Author Topic: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge  (Read 4591 times)

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Offline Free_WiFi

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Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« on: May 22, 2020, 04:39:14 pm »
What do you think about this new Metcal soldering station unit - Do you have any thoughts about it?

https://www.okinternational.com/hand-soldering-systems/id-GT120-HP-T6/GT120_Soldering_System_with_Heater_Cartridge
 
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 09:08:56 pm »
Its got the DIN connector, so it must be the lower frequency (~400kHz?) MFR tech. Which combined with the hollow end tips hint at low end use.

However... they actually offer full cartridge tips for it as well:
http://info.okinternational.com/hubfs/GT-Tips-and-Cartridges-Guide.pdf

Combine this with them saying its temperature adjustable. It has the potential to be very good. But.. I'm really not seeing how you can match the performance of a pure inductive tip (curie) with a temperature sensor in the tip (RTD not thermocouple though).

http://info.okinternational.com/hubfs/GT90%20-%20GT120/GT120-Technical-Data-Sheet-En.pdf

Quote
The new GT Series of Soldering Stations are the first and only soldering stations available that offer adjustable temperature with inductive heating. In fact, these new products outperform (by as much as 35%) 250W systems on the market today with just 120W of power. This enhanced performance provides operators on the production line the advantage of using two-piece tips for lower cost while still getting improved performance over competitive resistive systems. If ultimate performance is preferred, the GT systems are also compatible with one-piece cartridges to meet high thermal demand needs.

I'd be surprised if the two-piece tip is anywhere near the performance of the single cartridge style tip, but we will see.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 09:11:04 pm by thm_w »
 
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Offline Free_WiFi

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 10:36:08 pm »
I hope this unit is not going to cost more than 320 euros,because i'm very excited for this new baby :)
 

Offline Zucca

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2020, 09:48:38 am »
What Metal with T regulation?

 :--

It could be good but it goes against why I was loving Metcal so much.
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Offline umbro

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2020, 11:56:47 am »
What Metal with T regulation?

 :--

It could be good but it goes against why I was loving Metcal so much.

+1
 
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2020, 10:49:20 pm »
What Metal with T regulation?

 :--

It could be good but it goes against why I was loving Metcal so much.

Put some tape over the display then, or lock the station out from changes (like Hakko).
The whole point of the lack of temperature regulation is it comes with a performance gain. If you can get that performance with adjustable temperature, there is no reason not to do it.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2020, 06:53:09 pm »
So it's not very,very bad,just wait until June to see the final price to decide :)

Price:
- GT90 $440
- GT120 $540
- Tips: <$10, Cartridge: <$40

So you have to choose up front if you want a handle for 4mm/6mm/cartridges:

Quote
- HP-T4 shorter hand-piece with a 4mm slim shaft and a variety of soldering tips up to 4mm of geometries for lower thermal demand applications
- HP-T6 longer hand-piece with a 6mm shaft and a variety of soldering tips up to 6mm of geometries for higher thermal demand applications.
- HP-C Hand piece with a variety of cartridges for the best performance.  Metcal’s patented chip-in-cartridge technology is used in all cartridges for process control and treatability.

Still nothing compared to JBC's 10+ different cartridge types. But it does add some complexity to deciding on model.

I looked up RTDs and I can't find any small ones that would fit in a soldering iron tip, although I'm sure they are out there.
 

Offline Zucca

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2020, 02:25:44 pm »
How those unit sense the tip temperature?
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2020, 07:53:07 pm »
How those unit sense the tip temperature?

Its mentioned above, RTD sensor. So perhaps a PT100 sensor that can work up to 850C. But I have not seen how that is integrated into the tip.

Heres one that is 2x5mm but says max temp is only 400: https://media.digikey.com/pdf/Data%20Sheets/TEWA/TT-PT100A-2050-11-AuNi.pdf
 

Offline Shock

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2020, 11:44:07 pm »
I wouldn't get too upset about them releasing a temperature adjustable model remembering they have had temp adjustable stations from the outset, you just needed to buy different tips if you wanted it.

