Author Topic: What Metcal?  (Read 94164 times)

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Offline zapta

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What Metcal?
« on: November 04, 2013, 03:04:57 pm »
Over the years I heard people praising The Metcal Experience and I would like to give it a try. Looking at the Metcal/Oki site I see several product families such as MFR110, MX500, etc. Some have the classic Metcal smooth look and other have the Oki 'radiator' look.

http://www.okinternational.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/products/hand-soldering-systems

Do all these products use the Metcal RF technology? Are their tips interchangeable? What are the difference between them? Which would you recommend (I don't need more than one port, will use occasionally on PCB and SMD, non production environment, US market).

Thanks,
Z.

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Offline quarros

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2013, 03:47:28 pm »
Just a suggestion but if you want to try it out "the feeling", than right now the old MX500 series are your best option. It can be bought relative cheaply on eBay and you can sold it with practically no, or very little loss.

As far as I know the MX series are the original Metcal design and the tips with little exceptions are interchangeable between stations in the MX series. The MFR, PS series are designed by OKI and use different tip set which are not interchangeable with the MX series tips.

Tips For the MX Series: http://www.okinternational.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/products/hand-soldering-systems/tips-and-cartridges/mx-cartridges
And the station I talked about:  http://www.okinternational.com/Hand_Soldering_Systems/id-MX-500P-11-R/Power_supply_for_MX-500_Series_110V

(Mike post made me realize I was unclear/misleading with my sentence.... Now clarified. Sorry for that. I'm not a native English speaker)
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 08:26:46 pm by quarros »
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2013, 04:45:30 pm »
There are 2 types  -470KHz and 13.56MHz (MX series). Former use DIN connectors, latter F-type coax. Tips are not interchangeable.

Can't comment on relative performance but the MX has a much wider range of tips. Also look at Thermaltronics who make Metcal clones with compatible  tips
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Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2013, 06:07:21 am »
Thanks guys. I will start hunting for a MX500 pieces and/or system.

I prefer the newer stand that has room for the coiled wire style head cleaner.
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Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2013, 03:17:27 pm »
You can also look for a STSS-PS2V or STSS-PS2E unit. These are the predecessor to the MX500 and work with the same accesoires, but are often a little bit cheaper. There is an even older unit, the RFG30, but i rarely see them on eBay. If you feel like it, you can also build your own RF supply unit.

As for the handpiece, the MX-RM3E is the older one, the newer equivalent is the MX-H1-AV. Both use the same cartridges. Regular solder cartridges are the STTC, speciality/rework cartridges are the SMTC. You will find lots of used and new cartridges on eBay, quite often whole sets for cheap. But be aware that most of them are from the US, and some sellers have strange ideas about shipping costs. I have seen single cartridges go for like 10 bucks, but then 40 or 50 bucks just for shipping.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2013, 06:01:08 pm »
You can also look for a STSS-PS2V or STSS-PS2E unit. These are the predecessor to the MX500 and work with the same accesoires, but are often a little bit cheaper. There is an even older unit, the RFG30, but i rarely see them on eBay. If you feel like it, you can also build your own RF supply unit.

As for the handpiece, the MX-RM3E is the older one, the newer equivalent is the MX-H1-AV. Both use the same cartridges. Regular solder cartridges are the STTC, speciality/rework cartridges are the SMTC. You will find lots of used and new cartridges on eBay, quite often whole sets for cheap. But be aware that most of them are from the US, and some sellers have strange ideas about shipping costs. I have seen single cartridges go for like 10 bucks, but then 40 or 50 bucks just for shipping.

Greetings,

Chris

Thanks Chris. Looks like the expensive part is the power supply so possibly I will get a used power supply and a new handle + base. For example this one http://amzn.com/B001BY4848  (saw other bases with no room for the curly wire thing, but I like it more than wet sponge).
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Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2013, 06:42:04 pm »
Thanks Chris. Looks like the expensive part is the power supply so possibly I will get a used power supply and a new handle + base. For example this one http://amzn.com/B001BY4848  (saw other bases with no room for the curly wire thing, but I like it more than wet sponge).

Don't get fixed on a stand that has a compartment for the brass-wool thingy. You can always have that in an extra holder.

