Author Topic: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison  (Read 76385 times)

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Offline BravoV

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Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« on: May 15, 2013, 03:30:11 PM »
Sharing the comparison on genuine Hakko ceramic heater vs fake one when I built my second soldering iron Hakko model 907 for the 936 station. In my case, ideally should be two stations or single stations with two irons, but too bad its not an option now. So I thought why not just have two irons, switching them is not a big deal rather than have to wait the iron to cool down just to switch the soldering tip.

Went to local electronic flea market and bought a knock off Hakko 907 iron for just 2 dollars  >:D, they're really dirt cheap. Also at the same time ordered from local Hakko authorised distributor the genuine ceramic heater element A1321 for about 17 dollars, almost 9 times the price compared to the whole fake 907 iron which is a complete unit with a tip.  :o

At the end with $2 dodgy iron + $17 genuine heater element = $19, excluding genuine tip of course, it performs like a new genuine 907 iron, and so far I'm happy with this investment.  :-+

A quick glance of the 2 bucks fake 907 iron, just from the look, not bad isn't it.




Thumbs images at the bottom + comment/description  :


01. Genuine Hakko 907 Iron vs Fake Tear Down.jpg

The darken tip enclosure and metal nipple show the genuine 907 iron at the bottom has been used for quite a while, while the new fake one at the top are still shiny. All black plastic material parts are actually quite similar by touch. The fake one is using stiff & cheap pvc cable for the connection to the station and shorter :--, while the genuine iron uses a high quality silicon wire, but I can live with that. The photo was shot at sharp angle, hence the above fake parts look tad smaller than bottom ones, all items are interchangeable between them as both part's dimensions are identical. Definitely the fake one can used as a cheap source for parts replacement just in case the non critical parts are deteriorating like the rusted&darken solder tip enclosure or the nut.


02. Ceramic Heater Elements Comparison.jpg

Closer look at both ceramic heater elements, the top fake heater doesn't have any label while the bottom genuine one with the printed "Hakko 003" with some dark burn marks as this poor little ceramic heater has been working hard for more than 10 years. Took a resistance measurement at the heating element and the heat sensor and they're still within Hakko specification.  :-+


03. Hakko A1321 Genuine Used vs Fake Tip Close Up.jpg

Two close up shots at both tips with different lighting angles to show the difference. The genuine at the right has darken tip, not sure why is that. The fake one at the left has a really rough surface. And at the 2nd shot, you can see its so obvious that the fake's tip diameter is a bit larger than the body.
Using a genuine Hakko solder tip, I simply could not insert the fake heater because of that bulging & bigger diameter at the ceramic tip :--, while no problem with fake solder tip cause it has larger diameter, same applies to other fake tips I got recently (posted here -> Genuine vs fake Hakko solder tip comparison). Still the fake tips rattle and loose at the fake heater, while using fake tips on genuine heater, they rattle even more and very loose.  ???
With poor thermal contact, this shows there is no way that a fake Hakko 926 (907) iron which has this fake heater and also fake tip inside can perform as level as genuine one, let alone the ceramic heater & sensor performance which I believe genuine one is much better.


04. Hakko A1321 Genuine NEW vs Fake.jpg

The comparison between the fake vs new & genuine A1321 Hakko ceramic heater, just look at the ceramic's surface, no contest here. The genuine has a very smooth surface, while the fake's surface is really rough, again, its clear that there is no way the fake heater can have a good surface contact inside the solder tip's surface even using the genuine one.


05. Hakko A1321 Ceramic Heater Tip Close Up.jpg

Close up shots on the genuine A1321 ceramic heater tip, it has a really smooth surface and also the unique outer layer that wrapped around the center ceramic rod. That outer ceramic layer has the embedded heating element and the sensor. Also from this angles, its obvious the diameter is consistent throughout the rod, not like the fake one which is bulging at the tip.


06. Hakko A1321 Ceramic Heater Internal.jpg

Finally, the translucent ceramic heater shots at bright background light show the inside unique traces of the embedded heater element and sensor that are wrapped around the center rod. No, fake one doesn't have this and gathered from the net, the fake just used cheap heating wire spun inside it.


