Author Topic: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools  (Read 27826 times)

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Offline sn4k3

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #50 on: May 25, 2018, 09:58:22 pm »
the price difference is quite big: ersa is  appx 260 us dollars

I was curious if someone used all of them: ts100 , ersa and chinese t12;  what would be  better when comparing soldering capabilities? ts100 or the china t12?

I kinda like that the ts100 has big user base and software alternatives, but it seems like the tip is far from the grip

Price is lot higher, but still is a low price for a high performance station, comparing to big brands.
I have all that 3.

ERSA wins in every aspect, better handle, light, better heat recovery, more power, good interface, fast, cheap tips, nothing wrong really.

TS100 works very well, almost similar to ersa but with less power, this only matter if you want to solder huge planes like heatsinks. The tiny tips work better than ersa eg. (0.2mm), the only good tiny ersa tip is the 0.3 new optimized tip, all others will suck the solder up at body and not at tip, so they are useless from 0.2mm to 0.5mm. Even the TS-ILS 0.15mm tip can do the job fine, solder melt at tip.
The only downside of TS100 i will say ergonomics, not much about the handle but more about the cable, if you use heavy or normal adaptor cables it will fatige more and you will end to do more force at handle, this can be fixed by install a new cable from adaptor, a flexible silicone cable, this way TS100 is much more usable. TS100 also offer less tips than T12 or ersa.
To improve TS100 i use this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/183179397286 That turn the iron into kinda fixed station with flexible cable, but that will increase your price, so you can mod an adaptor with the cable only

T12 doesn't fell as good as TS100 at my use experience, but i only have used clones with clone tips, if you go original tips i guess the quality will be much higher. The TS100 overall performance looks better to me than the T12.

Resume:

1) ERSA
2) TS100 with cable mod
3) T12

If you will use your station everyday and heavy use go ersa.
For hobby either TS100 or T12 will fit
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 10:01:30 pm by sn4k3 »
 
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Offline YTSOC

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #51 on: June 27, 2018, 02:15:27 pm »
got the ts100 with bc2 tip and while i was reasonably impressed with it at first , when i got to test it in an identical scenario to where i used the ersa icon pico alot i was disappointed and i'm not sure what the problem is: the temperature seemed to be stable and the  sw of the iron(ralim) indicated a max power usage of 50%  but i needed to go to 400 C  where the ersa would do the job at 340C
It was powered at 20V but since the power usage never got higher than 50% while soldering i'm going to asume it's not a power problem but maybe a temp readout problem or a bad tip construction(sensor too far from tip)  Also, the tip is unnecessary thin twards the soldering part thus  having lower thermal mass.

I'm going to experiment further with it(sw, higher voltage) it's a nice iron for the price and i'm being unreasonable comparing it with a station that is 4-5 times more expensive
 

Offline sn4k3

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #52 on: June 27, 2018, 03:24:05 pm »
got the ts100 with bc2 tip and while i was reasonably impressed with it at first , when i got to test it in an identical scenario to where i used the ersa icon pico alot i was disappointed and i'm not sure what the problem is: the temperature seemed to be stable and the  sw of the iron(ralim) indicated a max power usage of 50%  but i needed to go to 400 C  where the ersa would do the job at 340C
It was powered at 20V but since the power usage never got higher than 50% while soldering i'm going to asume it's not a power problem but maybe a temp readout problem or a bad tip construction(sensor too far from tip)  Also, the tip is unnecessary thin twards the soldering part thus  having lower thermal mass.

I'm going to experiment further with it(sw, higher voltage) it's a nice iron for the price and i'm being unreasonable comparing it with a station that is 4-5 times more expensive

To really compare with ersa first you need to give TS100 same voltage: 24V. That 4V will make a small difference.
Make sure you use last firmware, i read on release page some time ago theres a problem with some small tip including bc, that due calibration, but i can't find anymore that note.
Also make sure you calibrate VIN and temperature at TS100 menu
 

Offline KC0PPH

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #53 on: April 30, 2019, 09:26:35 pm »
Looking at getting a new soldering station. I have a really old weller one and would like to get something that uses the Hakko tips and also am needing hot air.

I would like to spend right around $100 for both an iron and hot air. I can go more or less, but as a part time hobbyist I dont need the best things on the market.

Requirements in order of importance:

1) Small Size
2) Hakko tip compatability
3) Price around $100
4) Comes with Stand (prefer both sponge and brass scrunchy)
 

Offline sn4k3

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #54 on: April 30, 2019, 09:34:46 pm »
Looking at getting a new soldering station. I have a really old weller one and would like to get something that uses the Hakko tips and also am needing hot air.

I would like to spend right around $100 for both an iron and hot air. I can go more or less, but as a part time hobbyist I dont need the best things on the market.

Requirements in order of importance:

1) Small Size
2) Hakko tip compatability
3) Price around $100
4) Comes with Stand (prefer both sponge and brass scrunchy)

BAKON 950D + HAKKO 633-01 ??
For hotair i'm not seeing what you can get for such price, your budget is very low plus you need tips
 

Offline Johnny B Good

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #55 on: October 04, 2019, 02:10:48 am »
Looking at getting a new soldering station. I have a really old weller one and would like to get something that uses the Hakko tips and also am needing hot air.

