Author Topic: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC  (Read 34488 times)

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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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I've started a series on comparing some of the possible candidate soldering stations, spanning beginner through to professional stations. Since the discussion was cluttering up other threads, any discussion points, criticism or suggestions can be kept together all in this thread.

The JBC DDE 2x 150W Soldering Station:


Pace ADS200 120W Soldering Station:


Quick TS1200A 120W Soldering Station:


Metcal GT120 120W Soldering Station:


Metcal GT120 Follow-up:


Toor T12-11 75W C245 Compatible Soldering Station:


Jabe / Best BST-933B 135W C245 Compatible Soldering Station:

« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 08:48:29 pm by SteveyG »
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2021, 08:31:59 am »
This time, it's the Metcal PS-900



KSGER and Quicko STM32 T12 Soldering Systems



Aixun T3A 200W JBC Compatible System



Ersa I-CON 2V 120W 2 Channel Soldering Station



UniSolder 5.2 with JBC C245 Handpiece



Metcal CV-5210 Connection Validation System



Metcal HTD Handpiece for High Thermal Demand applications



Update on the Metcal GT120



Aixun T3B Soldering Station for C210 and C115 JBC Handpieces



JBC AM120 and Metcal MX-PTZ Desoldering Tweezers



Dual Channel i2C 1SCN 160W JBC Style C210 and C115 Station



JBC's KNE-A Nitrogen Soldering Station



Aixun T420 T245 T215 and T115 dual simultaneous 200W Soldering station



The new Miniware TS101 USB Soldering Iron



L245 USB-C JBC C245 Compatible Portable Iron

« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 08:47:50 pm by SteveyG »
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2021, 08:33:35 am »
 :o (placeholder)
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2021, 08:35:23 am »
 :P (placeholder)
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Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2021, 01:40:24 pm »
 :popcorn:
 

Offline TheAmmoniacal

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2021, 02:03:21 pm »
I really appreciate the reviews, I'm sure it has to hurt your wallet. Recently got myself the JBC compact line (JBC CD-2SQE) with both a T245 and T210 handpieces and 5 different cartridges. With the VAT and all it did end up costing as much as a Metcal MX-5200, but now it's too late.
 

Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2021, 08:25:12 pm »
Metcal PS-900 system this week. Very similar to the MFR systems, but the induction coil is separate to the tips.
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Offline thm_w

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2021, 10:40:17 pm »
Metcal PS-900 system this week. Very similar to the MFR systems, but the induction coil is separate to the tips.

Maybe when this station was released, having the induction coil in the tip made it cost significantly more. These days some of the tips are just dirt cheap. Thermaltronics is selling P series for $11, with induction coil in the tip: http://www.thermaltronics.com/pseries_ref.php or T31 hakko (H series) for $10: http://www.thermaltronics.com/h31series_ref.php

The M series (for MX500/5000) still costs slightly more, possibly due to higher max power. That or its just a premium station so markup can be higher.
They have some fat copper heater core options too, I'll ask them if they have any sort of test data at all: http://www.thermaltronics.com/datasheet/M6BVF050H

Had no idea they released so many 450kHz stations: MFR-PS1100, MFR-PS2200, SP200, PS-900.


edit: thermaltronics have no test data but they did state that a normal tip is better for successive soldering, and this high copper tip is better for very high thermal mass applications.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 10:09:05 pm by thm_w »
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2021, 05:28:55 pm »
Apparently the Thermaltronics tips are made with slightly cheaper materials, which I can probably believe - the few I have certainly 'look' far more crusty than the genuine cartridges despite lower working hours. I have never had to replace any cartridges though despite heavy use.
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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On Monday we have the Aixum T3A 200W Soldering station with the C245 compatible JBC style handpiece
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Also coming up is the Metcal CV-5210 Connection Validation System with standard and high thermal demand handpiece.
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Added the T3A from Aixun. Seemed to have excellent performance!
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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2021, 01:52:41 pm »
Apparently the Thermaltronics tips are made with slightly cheaper materials, which I can probably believe - the few I have certainly 'look' far more crusty than the genuine cartridges despite lower working hours. I have never had to replace any cartridges though despite heavy use.
The two tips I use 95% of the time are Thermaltronics, I've noticed no difference in quality compared to Metcal, and the M7DS525 (Metcal SMTC1147) has a more useful shape than the Metcal, as the edges are sharper, making it much better for reflowing DFNs as it can get right into the corner
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2021, 04:02:50 pm »
Apparently the Thermaltronics tips are made with slightly cheaper materials, which I can probably believe - the few I have certainly 'look' far more crusty than the genuine cartridges despite lower working hours. I have never had to replace any cartridges though despite heavy use.
The two tips I use 95% of the time are Thermaltronics, I've noticed no difference in quality compared to Metcal, and the M7DS525 (Metcal SMTC1147) has a more useful shape than the Metcal, as the edges are sharper, making it much better for reflowing DFNs as it can get right into the corner