Thats all, hope you find this useful.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 02:56:50 PM by BravoV »
 

Offline amyk

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2013, 08:51:22 PM »
The metal and plastic parts are not difficult to clone, so they've pretty much perfected that.

I'd expect them to get better at heaters too; the first clones used bare nichrome on a ceramic rod, now they've moved onto sealed ceramic heaters.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2013, 11:54:36 PM »
Thanks for all this good work!  The real trick is does it function like a real Hakko heater?  While fully assembled check:

Compare the turn on time, to set temperature, how long?  A good copy should be the same as the original.  The longer it takes, the less efficient it is.  The best test is next.
Check temp loading curve: heat a fixed size copper plate, against both the Hakko vs clone.  Attach a thermocouple to the plate once its in a stable state.  See the waveform, are the curves similar?  The slower the rise time, the weaker the heater.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Online amspire

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 01:05:04 AM »
I have a 936 clone iron and the original element was total rubbish, so I bought a bag of 10 "Hakko" elements cheaply from HK. I cannot remember the price - it was about 2 years ago, but it must have been a few dollars an element - definitely not over $3 each.

All are labelled as Hakko in packaging labelled "Hakko" and "Made In Japan". They are also absolutely identical to your Geniune Hakko elements in your photos in every respect.

The iron heated from 9 degC to 350 degC (calibrated) in 23 seconds.

Maybe I got the real thing?

I have some cheap tips and they are probably fakes, but they work pretty well. I probably do not have a real tip to compare it to so I probably should get a genuine tip to compare. The tips were only a few dollars each.

I have been happy with my clone 936 in general. The transformer seems to have the full Hakko power and stays cool. I think the board layout is closer to the Hakko design then many photos I have seen of newer clones.
 

Offline BravoV

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 02:46:10 PM »
@saturation,

No need to compare the fake vs genuine heater performance, its so obvious and no brainer imo.

Loose contact between the heater and the tip = poor heat transfer = poor heat control loop to the sensor = poor thermal regulation.   ???


@Richard,

What a bargain you got there, I guess they should be genuine.

Also I'd like to add about the genuine heater finish, actually those photo don't do justice, the ceramic surface is very-very smooth, and physically the whole ceramic rod was precisely made/molded.

You should try genuine tip, no need a precision measurement, I believe you will definitely feel the huge difference, especially when the tip is thermally loaded.

Check my other thread pointed at 1st post regarding fake tips, I have a strong believe that it's inner diameter were deliberately made larger to accommodate the fake heater, otherwise they just don't fit in.  :palm:

Offline amyk

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 05:12:50 PM »
"It is obvious" might be the thought, but sometimes things are not as obvious as they would seem and it's good to quantify the difference.

Or what about effects of some high temperature thermal compound in the gap...? Even better than genuine tip+heater with only metal-to-ceramic contact?
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2013, 02:14:20 AM »
Yes, but its only a highly plausible hypothesis until you prove it experimentally.  There are many stories here of folks who claim the clones do just as well, so you never know, do it if you feel like it.  I would if I had a clone tip to play with, but I buy all my stuff from Hakko USA directly so they are all original, so I hope :phew:.

@saturation,

No need to compare the fake vs genuine heater performance, its so obvious and no brainer imo.

Loose contact between the heater and the tip = poor heat transfer = poor heat control loop to the sensor = poor thermal regulation.   ???
..
Check my other thread pointed at 1st post regarding fake tips, I have a strong believe that it's inner diameter were deliberately made larger to accommodate the fake heater, otherwise they just don't fit in.  :palm:
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline BravoV

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 11:40:54 AM »
Same here, bought my 936 and those tips straight from Hakko authorised distributor, never tried any of those fakes until recently with those fake tips and this fake iron.

No, I won't be bothered to proof or to try it out, especially after looking at the fake heater. Not only the bulging tip as the photo shows which can be easily filed off to smooth it out, I didn't mention that it has also a very rough and uneven weavy surface throughout the rod.

"Its obvious"  ^-^ with that kind of surface, even with the best thermal goop, I don't think the combination will yield out the best thermal conduction compared to the smooth genuine heater with a tight fit genuine tip, thats my believe.

