Author Topic: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings  (Read 1064 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline poorchava

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1508
  • Country: pl
  • Troll Cave Electronics!
Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« on: September 14, 2017, 03:43:39 PM »
I am planning to buy a serious soldering station and i'm kind unsure between stuff from Thermaltronics and a JBC. What bothers me is the power ratings.

JBC can reach 130W with a T245 handpiece. Taiwanese stuff like Xytronic if often rated at 80 or 100W.

Now stuff form Metcal/Thermaltronics seems to not go above 50W or so (actually for Thermaltronics, the S2000 series, which is a 470kHz system is 50W, while a higher end, S9000 (13.56MHz system) is 40W.

Does the RF heating technology actually make that much of a difference to cover for the difference in power? I'm often working on large stuff and sometimes in larger quantities (eg. 500 joints to make) so power actually matters. Does anyone here have a direct comparison?

In TME prices are not very different between Thermaltronics 9000 series system and a JBC CD-2BE. A 2000 series system is about half the price.

JBC - 1855PLN + VAT
2000 - 830PLN + VAT
9000 - 1606PLN + VAT

1PLN  = ~0.23€. Those are regular prices. TME has sales up to -20% on most tools till the end of september.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 04:09:08 PM by poorchava »
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 7658
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics PhD Candidate
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 04:00:53 PM »
60W Metcal often outperforms 80W or even 100W resistive heating irons. Still, not match for 130W JBC with legendary well optimized control loop.
Also, a Metcal doesn't allow you change temperature without changing the cartridge.

I use Metcal all the time, and for my uses (no big, large joints), it works well. For large terminals, I have a 220W no name one.
I'm looking forward to save up for a JBC 250W, but that will have to wait.

Also, hot plate helps things quite a lot. Whenever possible, especially for large area surface mount things, use a hot plate.
SIGSEGV is inevitable if you try to talk more than you know. If I say gibberish, keep in mind that my license plate is SIGSEGV.
 

Offline poorchava

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1508
  • Country: pl
  • Troll Cave Electronics!
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 04:33:07 PM »
I do have a hotplate and an oven for preheating. Currently I'm driving a Jovy iSolder-40 (woulda been fine if it had costed 1/3rd of what it actually had - generally crap) and an old, trusty 80W Xytronic LF-1600.

Unfortunately a preheater is not an option for low volume assembly jobs, which I lately have a lot of.
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline Assafl

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 574
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2017, 04:46:37 PM »
I've used a JBC very little (but did in fact try one) - but at home have a very old MX500 Metcal and love it.

Don't know about the watt ratings - since I can solder RF cages, ground planes, big lug capacitors, low gauge wire, even copper pennies without sticking - stuff a 40-50W iron should stick to rather than melt -  but I have two thoughts about induction vs. direct:

1. Inherently faster loop: Curie effect is a physical phenomena of the material used in the tip. Hence the tip will always be at the Curie temp. Perhaps pumping 50W RMS into a physical load that "disappears" at the correct temp is substantially better than fast looping a similarly rated heater?

2. Heat transfer. One of the nice aspects of induction is that the tip is the heater. Almost as good as a soldering gun. There is no insulation, or a low conductivity (electricity & heat) material such as ceramics or Nichrome.

I used to use a Weller W60P that used a curie slug to control temp. It was excellent and I loved it. But it had a magnet that would turn the heater element on and off. The Power was there - but nowhere as instantaneous as a Metcal. The W60P had big insulators (it used a 220v heater) and was bulky and had heavy, bulky tips.

JBC made the tips smaller and increased the wattage so seemed to compensate for the magnetic control of the Wellers. But the telltale signs of insulating materials engineering are there: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/normal-for-jbc-di-3000-to-overshoot-coming-out-of-sleep/
While you can make it smaller and smaller the latent heat of the Mica insulator is still there. So you overpower it with a aggressive wattage and aggressive proportional band - but something gives - you get overshoot (meaningless overshoot in the example above - less than 10% is nothing). Compared to a Weller - 0 lag. But compared to a Metcal - the lag is there.

If there is any "theoretical" lag in a Metcal - it would be when a part of the tip is above say 700F and the remaining part is under 700F. At which point the size of the heater becomes smaller. If you use a power meter (I built my own with an LM3914) - you'll see that the power supply just attenuates the output. Which is really cool since it doesn't use a thermal loop. It sense the energy used by the tip by measuring the VSWR of the RF signal. As I said - cool.

