• Email: info@sparkyswidgets.com

Checkout Is up and Running again!

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Edwards.

Sorry for the bug in the checkout of the store, a plugin in was causing a hang. I have since resolved this issue and can confirm the store is fully operational once again!

I have also added in the ability to pay via bitcoin (through stripe!) so for those with BC feel free to use it!

Adding more stock back into store!

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Edwards.

Hello All,

First off thank you everyone for all your support, I really appreciate it and cant thank everyone enough! I have been very busy behind the scenes both here and at the day job(I will write more on this later). For those that email asking if I am still around, yes very much so!

I will be working over the next several days to fulfill the last batch of orders as well as build up extra stock. I will add some stock both to here and at Tindie as well. As demand is quite high right now, I may not have stock for very long but lead times for most items will be shortened significantly. There are a few important changes that should be mentioned, I have updated MinipH hardware to version 4, but the current firmware/software examples aren’t fully compatible. I will get these changes added into the code ASAP for those existing users that have version 4.0.

Now to get back to building some Mini’s!

Quick Update

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Edwards.

Just received a rather large shipment of BNC connectors!

The good news is I can now start producing in larger batches once again, I am starting with fulfilling several backorders, while at the same time getting stock back into the store and Tindie shouldn’t take much more then a week or so at this point! I will place another medium order of PCBs for MinipH, MinieC to keep stock(I am going to adjust the designs slightly after this next order, form factor will be the same as will performance). I also have a small stock of MiniIon and soon to be the production variant of IsoIon that will be going up on the store shortly. I know many have been waiting for a long time for these and they are finally out although stock is very limited at this point.

A big thank you to my supporters and customers, it has been a challenging last few months fighting to keep stock up! Even though it caused a slight backup the small adjustments I made to my supply chain will help us further down the road, especially with designs that require lots of probe interconnects, multiple AFEs and multiplexing 🙂 (Maybe I have said too much already hehe).

Well just wanted to send everyone a quick update! I will start posting more often as I have time.

Hakko FX-888D Demo and Giveaway!

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Edwards.

In follow up to this blog post and video I put up the actual demo and giveaway video! So please take the time to view and and comment on it, plus a thumbs up always helps! In case anyone is wondering engagement such as comments, thumbs up along with length of view really helps YouTube rankings, so please comment and thumbs up!

I also want to take the time to thank HMCelectronics again for providing me with the Hakko FX-888D and also letting me give it away to one of my lucky viewers! They are a great supplier from personal experience, if you are in need of equipment or help with tool selection, service or generally anything. I have found them to be very helpful whether you are a business or hobbyist, please don’t hesitate to use them for your soldering equipment needs! Just as a reminder you can get a small discount from HMC at checkout by entering SparkyWidget at checkout!(this will last until the end of August 2014)!!

The video review is also worth a view if you haven’t watched it yet, I go over some tip care tricks so that you can keep those tips lasting a long time!
I will have some other tools blog posts coming up shortly where I talk about reflow ovens, hot air stations, hand tools and sledge hammers (Oh yes, one should always have a hammer ready!)

Don’t forget to comment and thumbs up the giveaway video so you can be eligible to win!

Hakko FX-888D Review

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Edwards.

Hakko FX-888D Review and Soldering Tip Care!

I recently had the opportunity to review a Hakko FX-888D from HMCelectronics, and have been very impressed with the unit and thought I would share my review video here and add a few extras words!

First I would like to thank HMC for partnering up with me, they have been my main equipment supplier for a number of years and have provided an excellent service. If you are in need of equipment or help with tool selection service or generally anything, I have found them to be very helpful, please don’t hesitate to use them! From now until the end of august 2014 if you enter SparkyWidget in the comments on checkout you will get a small discount!

The video review does a fairly good job of reviewing the smaller points most reviews miss so I tried to focus on these positive aspects of the Hakko FX-888D. The 2nd part of the video talks about soldering iron tips, how they are made and how to take care of them! This is an important point that is not emphasized enough, and I thought it was worth adding in a section to help illustrate why tip care shouldn’t be neglected! There is a lot of engineering and science put into the development of modern soldering iron tips and with their costs going up its important to take good care of them!

Overall I would give the Hakko FX-888D an 8 out of 10. It is a strong station with plenty of power and is very easy to use! I like that it has a 65watt pencil that is comfortable to hold. As mentioned in the video the stand is very nicely engineered and should help keep your tips in top shape while keep the work area clean. Some of the points I don’t like, the lack of an auto-ff similar to the Weller unit means if you forget to turn it off and haven’t tinned you tips well you will burn them up. The other things that stand out is the availability of tips and replacement parts in certain parts of the world. If you are in these locations you would be better served with a Weller unit. Remember long term maintenance is a concern with these units, they work very well and will last a long time so you want to be sure you can get tips and parts!

As for a few words on tip care, always keep fresh solder on your tips! I follow the routine of removing pencil from stand, cleaning thoroughly, reapplying fresh soldering and repeating the clean action again. This ensure fresh rosin activation cleaning on the tip and then the removal of this very quickly before soldering. Once I have completed the soldering work I clean the tip again, then reapply a ample amount of solder to protect it while its sits in the stand or storage. I find this is the best way to keep tips in top shape. (I generally only use the brass sponge to avoid thermal shock and micro fractures, though there are times when the heavy cleaning action is useful but it should be used sparsely on precision tips)