I would like to spend right around $100 for both an iron and hot air. I can go more or less, but as a part time hobbyist I dont need the best things on the market.

Requirements in order of importance:

1) Small Size
2) Hakko tip compatability
3) Price around $100
4) Comes with Stand (prefer both sponge and brass scrunchy)

 Looking back over this topic thread, I'm not the only one to have ignored the following notice (in red!). >:D

"Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
Unless you're sure you want to reply, please consider starting a new topic."

 I know that some six months on, this is unlikely to be of use to KC0PPH but I thought it might help others with a similar requirement.

 About 8 weeks back I put my very first order into Banggood for a KSGER T12 soldering station with the "cheap and plasticy soldering wand" with a T12-K 'starter tip' for £39.05 (circa 50 dollars?) along with a few other soldering related items which raised the total order value to just north of 76 quid (circa 100 dollars?). The other items being a clone Hakko iron stand, a Daniu wire wool tip cleaner, a pack of ten assorted clone T12 tips and a Daniu FG-100 tip thermometer.

[EDIT] Checking the following links just after I posted this missive, I noticed that the soldering iron holder is sporting a wire clip folly in place of the useful wire clip you can see in the attached pictures of the holder I'd received from Banggood.

 Unless your soldering handle actually requires some form of spring clip to retain it in the holder (mine doesn't but the spring clip acts as a useful "Backstop" should the handle become slightly dislodged, hence its continued presence), the simple solution if such isn't actually required, is simply to unclip it and put it to one side.

 If you do need such a wire clip and the one supplied is a useless ornament, you may be able to remodel said useless ornament or else get hold of a length of similar gauge spring wire from a real model shop or a shop selling metal in preformed shapes (drawn steel rod and wire) or try your luck at a scrapyard if you can't repurpose a suitable spring from your collection of springs (everyone has a collection of 'useful bits' recovered from broken gadgets that includes an assortment of springs, right? Just me then? :().

https://www.banggood.com/KSGER-V2_1S-T12-Digital-Temperature-Controller-Soldering-Station-Soldering-Iron-Tips-T12-K-p-1338117.html?rmmds=myorder&cur_warehouse=CN

https://www.banggood.com/Soldering-Iron-Stand-Welding-Holder-for-FX951-T12-Soldering-Station-Handle-p-1156336.html?rmmds=myorder&cur_warehouse=CN

https://www.banggood.com/DANIU-1-Pcs-Heavy-Duty-Soldering-Solder-Iron-Tip-Cleaner-Steel-Wire-With-Stand-Set-NEW-p-1182609.html?rmmds=myorder&cur_warehouse=CN

https://www.banggood.com/10pcs-T12-Soldering-Iron-Tips-Set-for-HAKKO-FX951-FX952-p-1191594.html?rmmds=myorder&cur_warehouse=CN

https://www.banggood.com/DANIU-FG-100-Soldering-Iron-Tip-Thermometer-Temperature-Tester-0-700-p-952899.html?rmmds=myorder&cur_warehouse=CN

 Now this very first Banggood order, rather uncharacteristically I now realise in hindsight, was delivered to my doorstep just eight days after placing the order on the eve of a ten day cruise holiday. Luckily, number one son just happened to have broken up with his live in girlfriend so was "House sitting" whilst we were away and had spotted this banggood "Bag of Goodies" waiting to be taken in (or away by an opportunist thief) on returning home from work.

 According to Banggood's recollection of events that 1st order had been delivered on the 20 Aug despite it having been found on our doorstep two days before our return on the 18th which makes their recollection of my second order's delivery date of the 30th somewhat suspect (if in hindsight, more realistic) since, according to Banggood's records, I'd  placed that lower value order just seven and a half hours after placing the first one.

 If you're wondering why I'm banging on about Banggood (Bad Bang more like!), it's because there's even less to like about their modus operandi than Ebay's MO and the last impression I wish to give is that Banggood are a reasonable alternative to that "Rock and a Hard Place" we call Ebay.

 Their only virtue being the availability of some useful electronics related items at very low prices when you're not in any particular hurry (or you're happy to let you descendants handle your Banggood's purchases post mortem). Also, I feel I should point out that you have to be careful when submitting a review so as not to frighten their editors in offering useful advice such as the fact that the KSGER oled T12 soldering station's power supply board needs some remedial work to eliminate the Chinese version of Russian Roulette by electrocution since they seem to be applying a strict policy of censorship in regard of any such honest and helpful reviews.

 It seems I should have been rather more devious in offering my bouquets and brickbats of honest appraisal since none of my reviews have yet appeared in any of the review lists against any of the products I have purchased and reviewed. If you have any similar quality issues (the supplied handles need to be stripped down and rebuilt to overcome the deficiencies of "Finest Chinese Assembly and Quality Control") and safety concerns, it's probably best to simply say how wonderful the item is for the money despite some minor issues mentioned here ("here" being a link to an EEVBlog article or a Youtube review for example) and just leave it at that.