Here's an auction for just the handpiece:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Metcal-Handle-tip-holder-MX-RM3E-/231082513593

Here is a simple stand, although the shipping costs are just silly:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Metcal-Soldering-Desldering-Iron-Stand-For-3-4-Diameter-Irons-/251370187580

Here's a tip holder:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/METCAL-STSS-TSTAND-Tip-Stand-for-use-with-MX-500-SP200-Systems-/230882005794

Here's a complete STSS-PS2V-02, with stand and handpiece: (the -02 is the 230V version, look out for -01 if you need 115V mains):

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Metcal-Smartheat-Soldering-System-Model-STSS-PS2V-02-230V-AC-Input-Tested-/271308986192

Here just a supply unit, but for 115V:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Metcal-RFG-30-Soldering-Station-Power-Unit-STSS-002-TESTED-/310770146188

If you want to save a few bucks, it's really worth to wait a while for these things to pop up on eBay for cheap. Especially the STSS-PS2V or PS2E pop up quite often on eBay. They are pretty solid units and easy to repair (and so is the MX500 unit). They use a obsolete FET for the driver, but that can be replaced (with minor circuit modifications) to use a modern FET as driver. The later  MX500 units even have a regular FET there already.

And just in case, here's the thread about my DIY supply unit for the 13.56 MHz system:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/diy-metcal-13-56-mhz-rf-supply/

Also note that it is possible to use other stands, for example i use a cheapie Ayoue stand. Does not fit perfectly, but it does the job just OK.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2013, 03:27:28 am »
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the info.  Good pointers. I am trying to focus on a MX500 and in good condition. It is not urgent so I can wait for a good deal.

My current Weller solder iron has a separate brass wool thingy and between it, the solder base and the power supply it's a hassle to move it in and out the drawer (I use my home office for other things as well) so am trying to simplify things.

What is the status of your RF power generator project, do you expect it to have the same performance and quality as a MX500? Will it be more compact and smaller? Will it be available somehow (preferably preassembled, RF can be tricky)?
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Offline grenert

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2013, 03:38:49 am »
One nice thing about the "official" Metcal stands is they have versions that put the tip to sleep when placed there.  No worries about trashing your tip during inactivity.  I actually upgraded my PS2E setup with a more modern stand to get that benefit.
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2013, 04:16:51 pm »
What is the status of your RF power generator project, do you expect it to have the same performance and quality as a MX500? Will it be more compact and smaller? Will it be available somehow (preferably preassembled, RF can be tricky)?

Hi zapta,

the status is that it works well so far. Since i don't have MX500, i can't directly compare it. However, it is a bit more performant than the STSS-PS2V that i have (and the MX500 is also a bit more powerfull that the PS2V), so i would think they are performing roughly the same.

It is smaller, with a big heatsink the block is about 10cm x 10cm x 10cm in size (without enclosure), if you go for an external power supply (simple transformer or modified laptop supply brick). If you want it "all in one" it would be bigger by the amount of space needed for that.

Currently i have no boards left, and in any case, i'm likely not going to sell ready assembled units.

Since you are in the US, you should be able to get a used MX500 or PS2E/PS2V, including a RM3E handle and stand, for a low price money, as there are plenty of units available on the US eBay.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 02:42:05 am »
Chris, I followed your advice and scored a used MX500P power supply on ebay.

Am looking for a stand and a hand piece.  I plan buy new since this is cheaper than the power supply. Amazon has this one http://amzn.com/B001BY4848 and I like the integrated metal wool thing.  Is it a reasonable choice for electronic work? I am not familiar with Metcal handpiece models.
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Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 09:16:08 am »
Chris, I followed your advice and scored a used MX500P power supply on ebay.

Am looking for a stand and a hand piece.  I plan buy new since this is cheaper than the power supply. Amazon has this one http://amzn.com/B001BY4848 and I like the integrated metal wool thing.  Is it a reasonable choice for electronic work? I am not familiar with Metcal handpiece models.

It's the MX-RM3E handpiece, pretty much the standard. The newer version would be the MX-H1-AV, which is basically the same handpiece, just made of metal and with a replaceable grip at the front. There is an ultra-fine version of that as well, IIRC, but that goes more into speciality stuff. The one you selcted will be perfectly fine for electronics work.

Be aware that usually there is no tip-cartridge included, so you have to get some. Personally, i prefer the STTC-126 cartridge. It is a fine point tip, but with a 30° bent tip. This basically combines a small pointed tip with something that can be used like a chisel tip if needed: http://www.ebay.de/itm/291010830853

A small-to-medium sized chisel tip would be the STTC-137: http://www.ebay.de/itm/181220313037 (Be aware that there is also an STTC-137P, which has a different tip geometry)

In general it is worthwhile to grab tips from eBay, since very often they are much cheaper there.

Greetings,

Chris

Edit: Generally you can stick to the -1XX type of cartridges, 700°F. The -0XX would be the same in geometry, but for 600°F. But unless you have sensitive stuff to work on, the -1XX will be just fine.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 09:19:28 am by mamalala »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2013, 03:27:22 am »
I got the Metcal MX500 setup and working and am very impressed. This is the first time I see a Metcal in person, most of the solder irons I used so far were Wellers. My configuration include a used MX500P from ebay (a European model with the internal jumpers changed to 110VAC), this base and handpiece from amazon http://amzn.com/B001BY4848 (does not come with a tip) , a STTC-122 tip and a  STTC-125 tip on order.

The power supply is built like a Russian tank, made of cast metal and built to last. The components inside are easily available through-hole (no fancy microcontroller, etc), the circuit is straight forward (schematic and description are available online) and I even managed to take it apart and fix the green LED that did not work. Operation is very simple, an on/off switch, an A/B switch for the two power outputs, a hidden setup screw to disable the auto shutoff (not using it), and temperature control by replacing the tips (which means that calibration is never required).

The handpiece is super light, cable is smooth and flexible (looks like a rubber tube), the tip is short and close to the handle which makes it easy to control. Tips are easy to replace (just pull out), the base is wide and well constructed, it include place holders for few tips and a magnet that reduce the tip temperature while 'parked'. The range of available tips is amazing and many are available on ebay for a more reasonable price (the tips are expensive compared to other units I have used).

Soldering with it is really enjoyable, it transfers the heat and melts the solder like butter. I expected a good product but it exceeded my expectations.

Cons:
- Unit and tip price (got used on ebay to mitigate)
- Slight hamming  (I tightened the internal 4 screws that hold the transformer and it is much better now).
- Big an heavy (I actually like it this way, it sit stable on the desk, and has a hidden handle to carry it around)
- No temperature setting (I had it on my last Weller and did not know how to set it up so left it on 700F).
- The main switch is on the transformer's secondary, so some power consumption even when powered off (yak)




« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 06:26:35 am by zapta »
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Offline JJalling

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2013, 12:40:47 pm »
...
- The main switch is on the transformer's secondary, so some power consumption even when powered off (yak)

I have modified mine, so the switch is now on the primary side of the transformer - stupid design.

BR Jonas
 

Offline London Lad

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2013, 12:46:20 pm »
I think its because if you pull a tip out with the power on (and you will :-)) the output latches off till you cycle the power switch.

The new 5000 stations now switch the output back on back on automatically after a tip change
 

Offline JJalling

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2013, 01:22:38 pm »
I think its because if you pull a tip out with the power on (and you will :-)) the output latches off till you cycle the power switch.

The new 5000 stations now switch the output back on back on automatically after a tip change

But what is the purpose of having the switch on the secondary side of the transformer instead of on the primary side?
Are there any benefits?

BR Jonas
 

Offline London Lad

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2013, 02:38:02 pm »
Maybe to prevent you keep whacking the high current draw at start up and spiking your bench mains?
I'm guessing its a big E core transformer in there?
 

Offline JJalling

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2013, 02:50:57 pm »
Maybe to prevent you keep whacking the high current draw at start up and spiking your bench mains?
I'm guessing its a big E core transformer in there?

Hmm.. Makes sense.
And yes you are right.

BR Jonas
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2013, 04:51:11 pm »
I have modified mine, so the switch is now on the primary side of the transformer - stupid design.

BR Jonas

Good idea. When you do that, the auto shutdown function turns off the LEDs but does not turn off the primary side. Would be nice to have a third LED that indicates the primary status (or use the transformer's humming for that purpose ;-)).
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Offline calexanian

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2013, 08:11:40 am »
I use a mx500 as my daily iron. I have had nothing but luck with it over the last few years and the tips really last a long time. I do not use the brass bush like they recomend. Just the sponge and I have tips that I use daily that are a couple years old and still work fine. Worth it at twice the price. I still have a weller wptc at the next station over when  I have to do production at speed with big through hole stuff, but sometimes when I am lazy I just shove a big tip in the metcal and use it and it keeps up enough.
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Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2013, 12:19:57 am »
I just noticed Metcal will be releasing an all new Metcal MX500 later in December.



