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Offline LeonR

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Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« on: March 28, 2018, 09:32:57 am »
Hiya. So, I've decided to buy some tools for tinkering with electronics - nothing too complex (hobby and maybe some basic motherboard repair). I've read on electronics forums (here included) about the knockoffs that work with the Hakko T12 tips. After some browsing for them at chinese sites, I got a bit overwhelmed at so many options. I'm using this shop for reference on models (completed station kits).

* From what I've seen, there are some different brandings form them, most notably Quicko, KSGER and fDXC (?). Is there any difference in quality between them?
* Is there any practical difference between the STM32 and the STC models?
* What are the advantages between STM32 revisions?
* Does the LED versions refresh the shown working temperature (I don't know even if the OLED versions do this)?
* Are the models with external PSU more reliable than the integrated ones?
* How reliable can I expect one of those to be?
* I've seen from another shop that there are different "gradings" (?) for those tips. Assuming they are all generic, would a "premium" (lol) fare better than a cheaper one?
* Are all they "ready to go" or I should worry about anything (wires, caps, etc)?
* And last but not least: Can I get anything better on this budget (50-80 USD shipping included, considering I live in Brazil and everything here is extremely overpriced)?

Sorry for that many questions, it's just I can't really decide on what to buy since I'm pretty green on this. Been a long time since I last played with electronics and I'm raring to go back for it.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 10:00:55 am by LeonR »
 

Offline sn4k3

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2018, 01:21:37 pm »
Hiya. So, I've decided to buy some tools for tinkering with electronics - nothing too complex (hobby and maybe some basic motherboard repair). I've read on electronics forums (here included) about the knockoffs that work with the Hakko T12 tips. After some browsing for them at chinese sites, I got a bit overwhelmed at so many options. I'm using this shop for reference on models (completed station kits).

* From what I've seen, there are some different brandings form them, most notably Quicko, KSGER and fDXC (?). Is there any difference in quality between them?

Quality will always differ, housings, used components, tip brands etc, but in the end all will do samething

* Is there any practical difference between the STM32 and the STC models?
* What are the advantages between STM32 revisions?
Yes, STM32 is 32 bit and more capable processor than STC.

* Does the LED versions refresh the shown working temperature (I don't know even if the OLED versions do this)?
They both are fast refresh and show the current temperature

* Are the models with external PSU more reliable than the integrated ones?
Depends, but if you can have the both options opt for it, always use a proper 24v psu, so i recommend DIY

* How reliable can I expect one of those to be?
Will depend on quality of the board and psu, the whole system is all separate pieces (psu + board + handle + handle pcb + tip), if anything broke is easy and cheap to replace but they sould not break so easy and the station is dead simple.

* I've seen from another shop that there are different "gradings" (?) for those tips. Assuming they are all generic, would a "premium" (lol) fare better than a cheaper one?
You have to see what is included on the package, STM32 is more expensive than STC, and all extras will care, quicko is a good store to buy these things, inc. tips.

* Are all they "ready to go" or I should worry about anything (wires, caps, etc)?
If you are ok to DIY i would recommend, lose wires and connectors are bad and cause problems, direct solder everything and problems gone.

* And last but not least: Can I get anything better on this budget (50-80 USD shipping included, considering I live in Brazil and everything here is extremely overpriced)?
On that budget not really, you can go for a TS100 or spare some more money and upgrade for something better. If this is only for hobby and is your first station is a good bet, cheap and functional.

Sorry for that many questions, it's just I can't really decide on what to buy since I'm pretty green on this. Been a long time since I last played with electronics and I'm raring to go back for it.

You can also read this: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/(tip)-best-budgetcheap-soldering-stations-and-tools/

About importing to your country you can buy part by part and customs will not touch that small value (DIY)
 
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Offline MosherIV

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2018, 05:57:11 pm »
If you are on a budget, try the Bakon 950D.
It also uses Hakko T12 tips.

Any clone T12 tip will be poor quality. Read through some threads on this site about T12 tips. Get genuine Hakko tips if you can get and afford them.
 

Offline LeonR

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2018, 01:05:19 am »
*post*

Thanks for going thru it all! :)

If you are on a budget, try the Bakon 950D.
It also uses Hakko T12 tips.

