Products > Other Equipment & Products

T12 clone vs 888, practical test results

(1/25) > >>

I know I'm weird. I'm so bothered by the continual BS I hear about "cartridge tip" vs the old ways of soldering that I decided to do some objective testing. My own side-by-side comparisons bewteen a geniuine 888 and two T12 clones showed no significant advantage
in this specific case. (I do a fair bit of production soldering, so I have used them for the exact same things, extensively, like with hundreds of repetitions. The kind of soldering where you don't care what brand of iron you are using, you just want it to be over with as fast and efficiently and painlessly as possible).

For reference, I have recently discovered Dave's "Soldering Iron New vs Old" video which demonstrates but doesn't quantify the thermal drop advantage between a JBC and an 888 using very grossly similar tips. I suggest if you are confused about why I am testing the way I do, then you might want to watch that video; the thread and further discusson can be found in the EEVblog section of this forum.

For the temp sensing I took my generic thermocouple tip tester (ala Hakko FG style but 1/20th of the cost) and I modified with a socket and switch to enable readings from an external sensor. Happily, the instrument came with 10 sensors, so I have plenty of spares to mess with. These sensors are wettable, thus they are specifically made for this kind of testing. If you have a thermocouple that plugs into a DMM, it probably won't be as consistent.

For the heatsink, I used a 2 oz double sided square of copper clad. I soldered the thermocouple to the copper clad in a shallow pool of solder. For testing, the tip of the iron goes over this solder blob, pressing the sensor against the board.

Then I took my Bakon 950D and my 888 and put what is my favorite tip on each iron, the T18-CF3 on the 888, vs the T12-BCF3 on the Bakon. If you have these tips, you would immediately notice that the T12 version is shorter and stubbier, and the "B" means it gets a tapered thick base. I felt like the Bakon would win this test, but I was curious if it would be significant.

To wit, I am 99.99% sure the T12 tip is a fake. Purchased on eBay and shipped from either Hong Kong or China. I buy my Hakko tips usually thru Amazon because I have Prime. I am pretty confident they are genuine, but who really knows?

For the test I decided to stick an iron on the heatsinked sensor and adjust the set temp until the sensor read 200C. Then do the same with the other iron. I swapped back and forth between irons until I was satisfied they were both hovering between 198 and 202, and that I was getting consistent readings and satisfied that I was sitting in front of two apples.  (BTW this took awhile because adjusting either of these irons by degrees is pure stupidity, lol).

FWIW (not much), the actual display temp on the Bakon read 313 at this point. The temp on the 888 read 323. Advantage Bakon, right? Haha, of course the display means nothing when I have a tip tester right in front of me.

Tested on the tip sensor, the set temp of the Bakon measured 323C. The hakko 314C. Swapped between each iron repeatedly until I was satisfied these readings were repeatable. These readings were rock solid, change of only 1 degree max between measurements.

Cartridge tech, woohoo! (Sarcasm)

If someone has a 951 they want to send me, I'll be glad to test it. But it would be much easier to just buy a thermocouple tip tester and do your own testing.

In case anyone is confused, in this particular test the 888 beats the T12 cartridge technology. Not that this much difference in thermal drop necessary amounts to any significant practical advantage. I don't think it's significant, at all; more the same than different.

I also have a Suhan 616 which has way more power than the bakon. But in this test, the max power is not a factor IMO. I also have about a dozen other T12 tip styles, all with an equivalent tip style in the 888. So if anyone has any other ideas for tests or is curious about this performance testing on another tip style, go ahead and shoot.


Tested the 616 with the same BCF3 tip. I only have one stand*, anymore, for the T12 irons, so I did not have a 3 way test.

So I used the Hakko at the exact same setting. I added a little more solder to the test sink, apparently, and/or there is some variation in the readings from my cheap tester. I got reading of 195C on average with the Hakko. When the 616 was adjusted to produce the same temp, the results of the set/no-load temp measurements:

Hakko 888 318C
616 24.5V T12 clone 322C

It would appear to me that the analog control circuit of the 616 is pretty comparable to the Bakon in this test. 

*I ended up giving up my original Suhan to put to work in a different environment. But I have a spare unit. It's just so compact and dirt cheap, and I have a significant variety of T12 tips. But the bakon won by a skosh at my bench as a second iron, just because the narrowness of the unit. Especially with the thinnish integrated power cord, it was a slightly better fit for my bench and use as a second/portable station with an iron holder integrated onto the top of the station.

If anyone comes up with a specific task they want to claim their 951/T12 does better than an 888, I'll be glad to put my cheapo clones to the test along with some temp readings.

Where are the photos of the setup? Where is a video? I don't see any tables or charts of the results.  :-//

All I see is a wall of difficult to digest text.  Sorry, but  :--

Video will require editing. What you want to see? Same thing I just did, or did you have another test you want to see? I ain't gonna spend two hours for you to complain I didn't show this or that.

Photos of the setup? Sure thing. Coming soon. But I don't see anything wrong with words? Maybe you don't speak English as your first language. It takes much less time for me to write (and for you to read) the details of what I did. If you don't trust me, video won't help either, unless I can set it up to do it in one cut, using one hand, and that would be difficult to do for many reason and would end up with a long video that is very difficult to watch. Do you doubt Dave? In the video I mentioned, he claims he set each station to 270C. Of course you believe him. But he didn't even test the tip temp and only ends up with a slight subjective result... so what the heck does that even MEAN to begin with when a difference in calibration could be much larger than the slight difference noted as "the result?"

Incidentally.... Why does this require proof for anyone to believe it? But claiming T12 clone is better performance than anything you can do with the old ceramic heater? People saying it with nothing to back it up, this is totally accepted.

Anyhow, as I said, I will post some pics just to show the setup. In case anyone wants to try for themselves. A video I can do, but like I said. There are some challenges. But since I am motivated, I may be able to do it IF you are specific about what you wish to see. But please see the upcoming pics first, and please read the OP first, if you can do English. So you can make some suggestions, if you have any.


My tip tester. I have had it for a year or two.

Here's the switch and socket I added for the external sensor.

Here's a pic of the inside. I'm using white kynar wire, lately, so I dunno what good this pic is.

This is what it the heat-sink-sensor setup looks like. Pretty much the way I described it with those pesky words.

Here's a closeup of the thermocouple soldered to the board

Here's a pic showing it is solidly soldered to the board

Here's a pic I stumbled across in my account of my bakon and my 888 from last year. Added to uh, I guess prove I have these and did not simply make this stuff up!?

So look. The little lcd display is pretty small on this tester. And it takes two hands to do the test, because solder melts and the sensor moves. And I would also apparently have to have both irons in frame the whole time for you to believe I don't have a helper changing the settings out of frame? And you'd need a closeup of the iron on the sensor to make sure I wasn't fucking with one of them? And see the LCD at the same time? Take a look and figure out for youself how hard this would be for me to do.

So before demanding video proof, if you think I'm a deluded biased fanboi of hakko 888 and trying to justify my massive 79.00 investment in these stations (US Fry's, thank you) you can go on ebay and buy a tip tester for $10.00 and try it for yourself.

If you want a vid, please be specific.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

There was an error while thanking
Go to full version