 Anyhow, having made my feelings about Banggood's operations clear, I can return to the topic of acquiring a reasonable soldering station setup for 100 dollars or less. You may notice that the price totals on that list of goods now falls a little shy of the £76.74 plus shipping insurance less a discount which dropped the order value to just £76.20 in total. If I'd placed that order at the optimum moment in history, it could have been more like a total cost, shipped, of just 65 quid or so since at one point, a few weeks back now, they'd dropped the price of the soldering station to just below the 30 quid mark for a few days (a week perhaps) before jacking it back up again.

 Yet another aspect of Banggood I dislike, "Yoyo pricing" which seems totally unrelated to international currency exchange rates. That and their practice of "Switch and Bait" pricing between the Chinese, US and UK warehouses. Although the Chinese warehouse option is normally the cheapest, this isn't always true as I discovered to my temporary cost when I ordered a Mustool G600 LCD microscope from the Chinese warehouse only to discover quite by chance just a few hours later that I could have not only reduced the shipping time by using the UK option, I'd have saved almost two quid as well.

 I tried to persuade them to change my order to the UK option but somehow, in the 4 or 5 hours since placing that order, it had uncharacteristically completed the processing stage and reached the shipping stage thus now requiring me to request a refund upon its eventual arrival and rejection. I decided it was simpler to accept that my complacency had allowed this bait and switch trick to work in the first place and just "Suck it up".

 In the end, it was I who had the last laugh since it arrived with a broken screen and I simply requested a full refund of the item price and the 66p shipping insurance which they, to give them some credit, obliged me, including allowing me to dispose of the broken goods as I saw fit. I was able to order a replacement from an Ebay seller shipping from a UK warehouse, now for less than Banggood's original UK price option.

 Unfortunately, this too arrived (just one week after being ordered as opposed to the sixteen days it had taken with the Banggood order) with a broken screen, quite obviously due to shipping damage which only became apparent  after undoing the outer layer of packaging. I'm now negotiating a remedy with the seller who offered an automated reply to apologise for being away on a three day (mid week!?) break and a promise to deal with whatever the issue is when he returns on the 4th. I guess most of these ebay sellers are a one man band operation so I can sympathise with his situation (BTDT&GTBTS).

 I guess I'll see a response tomorrow or Saturday, depending on how swamped with customer queries he may be. Right now I'm feeling mildly frustrated rather than outright annoyed. I guess I must be mellowing with age. At worst, I can always get a refund from ebay at the end of the day and tackling a "Holy Grail" like search for a replacement screen for the Banggood unit is now starting to look more attractive. Close examination of photos with a ruler in front of the broken screen, which lights up to reveal the pattern of pixels but no image of any sort, suggests the panel is actually only a 480 by 260 (272) pixels panel. I haven't yet opened it up to look for part numbers but if anyone reading this thread has any suggestions for cheaply sourcing a replacement panel, I'd appreciate the help. :)

[EDIT]  After starting my "Holy Grail" search, I realised I'd miscalculated the vertical resolution of that microscope display module and landed up counting every single pixel in the column next to the ruler in my photograph after calculating a revised estimate of 285 pixels... Twice!

 I did end up with a full count of 272, confirming that the candidate display I was about to purchase off ebay would also be a perfect pixel match to the broken unit I'd removed from the Banggood microscope which had revealed a stiff block of sponge rubber which had been stuck to the back of the panel, presumably as some sort of vibration damper since the four retaining screws had held it securely in place without any such additional and stressful support.

 This block of rubber is not going to be refitted when I install the replacement panel since its presence had undoubtedly pre-stressed the original panel making it vulnerable to the knocks and bumps it could no longer endure during the shipping process.

 I haven't opened the ebay purchased unit to check since I might have to exchange it for a couriered replacement so I don't want to be accused of 'tampering with the goods' but I'm betting this second unit has succumbed for exactly the same reason as the first. In any case, now that there's a very good chance of my repairing the original Banggood unit, I'd rather request a refund than a replacement - I only need one working unit.

 So unless I'm very much mistaken, it looks like I'll finally land up with a working Mustool G600 LCD microscope for just the cost of a replacement TFT panel for a mere £11.09 which I'd bought from here if anyone else has one of these microscopes in need of a replacement screen:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-3-4-3-inch-480x272-TFT-LCD-Display-w-Optional-Touch-Screen-Panel-for-MP4-Car/291812799328?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

 Hopefully, the bunch of smd components shown in the pictures of the replacement's flexi pcb aren't going to be an issue (the original lacks any such adornment).

