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Soldering stations

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tournedos
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tournedos Posted: Wed, Apr 18 2018 6:46 PM

My old Weller at home is falling apart and I need a new soldering station. Most of you probably know what kind of work it’ll need to handle, when I say my B&O collection spans from 1930s to early 2000s. I’m not planning to use it for extensive fine pitch SMD work.

I was looking at the entry level Metcal, PS-900. It seems to employ the same RF technology as other Metcals which should be good. On the other hand, it doesn’t have a continuous temperature adjustment, you are expected to swap tips (the same as my old Weller TCP) and the power in watts isn’t that great, not sure how it would handle the heaviest joints.

Has anybody used that station? Other recommendations in the same price range, < 500 euros?

--mika

trackbeo
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trackbeo replied on Wed, Apr 18 2018 7:29 PM

A Hakko FX-951 is about the same price.  It trades Metcal's neat-o factor (RF frequency AC power supply to maintain temperature at the tip metal's Curie Point), for a variable-temperature station, using a tip with a sensor.  I'm not skilled enough to notice if having the different temps available for desoldering & rework matters.  (It's just soooo much better than my old Radio Shack & Allied Electronics irons that I don't notice such subtleties!)

joeyboygolf
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I have a Metcal and it has been fabulous. Heavy jobs are simply accomplished by changing the tip for a bigger one.

They heat up fast as well. You can be working within 10-15 seconds of switch on.

Regards Graham

kimberley
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kimberley replied on Wed, Apr 18 2018 10:33 PM

Not entirely 'off topic': have members had any problems with soldering iron power/temperature changing from lead solder to lead-free?

I had the impression at first that I had to wait longer for the iron to reach temperature (reasonable, as tin-based solders have a higher flow temperature) but also, my favourite old soldering iron seemed to suffer fast tip wear.

Any experience out there?

laseralex
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laseralex replied on Thu, Apr 19 2018 11:00 AM

tournedos:

Other recommendations in the same price range, < 500 euros?

I tried some Metcal irons in the past few years, and  think their quality has really dropped compared to 25 years ago.  They used to be the best on the market, but they “cut costs” and now are not much different from ChInese garbage.   

For 0603 and larger components I use ERSA irons.  For 0402 and 0201 JBC makes a great setup.

 

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Dante
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Dante replied on Thu, Apr 19 2018 4:12 PM

https://m.banggood.com/MINI-TS100-Digital-OLED-Programable-Interface-DC-5525-Soldering-Iron-Station-Built-in-STM32-Chip-p-984214.html?gmcCountry=BR&currency=BRL&utm_source=googleshopping&utm_medium=cpc_ods&utm_content=heath&utm_campaign=pla-hardware-br

 

I've been using it for a year and it hasn't failed on me yet...

tph
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tph replied on Thu, Apr 19 2018 7:47 PM

Putzgrilous:

I've been using it for a year and it hasn't failed on me yet...

I have the TS100 too and frankly I love it, for its portability and the features. Also heats up really quickly. Bought mine on Amazon.de and I'm running this custom firmware for nicer fonts and on-device settings.

— Tuomas | Bang & Olufsen | Bang & Olufsen Create

tournedos
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tournedos replied on Fri, Apr 20 2018 12:06 PM

Putzgrilous:
https://m.banggood.com/MINI-TS100-Digital-OLED-Programable-Interface-DC-5525-Soldering-Iron-Station-Built-in-STM32-Chip-p-984214.html

Incredible what the Chinese make these days. I might get one of those just for fun, and portable needs...

I'm sad to hear that Metcal might not be what it used to be, I was pretty much set at the PS-900 already. They don't seem to have a propel dealer anywhere over here where I might get a first hand look.

I had never looked properly at Ersa before, they are a strong contender now. Good features on paper and affordable replacement tips. They seem to take a lot of desk space though. Are the Pico and Nano stations up to their bigger brethren? And RDS80 seems to be on sale at Reichelt, where I was about to make an order anyway.

Weller seems to be way overpriced these days.

Thanks for the opinions - I just spotted a new handle for my TCP in a local auction, though Big Smile

--mika

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