Author Topic: SDG Electronics mega soldering system thread - New: Metcal Connection Validation  (Read 5954 times)

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Offline SteveyG

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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: September 02, 2021, 02:56:24 pm by SteveyG »
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Offline SteveyG

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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

« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 05:49:44 pm by SteveyG »
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Offline SteveyG

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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 SteveyG

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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 SteveyG

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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 »
 

Offline SteveyG

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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 SteveyG

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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 SteveyG

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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 SteveyG

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Added the T3A from Aixun. Seemed to have excellent performance!
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Offline 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 SteveyG

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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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Offline 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 SteveyG

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Now added the Metcal Connection Validation system
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/sdgelectronics/
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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
 

Offline 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.
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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.
 

Offline 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 SteveyG

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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 SteveyG

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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.
 

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 SteveyG

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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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