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Details about  Solder Fume Extractor Review: Maplin N33CH

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Solder Fume Extractor Review: Maplin N33CH
Solder-Fume-Extractor-Review-Maplin-N33CH
Item Ended
Item condition:
Used
Ended:
07 Sep, 2014 17:05:47 BST
Winning bid:
£7.00
3 bids ]
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Will post to United Kingdom. Read item description or contact seller for postage options. | See details
Item location:
Pencader, United Kingdom

Description

eBay item number:
191309404576
Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.
Last updated on  31 Aug, 2014 17:28:43 BST  View all revisions

Item specifics

Condition:
Used: An item that has been previously used. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully ... Read moreabout the condition
Sub-Type:

Solder

What benefits would a solder fume extractor bring you, and can you afford to be without one? We review a typical hobbyist unit. The need for soldering iron fume extraction If you’re seriously into hobby electronics then you’ll possibly revel in the glorious smell of flux burning off the solder joint in a spiralling plume of grey smoke. All standard electronics-grade solders contain these special fluxes which help the molten solder flow smoothly over the joint: it’s the brown, smoking bubbly fluid that you see just after you dab some solder onto the hot area. Flux soon hardens and has no particular side effects in hobby projects except that it detracts from the appearance of the finished board. I like to use a solvent cleaner to remove the excess flux and then spray the solder-side with a coat of aerosol lacquer to preserve the finish. When you work on larger boards or you’re doing regular soldering then the need to get very close-up to the work, coupled with the plumes of flux smoke, can make the hobby a bit more of a challenge. Most hardened enthusiasts shrug off the irritating smoky fumes as part of the hobby electronics “deal”. It’s best not to inhale these fumes, but there appears to be no evidence of any direct medical side-effects being caused by working directly with these vapours. More than anything, the smoke gets in your eyes (as the song goes) and it can become a respiratory or skin irritant. If you’re sensitive to fumes or are e.g. asthmatic or suffer respiratory problems then in extreme cases the fumes might trigger coughing, wheezing or other asthmatic-like reactions. Industrial users have to comply with H&S legislation that determines the maximum likely exposure to fumes, but for the rest of us, the fumes are just a bit of a nuisance. Drawing these fumes away from the work area offers several benefits: obviously you can better see what you’re doing close-up, and you’ll avoid the risk of eye or respiratory irritation. The solution to this problem then is to use a solder fume extractor. Industrial workstations use elaborate extraction and ducting systems that are way beyond the reach of the average constructor. Maplin N33CHThis EPEMag.Net review is of a typical low-cost solder fume extractor, sold by Maplin (Part No. NC33H). It’s packaged under their own brand, and comprises a black plastic housing with a 120mm mains axial fan mounted on a tubular steel frame. A prominent wide-mouth intake “hood” draws fumes from a wider area. Usefully, the whole unit swivels on the stand, enabling the user to tilt the hood downwards towards the work area. It’s single speed, rated at 23W 240V with a neon on-off rocker switch within easy reach on top. There's not much technology to a fan in a box and generally the quality is very acceptable at this price break. There’s no point sucking fumes in only to blow them out into the atmosphere again, so (like a kitchen cooker hood) the filtering action is performed by some charcoal-impregnated foam held in a simple sprung frame. This removes most solder and smoke particles leaving filtered air to be vented out through the rear. No throughput data was provided but fans of this size have a typical airflow of say 80 CFM (cubic feet per minute). In practice tilted viewHow does Maplin’s solder fume extractor fare in practice? If your bench is anything like mine then it’s probably crowded and a bit messy with components, test equipment and tools strewn around, so there's not much space in the working area around the printed circuit board. Because Maplin’s product is on a tubular stand, the extractor fan’s footprint isn’t too bad. You know it’s there but it doesn’t hog too much space. The housing can be tilted to the required angle and tightened using two knobs. The sound level is what you’d expect from a typical a.c. fan at close range (say, like a PC power supply). The benefits soon outweigh the commotion, but maybe expect the fan to be a bit intrusive to begin with if you’ve been used to concentrating in peace and quiet while soldering. In use, Maplin’s solder fume extractor shifted localised fumes away efficiently. The wide-angle mouth helped to draw them away from the working area (and more importantly, from the user’s eyes and nostrils), resulting in a clearer smoke-free view of the workpiece. There is little to go wrong and it did everything that it said on the box

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