Also the messy and dripping goop situation whenever changing the tip is not what I'd like to face when using the solder station.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 11:46:01 AM by BravoV »
 

Offline CalcProgrammer1

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2013, 10:04:24 AM »
Hmm, seeing this reminds me...I got a SparkFun 936 clone iron a few years back during their free day event, but upon receiving it the iron wouldn't heat.  I took it apart and the heating element was open circuit, so they sent me a replacement for free.  It has the same off brand heater as in your pic, but I've been using it for ~2 years now and it's still going fine.  I did, however, buy a genuine Hakko heating element to put in the broken unit but comparing the measurements the Hakko element was much lower resistance than the knockoff heater and so I ended up shelving the broken one as I didn't want to put a heater that wouldn't work and burn it up.

Did you get the same result?  I don't remember the measurements (did this a year ago or so) but the resistance of the working knockoff heater and the new genuine heater were quite different, with the genuine one being lower resistance.  The SparkFun iron was made by Atten according to the PCB silkscreen inside and is otherwise identical looking to the Hakko 936 station as far as I can tell (haven't seen the inside of a real Hakko station, only iron).  If the lower resistance just means it will reach temperature faster and still work fine I'd love to have a second working station!

EDIT:

Measured the working knock-off element heater at 11 ohms, sensor at basically zero ohms.  The genuine heater was 3.x ohms and the sensor on it was 45-ish ohms.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 11:53:10 AM by CalcProgrammer1 »
 

Online sleemanj

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2013, 12:23:37 PM »
  If the lower resistance just means it will reach temperature faster and still work fine I'd love to have a second working station!

Did you compare the thermocouple resistances?

There are two varieties of "936".  The ones that use the A1321 elements.  And the ones that use A1322 elements. The elements look identical but you can easily identify them by checking the resistance of the thermocouple.

I have a "genuine" Hakko (1321), and a clone (1322) sitting here in front of me, quick awkward measurements in which a third hand would have been handy...

(Hakko) A1321 thermocouple resistance: ~60 Ohms
(Clone)  A1322 thermocouple resistance: ~4 Ohms

(Hakko) A1321 heater resistance: ~8 Ohms
(Clone) A1322 heater resistance: ~18 Ohms

Naturally, due to the different thermocouples, the elements are not interchangeable unless your station is setup to handle that. 

FWIW, the clone I have in general is a pretty damn good approximation to the "real deal" (which while there is nothing to suggest it's not apart from the price, may or may not actually be the real deal), the only real difference is in the cable.  The clone uses a PVC (marked AWM 2464 VW-1).  The "real deal" uses an unmarked silicone.  The PVC cable is only slightly less flexible than the silicone one, either are perfectly fine for my purposes.  Of course the heat resistance will be different, but we really should try to avoid burning our cables anyway ;-)

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Offline BravoV

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2013, 02:18:47 PM »
If I'm not mistaken, the fake heater or most 936 clone are using thermocouple as the sensor, hence the low resistance.

While genuine Hakko uses PTC as sensor, both sensor's circuitries that are sensing the temperature are definitely different, mix used is not recommended since the wrong sensing result will end up bad thermal regulation or even toasting either the element or the driving circuit.  |O

Also as Hakko's specification in the manual, the resistance of heater element (red wires) must be within 2.5 - 3.5 Ohm, while the sensor (blue wires) must within 43 - 58 Ohm. If the resistance is out of these range, the manual recommends to replace the heater.

Measurement results of my above two genuine Hakko A1321 heaters and the fake one at the pcb or directly at the wires, not at the solder handle's socket plug pins :

Hakko A1321 heaters
New : Heater = 3.1 Ohm , Sensor = 49.8 Ohm
Used : Heater = 3.0 Ohm , Sensor = 48.1 Ohm  , still in pretty good condition even after > 10 years :-+

Fake heater as above photo
Heater = 13.2 Ohm , Sensor = 1.2 Ohm
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 02:54:24 PM by BravoV »
 

Online sleemanj

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2013, 03:19:48 PM »
Fake heater as above photo
Heater = 13.2 Ohm , Sensor = 1.2 Ohm

Not really fake (as long as it's sold as an A1322), it's just different.  As I say, some of the "clone" stations/controllers use A1322, while others, and Hakko, use A1321.

