Author Topic: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)  (Read 18884 times)

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Offline binbags

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Hi All
I have just joined the forum as I was searching for help on my Maplin N16CH soldering station and was reading the review by member "ciccio" very informative and the pdf document submitted by "Free Thinker" very useful, an excellent article by all.
As mentioned above, I have the Maplin version and is by what I can see, not in the same quality as the LU3204-00.  The final LCD driver IC is just a blob on the PCB and covered in resin.

Down to my problem with my N16CH.  From switch on the unit functions OK, the LCD display shows all OK for about 3-5 seconds then goes into partial display mode (only certain segments are displayed).  If you switch off and on again then the same happens but showing other segments of the LCD display.
I have taken a couple of photos to show my PCB and display readout.
I have tried replaced all the capacitors that are used in the station, but to no success.
Do you think that you can help me with this problem?

Alan
 

Offline david77

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I don't want to appear rude, but have you created that soldering mess in the last picture?
Can't be sure from the low-res picture but I'd say there are a lot of cold joints, they could cause all kinds of errors.
The first thing I would do is clean up that board. Resolder all the joints, clean off the flux residue and try again.

Worst case could be the blob is broken - then this thing is ready for the bin :(.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 09:58:42 am by david77 »
 

Offline binbags

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Hi David77
This is how I purchased it from Maplin, it was'nt intil the other day that I came to use it and found it faulty. :( :( :(

I agree the workmanship is awful for what it cost £49 :-[ :-[ :'( :'(.  I think this is a very poor copy of the ZD-937.

There are some pics for you to look at.

Alan
 

Offline david77

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Bloody hell. If that's the way you got that iron you may have a chance it'll work after resoldering everything. I'm not sure if it's worth the effort, though.

The more I hear about Maplin the more I'm shocked.
 

Offline binbags

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Hi David
Yes, me too.  Once bit twice shy.
I have started to de-solder the board,  the funny thing is that the iron works, it's just the display that is up the wall.  As you said lets hope it's just a dry joint.  They have used the new silver loaded solder on this board, I hate the stuff, there is no proper flow with this.

I will keep you posted, Thursday seems like a lucky day for Soldering Stations.

Alan
 

Offline poorchava

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Omg, it look as if they were soldering this with 70's era transformer soldering gun. Whatever kind of solder alloy this is, I'd call these pictures a prime example how solder joints should NOT look like. Also the design itself contains some epic fails (like the placement of capacitors). Flux all over the place. Amount of solder is about 2-3 times of what would really be needed.

As for the reason of failure I'd say they could've damaged some part by overheating the board. If you feel lucky, you can try to desolder and then properly solder the components that are soldered badly (that would be almost all of them). I may be fault of cold joint or cracked terminals of some smd device.
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Offline T4P

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Omg, it look as if they were soldering this with 70's era transformer soldering gun. Whatever kind of solder alloy this is, I'd call these pictures a prime example how solder joints should NOT look like. Also the design itself contains some epic fails (like the placement of capacitors). Flux all over the place. Amount of solder is about 2-3 times of what would really be needed.

As for the reason of failure I'd say they could've damaged some part by overheating the board. If you feel lucky, you can try to desolder and then properly solder the components that are soldered badly (that would be almost all of them). I may be fault of cold joint or cracked terminals of some smd device.

Let's put this into the National EEVBlog Museum of Electronics in the Shame corner as a warning from history and as a prime example(use the product number as a joke everywhere) of a terrible soldering job such as this :
 

Offline binbags

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Hi All
Thanks for your replies, as I said I am in the process of de-soldering all the major components on the board.  I have already found one piece of track that has lifted, so maybe this is the problem, keep my fingers crossed and carry on doing what I can with the rest.  I should have it done by tomorrow night. ::) ::)

Not sure if this follows the circuit that was supplied by “Free Thinker” and the blob chip is the HT1621B LCD driver chip.  I could make an auxiliary pcb to carry the HT1621B then use flying leads to connect it to the main board and LCD.  I then think that this is a lot of extra work and time, do I want all these problems, although I hate things beating me. :-X

Alan
 

Offline poorchava

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If you ditch this crap and choose to buy another soldering station, I recommend Xytronic. It's a Taiwanese company, but here in Poland they are considered as a solid piece of equipment for hobby/serious hobby use (which is probably because stuff like Hakko, Weller and Pace are our of range for hobbyists).

I never saw what would really look like a fake one (too cheap to counterfeit?). Many different types of irons, hot tweezers, hot airs and even infra red rework systems (although these are not cheap :)).  I recently bought LF1600 with standard 108ESD pencil (80W, grounded, ceramic heater, digital temp control) and I'm really pleased with it. I bought it for PLN 355 which is roughly $110.

It's real joy to use this tool as compared to Pensol Solomon SL20CMC (chinese, not that cheap, extremly durable - they were used in my university's student workshops and survived)which i was using before.
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline Afrotechmods

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I really, really don't think you should be trying to repair that thing. That's the worst piece of shit build quality I have ever seen and even if you replace most of the components and get it working again there's a good chance another failure will pop up somewhere and start a fire or shock you. Think about it for a second - you are plugging this thing into 240VAC, does it look trustworthy to you?
 

Offline mAJORD

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 12:29:33 pm »
Omg, it look as if they were soldering this with 70's era transformer soldering gun. Whatever kind of solder alloy this is, I'd call these pictures a prime example how solder joints should NOT look like. Also the design itself contains some epic fails (like the placement of capacitors). Flux all over the place. Amount of solder is about 2-3 times of what would really be needed.

