Author Topic: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations  (Read 56342 times)

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Offline bd139Topic starter

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Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« on: December 26, 2017, 10:47:33 am »
My usual daily driver iron is a relatively new Weller TCP station. I use this for just about everything and it just works. I've used the same type of iron for about 25 years. However I fancied a go at one of the T12's as discussed on the TEA thread, mainly because they look pretty simple, are very cheap and deliver a lot of power in a tiny handpiece. It'd be nice to see what a station 13x less cost than my TCP is actually like. So for the measly price of £16 ($4 discount) I nabbed one of these from Aliexpress just to see. I'll drive it off a spare Lenovo 20V 90W charger I have lying around. It's a few steps above the old Hakko 936/937 clones which weren't particularly wonderful but did the job.

I grabbed: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/MINI-T12-OLED-soldering-station-electronic-welding-iron-2017-New-design-DC-Version-Portable-T12-Digital/32839523934.html

What should I expect?  Any hints, tips, gotchas etc?

Intention is to play with it to start with, knock up a couple of boards and see how it goes. Possibly get a genuine Hakko tip for it rather than a clone one if they suck.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2017, 08:26:25 pm »
the best tip i can give is to junk the handle.
it's a converted 900series and the ergonomics are terrible.

get an fx9501 handle - you can find them on ali for as little as $5 without any cable.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/SHEVCHENKO-T12-950-Handle-Digital-Soldering-Station-FX-9501-Handle-Soldering-Iron-For-HAKKO-912-Handle/32835065313.html
 

Offline bd139Topic starter

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2017, 08:41:27 pm »
Thanks I suspected as much. I assume the 9501 handle is just a case of swapping the cable over?

(After working out pinouts etc)?
 

Offline stj

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2017, 10:34:53 pm »
yes, just as well you have another iron!  :-+
something i always tell people who dont have a backup, after i learned the hard way when my first iron needed a new element.  |O
 

Offline bd139Topic starter

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2017, 10:49:45 pm »
Yeah been there. Once I had just an Aoyue 937 and the element went pop. That was fun  :palm:

Have Weller and Antex irons now. I like the look of the T12 as it has decent, cheap tips suitable for SMD work.

Have ordered that 9501 handle kit. Costs about 15 cents more than it'd cost for just the postage to send the kit in the UK!  :-+
 

Offline pigrew

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2017, 11:20:30 pm »
Buy authentic tips, as the Chinese tips wear out quickly. I too don't like the included handles: needing to unscrew a nut to change tips is annoying and the tip to hand distance is longer than the Hakko handle.

The Hakko handles use a different connector, and don't have a sleep switch in the handle. The Hakko ones use a switch in the iron holder. You probably should just stick with the cloned handles so that you don't have to deal with these incompatibilities. I believe they both have an NTC RTD in the handle for cold-junction compensation (correct me if I'm wrong), but I don't know if it's the same temperature curve.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 12:41:26 pm »
you are wrong.
firstly there is no standard for the connector - annoyingly.
the bakon is 3pin, some kits are 4pin and others are 5pin.
i think hakko is 7pin but whatever the pin count they use a cheap din-plug instead of a microphone / aviation plug.

there is no compensation in the handle - it would be heated by your hand if there was - and not all irons have a tilt-switch either.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2017, 12:44:19 pm »
btw, what tip styles did you order?
i mostly use an ILS (needle point) and a BL (cone)
i also have a D (screwdriver style) for getting a lot of heat into stuff.

i have others too, but those are the ones that get used.
best place for decent tip sets is banggood.
 

Offline bd139Topic starter

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2017, 01:30:50 pm »
I am just going to play with the K tip that comes with it for now. I will grab a small chisel and conical tip at some point if I like it.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2017, 07:06:45 pm »
did you read your link?
they say to specify what tip you want when ordering!
 

Offline bd139Topic starter

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2017, 07:08:14 pm »
Yeah says default T12-K which is what I want. I’ve got a whole board of SOIC packages to do :)
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2017, 12:57:20 am »
you are wrong.
firstly there is no standard for the connector - annoyingly.
the bakon is 3pin, some kits are 4pin and others are 5pin.
i think hakko is 7pin but whatever the pin count they use a cheap din-plug instead of a microphone / aviation plug.

there is no compensation in the handle - it would be heated by your hand if there was - and not all irons have a tilt-switch either.

The FX-9501 handle I purchased contained a glass NTC in the handle. Although it was a complete assembly for a few dollars more, not a kit like the link above.
If its 4 pin it uses an on board NTC.

I got these tips, as I used similar metcal versions often: D52 D24 D12 BCF3 JL02.

This looks like a great kit as you don't have to worry about the grounding safety of the built in AC/DC converter. However.. that means there is no earth connection, so its not ESD safe, as most plug packs are isolated.
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Offline bd139Topic starter

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2017, 08:49:17 am »
With respect to ESD safety I’m going to add a 4mm jack in the back panel and plug it into my power supply Earth with a 4mm patch.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2017, 04:40:04 pm »
stick a 1meg or 2.2meg resistor in series.
i'v seen some nasty damage before from people desoldering charged capacitors!!
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 12:28:16 am »
One of my tips just died, heater went open circuit (T12-D52). It had only been used for a few hours.
I'm thinking the tip was defective to begin with as the fit was too tight compared to the rest. Although I did have it at 400C when it died.

Seller has promised to send another (https://quicko.aliexpress.com/store/2954088), which is great as they have no obligation to. Will see if I get it, hopefully lasts longer..
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Offline bd139Topic starter

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2018, 12:33:32 am »
Doh. I'm going to order a few tips once it turns up. Looking at Monday next week so far.
 

Offline bd139Topic starter

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2018, 10:33:55 am »
Handle arrived. Still awaiting rest of it! :(
 

Offline ChrisGreece52

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2018, 11:31:28 am »
I just got mine it works pretty well but there is no info on it,manual,datasheet,firmware info. |O
 

Offline bd139Topic starter

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2018, 11:35:18 am »
Mine arrived in the end. It's pretty good. No complaints. I managed to crash it once though.
 

Offline ChrisGreece52

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2018, 12:28:32 pm »
Its pretty good i have to say but the STC MCU firmware cannot be found or updated easily.
 

Offline JS

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2018, 08:41:40 am »
Just ordered one, trying to change for the 9501 handle if I can, 5 tips kit plus two holllow ones for drag...

I'll let you know when I test it.

JS
If I don't know how it works, I prefer not to turn it on.
 

Offline Nagasyev

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2018, 07:17:28 am »
Sometimes it is better to buy a little bit expensive but more reliable https://toolboom.com/en/mini-soldering-station-goot-px-601/
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2018, 09:48:26 pm »
Sometimes it is better to buy a little bit expensive but more reliable https://toolboom.com/en/mini-soldering-station-goot-px-601/

That looks worse in every possible way, sorry.
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Offline Nagasyev

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2018, 06:04:17 am »
Don't You mind to name reasons why?
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Cheap T12 clone soldering stations
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2018, 06:36:02 am »
Don't You mind to name reasons why?
Not a cartridge heater but simple tip, no display, non replaceable handle. And it is still a chinatek brand.

I've been looking at these stations myself, though I would prefer the 230V input version. Probably you need to mod in the earth connection.

btw, does anyone know, why the chinese have hard time telling the difference between welding and soldering?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 06:42:28 am by NANDBlog »
 


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