 Sorry for that diversion and a return to the question of whether that list of kit meets the requirements specified by KC0PPH. The KSGER station is compact enough and certainly fulfills the Hakko T12/T15 compatibility requirement so you're not stuck with using the massively cheap Hakko T12 clones and fakes with their signature trademark of NTS (New Tip Syndrome) which the Hakko originals are apparently free of. The NTS effect simply obliges you to temperature cycle the brand new unused tips to eliminate their confusing effect on the KSGER's PID control algorithm. If you're running them at a modest 300 deg C, this process seems to take only 5 minutes or so. Casual use over the next few days, maybe just an hour or so's worth in total, seems to stabilise them at the full (nobody in their right mind would use) 480 deg setting.

 I have yet to put my soldering station to full and productive use thanks to those damaged Mustool G600 microscopes (I'd like to see what I'm doing without having to don 3.5 dioptre reading glasses and pushing my nose against the PCB I'm working on) but from what pitifully limited usage (mostly testing) that I've put it to (after applying all the required remedial work to its smpsu board and the soldering handle's wiring), it does seem to be a worthwhile upgrade over a traditional plug into the wall mains powered soldering iron such as the 25W Antex iron.

 Even if it offered no more soldering power than a 25W Antex, it would still be a vast improvement simply from its combination of fast warm up to 330 or 350 deg from a 150 deg setback temperature after timing out to the idle state (a bit longer if it has timed out to a sleep state when the power is cut off completely, allowing the iron to go cold).

 The timeout periods are user programmable and you can program the startup state to running at the set temperature, running at the setback temperature or even just cold standby which is handy for those of a nervous disposition with unreliable mains power that may cause it to go from cold standby into a set temperature or setback temperature mode after a brief interruption of supply. There are more user settable options which I won't bore you with here, you can type "KSGER T12" into Youtube's search text box easily enough to satisfy any such prurient interest I may have aroused. :)

 The soldering handle holder seems to have drawn plenty of, imo, unwarranted criticism but afaiac, mine is a perfect fit for my 'cheap plasticy' T12-9501 soldering handle with its charms of light weight, quick tip change (sans the ridiculous bulk of an unnecessary tip retaining collet) and short tip to grip distance. Although no one seems to sell this soldering handle as a ready to plug in replacement (unless you count the overpriced Hakko-centric offerings with their 4 core silicone cable and cheap 'n' nasty 8 pole din plug which you'd need to replace with a 5 core cable and a GX12-5M plug at additional cost).

 Perhaps I was just lucky in getting a Hakko clone soldering iron stand that had a useful version of the spring wire clip over the top of the horseshoe shaped rest rather than the fanciful follies that typically got in the way of its intended function where the obvious solution is simply to unclip it and put it to one side (just in case there is a handle in existence where this might provide some benefit). In a couple of these youtube reviews where the reviewers complained bitterly about the design of these Hakko clone soldering iron stands, it was very obvious indeed that their shape had been the result of the shipping department staff's attempts at compacting them with a size 13 hobnail boot to make fit into the box.

 I couldn't believe the total lack of imagination in working out the obvious remedy to such packing related vandalism by the use of a bench vice and a dose of opposing vandalistic force to restore them to a semblance of the shape that Ghod had intended them to be. When you watch any review videos, trust your own instincts and draw your own conclusions rather than take what the reviewer is saying as 'gospel'. With review videos, you do at least have this option of drawing your own conclusions from the video evidence which simply isn't available in a written review so they're not all bad even where the reviewer seemingly fails to spot the bleedin' obvious for the lack of 'polishing up time'.

 The Daniu wire wool tip cleaner fits nicely into the damp sponge holder using a small rubber band around its base to make it a snug fit. Originally, I'd simply relied on the fact that the main spring support happened to push against the backside of the tip cleaner, neatly holding it in place. It was only weeks later that I decided to try the rubber band trick to completely eliminate the small amount of wobble this setup gives rise to. Having proved its effectiveness, I simply reset the spring to eliminate contact between it and the back of the tip cleaner. I've got a couple of photos showing my soldering iron stand setup which I'll attach to this post.

 I did eventually manage to discover where Banggood had been hiding the DIY form of this elusive T12-9501 handle for a mere £6.71 (but you need to purchase a length of 5 core silicone cable separately). I prefer the DIY option since it saves the hassle of dismantling a poorly assembled handle and plug before you can even start the process of rebuilding it to your own much higher standard of assembly (with an option to customise the cable length thrown in for just a little additional cost to boot!).

 I ordered the handle kit and a 3 metre length of cable last week so I can split the cable between the new and existing handles by way of an upgrade on the one metre cable fitted to the original handle. Cable length options were in one metre increments from one to five metres and the three metre option was only slightly more expensive than the two metre option which was a little on the long side for just one handle when 1500mm would hit the sweet spot and I'd otherwise have to waste a 500mm surplus. Incidentally, that handle kit comes supplied with both the GX12-5 male plug and female panel socket which could come in handy should I decide to build myself a spare soldering station from scratch. :)

 The selection pack of ten clone T12 tips whilst offering a far from optimum choice, does at least give me a selection to try out at less than a tenth of the price of the original Hakko tips. It was a quick 'n' dirty way to amass a small collection of tips and remove utter reliance on the one and only K tip that had been provided with the soldering station. As it turned out, that original tip seems to have developed a fault. The K tip in that pack of ten seems to be ok for the time being but I'm currently using the BC3 tip which has survived the NTS phase of its life cycle. Hopefully, it will survive considerably longer than the supplied K tip did.