It seems you still need to switch the station off between changing cartridge tips. If you go for the just the old style tips you could get away with only spending a hundred or so for a selection, less convenience though.

Performance in those videos I saw about 13 seconds to 350C for the tip over heater on the GT90. Looked just as slow on the GT120 model on cartridges for some reason (they cut the video short). So the GT series might be lower performing than the MX5200 series.

Few things I don't like about the stations. The external power supply was not a good idea, it didn't really change the footprint and now means you have more desk clutter. It's a bit ugly, compared to the MX5200 that brown color doesn't do it for me.

Power switch looks accessible but why not just put it on the front/top/side. It looks like they went with a plastic handpiece which is a bit of a backwards step in my opinion over the MX5200 with MX-H1-AV.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 11:45:48 pm by Shock »
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 189, 87V, 117, 112   >>> WANTED STUFF <<<
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2020, 07:52:01 pm »
Metcal posted some testing now: https://info.okinternational.com/hubfs/Metcal%20GT90%20-%20GT120%20White%20Paper/Inductive-vs-resistive-heating-a-comparison_by_Metcal.pdf

According to them, GT90 with a standard tip is better than JBC CB-1BQE. FX951 of course about twice as slow.
and GT120 (120W) with a cartridge is about the same performance as the JBC-HDE (250W).

I don't even know why the bothered testing standard cheap tip on the GT90, although if those really are the results, that is impressive.

Would have been nice to see a their older stations included (could be as noted above performance is too similar to the MX5200?).
 

Offline Shock

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2020, 12:37:43 am »
Perhaps the MX5200 system was a little too close in performance to the JBC CDB to make it advantageous showing. Metcals testing also highlighted the Hakko FX951 is not a great performer overall and the Weller WT1010 is a waste of money.

I just don't think they hit the mark, they should have made a variable temp MX5200 with a nice handpiece rather than increase the footprint/clutter and over complicate the handpieces. The external smps will likely affect it's long term serviceability if it's a sealed unit.

I guess if you want to torture yourself on tip swapping you can opt to run one of these GT systems in cheap mode as tip over inductive heater and save some money for (I expect) slightly less performance.

They might have been trying to better the Ersa and Thermaltronics hybrid models (which are sort of similar) and didn't want to destroy their own fixed temp station sales at the same time. Anyway apparently Metcal are using a chip on cartridge technology, so will see how that works out for them.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 12:40:55 am by Shock »
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 189, 87V, 117, 112   >>> WANTED STUFF <<<
Oszilloskopen: Lecroy 9314, Phillips PM3065, Tektronix 2215a, 314
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2020, 09:16:34 pm »
I just don't think they hit the mark, they should have made a variable temp MX5200 with a nice handpiece rather than increase the footprint/clutter and over complicate the handpieces.

I guess if you want to torture yourself on tip swapping you can opt to run one of these GT systems in cheap mode as tip over inductive heater and save some money for (I expect) slightly less performance.

Agree on the handle, the MX-H1-AV is basically a perfect handle. But that is a premium product, this seems to be aimed more midrange ish.

Not sure how it overcomplicates things though, they had to be different designs, no way around it. Unless you strictly mean the cheap mode, which yes, its just torturing yourself. The performance difference from them was slightly less, 42s vs 32s, not huge, so maybe they have really good tolerance between the tip/heater.

Quote
The external smps will likely affect it's long term serviceability if it's a sealed unit.

I disagree on this, its so easy to find power bricks that can be swapped out. If it is using 24V, which would be smart, then that is only a 24V 4A brick, very easy to find.


GT90 in stock at mouser for $469 (USD): https://www.mouser.ca/ProductDetail/Metcal/GT90-HP-T4
GT120 is $545.
Tips $8.50 each.