There's also A1323 which is a stainless steel element, I'm not sure if it's the same electrical characteristics as the 1322, or something different again.
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Offline BravoV

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2013, 04:52:51 PM »
Not really fake (as long as it's sold as an A1322), it's just different.  As I say, some of the "clone" stations/controllers use A1322, while others, and Hakko, use A1321.

There's also A1323 which is a stainless steel element, I'm not sure if it's the same electrical characteristics as the 1322, or something different again.

Both A1321 and A1322 have the same electrical characteristics as Hakko 936 manual stated.

The 907 handle like above photo which is the most popular and most cloned at the knock-off 936 stations uses A1321, while A1322 heater is used only at the rare 900S handle which has bigger & longer tips than 907/908.

Attached picture below some parts of the Hakko 936 manual joined together, highlighted at few areas and this pic should be self explanatory.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 05:01:53 PM by BravoV »
 

Online sleemanj

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2013, 07:04:54 PM »
Both A1321 and A1322 have the same electrical characteristics as Hakko 936 manual stated.

Interesting.

The Chinese sellers of the (not Hakko branded, but some are sailing close to the wind with "Hokon" etc) 1321 and 1322 elements often point out that these are not interchangeable and some go so far as to indicate the resistance tests to determine which one you need (by resistance of the sensor).

I have a Chinese "diy" controller (DC power, 1602 LCD, blah blah) sold as handling "936" which is unable to drive the (Hakko, ostensibly) 907 handle I have correctly with the high resistance sensor (ptc), but has no problem with the (not Hakko) A1322 low resistance sensor (thermocouple).

Anyway, whatever the situation, if you feed your station the wrong type of element (and it doesn't know), you're probably going to have a bad day.  Resistance of the sensor is a quick way to check, which you have, or which you need.

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Offline millerb

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2013, 07:22:58 PM »
I just upgraded from a Radio Shack soldering station to an X-Tronic 4040. When I first got it, I opened up the soldering iron and thought, "Wow, this looks like fragile, cheap crap". Apparently it looks just like the inside of a Hakko iron. I've had it for a month and it's been great. I never knew how bad I was suffering with the Radio Shack station.
 

Offline CalcProgrammer1

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2013, 06:29:04 AM »
Crap, the sensor on my clone is low resistance and the replacement heater is 45 Ohms.  Is there anywhere you can buy the clone heaters or modify the station to accomodate the genuine heater?  Going home for the holiday week but the circuit inside last I looked was pretty basic, might be possible to swap some resistors and re-cal it for the new heater?  No clue what the official circuit looks like so maybe it's not so simple.
 

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2013, 10:50:16 AM »
Crap, the sensor on my clone is low resistance and the replacement heater is 45 Ohms.  Is there anywhere you can buy the clone heaters

This one is almost certainly the low resistance sensor type:
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/10x-HEATING-ELEMENT-A1322-Ceramic-for-900M-900L-908-907-913-914-/190624272423?pt=AU_B_I_Electrical_Test_Equipment&hash=item2c62179027&_uhb=1

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Offline amyk

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2013, 08:56:04 PM »
Crap, the sensor on my clone is low resistance and the replacement heater is 45 Ohms.  Is there anywhere you can buy the clone heaters or modify the station to accomodate the genuine heater?  Going home for the holiday week but the circuit inside last I looked was pretty basic, might be possible to swap some resistors and re-cal it for the new heater?  No clue what the official circuit looks like so maybe it's not so simple.
Genuine 936 schematic: http://www.n0ss.net/hakko_936_schem-pcb_&_mod_v1r7.pdf
(One) clone: http://www.scipia.com/common_img/solderingstation/lm358_simple.png
 

Offline BravoV

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2013, 07:59:49 AM »
Genuine 936 schematic: http://www.n0ss.net/hakko_936_schem-pcb_&_mod_v1r7.pdf
(One) clone: http://www.scipia.com/common_img/solderingstation/lm358_simple.png
I wonder if at the genuine Hakko 936 circuit, components like the triac driver chip NEC µPC1701C is still available or can be easily sourced ?

