Author Topic: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: JBC Tweezers  (Read 7383 times)

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Offline SteveyG

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Added the High Thermal Demand handpiece for Metcal MX-5200 and CV-5200 systems.
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/sdgelectronics/
Use code: “SDG5” to get 5% off JBC Equipment at Kaisertech
 

Offline labjr

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I think there's been a few attempts at a 13.56 MHz power supply on this forum. I certainly may take a look at this as a project when I get time.

Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely not confident that I could successfully build the ones I've seen in the threads here. Seems like a mixed bag of results. I also don't have a good understanding of how the RF supply operates.   
 

Offline thm_w

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Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely not confident that I could successfully build the ones I've seen in the threads here. Seems like a mixed bag of results. I also don't have a good understanding of how the RF supply operates.

If you want to get into Metcal stations cheaply you can pick up a PS2E-01 for <$80 which has 40W of RF power. Enough for most tasks.
You can then pair this with a Thermaltronics handle ($88) and stand, for regular tips (~$20/ea), or a Hakko handle (FX1001 $88 + $2 adapter) and stand ($146 for both), for FX100 tips (~$10/ea).
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 09:43:35 pm by thm_w »
 

Offline labjr

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Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely not confident that I could successfully build the ones I've seen in the threads here. Seems like a mixed bag of results. I also don't have a good understanding of how the RF supply operates.

If you want to get into Metcal stations cheaply you can pick up a PS2E-01 for <$80 which has 40W of RF power. Enough for most tasks.
You can then pair this with a Thermaltronics handle ($88) and stand, for regular tips (~$20/ea), or a Hakko handle (FX1001 $88 + $2 adapter) and stand ($146 for both), for FX100 tips (~$10/ea).

Thanks for the info!

Hmmm...there are a lot of options. Hakko tips are less expensive than Metcal. I presume the quality is good?  I'm currently using older Weller and Hakko FX888D.

I recently purchased two MX-500P-11 power supplies for $120 ea. I don't have any handpieces or tips yet. The surplus dealer told me they were "new surplus" but when I received them they were obviously used. I'm currently trying to get a partial refund for the dishonesty. I'm thinking I may just sell both and go for an 80 Watt system which will be more future proof but quite a bit more expensive. Thus, why I wouldn't mind building a project. Just that RF induction power supplies seem hard to construct properly. Maybe layout and execution are critical for RF stuff. I'm hoping someone like SteveyG has an idea how to build a reliable power supply.
 

Offline thm_w

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Just use the MX-500P-11 for now, those are worth at least $200+ if they are working. $120/ea is a good deal. Get a partial refund if you feel its necessary and sell the second one. Upgrade to 80W once you've got everything up and running for a while (since its all interchangeable). Hakko tips won't have the variety, handpiece won't be as good as a MX-H1-AV, but a lot cheaper overall. It sounds like you have the money for metcal anyway.

As for the HTD cartridges here is the PDF:
https://metcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/High-Thermal-Demand-Data-Sheet_Final.pdf

Their own testing shows not too different from a power tip. But this is just heatup, so actual in use performance may be better than shown (not sure why they didn't test that instead... its like JBC were the only ones to actually compare performance and that was one time, and of course Steve putting them to shame). But I would expect the thermaltronics power tip to compete with it somewhat. Kind of typical with Metcal though, they've already done so well, so one-upping themselves is a difficult task.
 

Offline TopQuark

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Thanks to the series of videos, I ended up buying a Metcal Mx-5210 set along with ultrafine set, very excited to test out the system. I am somewhat of a collector of soldering stations, and have amassed some pretty odd/rare ones not often seen in the western market.

For higher end systems I have a Hakko Fx-950 (Fx-951 but uses a good old potentiometer instead of stupid UI), Goot RX-802AS (Goot's answer to Hakko T12, JBC etc. Same handle can do regular tips and ultrafine tips, heats up in seconds), a DIY Weller station (One handle works with RTU, RTM and RTP tips, performance on par with JBC from what I can observe)

Maybe I should shoot a vid comparing these stations, using the mx-5200 as the standard across my and Steve's collection as it is the only overlap. Thoughts?
 
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Offline SteveyG

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Definitely, the more info that's available the better.
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/sdgelectronics/
Use code: “SDG5” to get 5% off JBC Equipment at Kaisertech
 

Offline labjr

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Just use the MX-500P-11 for now, those are worth at least $200+ if they are working. $120/ea is a good deal. Get a partial refund if you feel its necessary and sell the second one. Upgrade to 80W once you've got everything up and running for a while (since its all interchangeable). Hakko tips won't have the variety, handpiece won't be as good as a MX-H1-AV, but a lot cheaper overall. It sounds like you have the money for metcal anyway.

