Author Topic: Metcal vs JBC  (Read 21216 times)

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Offline John Coloccia

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Metcal vs JBC
« on: September 15, 2015, 03:49:17 am »
Anyone have any real experience with the two?  I have a JBC, and have had experience with Metcal. So far, I'm extremely impressed with the JBC, and in terms of pumping heat into a joint, it seems about equal to me.  But I haven't used a Metcal in 7 or 8 years.

I'm looking for someone who has both is their lab, and has used both, to give some thoughts, especially if you have their current production models.

Thanks!
 

Online ConKbot

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2015, 05:09:38 am »
In lab/prototype use I've bad better luck with metcal units. It seems like that if you're using an undersized tip for a job, the metcal can still cope. Soldering solder nuts to a non thermal relieved ground plane with a 1.5mm tip? It can do it, the JBC units always seemed to struggle. They worked just fine if you were using the right tip for the right job.

 After some exposure to diet or grime, the conductive ring at the tip would get fouled and the JBC handpieces wouldnt go to sleep right and burn up the tip past recovery if you didn't notice.  The handpieces with a foam grip always wore poorly, and looked a bit ratty after a few years.  I never had any issues, but I've had coworkers have problems with the connection to the base station get funky. 

After about a year my only gripe with the metcal is that when they are in simultaneous dual mode some are hesitant to come out of sleep. The tips hold up fine (other than my plastic/epoxy digging tip, but thats how that goes)

The older jbc units we have hold up just fine, (7 plus years old). Il both are high quality units, it just seems like the JBC stations show their age faster.   The standard metcal tips are marginally cheaper than JBC tips from the sources we were using, but that may vary by location.

If you can get a deal on one or the other, go for it.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2015, 05:22:30 am »
Anyone have any real experience with the two?  I have a JBC, and have had experience with Metcal. So far, I'm extremely impressed with the JBC, and in terms of pumping heat into a joint, it seems about equal to me.  But I haven't used a Metcal in 7 or 8 years.

As mentioned in another thread, JCB has two categories of products with one heating x4 faster than the other so it's useful to compare actual models, not just brands.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2015, 12:54:41 pm »
I'm not really concerned about heat up time. The JBC unit I have (the compact) heats up in seconds. It's like boot time on a scope...completely irrelevant to me.

To me it seemed like the JBC unit I have is able to pump more heat into a joint than the Metcal units are (at least the ones I used), but I'm also finding that the performance with smaller tips seems to not be as good. I think it's the tip geometry more than anything else.  Because of how it's designed, it makes it difficult to get solid contact with the pads in tight spaces. I've ordered some different tips to see if it makes a difference, and it's really a shame because I love the JBC station, but I have to get over the hump on this thing. The smaller JBC chisel tips are very bulky and rounded off. Very poor geometry for what you need from a chisel tip. I wish they would just fix them.

Worst case is I'll pick up a Metcal and just have the JBC setup with some larger tips.

Metcal has about a million different options and stations. For example, what's the difference between the 500 and 5000 series?  MX vs MFR? Just looking at it for the first time, it's difficult to figure out exactly what I'm looking for. Maybe someone can make a recommendation?

 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2015, 01:03:11 pm »
For example, what's the difference between the 500 and 5000 series?

500 is a single power supply with a switchable output. The 5200 is a dual output supply. They take the same handpieces (which also work all the way back to the.. I think 80s era RFG-30 power supply). Supposedly the 5200 can deliver more power, but that's somewhat debated and power delivery depends far more on the tip than the power supply. The upside of the 5200 is it can power the new dual cartridges, which I suspect would give your JBC a run for its money (and come in 7.5mm and larger..).

Quote
MX vs MFR?

The MX series is the classic 13.56MHz Metcal system. The MFR is a newer, 470kHz system. Slightly lower performance, bulkier handpieces and cartridges, but at a lower cost.