 It's worth the modest investment in a pack of clone tips before considering the purchase of a small choice selection of genuine Hakko T12 or T15 tips. For starters you get to work with a sample of, in this case, ten rather than a sample of one when building up a statistical analysis of the reliability of the cheap clone alternatives and you get the 'security in numbers' effect allowing you to make use of the remaining tips, even if it does involve their abuse in using them in ways they've not been optimised for.

 So far, I've only 'burnt in' 3 of those tips and I'm leaving the remaining 7 unused until I can test with a 12vac transformer conditioning supply to precondition them so as to eliminate this NTS when first presented to the KSGER soldering station and its 24vdc heater current. I have a concern that this NTS phenomena may be galvanic interference from electrolysis products generated by residual moisture and the presence of a DC voltage during this initial drying out phase and I'd rather use an ac voltage to minimise any such potential electrolytic corrosion during this initial conditioning phase.

 It may not make much, if any, difference to the life of these cartridge tips but the use of a 12v mains transformer is as good a way to precondition them without tying up the soldering station with such a menial task. Obviously, if you decide never to use clone tips and stick with Hakko tips, such a transformer would be a wasted investment if you had to go out and make a special purchase. However, I suspect most of us here will already have a suitable transformer to hand in their box of salvage to try this out before coming to any conclusion about clones versus originals. I'm planning on testing this by wiring a set of three tips in series across the 36vac output of one of the ten or fifteen such 400VA transformers I've got stored in my basement (of which two, if I'm not mistaken, are currently residing alongside my office desk in the spare bedroom I'm now currently using as my electronics workshop).

 Anyway, I think that's everything (and then some!) covered in regard to KC0PPH's query (excluding, naturally, the question of a hot air station or gun which on its own would break his hundred dollar price limit). I've limited my response to the more realistic aspect of his query as well as my experience (I've never owned or used a hot air soldering station or gun).

JBG
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 06:47:22 pm by Johnny B Good »
 

Offline Southerner

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #56 on: October 04, 2019, 04:50:37 am »

Desoldering
Desoldering stations

ZD-8915



Station Price: 80€ - 90€
Tip's Price: 1€ - 2€, Cheap [0.8mm, 1.0mm, 1.3mm, 1.5mm]
Tip's availability: Not many, easy to source.
Tip hot change: Not recommended.
ESD-Safe: Yes
Max Power: 150W
Features: Digital
Good for: Through hole desoldering, hobby
My review: This station will perform good but require some maintenance after some use, good if if you ocasional need to suck solder and you are to lazy to use a manual pump. If you want to desoldering all day and continuously this tool is not for you.
Advice: Buy all tips they are cheap and some spare filters to future use.
I could not find the ZD9815 but did get the ZD915.  It is ok but definitely no Hakko.  I even replaced the chamber with a Hakko chamber.  There is another thread on here where someone machined the stock tip to take a Hakko replacement tip.  I did not have machining tool access so I did not do that but I have a hard time keeping the tip from getting clogged despite leaving the air trigger on for a little bit after removing it from the connection to be desoldered.  I can't get this gun to clean out holes around IDC headers no matter what I do.  For occasional use it is ok but definitely needs improvement.


Microscope

When it goes tiny sizes there no way to repair without a magnifier tool, if you are in SMD world you need one of this. There are cheap tools like crap usb cameras but will be tedious to work with despite low frame rate and quality. You can use some kind of magnifier or even glasses but not pratical to work with, make sure you always have two hands that you can use.