Any clone T12 tip will be poor quality. Read through some threads on this site about T12 tips. Get genuine Hakko tips if you can get and afford them.

I've seen that one too, but I wondered about its overall quality. Haven't seen discussions about its internals, so that made me a bit wary.

There is a mini station by Goot that also caught my attention, the PX-501AS. Quite simple one but it is japanese made so overall quality might be on another level. It's a bit more expensive, but I'd give the extra 20 bucks for it - quality is pretty high on my list.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 01:11:56 am by LeonR »
 

Online bd139

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2018, 01:51:52 am »
I'm using a couple of Quickco T12 stations from Aliexpress. One DC powered one and one mains powered one. They sell completely assembled units and kits.

Some replies:

1. From what I've seen, there are some different brandings form them, most notably Quicko, KSGER and fDXC (?). Is there any difference in quality between them? - I can only speak for Quickco ones but they have been pretty good so far. Reasonable quality for the money. The mains powered units need a bit of rework to be truly safe if I'm honest. I mostly use a DC powered one that runs off my comms power supply.
* Is there any practical difference between the STM32 and the STC models? - Not really. There are some dodgy ones which latch up and heat the iron tip until it glows red through. The Quickco ones don't do that.
* What are the advantages between STM32 revisions? - Not sure. Not sure I really care :)
* Does the LED versions refresh the shown working temperature (I don't know even if the OLED versions do this)? - I use the OLED ones.
* Are the models with external PSU more reliable than the integrated ones? - If you can get one to use with a laptop power supply it'll be safer than the other ones, but you will lose grounded tip for that.
* How reliable can I expect one of those to be? - I haven't had any reliability problems yet.
* I've seen from another shop that there are different "gradings" (?) for those tips. Assuming they are all generic, would a "premium" (lol) fare better than a cheaper one? - I only use the cheap K tips - they seem pretty good. I haven't got through the first one yet and I've done a ton of soldering yet. No problems with oxidation or reliability at all. I tend not to swap tips around though which is what kills them (and the Hakko ones!)
* Are all they "ready to go" or I should worry about anything (wires, caps, etc)? - The built ones are ready to go. The kits you will need another iron to assemble with.
* And last but not least: Can I get anything better on this budget (50-80 USD shipping included, considering I live in Brazil and everything here is extremely overpriced)? - I doubt it. In comparison, my "other vehicle is a Weller TCP". The T12 honestly runs rings around that and it was a $300 iron.

The main unit I use has been somewhat customised so I can run it off 13.8V comms supplies and car batteries offline. I bought a Quicko 12-24V DC kit and put it in a larger case with a cheap 150W (hahaha not likely) boost converter. That takes 13.8V in, steps up to 24V. Iron heats in 5 seconds!

Buy the version with the blue 9501 handle - the handle is much better!

Some pictures of my Quickco unit (customised):



« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 01:54:48 am by bd139 »
 
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Offline LeonR

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2018, 04:46:11 am »
post

Cool! There's a lot of space left inside of it. I assume you can also use a laptop PSU on it - does the converter works within a range or is it 19.5V only?

@topic: I've decided to go for a TS100 for now, especially for the compact size and (apparently) better quality tips. Sometimes having way too many options (like those T12 clones) only makes it more confusing. Since the TS100 is more or less a standard (open-source and such), the chances of going wrong with one are smaller. I've also grabbed a 24V 5A laptop PSU, which is a bit overkill but I really don't like using power supplies to their limit (as I would on a 3A) and a couple extra tips. For anyone wondering, here's the ones I've bought:

TS100 + 2 tips (MINI brand)
C1 tip
B2 tip
24V 5A 5525 Power Supply

Thanks for everyone's answers!
 
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Online bd139

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2018, 05:06:26 am »
Converter works down to 8V and up to about 23V but it gets a bit hot if you go too low.

Enjoy the TS100. Let us know how you get on with it :)
 

Offline LeonR

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2018, 05:23:10 am »
Converter works down to 8V and up to about 23V but it gets a bit hot if you go too low.

Enjoy the TS100. Let us know how you get on with it :)
Thanks. I'll update the topic when it arrives. There's already some motherboards (from my collection of old computers) that need recapping that I'm going to use as guinea pigs for my rusty soldering skills. At least I won't be able to complain about having to use a improper tool for the job :)
 

Offline sn4k3

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2018, 06:39:33 am »
TS100 is a good choise, you will not regret. And you can improve by redo the cable with a light and flexible silicon cable (1 or 2m). The power adapter cables are not great for this use.
 