Good value IMO, considering the performance you get.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 11:41:09 pm by thm_w »
 

Offline Shock

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2020, 11:07:24 pm »
Tips are cheap but cartridges are still $35 upwards. The difference in performance is roughly 25%, so a small setup with a handful of cartridges won't blow out costs too much.

I'd not be throwing any old smps on it but I get you point. What I mean is if they made it serviceable from the outset it would just make life easier.

If Metcal doesn't release tweezers or a vacuum desoldering handpiece for this series it's going to a bit weird buying another Metcal station with fixed temp cartridges just to access those tools.
Soldering/Rework: Pace ADS200, Pace MBT350
Multimeters: Fluke 189, 87V, 117, 112   >>> WANTED STUFF <<<
Oszilloskopen: Lecroy 9314, Phillips PM3065, Tektronix 2215a, 314
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2020, 11:46:27 pm »
Yeah GT cartridges are $36 (GTC-CH0018S), a bit high, I can get thermaltronics cartridges for $18/ea.
But I guess thats what happens when you put a fancy RTD in there.
 

Offline coflynn

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2021, 03:57:03 pm »
I had found this thread after getting a GT120 myself.

As an user of other Curie-point induction irons (MX500P, MX5200, Thermaltronics TMT-9000S) the GT120 is a bit disappointing for the price. You don't see the iron heat up as fast as the curie-point irons, and heat delivery/recovery is noticeably worse. I'm testing with a chisel tip on both so fairly "fair" I think. This *is* with the heater core + extra tip on the GT120 (it ships with a heater core) rather than the all-in-one heater+tip. The two-piece construction was supposed to let us have much cheaper tips I presume, so part of what interested me in the GT120.

It's still a nice iron & works well. But if you're coming from the other Metcal units (or trying to get their performance) you'll be disappointed. I don't have any of the other lower-frequency Metcal units so I'm not sure if this performance is related to the fact it seems to be a 450khz drive, whereas my other units are the 13.56Mhz drive, or it's related to the slightly slower measuring loop as it has the 2-piece tip construction on the one I tested (along with RTD response time).

Like most Metcal stuff the soldering stand, wand, build quality, etc are all very good. So you aren't paying the premium for "nothing" and in terms of overall quality it seems to be in line with Metcal expectations for me. But if you have heard of the nice Metcal performance due to their Curie-point induction heaters (aka 'SmartHeat' name they use), be aware this iron isn't at the same level.

On the huge power brick - it's actually an off the shelf Meanwell unit (P/N is GSM120A48-R7B, can find on digikey etc). So replacement won't be too hard if you ever needed it, and it means there is no smarts in the power brick, it's just 24V 48V out. One possible nice thing here is you could use the iron mobile, as it just needs any 48V DC source. It also means the provided power brick is universal input voltage, just swap the power cord end if you want to convert to another country, no opening the unit like the MX500.

Hope this is helpful to someone else looking at this!

EDIT - I was wrong on P/N of brick, was going from memory. It's 48V out once I checked in lab, edited post to add right voltage & PN.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2021, 06:51:40 pm by coflynn »
 
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2021, 10:46:20 pm »
I had found this thread after getting a GT120 myself.

As an user of other Curie-point induction irons (MX500P, MX5200, Thermaltronics TMT-9000S) the GT120 is a bit disappointing for the price. You don't see the iron heat up as fast as the curie-point irons, and heat delivery/recovery is noticeably worse. I'm testing with a chisel tip on both so fairly "fair" I think. This *is* with the heater core + extra tip on the GT120 (it ships with a heater core) rather than the all-in-one heater+tip. The two-piece construction was supposed to let us have much cheaper tips I presume, so part of what interested me in the GT120.

So, you have not tried the all in one tips. Any chance you will be purchasing one of those to compare? I can throw in a few $s.
Still if it is not as good with the two-piece, thats already a bit disappointing, since their marketing material implied otherwise (but did not show it directly).
 