Certainly mine are still working well too.

I'm interested which tips are most commonly used by you, I always revert back to the STTC-125P unless I need something bigger.
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Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: The SDG Electronics soldering station comparison/shootout thread
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2021, 04:40:40 pm »
Apparently the Thermaltronics tips are made with slightly cheaper materials, which I can probably believe - the few I have certainly 'look' far more crusty than the genuine cartridges despite lower working hours. I have never had to replace any cartridges though despite heavy use.
The two tips I use 95% of the time are Thermaltronics, I've noticed no difference in quality compared to Metcal, and the M7DS525 (Metcal SMTC1147) has a more useful shape than the Metcal, as the edges are sharper, making it much better for reflowing DFNs as it can get right into the corner

Certainly mine are still working well too.

I'm interested which tips are most commonly used by you, I always revert back to the STTC-125P unless I need something bigger.
M7DS525 (Metcal SMTC1147) as the shape is good for a wide range of joint sizes - the tip for small stuff, the face for bigger
M7CS152 / STTC-122  for fine stuff.

Next most used probably STTC-117 for really heavy stuff, and M7LB125 / SMTC161 10mm wide blade for reflowing SO/SSOPs
 
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Now added the Metcal Connection Validation system
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Offline thm_w

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Having to use this station in production would be near hell, almost as bad as someone watching over your shoulder.
Wonder how hard it is to do the opposite of what you show, make a bad solder joint and have the system think its good. Probably not impossible.

Will be interesting to see the high power handle though. Considering as you said, the normal handle and tips can already use the 80W of continuous RF power.

https://store.metcal.com/en-us/shop/soldering-desoldering/hand-pieces/CV-H6-HTD
Quote
Metcal’s High Thermal Demand hand-pieces and tips transform the CV-5200 Soldering System into a powerhouse. Metcal’s HTD solution provides a boost in performance by more effectively delivering
thermal energy to the most demanding loads.
Compatible with HCV cartridges and available in 700, 800, and 900 series temperatures

$45 for the high demand cartridge: https://store.metcal.com/en-us/shop/cartridges-tips/HCV-7CH0053S
I think thermaltronics has already beat them to the punch with the power plus tips, which only cost about $20: http://www.thermaltronics.com/tipcartridge.php
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Online tszaboo

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Having to use this station in production would be near hell, almost as bad as someone watching over your shoulder.
Wonder how hard it is to do the opposite of what you show, make a bad solder joint and have the system think its good. Probably not impossible.

Will be interesting to see the high power handle though. Considering as you said, the normal handle and tips can already use the 80W of continuous RF power.

https://store.metcal.com/en-us/shop/soldering-desoldering/hand-pieces/CV-H6-HTD
Quote
Metcal’s High Thermal Demand hand-pieces and tips transform the CV-5200 Soldering System into a powerhouse. Metcal’s HTD solution provides a boost in performance by more effectively delivering
thermal energy to the most demanding loads.
Compatible with HCV cartridges and available in 700, 800, and 900 series temperatures

$45 for the high demand cartridge: https://store.metcal.com/en-us/shop/cartridges-tips/HCV-7CH0053S
I think thermaltronics has already beat them to the punch with the power plus tips, which only cost about $20: http://www.thermaltronics.com/tipcartridge.php
You assume the production staff has an understanding on how the tool works. I've seen a guy switch on and off the station 20 times when taking the iron from the magnetic holder until I stopped him and explained that he doesn't have to do that.