I did try to acquire a JBC - but couldn't justify the price of a new one (nor a new Metcal).

Availability of used, inexpensive JBC was sporadic at best (at least at the time I looked - and those that were available looked awful). For whatever reason people are dumping Metcal stations like there is no tomorrow (probably production lines and/or rework stations closing down). Mine was scratched with the name Gennady on it - but it is made of aluminum so a little cleaning and it is like new.....
Also tips - people sell large lots of used tips rather inexpensively. Sometimes even new tips can be had inexpensively. I did not see as many JBC tips on the used market.

I am not in any way disappointed in the decision I made but would have probably been just as happy with a JBC, a Pace or an Ersa (except for the part where I am able to say VSWR for a soldering iron - that is some major cool! Imagine a Smith chart for a soldering iron - stuff should be on America's Got Talent)....
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 05:07:54 PM by Assafl »
 

Offline poorchava

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1508
  • Country: pl
  • Troll Cave Electronics!
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 04:57:07 PM »
How are 470kHz systems different from 13.56MHz ones? I mean from useability standpoint. Is the power transfer more efficient (I'd actually expect it to be the other way around, as at 470kHz reflections and such matter much less than at 13.56Mhz)? How about tip availability and popularity?

I'm also gonna have a hard time justifying a 400€ spent on a soldering station. I mean this is for the 1-person company I have on the side, but the woman acceptance factor is still there and seems to be rather low lately  since we are furnishing a new house  8)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 05:00:02 PM by poorchava »
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline Assafl

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 574
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2017, 05:16:11 PM »
This guy sells them for 60$ or so. So not 400E...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Metcal-Smartheat-Rework-System-MX-500P-11-Power-Supply-Works-with-Flaky-Conn-/282621141465?hash=item41cd8861d9:g:OVUAAOSwFqNZStRh

Oddly enough he claims the F connectors (threads) are flaky. But the Metcal connector doesn't really screw in; it has a lock clamp that "grasps" the threads. So I don't think he knows what he is doing.... They are dirty and crummy looking but are powder coated aluminum so a bit of IPA will make them new again.

Also, the F connectors are the standard ones Cables companies love so much. So easy to replace (assuming you have another soldering iron on the side...).

You will probably want a stand and handpiece and tips so overall you could (waiting long enough) get it for $200-250 depending on how long you are willing to wait.

 

Offline poorchava

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1508
  • Country: pl
  • Troll Cave Electronics!
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2017, 05:42:42 PM »
Yeah, but there is a $45 shipping fee + import tax. VAT I can write off so no problem there. Adding the stand and handpieces means more money, and of course returning those in case something is really wrong is not an option because of shipping cost. Plus I'd have to convert those to 230VAC mains.

If those were from anywhere in the EU, I could take the ristk, but all things considered buying used stuff in dubious condition from US doesn;t seem to make much sense.
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline Someone

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1745
  • Country: au
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2017, 06:19:07 PM »
How are 470kHz systems different from 13.56MHz ones? I mean from useability standpoint. Is the power transfer more efficient (I'd actually expect it to be the other way around, as at 470kHz reflections and such matter much less than at 13.56Mhz)? How about tip availability and popularity?
The big difference is the size of the tips and hand piece, only the high end (13.56MHz) stations have the really small tips with a smaller barrel and shorter reach. For anything down to 0.5mm pitch you can do ok with the 470kHz systems and a selection of tips, but thats the size where it gets a lot easier to use a smaller hand piece and barrel even if the tip is the same dimension. I've not seen any noticeable difference between the two frequencies when it comes to thermal performance.
 

Offline poorchava

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1508
  • Country: pl
  • Troll Cave Electronics!
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2017, 08:39:44 PM »
This makes me consider 470kHz more than 13.56M. The Jovy station that I have does a pretty decent job when it comes to very fine soldering.
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline Assafl

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 574
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2017, 11:14:01 PM »
There was a guy in Israel selling one a fortnight ago for 50$. I don't know about shipping though.

I was tempted but it is such a reliable beast I passed on it.