Offline nukie

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2013, 11:29:55 AM »
http://mark5.co.uk/product-info.php?UPC1701C-pid49238.html#.UaFlEJ5S77Q

Not sure if its in stock though, eBay there's a few. I search for alternative parts a few years ago there were a couple I think.
 

Offline nukie

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2013, 02:13:35 PM »
I just want to add my findings to the "Grade Fail" heater. They are not fake they are just cheap clones that are NOT to be used with Hakko 936 stations. Electrically incompatible with the Hakko. They are actually Nichrome coil winding heaters and covered with a ceramic sleeve. These heaters are prone to breakage especially at the tip. And they don't like to be over driven, any more than 24vac it will be broken. I have seen numerous types where the coil length is different. So they perform drastic different. If you have this type of heaters, avoid at all cost. They are at the bottom food chain, it will actually cost you more in the long term, despite their cost. You can buy a clone Hakko control board and 'upgrade' your station along with those clone heating elements.





There is another type of stainless metal sleeve heating element. It is made in Taiwan, it is compatible with those Nichrome winding ceramic heaters. These stainless heaters are very robust and will last 2-4 few years at 24x7.

Next, there are also 220Vac heaters... make sure you avoid these because your control board probably don't like them. These two are not my pictures





I have collected numerous types of heating elements over the years. There are plenty of "GRADE A" Hakko ceramic compatible clones. All of them perform very well. In case you are wondering, I use 4 at one time to heat up my DIY 200W heatplate. Works like a charm. I would recommend them if you can't find the genuine heater.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 02:55:29 PM by nukie »
 

Offline BravoV

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2013, 03:05:55 PM »
Hey nukie, thanks for the addition of informations of these clone heaters, really appreciate it.  :-+

That fake 936 station looks scary, it doesn't even have a transformer in it.  :palm:

Looks like you've experienced quite a lot with these clone heaters, aren't you ?

About the grade A clone, have you ever tested the heater and sensor element profiles when heated, do they have similarity with the genuine one ?

If I had the time, I might crack up my fake heater to see how it looks like inside.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 05:51:07 PM by BravoV »
 

Offline amyk

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2013, 10:08:35 PM »
That fake 936 station looks scary, it doesn't even have a transformer in it.  :palm:
Most if not all of the hot air stations use a mains powered heater already, and cheap unregulated irons all do, so I guess it isn't that odd. They can probably get a lot more power and cheaper, since there's no transformer. I can't read the label on the socket but it might be a warning that this is a mains-powered iron, not a bad idea. It looks like the iron is still grounded so there shouldn't be a shock hazard, although one problem they might have is with buyers being a little reluctant with "Why is it so light inside...?"
 

Offline nukie

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2013, 04:42:29 PM »
Lets play detective :D

I got bored today, so I took the digital caliper and started measuring the heating elements I had.




Next I took Macro photos of the printing on the heating elements, the first two pictures are genuine, the rest are clones. It's very easy to tell, the Hakko printing is very thick and pretty.




Clones...














« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 04:50:58 PM by nukie »
 

Offline nukie

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Re: Hakko 936 ceramic heater A1321 vs fake comparison
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2013, 04:56:31 PM »
Next, I tried measuring the sensor resistance vs temperature, it was very tricky I didn't want to connect the sensor to the control board because it might introduce error, and that means I have to control the temperature manually. Well, I hooked up a push button in series with the 24vac transformer and that did it. I was hard trying to 'stabilise' the temperature but I soon get the hang of it. The thermocouple sensor was sandwiched with the heating element by a piece of copper. The sensor resistance reading is taken by 4 wire 34401 to reduce lead resistance error and temperature readout via Fluke 187 and a thick K thermocouple which acts as a thermal buffer so it sinks those heat spikes.





 :rant:I made a mistake when entering the data, Clone 4 first value is 62 Ohms for 100C. :blah:

Unfortunately I was only able to do 5 sets, it was a tedious and slow process. But I think it should be enough as soon as I saw the graph. The clones behave similar to the Hakko. I might rig up a automatic microcontroller based test jig that measures heatup times between temperatures. When I get some more free time.  >:D
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 05:02:55 PM by nukie »
 


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