cheap bearing.

The iron is similarly fast in heating up, but the tips are not particularly optimal. There were issues where the long conical tip was too far from the heating element and putting it on the work just immediately cooled it off. Same with the hoof tip. You need to use some thought when working with these and give it a few seconds to recover between putting heat on the work. The rest of the tips aren’t of much use to me for a secondary iron.

There are a few other minor issues. The hot air tool, well, it gets hot. Uncomfortably hot if you work on things for a while. Nothing dangerous, mind you. Just not awesome. The manual looks like it was typeset by learning-disabled monkeys and is rife with poor sentence construction.  Also, the cords are shorter than I’d like.

Oh ya, and not anything to do with the tool, but hot PCBs look exactly like cold PCBs.

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4 Comments
  1. Steve permalink

    I picked up one of these things based on your review… I did a video unboxing and review: http://www.tangentaudio.com/?p=605

  2. I’m having a rough time with irons burning out. Have you had similar problem?

    • No, but I don’t really use the iron part enough to really have a useful set of data. My primary iron is a cheap Weller.

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