Global Geek Tour: Ian’s Apliu Street Hong Kong score

Our geek tour of China started with Apliu Street, Hong Kong’s version of Akihabara. It has a few well-stocked electronics stores with online prices, but it’s not big enough to be a global geek destination on its own.

A store with a big HAKKO sign had a nice range of irons and soldering stuff. Here’s 5 Hakko 900M-T-3C 45 degree Bevel soldering iron tips. We thought these were wave tips with a dimple to hold solder, but that’s actually 3CM. At five bucks each it’s slightly cheaper than eBay, and not a huge loss. We’ll compare one to a real wave tip in an upcoming video, the rest will be giveaways on the blog.

We also spotted some GOOT brand stuff, the Japanese company that makes the brush on flux from the flux-off review. 1.5 meters of 1.5mm solder wick is $1.80, way cheaper than our local parts store.

We also grabbed some BS-2 soldering iron “Tip Refresher” for $6. It claims to cleans up an oxidized iron that doesn’t hold solder. We’ll find what the BS is about later. Here is a video review from ChipDip.

The soldering paste is for big stuff, not PCBs. We got an extra to give away.

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  1. I use the 4C one of the same tip type. Does not have dimple but wave soldering is possible with it and I’m not planning to go back to the conical tip for any other type of soldering.

    1. AoYue is a clone of Hakkos 900M irons, so tou don;t want ot be looking fro Ayoue equvalent, but the real think, Hakko 900M-T-3C..

      1. Thanks for the information I will buy this 900M-T-3C
        I will also like a thin Tip for SMD soldering because mine 0.8mm is a bit too big sometimes.
        What is the best thin Tip for SMD soldering ?

  2. I need to pick up some tips for my Hakko FX-951 (Hakko FM-2026 iron) and I wanted to get some of the drag solder tips (T15-BCM3 Shape-3BC), but it says on the Hakko site:

    “Shape BCM/CM are not available for sale or use in the U.S.A.”

    Why is this? Can I import some of these tips? Can anyone recommend some other tips I should pick up as well – T15 series. Thanks!

    1. Because PACE holds a patent on the mini wave tips in the US.

      Anyway it’s not that big of a difference, 3C or 3BC tips will work very well at drag soldering as well…If you look at Ian’s videos, he uses a plain cone tip(1mm I believe).

      Its all about applying lots of flux, soldering all the joints in one go, cleaning the tip, replying the flux if you have any bridges and removing them with the iron, in most cases the solder bridge will transfer onto the clean tip (its important for the tip to be clean and relatively large >=1mm, as small tips have a smaller area and the solder doesn’t have anywhere to transfer to).. If you have a really stubborn bridge, just wick it off with solder wick…

      I use the following tips, Large screwdriver (5mm) for through hole, this puppy eats 40pin headers for breakfast. Small screwdriver (2mm) for general SMD, and 3c or 3cm for drag-soldering.

      BTW, my 3cm tip is a 3c tip that some dude in a factory took a drill to :D, its very crudely done, but it works :) it even has the 3c tag on it still..

      the most important fact don’t be afraid of SMD, I know this is a cliche, but there really is nothing to it, Its easy…..just remember FLUX, FLUX, FLUX…

      1. Oh, and another tip, for the nice perfect looking boards, where all the components are perfectly aligned, all you have to do is solder them up in any way, shape and form, and once you are done, just reapply flux everywhere, and Hot Air the board, the components will start pooping into perfect positions, – some might require a few taps…

  3. 1. “Goot 1.5mm solder wick is $1.80” ==> $1.84 from Deal Extreme shipped.
    2. “BS-2 soldering iron “Tip Refresher” for $6” ==> $6.41 from Deal Extreme shipped.

    See, anyone can visit Shenzen on the web at Deal Extreme :-)

    1. True, true, but how cool to live there and have Deal Extreme-priced resources in your neighborhood :) I sure wouldn’t suggest anyone fly all that way to save $0.04 to $0.41 cents, but it was a lot of fun to see.

      1. Ian, I am planning to go there maybe towards the end of the summer-havent finalised anything yet.

        Are items in SEG / Apliu Street typically much cheaper than ebay/dealextreme ?

        components form ebay are a gamble-at least I can test for fakes on the spot in SEG.

        I was planning on going there to buy some test equiptment and stock up on all
        semiconductors /IC’s for my small start-up outfit back home.

        I intend to make it my holiday/ geek shopping outing for a good while.

        Is it possible that the savings on oscilloscpes and such could offset the price of my flights (500 euro) ?

        I would really appreciate your opinions on this Ian.


      2. Stuff in SEG is cheaper or the same as eBay, but there’s a lot of junk there too. I wouldn’t plan to haul stuff back for a startup, you have import limits for your home country and then taxes and travel will wipe out any savings. It was fun because we were already there to meet Seeed, present at the Maker Faire, and make our films, but I’d never go to try to save money. A reel of resistors is $6 shipped on ebay without all the hassle and sweaty tropical weather, just go for that. I always get free DHL on orders from Shenzhen via eBay that are $100 or more anyways. Also don’t overlook the cost of a visa for china ($200 for Americans), excess baggage on the plane, etc.

  4. 1st overpriced:
    “1.5 meters of 1.5mm solder wick is $1.80″
    Locally I get 2mm wicks at INR3/feet which means 17feet or 5 meters in INR50(USD $1).
    2nd overpriced:
    The white soldering paste that has codename ” Goot BS10″ has price tag of $13, I guess 13HKD or 1.7USD. The same thing I get locally at INR15(USD $0.30).

  5. You got ripped off, or you didn’t haggle.
    Most of the stuff you bought you can find on dealextreme.
    And dx is expensive for small items like those.
    For example I can buy those tips locally (Serbia) for 2€.

    And that BS-2 is just Ammonium chloride mixed with some flux. You can find blocks of it
    in a local hardware store in the plumbing section.

    A friend went to Shenzhen about a year ago. He brought me back a Fluke 17b (from an authorized store) YFGPS (directly from the factory) and some auto diagnostics tools for about half the price these things sell at dealextreme.

    1. Depends on your point of view/location – in Australia genuine Hakko tips have a “trade” price of $A 14.95 (about $US 15.50) each!

      1. I doubt that these are genuine.
        Anyway those that I bought locally had the same packaging as genuine Hakko.

    2. [serbian]
      Druze, gde u BG-u mogu da se nabave ti tipovi, gde kod da sam gledao drze samo one ultra tanke spiceve…

      translation, just asking where he can get those tips in belgrade

  6. Regarding the tip cleaner and “heavy duty” paste. You may want to have a look at the safety data. They’re all acidic and such and shouldn’t be breathed *std disclaimer*, but some include zinc chloride. Zinc is much like epoxy allergies, you might not have issues ever but once you do you do for life..

    In short, check your safety datasheets, if it they list any metals like zinc make sure you have TWO windows open AND a fan going.

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