AmScope SE400-Z



Set Price: 150€ - 230€ + Shipping
Stereo: Yes
Head: 45 degree inclined binocular.
Eyepieces: 30.5mm widefield WF10x and WF20x
Objective: 1X.
Zoom: Can't change, fixed with the Eyepieces (10x or 20x included)
Can ajust height focus: Yes
Can ajust eyepieces focus: Yes*, only on left ocular
Illumination: Yes, included in a goose neck style, ajustable position, 1W fixed
Diopter Adjustment: +/-5dp
Working distance:  +/- 9" (228mm / 22.8cm)
Interpupillary Distance: 2-0" - 2-15/16"(50-77mm)
Boom-Arm Stand: 12" arm (overall length: 17"), 13.5" high pillar, 7.5"x5.0"x2.5" steel base.
Accessories: eye-guards.
Good for: Hobby, small or moderate use
My review: One of best microscope you can buy with small money, easy to use, the quality is good and for inspection is more than ok, the included 10x eyepiece is what you will use all the time, 20x will not be that usefull, maybe  you can benefit from it in some occasion but you will be lazy to change that just for one scenario. It will allow you to solder leg by leg, for example you wouldn't have any difficulty to view and exchange a micro usb port pin by pin. The working distance is excellent, the 22.8cm give you a lot more freedom that other alternatives, you can solder under it and even use hot air in a low angle.
Advice: Put one or two dead acid batteries on top of the microscope to make it heavier to prevent accidents and falls, microscope base is heavy but not enough in my opinion. If you can, buy the 5x 10x version if avaliable. If you have the money and you are serious about repair and smd please buy the AmScope SM-4xxxx (See below), it worth all the extra.
I have the SE400Z and swear by it.  I have several other microscopes including a couple Nikkon SMZ645 and find the Nikkon's make me claustrophobic  as I can't get tools and soldering iron under there and actually being able to do anything.  The focal length is just too close but then I bought the SE400Z and what a difference.  I recommend the Amscope.  It is nice to have a focal length of 7 or 8 inches leaving plenty of room to work.
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #57 on: October 04, 2019, 12:59:01 pm »
Quote
got the ts100 with bc2 tip and while i was reasonably impressed with it at first , when i got to test it in an identical scenario to where i used the ersa icon pico alot i was disappointed and i'm not sure what the problem is: the temperature seemed to be stable and the  sw of the iron(ralim) indicated a max power usage of 50%  but i needed to go to 400 C  where the ersa would do the job at 340C
It was powered at 20V but since the power usage never got higher than 50% while soldering i'm going to asume it's not a power problem but maybe a temp readout problem or a bad tip construction(sensor too far from tip)  Also, the tip is unnecessary thin twards the soldering part thus  having lower thermal mass.
Well, can't say I'm surprised. I wonder if even the genuine 951 can read the temp of a T12 tip, properly.

Updated my personal scorecard.
Suhan, no.
Bakon, no.
TS-100, no.
KSGER ?
951 ?
 

Online Shock

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #58 on: October 04, 2019, 02:26:43 pm »
Well, can't say I'm surprised. I wonder if even the genuine 951 can read the temp of a T12 tip, properly.

Hakko FX951 +/- 5C/9F (obviously on genuine tips)
Pace ADS200 +/- 1.1C/2F

The JBC and Ersa (even worse) models I've checked tend to overshoot a fair bit so even if they magically settled on a few degrees accuracy it's pointless as there is a high chance you are running a hotter tip than set temp at the time you touch the next joint. You can slow them down in software but as I've mentioned previously that isn't ideal.

Metcal looks on paper about the same as Hakko, from what I understand Metcal tolerances are largely governed by variances in the cartridge. I believe genuine T12 can be quite accurate on the Unisolder project station. But those that run a Unisolder to use the T12 carts have questionable logic, especially now since the ADS200 is cheaper in the US by far than messing around with the Unisolder.

JBCs tout is it heats up in 2 secs but this is a low mass/power tip and I don't care what the marketing spin is, a tip cannot heat and land stably on temp in 2 seconds. JBC's logging software (which I'd have no use for) according to others is inaccurate while soldering, this makes sense the way they display set temp to the user like it is actually "the set temp".

Fastest tip I've seen the Pace ADS200 do is 3-4 seconds from room temp to 350C/450F if I recall correctly. Hard to measure the speed accurately without influencing the temp.
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 87V, 117, 27/FM     >>> Fluke 51/52 Thermometer Parts Required <<<
Oscilloscopes: Rigol DS1054Z, Phillips PM3065
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #59 on: October 04, 2019, 06:13:20 pm »
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Hakko FX951 +/- 5C/9F (obviously on genuine tips)
I'm not sure what that actually means, though. The clones I have can hold to around that, when under a consistent load. In free air, for instance, yes. Can hold to within a few degrees C. On a joint, yeah, can hold to a few degrees. This ain't no problem, at all. The problem is the sag, which can be tens of degrees more than an regular (old, obsolete) iron. In my case, with my clones, on the order of 15C sag (beyond an 888) on a modest heatsink. From the YTSOC's experience soldering something (I imagine must be larger heatsink) with TS-100, the extra sag is ~60C under that condition compared to his Ersa.

Quote
The JBC and Ersa (even worse) models I've checked tend to overshoot a fair bit so even if they magically settled on a few degrees accuracy it's pointless as there is a high chance you are running a hotter tip than set temp at the time you touch the next joint.
Fair 'nuff, but this is somewhat vague to me. Once the tip is warmed up, does that mean it overshoots after you remove the tip from a heatsink? Or does it overshoot while it's on the joint? And by how much?

If the overshoot happens after you lift the joint off the heatsink:
1. Even 10-20C overshoot might not be a huge a deal, IMO. But I guess I'd have to try it and see in real work.
2. If this is how it overshoots, maybe it is making base-tip sag compensation.* That could be pretty excellent compared to the unintended side effect of overshoot. This overshoot would be unavoidable, and dialing it back a bit, you might find the best compromise. 

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Metcal looks on paper about the same as Hakko, from what I understand Metcal tolerances are largely governed by variances in the cartridge.
Yeah, that's how I understand it. There's a wide range, but it's because the skinny, pointy tips have a higher set point to offset the base-tip sag.