Most people are referring to the 13.56MHz system when they say Metcal.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 01:07:09 pm by Monkeh »
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2015, 02:24:11 pm »
Thanks, Monkeh. The 5200 is intriguing. I tend to switch cartridges a lot. It just comes with the territory for the work I do. Being able to have 2 irons at the ready is very attractive to me. Looking at the pricing, it really doesn't seem so bad. I remember them being more expensive, and that was years and years ago. They must have cut their prices at some point, or I'm remembering wrong. The PS5200 supply is only about $500. That seems pretty reasonable for a dual supply!
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2015, 02:37:10 pm »
I also noticed that the MX500 is only 40W.  The 5200 is 80W (though it's shared if you use both at the same time, which I'll never do). I know from experience that 40W is simply not enough for some of the tasks I do. I think I'll give the 5200 a try, with just one hand piece, and see how it goes.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2015, 02:37:58 pm »
I also noticed that the MX500 is only 40W.  The 5200 is 80W (though it's shared if you use both at the same time, which I'll never do). I know from experience that 40W is simply not enough for some of the tasks I do. I think I'll give the 5200 a try, with just one hand piece, and see how it goes.

40W with a conventional iron is nothing like 40W with a Metcal. My 40W station can and will solder a TO-220 tab to a heavy ground plane.

Many, if not most, tips will simply not take that much power.
 

Offline onesixright

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2015, 02:48:08 pm »
Any examples of which types of soldering takes 80W for the Metcal?
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2015, 02:55:20 pm »
I also noticed that the MX500 is only 40W.  The 5200 is 80W (though it's shared if you use both at the same time, which I'll never do). I know from experience that 40W is simply not enough for some of the tasks I do. I think I'll give the 5200 a try, with just one hand piece, and see how it goes.

40W with a conventional iron is nothing like 40W with a Metcal. My 40W station can and will solder a TO-220 tab to a heavy ground plane.

Many, if not most, tips will simply not take that much power.

You'd be surprised how much heat I need sometimes. I don't just use it for boards. I do some pretty beefy joints with my setup. My JBC usually just cruises along near idle...maybe 15% or 20% on really heavy joints, but when I switch to making cables with the monster tips and things like that, I peg it :)
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2015, 03:02:53 pm »
Thanks, Monkeh. The 5200 is intriguing. I tend to switch cartridges a lot. It just comes with the territory for the work I do. Being able to have 2 irons at the ready is very attractive to me. Looking at the pricing, it really doesn't seem so bad. I remember them being more expensive, and that was years and years ago. They must have cut their prices at some point, or I'm remembering wrong. The PS5200 supply is only about $500. That seems pretty reasonable for a dual supply!

Have you considered a used MX500 power supply from ebay? They are build like a tank, reasonably priced and relativly easy to fix (standard parts, no MCU and such, schematic and circuit description available on the net).

I got a used MX500 from ebay and a new hand piece and holder from amazon.
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Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2015, 03:13:31 pm »
Any examples of which types of soldering takes 80W for the Metcal?

Here's something you'll struggle with at 40W:



Also, soldering to the back of pots, especially if they are push/pull switched pots. To do those successfully and reliably, it's really critical to use a large tip and dump a ton of heat into it as quickly as possible.  Again, if you're doing it right, you'll peg the output for a second or two. If you mess around and delay, you risk melting the internal components. It's not that you need the power for the mass. You need it because when you do it right, you'll form an efficient solder bridge with a huge tip and get on and off very fast. Key is to dump so much energy into it that you can locally heat the area of the joint to wetting temperature, but get off in time that the total energy you dump into the part is still quite low.

Cable connectors too...large thermal mass coupled with plastic parts that can melt. On and off fast with no funny business. Thing like this will suck down a ton of power initially, assuming you use the proper tip and form an efficient solder bridge.
 

Offline john_p_wi

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2015, 03:26:21 pm »
John,

I didn't watch the video, but I can assure you that the last spring claw I soldered (Gotoh Floyd Rose) with the Metcal MX-5000 and sttc-136 (0.1 inch chisel) was absolutely no problem.

I also have the sttc-117 0.2 inch wide chisel that will transfer a lot of heat if needed...

John
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2015, 03:30:13 pm »
John,

I didn't watch the video, but I can assure you that the last spring claw I soldered (Gotoh Floyd Rose) with the Metcal MX-5000 and sttc-136 (0.1 inch chisel) was absolutely no problem.

I also have the sttc-117 0.2 inch wide chisel that will transfer a lot of heat if needed...

John

The 5000 series is 80W. I think it would probably struggle a bit at 40W, regardless of brand.  That was my only point.  Monkeh was wondering why I thought 80W is a better choice.  Just for PCBs, I don't think it matters either way.

It's really too bad that I can't just rent one somewhere.  I'd love to take one for a try for a day or two and see for myself how it performs. $800 is a lot for yet another soldering iron.  I feel like I'm turning into a collector, or something. :)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 03:37:37 pm by John Coloccia »
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2015, 03:44:41 pm »
Excuse the hilariously badly rigged videos in which I can't see what I'm doing or use two hands.





