Author Topic: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review  (Read 28038 times)

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Offline aokman

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Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« on: January 11, 2012, 10:06:50 am »
Well my new toy finally arrived and i thought i share my thoughts about it with you all :)

The model in question is the Thermaltronics TMT-9000s. Its quite a different setup from your conventional soldering iron / station in that there are no adjustments for temperature, it is all controlled internally based on the thermal load demands within the tips temperature range instead of having to dial up your temperature to try and compensate for extra loads.

blue band = 6 (600°F Type 325°C - 358°C) yellow band = 7 (700°F Type 350°C - 398°C) red band = 8 (800°F Type 420°C - 475°C)

The main power supply - This unit is a beast, enclosure is entirely metal with heatsinking integrated into the chassis and weights around 2kg, the front incorporates a 2 row LCD display to display the status of the unit, current thermal load etc. The unit features 2 switched outputs for multiple configurations.

The iron - The design is quite different compared to my old Hakko station with the hand-grip being biased closer to the tip, the silicone wire to the power supply is very supple and a very nice length also. Tip changing is a breeze with no locking ring and an included pad on the wire for changing hot tips on the fly, the tips simply slide in and out of the barrel and secure at the base, the connection is solid and reassuring with a very narrow barrel for good visibility.

The base stand - The stand is not metal like the power supply body but a "phenolic material" impressions are that it is some sort of very dense composite. Seating the iron in the stand is very secure and very little movement to speak of, it also features magnets around the neck of the iron to put it into standby state seems to keep it floating while seated.

Operation - The operation of this unit is where it really shines, from turn on the tip is at temperature in 5 seconds, the LCD display constantly feeds back about the status of thermal loading. I tested the unit out with some light SMD work and some big through hole jobs and it was an excellent performer. On the bigger jobs i attempted some 1" wide copper tracks and the iron was able to heat the track quicker than it could be pulled away allowing me to flow solder in under 3 seconds. My old Hakko took over 15 seconds and heated the rails considerably. SMD jobs were easy work for it also removing some RF shielding in seconds.

During operation you can see the response of the unit by placing the tip on a trace and watching the load increase on the LCD almost instantly to compensate. Also when the iron is seated in the stand, it will go into a standby state and ramp up to ready state again once it is lifted from the stand. This used to be a problem with slower irons but with its response time its never really an issue.

I would love to open to see what makes it tick but unfortunately this is my own unit and i would like to keep the warranty :) On the topic of warranties, the unit is backed by a 4yr warranty for the power supply and 90 days on the hand-piece and stand.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 11:02:14 pm by aokman »
 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 10:38:38 am »
I dont see any warranty stickers, please open it up  :)
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Offline aokman

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 10:41:07 am »
the warranty sticker is on the bottom :( :( :(
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 11:04:02 am »
Quote
it also features magnets around the center body to align the neck of the iron and keep it floating while seated.
These are not for alignment, but to put the iron into low power mode by saturating the heater alloy.
Looks a lot like the Metcal MX-5000.

Most warranty stickers can be lifted off with a scalpel BTW ;)
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Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 11:07:55 am »
Most warranty stickers can be lifted off with a scalpel BTW ;)

Scalpel, hair drier, oil, silicone cleaner... are just some of stuff i used since i never managed to resist opening things under warranty. I opened and disected a new Acer LED projector even before i tried does it actually work  ;D
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Offline aokman

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 11:43:19 am »
Quote
it also features magnets around the center body to align the neck of the iron and keep it floating while seated.
These are not for alignment, but to put the iron into low power mode by saturating the heater alloy.
Looks a lot like the Metcal MX-5000.

Most warranty stickers can be lifted off with a scalpel BTW ;)

Yup i know about the low power mode, the magnets however seem to also help to keep the barrel centered as it always wants to return to the middle from the opposing magnets.

Aparently its a copy of the Metcal unit as the patent expired however much cheaper, mine came in at $430 delivered with 3 tips :)
 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 12:05:36 pm »
The bottom switch does not look too much nice. Can it run 2 channels at once or you need to flip the switch? You get 1 or 2 irons with it?
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Offline aokman

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 12:15:49 pm »
The bottom switch does not look too much nice. Can it run 2 channels at once or you need to flip the switch? You get 1 or 2 irons with it?

Unfortunately not just 1 channel at a time, need to flip the switch. Only 1 iron at the moment but i will add another shortly for bigger tips to save changing. I thought the 2 channels would be a pain but given it takes 5 seconds to heat up its not really a problem have 1 iron cold.
 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 01:31:58 pm »
They should automatically switch from channel-s depending which iron is lifted, it would not be so complicated to integrate
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Offline Rufus

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 02:01:48 pm »
Its quite a different setup from your conventional soldering iron / station in that there are no adjustments for temperature, it is all controlled internally based on the thermal load demands.