The regular metcal cartridges can survive months in production environments, used 8 hours a day. The price of the cartridge shouldn't be the deciding factor for the sort of work we are doing as engineers.

Now added the Metcal Connection Validation system
This thing is so cool, I wonder when will weasels start asking for "calibrated and traceable" joints and we can finally justify buying them.
 

Offline thm_w

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You assume the production staff has an understanding on how the tool works. I've seen a guy switch on and off the station 20 times when taking the iron from the magnetic holder until I stopped him and explained that he doesn't have to do that.

The regular metcal cartridges can survive months in production environments, used 8 hours a day. The price of the cartridge shouldn't be the deciding factor for the sort of work we are doing as engineers.

Not sure what your point is here, he wasn't properly trained to solder, either using that specific equipment or in general.
I would rather have a properly trained individual on a normal station than an untrained individual on a CVS station.
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Online mikeselectricstuff

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How long before they make one with a camera in the handle to take photo of each joint..?
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Having to use this station in production would be near hell, almost as bad as someone watching over your shoulder.
Wonder how hard it is to do the opposite of what you show, make a bad solder joint and have the system think its good. Probably not impossible.

Honestly I'm not sure how often the validation would be used in production, the locking down of cartridge types etc is widely used though. I think it can count solder joints too so I guess they can trace usage. There is possibly an add-on module for further connectivity in the pipeline too. Talking with our UK manager, they may visit a site and use the system to identify potential flaws in the hand assembly process. Apparently it did find a failure point on a product that would do xx years of service and fail on one particular higher thermal mass joint.

You can definitely trick the system, but I didn't find you could trick the system and leave a good solder joint. You can however have a good solder joint that the system has marked as failed if the set-up is not quite right. I found for smaller stuff mass soldering, the system simply doesn't notice the solder joint and can't differentiate between it and background noise. Probably akin to a 4x4 riding over a stone.

For £100 more over the MX-5200, it's not that badly priced and could be used for occasional training and maybe for setting up a production set-up. I was surprised how 'poor' my soldering was despite having IPC training.

« Last Edit: September 04, 2021, 09:18:21 pm by SteveyG »
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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How long before they make one with a camera in the handle to take photo of each joint..?

There was at least a prototype of a robotic system that validates the solder joints. They have a patent for this.
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Offline thm_w

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Now that you mention it, it did work best on high thermal mass joints. Those would also be subject to high currents, heating/cooling and be more likely to fail if improperly soldered.
So probably motors/military/EV stuff, where you are just soldering say 3 phase wires, would make sense. Where you don't have the volume for a full on robot.
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Offline labjr

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Hi SteveyG,

I've been watching your videos on soldering stations. Metcal seems to come out ahead. I think everyone would be using Metacal if the price of their stations were the same as some of the competition. Especially because of the simplicity. But you have to pay a premium to get into their ecosystem.

I think if someone designed a buildable 13.56 Mhz power supply project or partial kit then more of us may be willing to take the plunge. Buying genuine tips and accessories seems about the same as JBC. Wouldn't need all the whistles and bells of their newer units. Just an 80W RF supply.

I've seen this project but haven't heard of anyone successfully building it.   

https://habr.com/en/post/451246/

 

Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Hi SteveyG,

I've been watching your videos on soldering stations. Metcal seems to come out ahead. I think everyone would be using Metacal if the price of their stations were the same as some of the competition. Especially because of the simplicity. But you have to pay a premium to get into their ecosystem.

I think if someone designed a buildable 13.56 Mhz power supply project or partial kit then more of us may be willing to take the plunge. Buying genuine tips and accessories seems about the same as JBC. Wouldn't need all the whistles and bells of their newer units. Just an 80W RF supply.

I've seen this project but haven't heard of anyone successfully building it.   

https://habr.com/en/post/451246/

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.
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Added the High Thermal Demand handpiece for Metcal MX-5200 and CV-5200 systems.
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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 »
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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.
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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 SteveyGTopic starter

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Definitely, the more info that's available the better.
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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.     
 

Online 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...
 
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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?
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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.
 

