Evaluation of CSI STATION 3-DLF

Deluxe 60 Watt Soldering Iron with Digital Display

The Circuit Specialist Station 3-DLF was evaluated and used for various soldering operations using both lead free and lead bearing solder. This unit is one of the latest additions to Circuit Specialists’ wide line of soldering irons and stations and comes with a full one year warranty.

The purpose of this evaluation is to demonstrate the ease of use and illustrate the features of this new product. The CSI Station 3-DLF features a higher power 60 Watt soldering iron to assure sufficient heat and thermal recovery to accomplish most soldering requirements of the Electronics Engineer, technician and hobbyist (DIY-er). It also has features not normally found in a soldering station in this price range. It has a large digital display that shows the actual tip temperature and can display this value in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. The unit features a “smart” calibration operation that can compensate for differences between different tips. Another feature that impressed me was the pre-set temperature settings, which are not common in these types of solder stations. The operator may program in up to three different temperature settings that he uses frequently. As his soldering jobs change he can easily revert to previously saved settings that were successfully used.

The soldering station was used on my workbench to perform various types of soldering operations. The standard tip that came with the unit was used to assemble a PCB that is used in one of the products I manufacture. I found that the factory preset of 300 degrees worked well for a double sided PCB with through-hole resistors and capacitors. I next soldered some lead-free components on a PCB that I was repairing. The factory preset value of 400 degrees was a good starting point but I ultimately raised the temperature to 425 degrees due to a large ground plane on the PCB. It was an easy matter to save this new value in the internal, non-volatile, memory
of the soldering station. A wide variety of tips are available from Circuit Specialists for this station and they are relatively inexpensive. I used a smaller tip and a lower temperature setting to perform my third operation with this station. I used a KD-M-LB tip to re-solder a surface mounted IC onto a PCB that was being repaired. I found that the temperature pre-set value of 425 degrees that was previously saved worked well for this operation.

The CSI Station 3-DLF is a low priced but extremely capable soldering station that offers additional features not found in other low priced stations. I have had it on my workbench for over a year and it has become my favorite solder station.

George

George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.

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