Evaluation Type: Independent Products
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Metcal BVX-101
What were the biggest problems encountered?: There were absolutely no problems.
I am extremely interested in road testing this fume extraction system because I regularly perform hand soldering in a poorly ventilated area and I have an allergic reaction to solder fumes.
My soldering station leaves me particularly vulnerable because I use a stereo microscope that is positioned directly over the soldering activity, placing my face very close to the fume source.
Although I try to avoid solder fumes as best I can, the Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 will most certainly be a vast improvement over my current methods.
This is not just a fun product to play around with, it will actually result in a healthier working environment.
Soldering and heated flux can result in airborne particulate and chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, isopropyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, and hydrochloric acid.
These sound bad, and they are definitely not good for people. They can lead to all kinds of symptoms including:
If lead solder is used, excessive exposure could result in lead poisoning which has symptoms like: loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, abdominal cramps, nervousness, and insomnia. Lead is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the lung, stomach, or intestines and then enters the bloodstream.
The base product found in conventional flux is called colophony, which is the translucent amber-colored rosin obtained when turpentine is distilled from the resin of pine trees. Colophony has been widely used in soldering processes for many years. Most fluxes also include organic amine hydrochloride, an activator that helps clean the soldering area. When heated, it releases hydrochloric acid and other gases containing benzene, toluene, styrene, phenol, chlorophenol and isopropyl alcohol.
Threshold values for some of the VOC’s that exist in soldering smoke fumes.
Average threshold value per day:
** Maximum threshold value for 15 minutes
My symptoms from solder fumes include sneezing fits, runny nose and eye irritation.
All of this means solder fumes are not healthy and I have needed a fume extractor for decades and I am very happy to have one now.
The Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 includes 3 filter systems to ensure harmful solder products are removed from the air:
The Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 includes a 4 speed brushless turbine to collect and filter air at up to 190 m3 per hour:
I am fortunate in having access to some nice instrumentation that will allow me to measure both the air flow of the system and the sound levels it generates.
Volume Flow Rate
The Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 nicely exceeds its volume flow rate specifications.
Air Flow Rate Near the Nozzle
The Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 has good flow rates near the collection funnel, but it makes a difference how it is positioned.
More Sound Level Measurements
The Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 is far less noisy than a normal vacuum cleaner. The sound levels are quite tolerable and easily allow conversation to take place.
The fume extraction performance is outstanding, effectively collecting air from an entire large working envelope.
I am impressed with the performance of this fume extractor, it has a large comprehensive filter, a quiet turbine with a very nice flexible hose and funnel nozzle and it extracts fumes from a very workable envelope.
This device is going to make my working environment much healthier and I couldn't be happier about it.
I enjoyed doing the review - it actually gave me a much better understanding of what this device can do and how to use it effectively.
Do not wait as long as I did to address the issue of air quality at the solder station.
Thanks for the great review on the Weller unit. I am not sure what the long term effect of solder fumes and lead poisoning are. There has been very few days in the last 50 years where I did not…
That's really impressive. I had one of the earlier models of this in my office before we moved to working from home, it was good but that looks way better. I currently have one of the cheap desk mounted…
The stand is something I designed to hold a small tablet off the table while controlling a USB cable. It is not needed for the hose and I don't use it normally - it was just used to make the video - experimenting with various heights.
The hose has pretty good stiffness over short distances but it is heavy enough that the it will only support about 4 feet without resting on something. It seems pretty much ideal - flexible and easy to position, but it stays put when it isn't being pushed around. The kit comes with a nice hose control clamp which attaches to a bench, but I don't even need it.
I have it setup behind my bench, completely out of the way, and I can walk around to turn it on. If it was tucked away somewhere I would probably look into a remote switch. I think this is what the looks like although I didn't see it in my manual and it didn't come with my kit:
You can see the remote control port in this picture:
I just came across this review - this unit sure looks nice!
A few questions I had -
Does this little stand come with the unit? Did you find that you needed it?
Second - that hose looks a little stiff. Did you have any issues getting it positioned where you wanted it? Is there enough length to get the box under the desk and have the hose reach your work area?
Lastly - Depending on how one sets up their work area, it would be nice for a remote control switch. Like either one that I can stick on the wall or stick on the end of the hose. If I was to get this unit, I would want to hide it away as much as possible, but that makes reaching the power switch cumbersome.
Thanks genebren .Doing the road test forced me to take a closer look at the issues and I'm happy I did.
It was a bit tricky to get the lighting right to show smoke, but I'm glad I took the time, as the smoke tests really bring home the usefulness of the device.
The solder fume issue may not be the most exciting road test topic, but this road test has changed the way I work and made my environment healthier.
The noise penalty is definitely worth it for me. The low setting is fine for my set-up.
I have been using it for 10 months now and it has made a real difference. For me, since I have significant reactions to solder fumes, I notice an immediate improvement - the symptoms completely disappear. I have had long exposure as you have and still use leaded solder. I have always washed my hands after handling solder though. I expect this unit will reduce airborne exposure to lead as well.
What a great roadtest and amazing visual proof of the units performance. It is a little noisy on the high setting, but this surely beats sneezing fits, runny nose and eye irritation!
That's really impressive. I had one of the earlier models of this in my office before we moved to working from home, it was good but that looks way better. I currently have one of the cheap desk mounted filter fans but unfortunately that sucks and not it a good way. I think I am going to have to get one of these lovely Weller extractors, it looks very nice
Thanks for the great review on the Weller unit. I am not sure what the long term effect of solder fumes and lead poisoning are. There has been very few days in the last 50 years where I did not have some exposure. It hasn't killed me yet but perhaps it could be used to explain some of my anomalous characteristics. I enjoyed your review. I think I will put some sort of a fume extraction system on my to do list for later this spring.