The temperature is determined by the curie point of the alloy in the tip, so it you need a different temperature you need a different tip.
 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 02:20:35 pm »
I wonder did anybody test the cheap Ayoue soldering iron using same principle, could be interesting
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Offline aokman

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2012, 08:03:16 pm »
Its quite a different setup from your conventional soldering iron / station in that there are no adjustments for temperature, it is all controlled internally based on the thermal load demands.

The temperature is determined by the curie point of the alloy in the tip, so it you need a different temperature you need a different tip.

Sorry i should have worded that a bit differently, you cannot adjust the temperature for the tip used to increase heating power.

blue band = 6 (600°F Type 325°C - 358°C) yellow band = 7 (700°F Type 350°C - 398°C) red band = 8 (800°F Type 420°C - 475°C)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 10:58:46 pm by aokman »
 

Offline Agent24

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 11:17:57 am »
Would love to see a video (or two) comparing this and something like the Hakko 888, heating up the same things and noting how fast each one takes, etc.


I wonder did anybody test the cheap Ayoue soldering iron using same principle, could be interesting

Are you talking about the Aoyue Int3233 because I don't think it actually uses the same principle.

The heater might be induction-based but nowhere on Aoyue website or anywhere else does it say the tips use curie point effect for temperature control.

They do however state it has microprocessor control and the photo shows three buttons on it, which look suspiciously like ones used to adjust the temperature...
 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 12:14:34 pm »
Yes i was thinking about Aoyue Int3233 its based on induction heating, but thats all i know at the moment. However i have noticed somhere same frequency specs as with Thermaltronics. What the display shows on thermaltronics
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Offline robrenz

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2012, 01:29:09 pm »
Pace is more expensive $396.00 for one station but you get adjustable temperature and 130W of available power and has as fast or faster heat up time.

Offline mobbarley

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2012, 01:29:25 pm »
Sorry, pictures are from some time ago and a bit lousy.

Chunky case:


Boards overview:


13.56MHz osc:


Switching stuff (other side of heatsink from previous photo):


Back of CPU board - didn't get a shot of the uC...


 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2012, 01:35:30 pm »
They could clean the boards better, but nice construction
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Offline Agent24

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2012, 08:09:33 pm »
Interesting, does it use a SMPS? The choice of capacitor brand looks lousy.
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2012, 08:39:13 pm »
Interesting, does it use a SMPS? The choice of capacitor brand looks lousy.

Yes very lousy.
 

Offline mobbarley

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2012, 10:40:59 pm »
Interesting, does it use a SMPS?

There is a big transformer visible under the boards in the second shot, just to the left is an IEC input filter module.

I'm not going to pretend to know what the RF stuff does - but I assume it is some sort of power amplifier from the xtal output, the LCD has a small micro that detects the load on the amplifier and the magic all happens in the tip's coil. Other than that it can also detect when no probe is attached, perhaps even an overload (haven't tested that one).

You can also see that the heatsink from photo 3+4 is bolted directly to the back of the aluminium case near the fins on the back (photo 2)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 10:45:20 pm by mobbarley »
 

Offline aokman

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2012, 04:35:19 am »
The construction looks quite good i think, PCB's could definitely be a bit cleaner, looks like the boards are hand assembled? atleast the smd stuff is anyway...

Really would prefer to see some Nichicon / Rubycon / Paansonic capacitors in there aswell.

Input filter looks good aswell and i like the thermal protection.

Ill try to do a comparison video to my Hakko but its almost a joke comparing them as i was doing eyelet connectors last night and the Hakko would take 15 seconds to heat it in a clamp with temperature dialed up, Thermaltronics was flowing solder in 3 seconds roughly...
« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 04:39:03 am by aokman »
 

Offline flolic

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2012, 10:32:43 pm »
Yes i was thinking about Aoyue Int3233 its based on induction heating, but thats all i know at the moment.

There are few more relatively cheap Chinese induction soldering stations on ebay. Like Madell QK202D or Atten AT306DH. They use 400kHz frequency for induction heating, and standard thermocouples for temperature feedback. I am seriously considering buying one of those stations, but I can't find any review on the net...  ::)
 

Offline hacklordsniper

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2012, 01:19:48 pm »

There are few more relatively cheap Chinese induction soldering stations on ebay. Like Madell QK202D or Atten AT306DH. They use 400kHz frequency for induction heating, and standard thermocouples for temperature feedback. I am seriously considering buying one of those stations, but I can't find any review on the net...  ::)

Hello neighbour  :)

If there is not any review then its a task to do one.
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Offline saturation

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2012, 02:24:59 pm »
It really looks like a Metcal station, even the tips are compatible.

At $430 its fairly close to a true Oki station cost.

Do you think its power output is more like the Metcal 5000 [ ~$600] or the PS900 [~$300]?

Tips are ~ AU$17.




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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Thermaltronics TMT-9000s Review
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2012, 02:38:19 pm »
Do you think its power output is more like the Metcal 5000 [ ~$600] or the PS900 [~$300]?
It will be the equivalent of the Metcal 5000 -  the PS900 uses 470kHz
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