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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/
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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
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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 »
 

Offline thm_w

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Saw this article with a coin test and thermal calculations at the bottom: https://diyodemag.com/reviews/new_and_reviewed_hands-on_review_thermaltronics_tmt-9000s-2_soldering_station

Quote
For our coins, we know the mass is 5.2g and that the specific heat capacity of copper is 0.385J/g°C. We also know that the temperature our 60/40 leaded solder flows at is around 250°C.
Therefore, the thermal absorption is: Q = 5.2 x 0.385 x (250°C - 25°C) = 450J

We know the iron is capable of delivering 40W of heating power and the total energy required to heat the coin, thus, the equation to calculate Time becomes:
T = E / P = 450J / 40W = 11.25 seconds

2p coin is 7.12g = 620J = 15s for 40W, 8s for 80W, leaded solder, using their numbers.
Lead free should be a couple seconds longer.
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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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.

I have the newer MX-500 with the LCD that looks like the MX-5200 and for general soldering you can get by perfectly with the 40W RF power. However, I do notice if you use them both side by side, there is a slight delay before the full wetting stage of the solder joint with the MX-500. I now keep the Ultrafine handpiece on the MX-500 and the Advanced handpiece on the MX-5200. The other port is usually connected to the desolder gun but gets swapped for the tweezers sometimes since they do take a lot longer to heat up on the lower power station.

Recently I've gone back to using the GT120 after all these other stations and I'm actually really impressed with it. I initially didn't think much of it since I'd been using the MX-5200 almost exclusively, but after all these other systems I've realised just how good it is, probably better than every other system except the MX-5200. The downside to the GT120 is the lack of cartridge types and general availability of them.
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Offline labjr

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I guess you're paying for performance with anything Metcal. I don't know if I'd spend that much for a soldering station that uses a power brick. And I don't care for the factory kludge.
 

Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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I guess you're paying for performance with anything Metcal. I don't know if I'd spend that much for a soldering station that uses a power brick. And I don't care for the factory kludge.

Factory kludge has gone. I need to do an update as all of those versions were supposed to be recalled from distributors.
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Offline TopQuark

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So I have been using my Metcal for a while, and since I don't have the time to do a proper comparison video between the Metcal and other stations I own, I thought I'd leave my thoughts here.

Just get the Metcal, it is well worth it. It just works (provided you use Metcal tips not the thermaltronics ones), it solders anything I throw at it, and it brings a smile to my face everytime I use it. The Metcal tip plating is just as good as the Hakko, which I consider to be the gold standard when it comes to plating durability, but obviously the thermal performance is miles ahead. Compared to the Goot, it has better thermal performance, especially when comparing the ultrafine tips. I can solder wick a 4-layer QFN center GND pad with the Metcal ultrafine tips, but the Goot ultrafine tips can't reflow 0402 pads if the pads has the slightest bit of copper pour on it. My DIY Weller RT station comes close to the Metcal when it comes to thermal performance, but the Weller tip plating is very fragile and blackens fast.

On the subject of tips, I have 10 Metcal tips for my standard handpiece, and I use the STTC-126 90% of the time. The tip to grip distance is second to none, I can comfortably work under the microscope with it. I can do anything from reworking 0402 to soldering SMA connectors to ground planes with that tip, I almost regret buying the other tips. The SMTC-1183 is amazing for drag soldering fine pitch QFP, it makes the job so unbelievably easy. I also like the STTC-117 for soldering solid brass vacuum fittings together, it is the tip I use when sh*t hits the fan.

Overall I can't praise the Metcal enough, and just wish I had gotten it years sooner, without going through the expense of buying the other stations I own.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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It just works (provided you use Metcal tips not the thermaltronics ones),
Why? I actually find thermaltronics tips better, in terms of lifetime and shape detail
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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.

This, for whatever reason all my Thermaltronics tips don't play well with my MX-5200, the tips just wouldn't stay hot after the initial heating phase. The Thermaltronics tips do work well with a second hand MX-500 I bought though.
 

Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: JBC Tweezers
« Reply #57 on: November 29, 2021, 11:22:40 pm »
Added a video on my thoughts about the JBC AM120 and Metcal MX-PTZ Desoldering Tweezers
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Offline thm_w

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: JBC Tweezers
« Reply #58 on: December 03, 2021, 05:19:26 am »
Added a video on my thoughts about the JBC AM120 and Metcal MX-PTZ Desoldering Tweezers

Looks like the AM120 are built basically identically to the Hakko tweezers, with the same offset adjustment mechanism. As you said making the adjustment redundant. Almost as if the same company designed them, quite odd. However the stand looks a lot nicer: https://www.hakko.com/english/products/hakko_fx1003.html
Had to modify them with a shim to make them usable for me: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/hakko-rf-soldering-tweezers-fx-1003-$240/

The eccentric design on the Metcal just seems smarter, properly rigid. But metcal haven't released a small size tweezer, I'm sure they could come up with a decent one.
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Offline SteveyGTopic starter

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: i2C 1SCN Dual JBC
« Reply #59 on: January 18, 2022, 06:24:55 pm »
Added the first extremely sketchy solder station so far.
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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: Miniware TS101
« Reply #60 on: December 27, 2022, 04:43:45 pm »
Added the new MiniWare TS101

Now - Add PD3.1 protocol support 90W for 3 seconds  :bullshit:

TS101 is at home, waiting for a 24v 3A power supply, and here is the news.  It's incredible!  :phew:
What to do now, buy GaN ?  :scared:
How long did tips last in this mode ?  :box:

While we are waiting for the power supply, I put on a silicone holder from the Lukey 702 station ))

Lukey 702 • Miniware TS101 • UNI-T UT33C • UNI-T UT60S • LCR-T4 • LaCrosse BC1000 • SkyRC MC3000
 
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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: Miniware TS101
« Reply #61 on: January 18, 2023, 08:48:12 pm »
Added the L245 USB-C JBC C245 Compatible Portable Iron

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Offline labjr

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #62 on: January 18, 2023, 10:28:05 pm »
Thanks for the reviews. I hope you'll keep doing them.
 
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Offline Bud

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #63 on: January 27, 2023, 11:53:51 pm »
Seems an overcomplicated device... I would not be willing to spend much of my time fiddling with tiny buttons and settings.
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Offline thm_w

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #64 on: March 30, 2023, 08:44:52 pm »
They dropped the price of the GT90 to $250, probably was not selling that well: https://store.metcal.com/en-us/shop/soldering-desoldering/soldering-desoldering-systems/gt-series/GT90-HP-T4
No tips included, but it does include the blank heater cartridge.

old thread: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/metcal-gt120-soldering-system-with-heater-cartridge/25/
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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: Miniware TS101
« Reply #65 on: April 07, 2023, 09:12:27 pm »
Added the L245 USB-C JBC C245 Compatible Portable Iron



Got one of these L245 USB irons.

Surprisingly good. Here is my review.
Works with fake chinese tips and original JBC tips just fine, up to my beast original C245-914 (10mm flat chisel)

Programmable working tip temperature, sleep temperature and delay(1min steps), off delay time(1min steps).
5 preset temperature settings(CH) and one (CH=off) user programmable on the fly from 0°C upwards with 10oC steps.

Tested with:
a. 5V/1-3A various USB mobile chargers (not working, shows menu but reboots when enabled)
b. 33W USB mobile charger (not working, shows menu but reboots when enabled)
c. 12V/2A DC linear PSU (works but marginally, very slow)
d. 10V/6A simple full brigde rectified PSU with transformer and a 2.200uF cap (works good, just not as fast as original JBC, still way better than any other old style soldering stations)
e. Makita battery 18V/5Ah (20V when fully charged, iron works very good, fast heating, from 20-380 in 10sec)

It detects movement, so when enabled (by the buttons you select CH preset), it starts heating and when it stays still for 1min or whetever delay set, it goes to sleep mode, which is a preset (but programmable) temperature of 200oC default i think. During the sleep mode, if you lift it, it heats up again.
If during sleep mode you don't move it for another set delay, it disables itself and goes to room temperature. From that mode it can escape only by pressing a button key, while on original JBC stations it only requires to lift the iron from the stand and it starts heating again.
This button activity, if frequent, may fatique the buttons and some of them fail in time. My tip is to extend the delays, to reduce the need to press the buttons. There is always the option to replace them...