As for the reason of failure I'd say they could've damaged some part by overheating the board. If you feel lucky, you can try to desolder and then properly solder the components that are soldered badly (that would be almost all of them). I may be fault of cold joint or cracked terminals of some smd device.

always love seeing a tracks going under screw heads also  8)
 

Offline binbags

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 12:44:09 pm »
Hi All
I have done as much as I can in stripping, cleaning and re-building the PCB. 

It is just the same as before; the display comes on all OK, 5 seconds later the display is only showing partial characters although the iron is working as normal.  So it has to be the LCD driver chip at fault.  I have checked the supply to all the IC's (5.01vdc). :( :( :(

I am going to give it up as a bad job; :( :( :( maybe I will use the case for another temperature controlled iron circuit when I find one, or a doorstop. ::) ::)

As you have all said this piece of kit beggar’s belief in its workmanship.  Must have been made on a Monday morning, by someone who could not see properly.
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2012, 04:20:57 pm »
As I say, If it's for hobby - then go for Xytronic. I believe that they began cloning Hakko stuff or at least copied some of their solutions, but apparently at some point they went on and started making apparently original designs. Never saw an obvious fake around. Build quality is very good (no idea how about inside, but I don't wanna void my warranty)
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2012, 04:22:54 pm »
As I say, If it's for hobby - then go for Xytronic. I believe that they began cloning Hakko stuff or at least copied some of their solutions, but apparently at some point they went on and started making apparently original designs. Never saw an obvious fake around. Build quality is very good (no idea how about inside, but I don't wanna void my warranty)

it's pretty pricey around here ... 178$ for a simple station ... WUT
 

Offline poorchava

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2012, 07:50:18 am »
Are you talking about LF1600? I bought it for what would be about $110. Weird... maybe your customs office has some insane rates on that stuff? I wouldn't be willing to pay $180 for that either (and for no other station for that matter - it's for hobby use)
I love the smell of FR4 in the morning!
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2012, 08:02:50 am »
Are you talking about LF1600? I bought it for what would be about $110. Weird... maybe your customs office has some insane rates on that stuff? I wouldn't be willing to pay $180 for that either (and for no other station for that matter - it's for hobby use)

SGD. so take USD multiply by 1.3/1.6 but it is pointless to pay 178$ a 68$ station can do even if it's a clone
I'd pay that for a FX-888 which costs 200$ or a 95USD$ FX-951 Clone ( yes, there are ... )
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 08:13:36 am by DaveXRQ »
 

Offline binbags

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2012, 12:32:19 pm »
Hi All
As a last stand I have contacted Ningbo Zhongdi in China.  To be fair they were very fast and communicative with me.  What I had asked them was could they supply a new PCB for Maplin N16CH iron.  They replied this morning, saying that the cost of the board and postage was prohibitive and that I should go a buy a second unit from Maplin, not a chance :o :o.  So it is assigned to the re-cycle bin. 
The pre-programmed AT89c2051 is still OK as are most of the other chips, apart from the LCD driver one which has caused all the problems.  I have ordered some HT1621B driver chips from China just to play around with.
It would be nice the try and find the data sheet on the special LCD as this is also good, so if anyone has this data would they like to share it?  Or can anyone identify the pin numbers for me? ::) ::)
 

Offline Sparky49

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2012, 05:00:33 pm »
Glad to hear you sorted it out. I would never recommend getting stuff from Maplins - everything about them is rubbish.

They only carry something like 5 of each components, poor equipment like this, and they sell out of date books like money grabbing rats.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2012, 06:15:08 pm »
Glad to hear you sorted it out. I would never recommend getting stuff from Maplins - everything about them is rubbish.

They only carry something like 5 of each components, poor equipment like this, and they sell out of date books like money grabbing rats.

They aren't called Craplins for a reason  ::)
 

Offline binbags

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2012, 08:26:30 am »
Hi All

Just to add a short note to final stages of my N16CH (ZD937) soldering station.  I contacted Ningbo Zhongdi in China.  They were more than very helpful, they have sent to me a complete PCB with display, all at there expense including courier dispatch to me; this was all done by about 6 days. So it’s a thumb up for them from me.  :) :) :) :)
The new PCB is of the new style, with the HT1621B as a 48SSOP chip in its own right, not a blob on the board like the old board, sees attachments.  I have also attached a drawing of the LCD pin out.
As a last thought on the old board, I think that this had nothing to do with Ningbo Zhongdi as the workmanship is far superior, there are still some after-thoughts as far as component placement is concerned, but with the LCD being so close to the board, that is understandable.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2012, 10:21:19 am »
Haven't read the whole thread but yes, avoid naplins at all costs. Maplin makes eBay look like Jesus Chris's very own table top sale. Most stuff is junk or horrendously overpriced.
https://www.simonselectronics.co.uk/shop
Varied stock of test instruments and components including EEVblog gear and Wurth Elektronik Books.
Also, if you want to get ripped off: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/simons_electronics?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
 

Offline binbags

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Re: Precision Gold Soldering Station N16CH Maplin (ZD-937-A)(LU3204-00)
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2012, 11:08:48 am »
I agree Simon, but the lack of local electronics shops now, here in the UK, makes one go to Maplins.  I can order from long distance, but I like to go into the shop and browse arround.

It has been an interesting venture, especially the company in China sending me a free PCb complete.
 


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