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I've got a Hakko FX-888D soldering iron which takes T18 series tips. However, there are some very interesting SMD-type tips in the T15 series and T12 series.

Since Hakko don't seem to publish detailed specification sheets to show the inner diameter and depth of the soldering tips, in which the fixing pipe and heating element are inserted into, I can't figure out if there's anything stopping me from using those other tips on my FX-888D.

Does anyone know if the tips are cross-compatible? Or even compatible enough that I could jury-rig them onto my heating element by replacing the fixing pipe and/or tip enclosure?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Officially compatible? Nope, otherwise Hakko would publish all the same models on their "Applicable Model" lists for the T18 T15 and T12 tips. However, T15 and T12 tips seem to be compatible, as Hakko lists the exact same applicable models for all models of those tips. Also, user "alexh" on the EEVBlog forum said that T12 and T15 tips won't fit the FX-888(D): eevblog.com/forum/blog/186-smd-soldering-tips-used Unfortunately I can't find any kind of "adapter" or video showing how to "jury-rig" the tips to fit the FX-888D, but I sure hope someone here knows if it is possible \$\endgroup\$ – Chi Jan 4 '17 at 1:48
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No, Hakko tips that are different series are, well, different. Now, officially, Hakko states that a given iron can ONLY use the series of tips designed for it. In your case, that's the T18 series. Unofficially, the older 900M tips are known to work with any iron that uses T18 tips. Though they won't last quite as long, as I believe the 900M tips are rated for 60W, while the T18 tips are rated for 65W.

Also, unofficially, the T12 and T15 tips are compatible, and I am not quite sure what the deal is with those. T15 tips seem to just be T12 tips but for the North American market. Other markets have T12 tips. The output voltage is the same, and there is a large amount of anecdotal evidence that seems to suggest there is no meaningful difference between them and you can use either T15 or T12 tips with the correct iron. Note that the correct iron is NOT an FX-888/D.

Just to drive this point home, this is nothing to do with some inner or outer diameter. The tips are not even remotely functionally similar.

These are T12/T15 tips:

enter image description here

They contain their own ceramic heating element, and slide into a female receptacle in the soldering iron handle. They're designed to be used with a completely different style of iron than the FX-888D. They are about as compatible as oil with water. Unfortunately, if you want to use some of those more interesting SMD tips, you'll need to buy one of the irons that uses them (or a cheaper knock off, which can use those tips as well).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not that you need the validation, but I now have both an FX-888D (T18 tips) and an FX-951 (T15/T12 tips) and you're right - the tips are definitely not compatible. \$\endgroup\$ – Polynomial Oct 8 '17 at 16:37

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