- Sucks up solder with ease
- Nozzle can withstand high temperatures
- Small enough to use with one hand
- Easy to clean
- Has a tendency to clog if solder gets left inside
- Plunger takes quite a bit of force to compress
When it comes to desoldering, a good quality desoldering pump (also known as a solder sucker) can be worth its weight in gold. Being able to quickly and efficiently remove solder from solder joints and pads saves you time and frustration.
The Engineer SS-02 is a solder sucker designed to make your desoldering experience more pleasant. Unlike other desoldering pumps, it comes with a flexible silicone nozzle. This nozzle forms around the tip of your soldering iron, which creates better suction and makes removing solder easier. Aside from the improved nozzle, it also comes with several other features that distinguish it from its competitors.
Let’s take a closer look at the Engineer SS-02 and see what it brings to the table.
Engineer SS-02 Specs
|Weight||50 grams (1.76 ounces)|
|Dimensions||15 x 2 x 2 centimeters
6 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches
|Materials||Aluminium, Piano wire, Nitrile rubber, Silicone|
The first thing you notice when unpacking the SS-02 is its solid feel. The unit itself is fairly small but has some weight to it. This makes it quite pleasant to hold and work with and gives the impression that it won’t easily break.
All metal components look to be precision machined and fit well together. This is particularly important for a desoldering pump. To create a strong vacuum, the air should only be sucked through the nozzle, and not through gaps in the body.
The plunger travels smoothly and silently through the shaft when pressing it down and releasing it. This is a big difference with cheaper desoldering pumps, which often give a clunky and scratchy feel.
All in all, the build quality is excellent. But to be fair, this is to be expected when buying a Japanese-made tool at a premium price.
The standout feature of the Engineer SS-02 is its silicone nozzle. As mentioned earlier, its flexible shape allows it to create a good seal to increase suction. This is a big difference from cheaper solder suckers, which use rigid teflon nozzles that leave a gap.
Another benefit of the silicone nozzle is that you don’t have to worry about it melting. Its high melting temperature of 350°C (~660°F) allows you to keep it in direct contact with the tip of your soldering iron. This assumes, of course, that the soldering iron is set to a temperature of under 350°C, which it usually is.
If you do happen to melt or damage the nozzle, it is easily replaceable. Simply remove the old nozzle from the body, and cut a new piece from the included 5 cm (2.2 in) section of spare tube. Stick the new piece of tube onto the end of the desoldering pump, and you are done.
If the included piece of spare tube runs out, you can replace it with the Engineer SS-16 silicone tube kit. The included silicone tube should last for a while, as long as you don’t make a habit of overheating and melting it.
Because the SS-02 removes solder efficiently, you can desolder components in a short amount of time. This means there is less risk of overheating and damaging components or solder pads.
Ease of use
Another feature of the Engineer SS-02 is its small form factor. This makes it ideal for use with one hand. You can keep using your other hand to hold the soldering iron, instead of putting the soldering iron down to prime the plunger.
While using the solder sucker, I noticed that the powerful spring in the plunger mechanism works quite well in creating strong suction. The strong spring does also make it harder to press the plunger down compared to weaker solder suckers. This is not a problem for me personally, but I imagine that it could be an issue for people with weak hands or thumbs.
One of the most commonly cited downsides of the SS-02 is that it tends to clog from time to time. This does indeed happen, but only you do not regularly empty the barrel after sucking up solder. This is easily done by pressing down on the plunger and letting the old solder fall out through the nozzle. As long as you do that, you should not experience many problems with clogging.
If the solder sucker does clog, it is easy to clean. Unscrewing the front gives you access to the inside of the unit. After that, it is just a matter of following the cleaning instructions from the manual.
Ultimately, the Engineer SS-02 solder sucker is an excellent solder sucker that saves a lot of time and frustration. While it is not perfect, it is still an excellent choice for anyone who wants to make their (de)solder work easier. It is more expensive than other desoldering pumps, but a good investment for anyone that values their time.