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New Owner of an Old Weller? Or just get a FX888D?

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GreyWoolfe:

--- Quote from: Shock on May 24, 2022, 07:15:02 am ---Metcal MX5200 is probably the best station on the market at the moment, expensive but upshot is it's dual channel out of the box. Not temp variable unless you buy different tips so has a fairly high overall entry and cost of ownership.

Weller has a strong branding because they have been around a while but (like others) they have several stations that do basically the same thing. It's sort of pointless if you have owned a few different stations already to spend hundreds without ensuring it's going to be a significant upgrade in performance. I do like their micro tool range but modern slim cartridge based handpieces are fine for most (if not all) smd work.

Good chance you brought knockoff Hakko handpieces I don't recall any design issues there, it's mostly about babying the heater changing tips. Anyway with the GT120 don't break the handpiece they are over a hundred to replace, and welcome to $35 a cartridge (fortunately it has a "cheap play" mode).

--- End quote ---

You can find Metcal MX-500 on eBay at decent prices.  You can also find used/NOS RM3E hand pieces and stand or use a Thermaltronics hand piece and stand.  Basically the same thing but without the new car sticker shock.  If you want new, the Thermaltronics TMT-9000S is half the cost of the MX5200 but is only a single port.  I have a Metcal MX-500P with wand and Talon tweezers and also a Hakko FX-951 myself.  I use both but prefer the Metcal.  I scored a jammy git deal on the Metcal but that was after I bought the Hakko so I kept both.

EDIT: wow, prices have gone up on the MX-500.  If you can afford, get the Thermaltronics.  The company was formed by ex Metcal employees.

taste_tester:

--- Quote from: GreyWoolfe on June 20, 2022, 05:46:58 pm ---
--- Quote from: Shock on May 24, 2022, 07:15:02 am ---Metcal MX5200 is probably the best station on the market at the moment, expensive but upshot is it's dual channel out of the box. Not temp variable unless you buy different tips so has a fairly high overall entry and cost of ownership.

Weller has a strong branding because they have been around a while but (like others) they have several stations that do basically the same thing. It's sort of pointless if you have owned a few different stations already to spend hundreds without ensuring it's going to be a significant upgrade in performance. I do like their micro tool range but modern slim cartridge based handpieces are fine for most (if not all) smd work.

Good chance you brought knockoff Hakko handpieces I don't recall any design issues there, it's mostly about babying the heater changing tips. Anyway with the GT120 don't break the handpiece they are over a hundred to replace, and welcome to $35 a cartridge (fortunately it has a "cheap play" mode).

--- End quote ---

You can find Metcal MX-500 on eBay at decent prices.  You can also find used/NOS RM3E hand pieces and stand or use a Thermaltronics hand piece and stand.  Basically the same thing but without the new car sticker shock.  If you want new, the Thermaltronics TMT-9000S is half the cost of the MX5200 but is only a single port.  I have a Metcal MX-500P with wand and Talon tweezers and also a Hakko FX-951 myself.  I use both but prefer the Metcal.  I scored a jammy git deal on the Metcal but that was after I bought the Hakko so I kept both.

EDIT: wow, prices have gone up on the MX-500.  If you can afford, get the Thermaltronics.  The company was formed by ex Metcal employees.

--- End quote ---

Thanks for this input.  i will keep an eye for both used MX 500 and Thermaltronics.
I had an absolutely awful time trying to purchase a new iron directly from Metcal / OK. 
No shipment, all emails to any of their support addresses bounced, another month after saying they'll cancel the order and threats of CC chargeback to get it refunded.
All of which make me very hesitant to give them a 2nd chance, even if I'd only be buying tips / cartridges new.

I have been using the FX888D again with a new real Hakko handle and it has not left my bench as I find it is soldering better than my beat up JBC clone was doing, but I can't get used to the thicker handpiece, as it's about the same size  an older Weller handpiece and the JBC style is very thin. The soldering quality of the FX888D i have no complaints with, but if anything gets me to switch stations again soon it will be the handle thickness and lack of setback that makes me switch. (At that point I would be weighing a real JBC against a Pace MBT).

Going to inquire about the EDSYN, never heard of them and i would believe I have a similar workflow to a radio repair shop, just out of curiosity which older Pace do you use at home? Appreciate it Wallace

thm_w:
If you have a JBC clone why aren't you using that? Replacement handles are $20-30 if needed.

Metcal are 100% useless when dealing with directly, don't bother, buy from ebay or from a regular distributor who is capable of communicating.
Genuine tips can be bought from amazon for $20 (Thermaltronics)

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