Perhaps put a search on it and wait a bit. The prices can be really low. The pricing depends on the junkyard needing the cash.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10114
  • Country: gb
    • Mike's Electric Stuff
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 11:35:02 PM »
With a big tip on the Metcal you'd be hard pressed to find something that it won't handle. I've never used  JBC but never come across anything that made the Metcal seem underpowered.
It doesn't break a sweat with things like like soldering TO220 tabs to solid groundplanes, or splicing 4mm2 wires. 
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics etc.
Day Job: Mostly LEDs
 

Offline TD-Linux

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
  • Country: us
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2017, 03:44:50 PM »
I've used both the PS2E (13.57MHz) and a lot of SP200's (470kHz). The 13.57Mhz tips and handle are narrower, and an auto-off stand is available. But I also agree, other than maybe looking cooler, there's no real difference between them. When I bought one for myself, I got a PS2E simply because it was basically the same price on eBay.
 

Offline connectionvalidationman

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 10
  • Country: us
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2017, 01:49:30 AM »
Metcal power ratings are the power delivered to the heater in the tip of the cartridge. Most other systems are the total power of the input of the station or the heater rating of the heater that is part of their soldering handle.
The power ratings are as follows:
CV-5200 80 watts
MX-5200 80 watts
MX-5000 80 watts but only one handpiece at a time
MX-500 40 watts
MFR-2000 60 watts
MFR-1100 60 watts
PS-900 60 Watts
PS-800 50 watts
All older Metcal systems prior to 1996 are 37-40 watts.
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2631
  • Country: us
  • [Personal Text]
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2017, 12:41:12 PM »
I do have a hotplate and an oven for preheating. Currently I'm driving a Jovy iSolder-40 (woulda been fine if it had costed 1/3rd of what it actually had - generally crap) and an old, trusty 80W Xytronic LF-1600.

Unfortunately a preheater is not an option for low volume assembly jobs, which I lately have a lot of.

I got this a few weeks back and its working out okay, only $43 , brand new. Looks fairly well built. (although have not opened it up, I should) Works.. doesn't smell bad when it gets hot..

http://www.ebay.com/itm/946-Precision-Electric-Heating-Preheating-Plate-Station-for-BGA-SMD-PCB-110V-New-/332193225962
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 12:44:25 PM by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline Jamieson

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
  • Country: us
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2017, 12:49:24 AM »
If there is any "theoretical" lag in a Metcal - it would be when a part of the tip is above say 700F and the remaining part is under 700F. At which point the size of the heater becomes smaller. If you use a power meter (I built my own with an LM3914) - you'll see that the power supply just attenuates the output. Which is really cool since it doesn't use a thermal loop. It sense the energy used by the tip by measuring the VSWR of the RF signal. As I said - cool.

Could you post the schematic for that custom power meter design -- sounds like a great addition to a Metcal/Thermaltronics system.  Those Metcal in-line analog power meters are pretty pricey and hard to find.
 

Offline Jamieson

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
  • Country: us
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2017, 01:02:36 AM »
I just picked up a complete Easy Braid EB2000S station on ebay for $50 shipped. This is just a rebranded Thermaltronics TMT-2000S station.

The one I got uses the SHP-SM handle and takes the SSC cartridge tips. The seller included a new Metcal SSC tip and I've purchased a few more Thermaltronics S75-series tips from Amazon.  Overall I'm very impressed with the power and build quality on this entry level Thermaltronics station.  It performs just like a Metcal SP200, MX500, and older STSS-001/002 units we have at work.  The TMT-2000S power unit is rated for 50W.  Love the immediate power of these induction/curie-point systems.

My soldering iron history is: cheap radio shack mains powered garbage iron -> Weller WTCTPCPTP -> Hakko FX-888D ->  Thermaltronics TMT-2000S
 

Offline macboy

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1645
  • Country: ca
Re: Metcal / OKI / Thermaltronics power ratings
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2017, 03:40:00 AM »
If there is any "theoretical" lag in a Metcal - it would be when a part of the tip is above say 700F and the remaining part is under 700F. At which point the size of the heater becomes smaller. If you use a power meter (I built my own with an LM3914) - you'll see that the power supply just attenuates the output. Which is really cool since it doesn't use a thermal loop. It sense the energy used by the tip by measuring the VSWR of the RF signal. As I said - cool.

Could you post the schematic for that custom power meter design -- sounds like a great addition to a Metcal/Thermaltronics system.  Those Metcal in-line analog power meters are pretty pricey and hard to find.
+1
Very interested in this
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf