Fume Extraction Unit for soldering applications - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Fume Extraction Unit for soldering applications

Author: dougw

Creation date:

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.

Detailed Review:

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Introduction

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.

Unboxing Video

The Problem

Soldering and heated flux can result in airborne particulate and chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, isopropyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, and hydrochloric acid.

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These sound bad, and they are definitely not good for people. They can lead to all kinds of symptoms including:

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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.

 

ChemicalThreshold Mg/m3
Chlorophenol0,5
Formaldehyde0,6
Glutaraldehyde0,8**
Benzene1,5
Phenol4
Ethanolamine8
Hydrochloric acid8**
Acetaldehyde45
Styrene90
Toluene200
Isopropanol350
Acetone600

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 Solution

The Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 includes 3 filter systems to ensure harmful solder products are removed from the air:

  1. Fine dust pre-filter M5 that can be separately changed, without having to change main filter
  2. Granular activated carbon filter for effective gas filtering
  3. Exceptionally large HEPA H13 filter surface 2,4m² for longer filter lifetime

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:

 

System Performance

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.

 

Sound Levels

 

More Sound Level Measurements

 

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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.

 

Fume Extraction

The fume extraction performance is outstanding, effectively collecting air from an entire large working envelope.

Conclusions

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.

 

Relevant Links:

The Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 road test page

The Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 web page

Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 Quick Start Guide

Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 User Manual

Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 datasheet

Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1 Safety Info

Buy a Weller Zero Smog EL Kit 1

Anonymous
Parents
  • 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!

     

    Great job!

    Gene

  • Thanks .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.

Comment
  • Thanks .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.

Children
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