Modification – Aoyue 9378 Soldering Station

I had the Ungar_9900 soldering station – for several years.

Ungar_9900 soldering station.

This past January – the heating element broke. Finally did find a used replacement pencil on ebay for $65, but there was a $85 shipping charge…!


A retired Ungar 9900 soldering unit.

Put the broken unit into storage and decided it was time to buy a new unit.

After looking at many brands, I selected the Aoyue_9378 on Amazon. Here’s the picture of the unit, on the side of the box. It had a molded plastic pocket – screwed into the front of the holder. The soldering pencil gets placed into that hole. In behind and inside – was a U shaped metal cage – acting as a heat shield.

The solder roller stand – was also to be attached to this holder…

Box packaging display of the Aoyue Soldering Station.

This Aoyue is a nice unit. Has a good working range of temperatures – that can be displayed in either F or C degrees. If you press buttons 1 & 2 – the station sets the working temperature to option 1. Pressing 2 & 3 – sets the temp to option 2. And if the pencil isn’t moved for a certain time, the station goes into standby mode. I set mine to 10 minutes.

There are a few more options to control in the functions menu…

It also came with a spare heating element (awesome) and a clear plastic bag holding 9 extra tips. The 10th one was already installed…!

Had to do something with all those tips. Fighting open a little lockable bag – was going to be a ‘pain-in-the-ass’. Looked in my storage for ‘something’.

Found a piece of aluminum frame, that was once used as a hard-drive holder – in a computer tower. Turns out it was 0.051 inch thick (16 gage).

This chart illustrates the various ‘standards’ that have evolved.

Metal Gage Chart - in inches.

A bit of cutting with a zip blade, some bending in the vise, some contouring with a die-grinder and then drilling 9 holes on top, 2 on the side.

Making a tip holder for the Aoyue.

Room for nine 1 inch long, 4-40 machine screws, each held in place – with a nylock nut. It took a long time to hand-turn the first nut on. Guessing shortly thereafter, I got the Dewalt drill to speed up the process… 🙂

This next shot – shows the holder laying on its side. That metal heat shield – which was mounted inside – now got attached to the outside and turned, using the existing chassis screw holes. Now the Brass Wool tip cleaner – has a new home… 🙂

Aoyue parts moved around.

The Ungar unit had a nice design of pencil holder. A springy coil of wire, with a bent loop at the bottom end and a large ring at the other – to hold the ceramic/porcelain collar. I liked it so much, that I just pulled it out of the back end of the Ungar. In the second picture above, you’ll notice two tabs in the back, with holes in them. This bent loop got pushed into one of them.

To mount this spring assembly into the Aoyue, I drilled a hole into the rear of the bottom plate, then bent that bottom spring loop – to a new angle.

This next shot shows the back-end view of the Aoyue holder.

Ungar spring coil added to Aoyue unit.

I also didn’t like where the solder wire dispenser was to be placed (as per their illustration). I like to keep the roll – close to where I’m working.

I also had a problem with the articulated pinchers. That rig (and clamped wires) would always move around – at the wrong time… 🙂

Found a heavy/strong magnet in the shop. Also found a scrap piece of 3/8 inch thick steel plate that was 4 inches wide and 8 inches long. Great place to put a magnet…!

For now, I put two rubber bands on this plate – to help stop any sliding on the arborite work surface. And there was room to place the solder wire dispenser, in the corner. It was attached with two pieces of double-sided tape.

I recommend a product called ‘No-More-Nails’. Comes in a small roll and has a Red peel-off coating. Don’t recall the manufacturer, but I usually get it at HomeDepot.

I just weighed this assembly and it comes in at 7 pounds (3.175 kg).

Steel base to hold magnet + pinchers and roller dispenser.

The 63/37 solder is from MG Chemicals. Found a lovely plastic Weller flux dispenser – at an electronics store in Calgary. When you first open it, there’s a 1 inch long stainless-steel needle inside. After filling this bottle with Rosin Flux – type RA, you put the cap back on – this time with the needle sticking out. One can now control exactly where the flux should go… 🙂

Here’s the finished project…

Modified Aoyue soldering station.

Still looking for a decent desoldering station (besides copper wick mesh)…

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