A while ago my 20 year old Weller soldering station finally gave up.
I sent the unit away to a Weller agent for repair but the unit was returned to me with a service note read “uneconomical to repair”.
I looked at a brand new Weller unit but they are so expensive now..way over £200 for a replacement, I decided to shop around for a cheaper unit .
I am not a lover of cheap gear for soldering, the Antex & Weller mains irons are okay for starting out or very occasional use but if you want to get good results every time, a temperature controlled station is the way to go. These units are much safer too as the voltage feeding the handle is 5x or 10x less and this is especially important seeing that a soldering iron, by design has direct hand contact.
I found a unit on Ebay, The Yihua 937D+ 60 watt 240 volt with UK Plug with metal earth pin.
It is a clone/variant of the famous Hakko 936 family of stations, Hakko made this type of station for years but now there are so many clones and copies out there it would be hard to find an original Hakko 936.
I had researched a little on the manufacturer Yihua, also have another company name W.E.P.
They have been making soldering products in China since 2009.
Before ordering I read the item several times as other ebay sellers advertisements also had 937D+ headings, and indeed pictures of 937D+ but in the descriptions the units were in fact the lower power 937D 45watt unit…Very Naughty !
After much searching I found a 937D+ for less than £27 GBP delivery included, great price as the identical WEP 937D+ costs upwards of £50 GBP.
I ordered from the vendor “checkout7788” linked below..UK ebayers …at first I thought the price was a mistake but it isnt !
The item is linked below.
Unfortunately these are showing sold out (Jan 2020)
It may be worth sending the seller a message to establish ETA refresh UK of stock
Exact same iron with WEP branding (Yihuas sister company)
Or lower powered Yihua 45w regular 937d model (to be honest Im pretty sure its a 937d+ with low power element)
The goods were listed as being dispatched from Walsall UK and the unit duly arrived in perfect condition 2 working days later…Great !
I have to say I wasnt expecting much in the way of quality but I was surprised when I opened the box .
Inside is the main unit with UK plug, the handle, a decent iron holder, a sponge and 5 assorted tips.
A closeup of the facia, the handle is attached to front facia panel via a 5 pin mic connector with a threaded lock ring which is familiar as this type is also used in cb/ham radio. There is a digital temperature readout, rotary control and a red “heater active” LED.
The handle differs to the handle for the standard Yihua 937d 45 watt model which incidentally is the 907A.
This handle is the 907D and has a 60 watt element.
To clarify…The Yihua 937D+ is a high power 60 watt unit and comes with 907D handle. the Yihua 937D is a lower power 45 watt unit and comes with 907A handle..
The WEP 937D is a rebranded Yihua 937D (Both 45w), The W.E.P. 937D+ is a rebranded Yihua 937D+ (Both 60w) Confused ? I was at first as all units look more or less the same at first look !
The handles take standard Hakko clone 936 tips which you can get very cheaply all over the place. There is lots of choice on the tips.
Search for 900M-T prefixes for example 900M-T-1.6D is a 1.6mm wide chisel tip, but there are many to choose from.
Tips cost about £0.50 -£2 GBP each on ebay.
Even original hakko tips fit this handle (If you can find originals as it is more likely to be a fake !)
Moving on to the inside of the unit and here is where some 936 style solder stations reveal poor manufacturing and poor mains/earth integrity.
Unlike inferior stations I have seen there is a robust cable clamp on the mains cable coming in and a glass 3amp 250v fuse on a sub panel above the on/off switch.
All the wiring seems tidy and there is a marked earthing point on the transformer, good to see..more on this later.
The enclosure has room enough for decent air flow.
Now to the front panel.
Quite tidy , there is some excess pcb varnish around the 5 pin connector below the cable header but nothing to worry about..pretty good all round here.
Now for something that could have been done much better, a small yellow earthing lead links the front panel ground point with the earthing point on the transformer
Yihua/WEP have soldered this to the side of the existing ring terminal from the mains cable..Why didnt they use another ring terminal and stack them on the earth screw ? or , Why not crimp and solder both cables into one ring terminal ? Some heat shrink to tidy up would not go amiss. Maybe i am being picky but It would not be that hard to do..a 2/10 attempt on front panel earthing for an otherwise solid 8.5/10 assembly job by the factory. Also the Instruction booklet translation could be improved but for the “Whats not so good” thats about it..
Speaking of earthing, this is where some stations I have seen are absolutely woeful when it comes to electrical safety. Potentially lethal in some examples I have seen around the internet.