Offline ricktendo

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2018, 06:01:04 pm »
1 reason to choose STM32 over STC is custom firmware, I hope more developers get in on the game and create a really powerful custom firmware for these units, here is one of the first to do so: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/stm32-oled-digital-soldering-station-for-t12-handle/

I ordered both a TS100 and a STM32 OLED soldering iron and I cant wait for them to get here!!!
 

Online bd139

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2018, 06:10:43 pm »
I’m going the opposite with the hardware and designing an analogue PWM controller at the moment.
 

Offline TuxKey

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2018, 12:30:58 am »
@ricktendo like you i already have the TS100 and want to grab a second compact affordable unit..
But i'm not sure which one to get ..STC-Oled-T12 or T12-STM32.

i contacted the store selling this unit and they said that one cannot upgrade firmware without a password ??
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32878522554.html?spm=a2g0s.8937460.0.0.3a822e0eWYjk5W


i did find this thing in their store that suggests the ability to update firmware ??
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Emulator-Downloader-Programmer-ST-Link-V2-STM8-STM32-OLED-DIY-Kits-T12-Electronic-Welding-Iron-Tips/32820881304.html?spm=a2g0s.8937460.0.0.10412e0e4jzUgv


To conclude i was all ready to grab this one..
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32857152188.html?spm=a2g0s.8937460.0.0.35892e0eNNa7Oy

until i read this article now i'm not sure anymore.. and thinking this could be the better choice... please advice..
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32878522554.html?spm=a2g0s.8937460.0.0.35892e0eNNa7Oy

Also a Russian guy on youtube told me that V3.0 is very buggy.. hmm???
one thing i did notice is that the KSGER the STM32 one has a 5pin connector
 

Offline LeonR

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2018, 10:45:25 pm »
As an update, I've received my TS-100. I grabbed a 24V 5A power brick from Delippo, also from Aliexpress. It is the quintenssential soldering station on a budget without sacrificing quality - I can get some pretty fat planes melting in little time with it. Just waiting for my C4 and K tips to do bigger stuff (I own a D24, I, ILS and C1 ATM).
 

Offline TuxKey

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2018, 11:17:14 pm »
As an update, I've received my TS-100. I grabbed a 24V 5A power brick from Delippo, also from Aliexpress. It is the quintenssential soldering station on a budget without sacrificing quality - I can get some pretty fat planes melting in little time with it. Just waiting for my C4 and K tips to do bigger stuff (I own a D24, I, ILS and C1 ATM).

a few weeks ago i also received my TS100 and for the most part i really like it.. It's not perfect but then again nothing is. it all depends on your use case.
My whole thought behind getting this iron is learning / fiddling and doing something else besides working/studying (even at 42yr)...
i did get 3m of flexible two core wire to make an extension cable, will be making it 75cm to 1m max..

but i wanted to compare the TS100 with a compact station that accepted a wider range of tips and did not have a power supply. i don't like the idea of a cheap power supply next to me on my desk..
so i got this station but i opted  for the more expensive aluminum handle.
Here is the cheaper listing.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32850601075.html?spm=a2g0s.8937460.0.0.25b22e0ePZTcjj
This would be a station that Dave could review.. he's always saying i won't review the TS100 because it's not a station for a bench..
well i don't have a bench just a desk where i do everything work/study/solder and so i remove / clean up every time i'm done..
This will have to do until i get a bigger place.. 
 

Offline LeonR

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2018, 02:54:20 am »
I'm eying a Goot RX-8XX series myself. They use the cartridge tips and there is a lot of tips models.
 

Online TopLoser

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2018, 03:13:37 am »
I bought one of these to throw in my toolbox when I went on site.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/110v-220V-digital-Soldering-Iron-Station-Temperature-Controller-T12-Handle/32345223517.html

The damn thing only worked twice before it died and I chucked it in the 'dead crap' pile. Back to the Weller station now, might be heavier to carry about but it works, and works, and works...
 

Online bd139

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2018, 03:24:37 am »
Yeah my primary iron is a Weller TCP. Will probably outlive me.
 