40 W, dual port (switchable like the old MX-500 + MX-5000) and now with an universal mains input (most likely SMPS), a power display like the MX5000/MX5200 series and adjustable power save timer.

Confusing to be reusing the name of the old MX500.

New MX500: http://www.metcal.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/products/hand-soldering-systems/systems/dual-port-switchable/mx-500-series



Same case design as the more powerful 80 Watt MX-5200 Dual Port Simultaneous power supply, but lighter and smaller.

New MX-500
Power Supply Dimensions w x d x h 12.1cm (4.8”) x 12.1cm (4.8”) x 22.2cm (8.8”)
Weight of the power supply: 2.65 Kg (5.85 lbs)

MX-5200
Power Supply Dimensions w x d x h 12.1cm (4.8”) x 13.0cm  (5.1”) x 23.5cm (9.3” )
Weight of the power supply: 3.35 kg (7.4 lbs)

Dimensions for New MX-500 are only slightly smaller than for MX-5200, so it seems strange to not just reuse the casing.

MX-5200 system:


It's the MX-RM3E handpiece, pretty much the standard. The newer version would be the MX-H1-AV, which is basically the same handpiece, just made of metal and with a replaceable grip at the front. There is an ultra-fine version of that as well, IIRC, but that goes more into speciality stuff. The one you selected will be perfectly fine for electronics work.
The new MX500 systems will also come with the original plastic MX-RM3E used by the old MX500 series, instead of the newer alloy MX-H1-AV / MX-H2-UF from the MX5000/MX5200 series.
But the kits with talon or desoldering gun with come with the new versions from the MX5000/MX5200 series).



Metcal are also releasing a new HCT2-120 Digital Hot Air Pencil

http://www.metcal.com/Convection_Rework_System/id-HCT2-120/NEW_HCT2-120_Digital_Hot_Air_Pencil


« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 11:13:37 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2013, 12:49:32 am »
So they just renamed the MX-5000 to "New MX-500"
WTF is the point of that ?
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Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2013, 01:25:10 am »
So they just renamed the MX-5000 to "New MX-500"
WTF is the point of that ?
Not quite. MX-5000 and MX-5200 both has 80 W output power, while the new MX-500 only has 40 W output power, just like the old MX-500 had.

MX-500 and MX-5000 are both "Dual Port Switchable", so the new MX-500 Power Supply is basically an MX-5000 Power Supply with half the output power.

MX-5200 is the "Dual Port Simultaneous" version of MX-5000.

The systems are different too, as MX-500 systems comes with the old plastic MX-RM3E handpiece used by the old MX-500 series, while MX-5000/MX-5200 comes with the newer alloy MX-H1-AV and/or the UltraFine MX-H2-UF handpieces. The New MX-500 system tweezer and desoldering gun are the new types used for the MX-5000/MX-5200 systems. The old MX-500 had different tweezer and desoldering gun. The original tweezer used by the old MX-500 used different tips than the new tweezer used by MX-5000/MX-5200.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 01:55:57 am by AndersAnd »
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2013, 01:56:06 am »
The Thermaltronics TMT-9000 (Metcal MX clone) also has 40 W output power: http://www.thermaltronics.com/tmt-9000s.php
So maybe Metcal releases the new MX-500 to compete on price with the Thermaltronics TMT-9000S.
Both are 40 W and both are "Dual Port Switchable" and the Themaltronics handpiece is plastic too, however unlike all the new Metcal MX soldering stations, Thermaltronics soldering stations aren't universal mains voltages devices, but made in two different mains voltage versions: 100-110 VAC and 220-240 VAC.

And of course also to compete with mamalala's DIY Metcal 13.56 MHz RF Supply :-+ https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/diy-metcal-13-56-mhz-rf-supply/

Thermaltronics soldering systems are also sold rebranded as EasyBraid: http://www.easybraidco.com/hand-soldering
EasyBraid soldering stations are sold by DigiKey among others: http://www.digikey.com/Suppliers/us/Easy-Braid.page
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 03:19:40 am by AndersAnd »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2013, 06:11:51 am »
Is the Thermaltronics TMT-9000 compatible Metcal MX500 tips and vice versa?
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Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2013, 09:24:02 am »
Is the Thermaltronics TMT-9000 compatible Metcal MX500 tips and vice versa?
Yes.
You can also use a Thermaltronics handpiece with a Metcal MX power supplies and vice versa.
Thermaltronics was founded by some ex Metcal employees, once the Metcal patents expired.

