REVIEW Tenma Digital Soldering Station
When I write a review it’s usually based on relatively short-term usage of the product: I may have had access to the item in question for a day or two and used a battery of synthetic tests to make up for the short timescale, or I may have had it for a week or more and been able to get some real-life usage data. This time, though, I’ve been using the Tenma Digital Soldering Station since March last year.
For years I’d been using bargain-basement, fixed-temperature soldering irons, and when I finally upgraded to a variable-output model, it was Maplin’s cheapest rebranded Chinese import. It served me well, despite its limitations, but after seeing an offer on a proper temperature-controlled soldering station, I was convinced that it was finally time to upgrade.
Of course, if you’re a hobbyist, you almost certainly don’t a temperature-controlled digital soldering station. Need, though, is relative – and with this Tenma unit demanding a mere £20-ish premium over a good quality fixed-output iron, there are some reasons to consider it.
The first is how well it holds its temperature. Two killer problems when it comes to soldering are not getting enough heat and getting too much of the same: not enough and the solder fails to flow properly, giving you badquality joints; too much and you risk damaging the PCB or components. Worse, the temperature of your iron is relative: the larger the area you’re soldering, the more heat it will suck away from the tip. A 25W iron will happily solder a small pin into place, but not a load-bearing leg. Conversely, a 60W iron may run too hot for smaller items but work fine for the load-bearing leg.
Cheap variable-output irons fix the toolittle and too-much heat problem with a bit of trial-and-error, but not the issue of relative temperature. However, stations such as this Tenma unit constantly monitor the iron’s temperature, adjusting their output to keep it stable so, in theory, they bring an end to temperature-related soldering problems.
That’s the best of the features, from a hobbyist perspective: it makes soldering easier. Another big selling point is a large display on the control box with buttons that
For the money, the Tenma Soldering Station is a convincing upgrade from fixedoutput irons