Offline Free_WiFi

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2021, 02:44:18 pm »
People are not happy about the build quality of this unit.
https://i.ibb.co/Y7q8rNn/met1550.png

Taken from here :
youtube.com/watch?v=S7h6sVx22sM
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 04:47:25 pm by Free_WiFi »
 

Offline coflynn

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2021, 05:54:20 pm »
I'll give the all in one a try - a lot of stuff was unavailable when I first ordered. I've already sunk the cost of the iron so might as well go all the way ;-)

The 2-piece tips also mean you need to unscrew something which is annoying too when changing - I'm used to just pulling the tip & slapping a new one in, and maybe 10 seconds of downtime all in. If you're switching for T/H to SMD etc it gets annoying having to unscrew stuff to me.

I'll see if the 1-piece metcal tips improve things, might be the case.
 
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Offline coflynn

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2021, 04:03:32 pm »
Update - with the full tip cartridge it's improved a lot in performance. But that makes for pretty expensive tips and changes the value of it a lot. I'll have to do a better comparison side by side when I get time... but just as a quick update.

So my guess is that's he's right,because if you need to thight that ring sleeve you will going to get some play around when the heat will reach that zone.
Is that true?

So the little ring is plastic that mates into metal on the handle side (metal threads). Not sure on the plastic material - in theory it could be heat resistant enough, I mean the original metcal handles use a lot of plastic that has held up for many years. The handle is better than a cheap aliexpress one IMO - I mean the cord is the real silicon for example. It's not as nice as the newer Metcal handles on the MX5yyy line for sure. The thing does come with a normalish metcal stand too, so I don't think it's fair to claim the iron is no better than a $50 one.

I also don't know how you'd get tips that last 10 years with any regular usage. Unless you really baby it, with any tip I think the plating will eventually get holes in it with regularish usage. I'm not too careful with mine though as see them as consumables so keep replacements stocked...

EDIT - there is also a small rubber o-ring on the plastic thing you tighten, I assume to try and keep pressure there if it flexes a bit due to heat. Not a lot of compliance in it though as it's just an o-ring, not like a spring with more travel...
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 04:06:02 pm by coflynn »
 
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Offline SteveyG

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2021, 12:36:17 pm »
Old topic, but I didn't see much discussion of the Metcal GT-120. I recently got hold of one - generally it's "OK", but it's similar in performance to any other traditional soldering iron. I'm having trouble getting hold of the integrated heater/tip cartridges, but I would expect better results from those.

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Offline coflynn

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2021, 12:44:21 pm »
Thanks for posting!

Quote
I would expect better results from those

My experience was that the "integrated tips" made it closer to a normal METCAL type performance. Coming from using METCAL units mostly before, the performance of the two-piece tips wasn't very impressive to me.
 

Offline wickated

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2021, 05:17:31 pm »
so they showed almost same results compared to jbc 2,4 tip, but the jbc tip they used as competitor is c245-759, that is not designed as top heat conductive. c245-741 is high heat conductive and obviously it will outperform that metcal in their test
with 470 series they competed with c470-002 instead of c470-015 and results were same.
so metcal just made some overprice station for fans.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 05:19:02 pm by wickated »
 

Offline SteveyG

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2021, 05:37:55 pm »
so they showed almost same results compared to jbc 2,4 tip, but the jbc tip they used as competitor is c245-759, that is not designed as top heat conductive. c245-741 is high heat conductive and obviously it will outperform that metcal in their test
with 470 series they competed with c470-002 instead of c470-015 and results were same.
so metcal just made some overprice station for fans.

The JBC tip was a C245-407. I'd swapped tips compared to earlier in the video.
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Offline wickated

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Re: Metcal - GT120 Soldering System with Heater Cartridge
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2021, 05:54:11 pm »
The JBC tip was a C245-407. I'd swapped tips compared to earlier in the video.
im talking about metcal tests, not yours
 


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