As for the HTD cartridges here is the PDF:
https://metcal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/High-Thermal-Demand-Data-Sheet_Final.pdf

Their own testing shows not too different from a power tip. But this is just heatup, so actual in use performance may be better than shown (not sure why they didn't test that instead... its like JBC were the only ones to actually compare performance and that was one time, and of course Steve putting them to shame). But I would expect the thermaltronics power tip to compete with it somewhat. Kind of typical with Metcal though, they've already done so well, so one-upping themselves is a difficult task.

I was fine with my old non-cartridge stations. Well...until I started watching SteveyG's videos.;D They really demonstrate how good Metcal is, and how simple it is to use.   

What's interesting about the MX-500P-11 and older power units is they're built with mostly off-the-shelf parts. So I could probably repair it in the future, if need be. Unfortunately the older units are only 40w. The 80w units are more complicated. So buying used is more risky. And I like to be as self-sufficient as possible, being able to diagnose and repair my equipment.     
 

Offline tszaboo

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Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely not confident that I could successfully build the ones I've seen in the threads here. Seems like a mixed bag of results. I also don't have a good understanding of how the RF supply operates.

If you want to get into Metcal stations cheaply you can pick up a PS2E-01 for <$80 which has 40W of RF power. Enough for most tasks.
You can then pair this with a Thermaltronics handle ($88) and stand, for regular tips (~$20/ea), or a Hakko handle (FX1001 $88 + $2 adapter) and stand ($146 for both), for FX100 tips (~$10/ea).
Just be aware that these are 110V only stations. Getting used Metcal seems to be much more difficult in Europe.
The ones that are OKI branded, they work on both voltages.
I've been looking for a good set for a while, with decent price. Honestly I might just end up buying a new one, all the ones that I've seen are relative expensive, missing parts, expensive shipping, or terrible condition.
Or just bring the stuff I want to solder to work...
Former username: NANDBlog
 
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Offline labjr

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Just be aware that these are 110V only stations. Getting used Metcal seems to be much more difficult in Europe.
The ones that are OKI branded, they work on both voltages.
I've been looking for a good set for a while, with decent price. Honestly I might just end up buying a new one, all the ones that I've seen are relative expensive, missing parts, expensive shipping, or terrible condition.
Or just bring the stuff I want to solder to work...

Use a step down transformer? The MX-500P-11 has an internal jumper to change the voltage. 
 

Offline thm_w

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The difference between older 40W stations and new 80W are not as massive as people think.
Here is the heatup stage of a 5mm tip, where by far the most power is required:



Coupling to the thermocouple was not great but you get the idea.


In the 2p test, the most I could measure was 90W (peak 97W) for the 40W station and 98W (peak 133W) for the 80W station.
Overall efficiencies:
- MX5200 stated 64% (80W/125W). Estimated 60%. 6W idle.
- MX500 stated 57% (40W/70W).
- PS2E estimated 41% (40W/97W).

So in the 2p test, PS2E is delivering roughly 37W and mx5200 59W, 60% more. Not the full 2x.
Assuming of course that the stations actually deliver close to 40W and 80W. Not sure how I'd be able to measure that.

2p test is close to worst case scenario when soldering, in normal situations you'll use <20W of RF. With a small tip, can be even lower.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2021, 08:15:59 pm by thm_w »
 
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Offline TopQuark

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So I've received my MX-5200 along with a few thermaltronics (lower price, easier to obtain) series 700 tips to play around. So far I must say I'm not impressed with the lead free performance of the setup, given the already pretty high idle temperatures the tips run at. It really struggles when trying to tin a copper clad board, with the tip sometimes getting stuck, and soldering power TH components to 2oz copper boards is a nightmare. Better luck can be had with leaded solder, but I got the metcal system upgrade to specifically transition to lead free, and so far I'm not impressed. Especially when I can't just bump up the set temp a bit without getting a whole set of higher temp tips.
 

Offline thm_w

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So I've received my MX-5200 along with a few thermaltronics (lower price, easier to obtain) series 700 tips to play around. So far I must say I'm not impressed with the lead free performance of the setup, given the already pretty high idle temperatures the tips run at. It really struggles when trying to tin a copper clad board, with the tip sometimes getting stuck, and soldering power TH components to 2oz copper boards is a nightmare. Better luck can be had with leaded solder, but I got the metcal system upgrade to specifically transition to lead free, and so far I'm not impressed. Especially when I can't just bump up the set temp a bit without getting a whole set of higher temp tips.

Interesting, what tip numbers specifically?
Can you measure the power drawn from the wall to check how much its actually pulling?
Can you measure the tip temperature with a thermocouple?
 

Offline TopQuark

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I am noticing some funky behavior with my particular setup. The tip I am using for the copper clad board test is a M7CH250 from thermaltronics. The tip does heat up to ~378C and draws ~70 w peak (front panel power meter) doing so. However, after the initial heating phase, the tip only draws ~20w from the station no matter how high the thermal load is and the tip gets stuck. I observed similar behavior with the M7CH024 tip as well.