The body is anodised aluminium tube, with some kind of black plastic cap near the tip, but white (teflon i think) tip insert.
The nose does not fit the original JBC stands, its a bit thicker.
Original T245 nose is DIA 11.77mm and the plastic nose of L245 is 12.04mm.
The grip is OK, some kind of elastic tube.

I suppose, the DC drive (and not AC) will corrode the tips in time, but it's not meant for heavy use anyway.

Another user (YulyPH) kindly uploaded some photos of the PCB internals:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/any-opinions-on-the-aixun-t3a/msg4658113/#msg4658113

« Last Edit: April 07, 2023, 09:17:48 pm by kkontak »
 
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Offline isabido

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #66 on: September 22, 2023, 02:12:43 pm »
Hi @SteveyG,

I currently have a Ksger T12, and I want to upgrade since they don't seem like good transfer tips to me. The truth is that I am somewhat tired of investing in low-quality Chinese products, the last one I have been trying to purchase is the AXIUN T3B to use with original tips. But I have my doubts!

They have offered me a second-hand METCAL SP-200 for €60 in very good condition. I think that although old it is a good machine with cartridges up to 0.5mm. Do you think this is a good change or would something like the JBC BT-2BWA with a T210 handle be preferable? My use will be for the repair of PC boards or similar.

I would also be delighted to receive your opinions.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #67 on: September 22, 2023, 08:44:41 pm »
SP200 for $60 if it has any tips seems like a good price. T210 is supposedly 20W and SP200 is 35W so they might be comparable.

New thermaltronics video:
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Offline isabido

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #68 on: September 22, 2023, 09:02:15 pm »
Thanks for the response, it does indeed include a tip. I wanted to try a slightly different soldering station, I never tried induction. Although perhaps this SP200 is not comparable with the new metcal stations that work at much higher frequencies.

The advantage of the T210 is a wide variety of tips up to 0.2mm, apart from a shorter distance from the handle to the tip which is somewhat more precise. It is a temptation but falling again into the Chinese product of dubious quality like the Axiun T3B makes me lazy!!
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #69 on: September 22, 2023, 09:10:06 pm »
SP200 is not comparable with the top end stations no. There is a SDG PS900 metcal review but that is slightly higher wattage, 60W

If you want to play around with T210 you can get a KSGER handle for $25 and see how you like it. Run it from 12V.
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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #70 on: September 22, 2023, 09:24:26 pm »
If you're only soldering small stuff SP200 is fine. IMO, if you want to get into Metcal, go with with a 13.56 MHz system. I've used mine to solder grounds on a steel chassis of guitar amps using a 5mm chisel tip. There are used MX-500P-11 RF power units everywhere.
 

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #71 on: September 22, 2023, 09:28:55 pm »
Thanks for the recommendation, what I am going to solder is all SMD and other components that a PCB of a motherboard may have.

Regarding finding second-hand Metcal opportunities, here in Europe (Spain) it is not so simple, there are very few options.
 

Offline isabido

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #72 on: September 22, 2023, 09:36:49 pm »
SP200 is not comparable with the top end stations no. There is a SDG PS900 metcal review but that is slightly higher wattage, 60W

If you want to play around with T210 you can get a KSGER handle for $25 and see how you like it. Run it from 12V.

Do you think a PS900 is a much better option than an SP200? They should be very very similar, right? same frequency and everything.

On the other hand, in that format I had seen another C210, do you think it is better than the Ksger that you recommended?

https://vi.aliexpress.com/item/1005005929126518.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.b62038daFbF5gJ&mp=1&gatewayAdapt=glo2vnm
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: L245 USB JBC
« Reply #73 on: September 22, 2023, 10:13:23 pm »
Do you think a PS900 is a much better option than an SP200? They should be very very similar, right? same frequency and everything.

On the other hand, in that format I had seen another C210, do you think it is better than the Ksger that you recommended?



Similar, but I can't say for sure, never used the SP200 or PS900.

That Sequre has poor ergonomics IMO. The ksger has a proper grip with foam cover.
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