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Multichannel JBC Thoughts

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TheSchilk:
Hey everyone!

First of all - sorry for yet *another* thread about diy JBC stations.... I know....

I have been playing around with the idea of designing and building a multi-tool  JBC station: If I am going to open this rabbit hole, I might as well get it done once and for all!

I have done some basic prototyping and testing, and feel like I have a handle on most aspects.

There are a however a few points I would like to discuss, I decided to bunch them into one post to keep the number of JBC topics down.

1) Tool Selection

I would love to hear from people who have had the opportunity to use multiple JBC tools, to pick a good combination of hand pieces.

Right now I was planning of having a channel each for:
    - T470 high power iron
    - T240 standard iron
    - T210 precision iron
    - AM120 precision tweezers
    - NT115 nano handle
    - AN115/NP115 nano tweezers

I realize that this is very excessive, but I don't plan on buying all tools right from the get-go. If I am going to go through the trouble of designing this station I might was well keep my options open.

Specifically:

- How different are the precision iron (T210) and tweezers (AM120) from the Nano iron/tweezers? Is having both a benefit? Or do their use cases overlap a lot? The feature creep enthusiast in me wants to support both, but I would like to get a sense of just how over-kill that would be.

- Does anybody have experience with both the NP115 and AN115 nano tweezers? While the AN115 is adjustablem the NP115 looks very ergonomic.

- right now I did not plan for any higher-power tweezers than the AM120s (40w per side). Am I right in thinking that something like the AT420 would not provide that much utility?

2) Channel Isolation

Based on this thread and this reverse-engineered schematic, JBC stations power the heater and monitor the thermocouple as such:



Plus, that is how Marco Reps wired his iron, so it *must* be correct (;P).

The upside here is that, as shown above, both C245-style (with seperate TC and heater, also including the C470) and C210 stylecartridges can be connected in the same fashion.

However, by not having the AC supply for the heater referenced to mains earth directly, there are some challenges when trying to create a multiple channel unit:

If 2 C245 cartridges are connected to the same supply, this will parallel their thermocouples, which wouldinterfere with readings:



IF a C210 is thrown into the mix, it would short out a thermocouple through the two heaters:



Both are of course no good.

The easiest solution is of course isolated AC suppplies, but that makes sourcing a transformer a pain. If I do want to have the 6 channels proposed above, I would end up needing the following 8 transformer  secondaries:

42V / 250W : T470
24V / 130W : T240
3x 24V / 40W  : T210, AM120 Tweezers
3x 9V  / 14W  : Nano iron + tweezers

That would require a custom transformer (or a few transformers) and seems like a brute-force solution.

Another idea would be to introduce two switches per heater:



However this only works as long as C240-style and C210 style cartridges are not mixed. It would allow heater current to pass through the TC in parrallel.



It is worth noting that powering multiple C210-style cartridges from the same source should not be a problem, as the  AC source would simply end up being earth-referenced through the shorted parts of the cartridge:



(but I have not tested this)

Another option would be powering the cartridges in a non-standard way, and earth referncing all sources:



I think this is what the 300w 2 channel station from bavaria is doing, but I feel a bit uneasy about doing this. I would rather stick to the 'official' setup.

Right now I am tending towards the following solution using two transformers.

The first transformer would be a 2x24V transformer and could be used to power both the C245 and C470 using the double-switch technique:



The second transformer would feature a 24V and 9V winding and would be used to power all precision  and nano tools.

By not having each channel completely isolated, I can't have combined 245/210 channels like the original JBC station does, but it allows for simpler transformers.

Has anyone else gone through this? Am I way off base? Is there a simpler solution?

Pineapples?

Thank you in advance for your input :)

KrudyZ:
For tweezers I have an NP105 nano, a PA1200 micro and also a PA4200.
The main difference between the nano and micro is the distance of your hands to the work. The tip size is basically the same, but you would need to get curved tips for the micro to close parallel on the smaller SMDs like 0201. The shorter hand distance of the nano reduces shaking, but makes working a bit more crowded. I don't really see a good reason to have both.
The PA4200 is a completely different beast. It outputs a serious amount of heat and is great for taking parts off or soldering the heat sinks of SMD power transistors. I rarely use them as actual tweezers, more like a dual iron you can hold in one hand.

I also have these single irons, NT105 nano, T210 and T245.
I like the nano as it is much shorter than the other ones. Between the 210 and 245 I almost always prefer the 245, it just feels more robust and the tips take more abuse such as applying some wedging force to bend a pin, not that you should ever do that to your iron.

I don't like the JBC desolder and air tools. I prefer my Madell QK857D over the JBC station I had and for desoldering I'm back to using a manual solder sucker.

Axel_sr:
First of all, I seldom share any ideas here since I am just a random hobbyist putting some basic stuff together and there are real professionals out there. But since I was managed to get a DIY C245 warm, I may say something.