The station switched to simultaneous dual output seems not to suffer from the same issue, but is a bit of a pain as power cycling is required for tip change in this mode. In any case, I have some Metcal tips from Mouser coming today which will hopefully solve this issue.
 

Offline labjr

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I can't stand working with lead free solder. It's horrible. I don't do any manufacturing. If they ever ban leaded solder in here, I'll try to hoard a lifetime supply of it.
 

Offline TopQuark

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I think I have hoarded more than a life time supply of high quality leaded solder (the stuff with silver in it :P), but am still looking to transition to lead free. My lab is in the living room shared with the family, while I am very responsible with my soldering hygiene, I do worry contaminating the environment accidentally and expose my family to lead. I think once I have the issue I am seeing resolved, lead free shouldn't be an issue, Kester's K100LD lead free alloy is wonderful to work with (with properly working equipment), it flows well and even leaves a shiny joint.
 

Offline TopQuark

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Nevermind, just got my metcal tips and I completely reverse my view on the metcal system. It works brilliantly, thermal recovery is second to none. I can tin 12 AWG wire with a 2.5mm chisel tip with ease, soldering parts to copper clad board is smooth as butter, all using lead free solder. I am very surprised how well the metcal tips work compared to the thermaltronics tips, the metcal ones are worth the extra expense. Shame I bought quite a few thermaltronics tips, the MX-5200 really did not seem to like them and behaved weirdly.
 
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Offline labjr

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Good to know. I've been taking my time researching tips for my Metcal setup. Because of the cost, I don't want to buy tips that I won't use. I do mostly repair work with through hole and PTP wiring, terminal strips and tube sockets, eyelet boards etc. on vintage audio equipment I was tempted to try Thermaltronics. I didn't think there was a difference?

Do the Hakko tip cartridges fit in the Metcal handpiece? Is there any consensus on the quality?
 

Offline thm_w

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I am noticing some funky behavior with my particular setup. The tip I am using for the copper clad board test is a M7CH250 from thermaltronics. The tip does heat up to ~378C and draws ~70 w peak (front panel power meter) doing so. However, after the initial heating phase, the tip only draws ~20w from the station no matter how high the thermal load is and the tip gets stuck. I observed similar behavior with the M7CH024 tip as well.

The station switched to simultaneous dual output seems not to suffer from the same issue, but is a bit of a pain as power cycling is required for tip change in this mode. In any case, I have some Metcal tips from Mouser coming today which will hopefully solve this issue.

That is a good tip geometry so its weird it would have any performance issue, even on single output 40W RF. Confusing. I would consider returning them to thermaltronics or at least letting them know about it.
Personally I have not had a problem with their tips, or have heard any (mikeselectricstuff uses them as well). But have not done a direct 1:1 comparison of the same tip.

Do the Hakko tip cartridges fit in the Metcal handpiece? Is there any consensus on the quality?

They are different not compatible, and less selection is available. I'm sure the quality would be fine.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/handle-connector-for-hakko-fx100-tips/
 

Offline labjr

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I thought Thermaltronics made Hakko compatible tips? So they make separate lines of tips for Hakko and Metcal compatibility?
 

Offline thm_w

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I thought Thermaltronics made Hakko compatible tips? So they make separate lines of tips for Hakko and Metcal compatibility?

Yes, they make more than 5 types of tips: http://www.thermaltronics.com/references.php
 

Offline TopQuark

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Just spotted a second hand MX-500P-11 going for around 90USD. Seeing I have re-bought the tips I need form metcal to replace the thermaltronics tips, I got the unit to see if it will play well with my otherwise useless thermaltronics tips collection. The MX-500 should arrive soon and I'll report back any success or otherwise, hopefully I'll have another working metcal setup.
 

Offline labjr

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That's a fair price for the MX-500P-11. And about what they should be selling for used. Some of the asking prices on ebay seem outrageous for stuff that appears to be in poor condition.

After seeing a few negative reviews about Thermaltronics, I think I'm going with genuine Metcal tips. I wouldn't expect miracles by changing the power unit.
 

Offline TopQuark

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MX-500P-11 arrived, well used but perfectly functional. Thermaltronics tips works perfectly with the mx-500 without the issues I see with the mx-5200. If it wasn't for the 80w of the mx-5200, I'd happily use the mx-500 as my main unit, not a fan of the longer boot and reset time of the mx-5200.

Also I don't see a big difference in thermal performance between the two unless I'm soldering to something like a aluminum PCB.
 
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Offline labjr

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I didn't expect that. Maybe the reason for the popularity of the MX-500P-11. It was simple and a workhorse.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2021, 03:06:44 am by labjr »
 


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