The above spring claw shouldn't faze this..
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2015, 04:40:55 pm »
It's really too bad that I can't just rent one somewhere.  I'd love to take one for a try for a day or two and see for myself how it performs. $800 is a lot for yet another soldering iron.  I feel like I'm turning into a collector, or something. :)

Are you at the SF Bay Area?
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Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2015, 05:10:53 pm »
It's really too bad that I can't just rent one somewhere.  I'd love to take one for a try for a day or two and see for myself how it performs. $800 is a lot for yet another soldering iron.  I feel like I'm turning into a collector, or something. :)

Are you at the SF Bay Area?

Connecticut these days. I did some hard time in Sunnyvale 10 years ago.  :)

I did see your suggestion about buying used. Meh...nothing in general against used gear, but this is for my business.  It pretty much just needs to work out of the box, and stay that way for a long time with no fiddling, figuring, abuse or any other baggage that often comes with used gear. So much stuff like this gets beat to hell, and then when all the flaky switches, connections and other maladies get annoying enough it gets sold. I've seen that time and time again. I'd consider one from a trusted source, like if I had a local buddy that I knew and he was selling one, but it's just too much hassle otherwise.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 05:17:33 pm by John Coloccia »
 

Offline onesixright

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2015, 07:55:13 pm »
Hey John,

FYI  https://europe.okinternational.com/europe-web-store/english/globalnavigation/Europe-Webstore-Product-Detail?productId=cd34458f-17cc-40a0-b0fc-9a59d1c32966

A MX5201 with 3x (free) STTC-136 tips, i don't think its a bad price, but its in their Europe store, not sure how thats is in the US.
 

Offline timofonic

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2015, 08:30:59 pm »
Any brave, with enough incomes and resources with Metcal can build the DIY Metcal 13.56 MHz RF Supply and do a complete easier to read summary?


What about this one too?
Really universal soldering controller

Please! :(
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 08:57:26 pm by Circuiteromalaguito »
 

Offline onesixright

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2015, 08:35:20 pm »
Any brave, with enough incomes and resources with Metcal can build the RF 23.56MHz and do a complete easier to read summary? Please! :(


What about this?
Really universal soldering controller[/]

Your link isn't working  ;)
http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7218
 

Offline timofonic

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2015, 08:58:35 pm »
Any brave, with enough incomes and resources with Metcal can build the RF 23.56MHz and do a complete easier to read summary? Please! :(


What about this?
Really universal soldering controller[/]

Your link isn't working  ;)
http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7218

Fixed! Sorry, I'm terribly sleepy right now. First class day...
 

Offline iontodirel

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2017, 08:28:26 am »
What can I say, based on having some experience with both (I own a Metcal now, MX 5000, and use it full time), is that JBC tends to have more imperfections than the Metcals, and I'm not talking here about soldering, but the overall experience, and quality of the products you're going to buy. I can talk more in detail if anyone is interested, but really, what it gets down to is the tips, the tips, and how they are manufactured is more important than anything else, the stations including. The tip geometry and the heating element location, and transfer of heat to the tip is a hard problem to solve, and it's a place you can make few compromises, and IMO both Metcal and JBC have done an excellent job at that, I wouldn't say one is better than the other there. But I do think the Metcal stations (the MX 500 and MX 5000) are more solid than what JBC has to offer, generally speaking, and again, I can go into details if anyone is interested. But JBC does have some special equipment and some tip geometries that Metcal simply lacks. So it depends what you're using it for and what do you solder, or desolder. In the general sense, in my opinion, the Metcals are more solid, and less imperfect :)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 08:35:27 am by iontodirel »
 

rotnoraj_kanungoe

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Re: Metcal vs JBC
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2018, 06:51:56 pm »
@iontodirel
 
As far as you, which is the best Metcal model competitor of JBC's  CD-1SE - Compact Line, Precision Soldering Station( for reference link:https://www.tequipment.net/JBC/CD-1SE/Soldering-Stations/)?
For my job 350 deg C in 2 secs is a big advantage. But, I'm too looking for overall performance regardless of unit price. I'm planning to buy one. I own Hakko Fx-951 n Weller WES-50 which are not serving my purpose...
Plz response :) :) :) :)
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 06:56:29 pm by rotnoraj_kanungoe »
 


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