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JBCs tout is it heats up in 2 secs but this is a low mass/power tip and I don't care what the marketing spin is, a tip cannot heat and land stably on temp in 2 seconds. JBC's logging software (which I'd have no use for) according to others is inaccurate while soldering, this makes sense the way they display set temp to the user like it is actually "the set temp".
. Can't be this bad, though: I had a Hakko clone you turn on and would see the temp roll up like the time on a digital stop watch down to the hundredths of a second, and stop exactly on set, 350C bing! Then about 10 seconds later, I could actually tin the tip.  :-DD It was obvious to me from the first turn-on that it might be displaying a split time, but it wasn't displaying anything resembling temperature.


*I happen to suspect that the ADS has got the temp readings figured out. In my best guesstimation, to get an accurate read which doesn't add sag (compared to an "obsolete technology" iron) from any cartridge tip that uses thermocouple as a single combo heater/sensor, it will require a significant amount of ADC resolution. And if it's accurate enough, the station could actually compensate for base-tip sag as well as sensor coupling sag. Because now that it has the correct temp, it also has a great idea of the actual load on the tip. (And if it uses this info to completely or largely compensate for base-tip sag, overshoot when you lift the iron would be the natural result. The station would have to keep the base of the tip higher then set to compensate for the sag from base to tip, so it isn't that the base of the tip is getting hotter when you lift it; it's the fact the base was already hotter at that point in time, and the temperature reading is what changes when the load is removed; the station recognizes the load is no longer there, and the compensation for the load is removed from the sensor data conditioning, so the displayed temp rises to show the actual temp of the base; the point of the tip will also obviously rise even after the power is cut, due to the temp of the base of the tip. This overshoot would be unavoidable, esp on a skinny pointy tip). So I suspect a very excellent station is possible with these cartridge tips, and I suspect ADS might be one of them. It's kinda frustrating then, that what the rest of the world focuses on is stuff that doesn't demonstrate this. Stuff like:

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Pace ADS200 +/- 1.1C/2F
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Fastest tip I've seen the Pace ADS200 do is 3-4 seconds from room temp to 350C/450F

... is completely great. Super impressive. I'll add that the 1.1C is all the more ridiculous that any tip you put in there will hit the set temp to that degree without any calibration. That is freaking voodoo, AFAIC.

But the most curious aspect to me is the sag issue, under load. I mean, having to run hotter than normal set temps and having to crank the temp up for modest changes in joints is simply sad when the iron is hardly even tapping its available power.
Quote
Hard to measure the speed accurately without influencing the temp.
... And you can totally measure sag without needing to time anything!
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 07:51:20 pm by KL27x »
 

Online Shock

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #60 on: October 04, 2019, 09:31:13 pm »
I'm not sure what that actually means, though. The clones I have can hold to around that, when under a consistent load.

The regulation accuracy of the FX951 is +/- 5C/9F, you can assume it's at idle. It's a useful spec when calibrating the tips which you do at idle temp anyway. Essentially it's showing the best regulation scenario between display and tip. Recovery or how the station recovers from sag is different, depends on a lot of things and is highly mass dependent.

Fair 'nuff, but this is somewhat vague to me. Once the tip is warmed up, does that mean it overshoots after you remove the tip from a heatsink? Or does it overshoot while it's on the joint? And by how much?

JBC and Ersa have profiles that increase speed at the cost of regulation. If you reduce the speed they undershoot more to set temp (display vs actual tip temp) as they are regulating tighter. The graphic I've included at the bottom of this post shows it the best (note the graph only illustrates regulation curves) the speed to get to accurate idle temp is different. This is why what the display says is important, you can hide the actual stations performance in software if you wanted to.

If the overshoot happens after you lift the joint off the heatsink:

What I meant was if it has an aggressive heating profile (to boost performance) it will overshoot, who cares about regulation when you have a super fast station right? :) It's going to do this during recovering from sag as well. Which is why a stations performance is not immediately obvious. I could make the fastest station ever with the poorest regulation.

But the most curious aspect to me is the sag issue, under load. I mean, having to run hotter than normal set temps and having to crank the temp up for modest changes in joints is simply sad when the iron is hardly even tapping its available power.

There is no such thing as "hotter than normal", because noone should be soldering at anemic temps where the ground plane has a dominant influence over soldering speed and the flow of the joint (important factors in quality). You find a temp that suits the tip and application and isn't too high for the component or your soldering efficiency and go to work. But yeah tip geometry, mass and power and technique is important.

And you can totally measure sag without needing to time anything!

I meant measure speed "accurately" without influencing the measurement, I used to do temp calibration for a job many years ago, though I'm no real expert it's more just observational knowledge. Pace on their previous series made calibration tips with a built in external thermocouple on the outside. They aren't really required though anymore but kind of handy if you need to confirm calibration as they plug in with a k connector.

Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 87V, 117, 27/FM     >>> Fluke 51/52 Thermometer Parts Required <<<
Oscilloscopes: Rigol DS1054Z, Phillips PM3065
 

Offline KL27x

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Re: [TIP] Best budget/cheap soldering stations and tools
« Reply #61 on: October 04, 2019, 09:53:30 pm »
Quote
There is no such thing as "hotter than normal", because noone should be soldering at anemic temps where the ground plane has a dominant influence over soldering speed and the flow of the joint (important factors in quality). You find a temp that suits the tip and application and isn't too high for the component or your soldering efficiency and go to work. But yeah tip geometry, mass and power and technique is important.
But take YSTOC example. In order to do a specific job, his Ersa can do it at 340C. The TS100 has to be turned up to 400C to do the same joint. 340C is already hotter than what I use 99.9% of the time. I am around 315C for the majority of my work.

The reason I prefer to solder at a lower temp has nothing to do with fear of damaging sensitive components or PCB. I have eyes to tell me when the joint has flowed.  I prefer a low set temp solely to keep the tip soldering longer without needing tinning/cleaning. It's purely practical. How it achieves this is largely immaterial to me. I don't suspect I'm in a very small minority, here, although most normal humans might not think about it exactly this way; just answer this: if you have to turn up the iron to 400C to do some job, how long do you leave it there after you're done, and how often do you have to refurbish or replace your iron tips?

If the iron sags when you touch to the heatsink, it's like someone is turning down your iron every time you touch it to a joint. The bigger the heatsink, the more they turn down the set temp. This is terrible, IMO. It's better than a firestick, but it's just halfway between a firestick with a dimmer and a true temp controlled station. This is exactly how my T12 clones behave. I'm near certain this is due to sensor/heater coupling error.

You graph is very telling. This graph, AFAIC, shows recovery between joints. After lifting the iron. What you do not see is the part that happens while on the joint. You might not believe it just because I say it. But if you looked at the performance while on the joint, I suspect you will find that the "high setting" overshoots and oscillates not because it is trying to "recover" a wee bit faster. This must be the byproduct of something more important. That while it is soldering, it is reducing sag from setpoint. Therefore, you can't tell if this overshoot decreases performance without looking at what happens on the heatsink/joint. Overall, it could be a massive improvement, allowing one to solder at a lower set point, overall, even factoring in the overshoot. Go back to YTSOC's example. Say your work requires you to use a setpoint of 400C when put on "low." But when on "high," you can use a set point of 340C, and things flow without any noticeable delay. Even if you had 20-30C overshoot, this is still performing way better than the "low" setting.

Average Joe might assume the overshoot is related to thermal mass/inertia, and that the iron uses PID to avoid overshoot. I'm almost positive it's largely due to sensor error processing and adjustment, excerbated perhaps by a relatively low temp read frequency. IOW, the JBC must do error correction for heater/sensor coupling. And by turning up the correction factor, it is now overcorrecting, which essentially compensates for base-tip sag. And by turning it somewhere in the middle, the iron is now operating like an "old school" iron that has accurate sensor information with less overshoot and smaller oscillations in equilibrium. Base to tip sag is not corrected for. And turning the correction factor all the way down to zero would make the iron work like the shitty T12 clone with no error correction that sags when under load and limps back to set temp under no load. Tada, no overshoot. Congrats. This is the high, medium, and low on the graph, as far as I am concerned. Soldering irons never needed "overshoot" to be corrected to begin with. Let alone after miniaturizing the heater in the process of putting that itty coil right into the tip. The lack of overshoot is just a side effect of the repercussions. To heck with overshoot; fix the sag.

The "recovery time" is retarded. When used within scope, this shouldn't be a thing. The iron should not need time to recover; it should get back to and maintain set temp while soldering, no matter how long you want to dwell or how quickly you go from joint to joint. Graphs and marketing like this are done by engineers who either 1. Don't know what's important to soldering, 2. Do know but the marketing team wants to keep it simple/understandable to average consumer. Recovery time should only be a thing when the joint is so demanding that the max power the iron has available isn't enough to keep it molten, and you have to "over temp" the tip between joints to store the necessary heat (this may be somewhat of a thing when you are using a tip that is way too small for the job, but it's not the normal bread and butter of how I use an iron; and even if, the recovery time of an "obsolete iron" in this case use is a few seconds, here, tops. Plenty of time while getting the next component aligned with the tweezers; with a cheap T12 clones, perhaps a bit longer).

I keep on hammering this point, and I sometimes feel like I'm being trolled. But odds are most people assume I'm full of shit and living in a fantasy land where I falsely believe I might begin to understand the problem with the heater/sensor coupling. It's basic and easy stuff, but if you can't see the bigger picture you would just see BS strung together to support a narrative. You just assume the programmers figured it out. But if you understand how they would go about it, you would have a good guess what these different modes do and why the overshoot might be insignificant compared to the improvement. This isn't a programming problem. Math might be involved in the solution. But the problem is primarily physics. And if you understand physics, you can't argue it. You can correct it where it's wrong, but you can't argue it, you can't dismiss it, you can't avoid it.

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I meant measure speed "accurately" without influencing the measurement
Yes, I understand. I just meant that measuring what I care about (and may seem trollishly focused on) doesn't even require timing. It's all steady state measurement.

« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 12:46:13 am by KL27x »
 


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