Having more than one transformer sounds like something I would definitely not do.

Could you put all channels to "sleep mode" and right after you pick one you connect the channel to ONE transformer/TC input the way that the exact channel needs to using triac, relays, fets or what ever you're planning to. On SW level calibration and power settings are set accordingly. Maybe some kind of SW driven channel -> TR/TC matrix gives you all the options you need now and in the future,

BTW: I made my 245 for fun and at some point I realized that has become my primary soldering iron mainly because of advanced sleep functionality.

A

TheSchilk:

--- Quote from: axel15 on July 24, 2021, 06:23:17 pm ---First of all, I seldom share any ideas here since I am just a random hobbyist putting some basic stuff together and there are real professionals out there. But since I was managed to get a DIY C245 warm, I may say something.

--- End quote ---


Im always happy to hear from someone with experience with a certain topic, even if they are "just a hobbyist" :)

I'm also mostly just shooting from the hip   ^-^



--- Quote from: axel15 on July 24, 2021, 06:23:17 pm ---
Having more than one transformer sounds like something I would definitely not do.

Could you put all channels to "sleep mode" and right after you pick one you connect the channel to ONE transformer/TC input the way that the exact channel needs to using triac, relays, fets or what ever you're planning to. On SW level calibration and power settings are set accordingly. Maybe some kind of SW driven channel -> TR/TC matrix gives you all the options you need now and in the future,


--- End quote ---


Well I definetly will need at least 3 voltages:
The T470 iron runs at 42V
The T245/T210/AT120 usw run at 24V
The Nano stuff runs at 9V

So there is no way around having at least 3 secondaries, and without getting a custom transformer made, the only realistic method would be to have multiple transformers.

That is annoying thought.


--- Quote from: axel15 on July 24, 2021, 06:23:17 pm ---
Could you put all channels to "sleep mode" and right after you pick one you connect the channel to ONE transformer/TC input the way that the exact channel needs to using triac, relays, fets or what ever you're planning to. On SW level calibration and power settings are set accordingly. Maybe some kind of SW driven channel -> TR/TC matrix gives you all the options you need now and in the future,


--- End quote ---


Yes I definetly considered this.

My plan right now is to design a 'generic' channel layout that can support any iron I want by populating different parts/connecting different transformers. Then I can just put a few of those onto a pcb and configure it for the tools I will end up using during assembly.

I don't think having a single channel that is multiplexed is realisitc, mostly because there are 3 different operating voltages and the switching would be more complex than simply implementing multiple parallel channels.

That does not mean I can't do what you suggest: Software can keep track of how much power is being drawn, and only activate so many channels at once as to stay within the power limits.

TheSchilk:

--- Quote from: KrudyZ on July 24, 2021, 05:52:22 pm ---For tweezers I have an NP105 nano, a PA1200 micro and also a PA4200.

--- End quote ---

Perfect! I was hoping that there was someone with experience with all of them :)

I was having trouble finding info about the PA1200 and PA4200 - I guess they are older models?
But I would assume they are comparable to the AM/PA120 and AT420?


--- Quote from: KrudyZ on July 24, 2021, 05:52:22 pm ---The main difference between the nano and micro is the distance of your hands to the work.

The tip size is basically the same, but you would need to get curved tips for the micro to close parallel on the smaller SMDs like 0201. The shorter hand distance of the nano reduces shaking, but makes working a bit more crowded. I don't really see a good reason to have both.

The PA4200 is a completely different beast. It outputs a serious amount of heat and is great for taking parts off or soldering the heat sinks of SMD power transistors. I rarely use them as actual tweezers, more like a dual iron you can hold in one hand.


--- End quote ---

Yeah I was starting to suspect as much. I guess having an AT420 and nano tweezers would make much more sense and cover
much more ground.


--- Quote from: KrudyZ on July 24, 2021, 05:52:22 pm ---
I also have these single irons, NT105 nano, T210 and T245.

I like the nano as it is much shorter than the other ones. Between the 210 and 245 I almost always prefer the 245, it just feels more robust and the tips take more abuse such as applying some wedging force to bend a pin, not that you should ever do that to your iron.

--- End quote ---


--- Quote from: KrudyZ on July 24, 2021, 05:52:22 pm ---I don't like the JBC desolder and air tools. I prefer my Madell QK857D over the JBC station I had and for desoldering I'm back to using a manual solder sucker.

--- End quote ---

I have never tried them myself but I wasn't planning on going down that route for this project anyway.
That would be too much feature creep - even for me.

But thank you very much for sharing your experience!

Maybe a much more sensical lineup would see me skipping the precision/micro (T210/AT120) line all together:

- T470 high power iron
- T240 standard iron
- T420 'standard' tweezers
- NT115 nano handle
- AN115/NP115 nano tweezers

That should really cover 99% of all the soldering I would ever have to do.

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