I do a lot of rework and building prototype boards, so the more tools I have that make that easier the better. After far too long placing 0603 and 0402 passives one side at a time with a regular iron (and removing/replacing them with hot air), I decided it was time to get some soldering tweezers. Hakko makes great products, I’ve been very happy with my FX-951 soldering station, but they also have some annoying model compatibility restrictions. I wanted to get the FM-2023 solder tweezers (aka, “mini parallel remover”) as I have used them in the office and they are an excellent tool, however they are only compatible with a few Hakko soldering stations. They are listed to work with the FM-202, FM-203, and FM-206. The FM-202 is not made anymore and the 203 and 206 are about $500 and $1500 respectively, which is quite the premium on top of an already expensive soldering tool. Fortunately there are quite a few used FM-202’s available on eBay and I picked one up for about $90 (plus with two stations I can use the tweezers and regular iron at the same time). Unfortunately most of these used units do not include the control key card that Hakko units usually require to change settings such as temperature and display units (Celsius or Fahrenheit), and Hakko will not sell replacement cards. Sometimes you can simply cover up the optical sensors that the Hakko unit uses for its control lockout and bypass it, but the FM-202 is a little different. It’s control card has a specific hole pattern that appears to be required for it to function. I haven’t thoroughly investigated how this mechanism works, because it was easy enough to create my own control card.
I used a reference picture of the control card and some measurements of the card slot on the soldering station to create a model of the card. Then I used a 3D printer to create a new card and it works great. Now I just need my FM-2023 soldering tweezers to arrive….
Download the model for the control card at YouMagine