Offline TuxKey

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2018, 09:33:01 pm »
i was talking to VoltLog about the vid he posted on youtube titled "Voltlog #85 - STM32 OLED T12 Soldering Station".
Where he mentioned that a hall effect switch would be preferable over the currently used vibration sensors in these irons..

In his vid he said he would look in to it..


my question:
Have you looked in to using a hall effect switch? instead of the currently used vibration sensor. after watching this vid it seems that there is a part on the board that works with the switch?? https://youtu.be/W5HECI1L3dg?t=53s
End of question..

His Answer:
Some investigating should be done to see if the board expects a continuous low/high signal on that switch input or if it expects just a state change to trigger the timer. It was my intention initially to replace the switch but unfortunately I abandoned the idea due to lack of time.
End of answer..

my answer:
that's well beyond my current ability and knowledge not to mention the hardware needed perhaps oscilloscope and such. perhaps someone on eevblog has the hardware / skills to do what you suggest.. of course one could simply mod the iron and see if it works what's the worst
end answer.

if anyone has the skills / knowhow and the hardware and would be willing to try it out.. the result could be awesome..  :-/O :-/O
 

Offline TuxKey

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2018, 05:48:13 pm »
@bd139 (Or any one else) wanted to ask you if you had any luck / experience adjusting the temperature of one of these STM32 stations?
i can't seem to get the temperature adjustment to work..

here are a few pics.
https://imgur.com/a/eLiyrx3
 

Online bd139

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2018, 05:54:11 pm »
I’ve got a slightly different one and it appears not to work either. I’m looking at buying another iron if I’m honest.
 

Offline TuxKey

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2018, 06:15:42 pm »
 :palm: hahhha omg i just got my iron in yesterday it's a replacement for my TS100 hahaha...because i found the tips on the TS100 to big..
And now this.. pfff...


ahh well i contacted the seller and they told me that there's no eng manual for the V3.0 version but for version 2.-something there is a manual and it should be the same.. if and when i get it .. i will test it and let you know perhaps you can use it to..


strangely enough even a reset to factory settings doesn't work..it resets everything but not the initial temp accuracy..it's all my fault being ocd i thought why not adjust it a few degrees to have it run perfect.. 5c or something.. and now it seems to be 100c off ..pff what a pain..
i spend way to much money to abandon everything.. also just bought and received a new grounded 24v supply GSM90A24-P1M... so i'm all in..
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2018, 06:50:14 pm »
You should probably just have bought a TS-I tip for the TS100, it's as fine as you're likely to need.
Chris

"Victor Meldrew, the Crimson Avenger!"
 

Offline LeonR

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2018, 10:35:41 pm »
The only problem with the TS-I tip is that it should be a bit bigger (5-8mm) since it's a bit small for reaching out cramped SMD components without touching parts that are not being worked on.
 

Offline TuxKey

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2018, 11:37:33 pm »
You should probably just have bought a TS-I tip for the TS100, it's as fine as you're likely to need.

your probably right..would have saved me $74
 

Offline TuxKey

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Re: Cheap soldering stations with T12 tips - are they worth it?
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2018, 12:12:13 am »
Hi guys so i just finished doing a temperature comparison with the tools i have between the TS100 and the KSGER STM32 mini..
So what did i use to compare temps?

i bought a daniu fg-100. As you can see in this youtube comparison between the real Hakko FG-100 there is no real difference..
Of course there is no certainty in life.. Also i just received to pics from the seller that are suposed to represent the manual for version 2.01. i will post them on my imgur and link it  here for refrence..

So the temperature comparison was surprising to say the least. when the seller (official KSGER store) told me they use high end equipment  to test the temp i began questioning  my assumptions...

i put the TS100 on 300c and tinned my D24 chisel tip and measured two times. the meter said 271c that's a difference of 29c
i did the same with the KSGER STM32 mini put it on 300c tinned the T12 tip  and measured two times that showed me 274c so that's a 26c difference..

So conclusion?? assuming two irons with two different tips both have an offset of around 27c is highly unlikely..
While typing this i thought to myself "what about the censors?" so i replaced it with a brand new one..
And wouldn't you know it :-[ :-[ both irons now measure 300c on the dot.. give or take 1 or 2c....

 
 


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