Not so with the Yihua 937D+, the earth pin on the UK plug is metal and as you can see the cable is terminated on the transformer body and front panel socket ground and all metal exposed parts of the handle have continuity with mains earth.
The unit comes from the factory with a 5 amp fuse in the plug , I replaced it with a 3amp fuse and everything is fine.
You will see from the first intro photo of this page that the unit shows S-E (Which I take it means Socket Empty) in the display when the iron handle is not plugged in to the main unit.
All in all the 937D+ is a joy to use, heats up rapidly and although the handle is a little on the lightweight side for me I got used to it pretty quick.
The transition from the 1990s Weller wasnt as much of a pain as I had thought it would be. Now I can confidently use the Yihua with say a 1mm point tip (900M-T-1C) on small work providing my eyes can cope, a mobile phone camera on live view helps a lot ! The 937D+ has far exceeded my expectations for a £27 device. It was a stop gap iron whilst I saved funds to purchase a new Weller but now I dont think I will bother.
I will leave a couple of short videos on here while I have enough hosting space, please forgive the camera shake as I was holding the camera in one hand whilst trying to demo the iron with the other. Hopefully you wont find the poor film making techniques too distracting.
The videos wont be on this page long as they take up quite a bit of my hosting space but I hope you find them useful.
The Yihua 937D+ heats up pretty damn quick !
Tips are really easy to change..
You may wish to order some additional tips, as said these are model number 900M-T-???
My favorites are 900M-T-2.4D and 900M-T-1.6D chisel tips for general use (a 900M-T-3D 3mm chisel comes free included with the iron 5pc tip kit).
The 900M-T-2C “sloper” tip is a good one as well.
For smaller work 900M-T-0.8D chisel is as small as I can handle, there is even a 0.5mm sloper tip and even smaller cone type tips if your eyes can take it !
I purchased some additional spare elements from a vendor in China, Hokon is the manufacturer only £5 GBP for 5, the higher power elements are 4 wire ceramic type.
All measure out okay on the meter but I havent fitted any yet.
A closeup of the spare Hokon Element
2 wires for the ac feed and 2 for feedback to the controller. The iron handle is really easy to dismantle for changing elements.
These will do fine.
Some photos to show the internals of the handle. Very easy to gain access for changing elements, just unscrew the steel “chimney” & remove it and the tip, then unscrew the plastic collar with the short metal sleeve attached and remove it. Then just push the cable out of the strain relief boot.
Quite a simple arrangement on the element board. 5 wires coming into the handle (2 for the low voltage AC power, 2 for the feedback signalling to/from the controller board and 1 earth wire ).
Also, I like the cable clamp arrangement used, it fits very securely.
The steel spring is very important, it provides the earthing from the metal parts of the handle to the front panel on the main unit and the front panel is earthed via that marked point on the transformer casing I mentioned earlier on.
The black 5 core cable is said to be heat resistant silicone resisting direct flame, I think Yihua vendors are stretching the truth here. I very much doubt the cable would stand even the slightest contact with a 300+ degree C tip. Think of the handle cable as ordinary heat resistant PVC just as you find in Antex and Weller mains irons.
Heres the other side of the element PCB board. The earthing spring solder contact pad is on this less populated side of the board and the stem of the spring where contact is made with the PCB is just visible under the blue covered wire. In this photo you can also see the retaining slots in the handle tube to accommodate the PCB.
I can really recommend obtaining some solder paste and a tip cleaner with some rosin, these will make your tips last longer and the paste will help you get perfect solder joins every time.
Conclusion on the Yihua 937D+ Soldering Station
Well in short amazing value for just £27 GBP delivered, the unit works brilliantly, safe and is built to last.
Accessories like tips, cable or even a replacement handle are not expensive and are widely available.
I have had this unit around 6 months at the time of writing this page and the 937D+ has done a fair bit of hobby work for me and it has never let me down.
There is a calibration potentiometer on the front panel to correct inaccuracies in the readout but The temperature reading on my model is accurate to about 5 degrees or so when I measured it against 2 different multimeters with 2 different probes…so not at all bad !
For hobby electronics, this unit gives excellent results time after time , for just £27 outlay, this is silly money for what you get, I would thoroughly recommend it.
Just to clarify, I have no affinity to the seller or Yihua/WEP.
I purchased this unit with my own funds and this review details my own findings which are not in any way influenced by review samples or other incentives.
Some useful product links..again I have no connection with the vendors.
tip cleaner with rosin
Ceramic element A1322 fits Yihua 937D+