Thermaltronics to Metcal Tips Cross Reference http://www.thermaltronics.com/references.php

EasyBraid to Metcal Tips CrossReference http://www.easybraidco.com/cross-references.php?competitor=4
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 09:34:13 am by AndersAnd »
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2013, 10:02:35 pm »
I noticed it says this about the new MX-500:
 http://www.metcal.com/Hand_Soldering_Systems/id-MX-500P/New_MX-500P_Power_Supply
Quote
Ground Fault Interrupt: AC ground monitor detects power line ground failures and immediately alerts the operator and shuts down the system. Only after the power line ground has been restored, can the MX-500 be restarted and soldering operations can be resumed.

So I looked in the User's Manual and it says this:
New MX-500 Soldering, Desoldering and Rework System User manual - Multi Language
Quote
6. Plug the power cord into a grounded wall socket of the rated input line voltage.
7. To turn the unit “ON”, push the power switch. NOTE: Unit must be grounded, otherwise it will not work. Unit will not work in an electrical network where an isolation transformer has been used.
It says the same in the MX-5200 User's Manual.

But I don't have any ground wiring in my old apartment, just the 3 phases and neutral.
Does the missing ground wiring really mean I can't even start up these MX soldering stations?  :-//
Is there any easy workaround for this?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 10:21:17 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2013, 10:37:28 pm »
Regarding the Metcal 500P lights, I care about these states:

1. Switch off   (green-off + amber-off)
2. Switch on, tip energized  (green-on + amber-off)
3. Switch on, tip not energized  (green-off + amber-on or green-off + amber-off).  (on my device, timeout shutdown is enabled).

As you can see there is ambiguity between #1 and #3.  I am thinking of rewiring the amber led to be always on. This way it will have

1. Switch off   (green-off + amber-off)
2. Switch on, tip energized  (green-on + amber-on)
3. Switch on, tip not energized  (green-off + amber-on).

Anything wrong with this plan? Am I missing something?



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Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2013, 10:43:06 pm »
3. Switch on, tip not energized  (green-off + amber-on or green-off + amber-off).  (on my device, timeout shutdown is enabled).
Can it have 2 different states for the same thing? The green LED off all the time in state 3, but the amber can either be on or off?  :-//
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2013, 12:59:54 am »
Can it have 2 different states for the same thing? The green LED off all the time in state 3, but the amber can either be on or off?  :-//

I know of at least two scenario where the power switch is on, the tip is not energized and the leds are different in different combinations
a) Timeout (after 30 minutes of no use)  - both leds are off
b) Removing tip from handle piece - green-off, amber-on

Both states require power recycling to energize the tip again.



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Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2013, 06:49:08 pm »
I made the LED change and like the results. Now I can distinguish between shutdown and actually being off.


The PCB change. One trace cut, one short and one added resistor. The output of the comparator is open collector so I could not use the existing yellow LED resistor.


On with tip energized.



On with tip non energized.


Off.

The next change will be to move the on/off switch to the primary, for a real off state.
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Offline SLJ

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2013, 10:16:01 pm »
The next change will be to move the on/off switch to the primary, for a real off state.

Does your Metcal loose all it's presets when it's unplugged?  On my old one I had to unplug it frequently as it would not come out of power save and when I did it reset itself to the factory settings.  Mine could have had more problems though.  If that's the case with yours you might want to leave the power switch where it is.

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2013, 10:19:19 pm »
The next change will be to move the on/off switch to the primary, for a real off state.

Does your Metcal loose all it's presets when it's unplugged?  On my old one I had to unplug it frequently as it would not come out of power save and when I did it reset itself to the factory settings.  Mine could have had more problems though.  If that's the case with yours you might want to leave the power switch where it is.
What presets? Except for the jumper screw to disable auto sleep, there isn't any setting on MX-500 is there?
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2013, 11:52:35 pm »
Don't know on the 500.  that's why I asked.

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2013, 12:04:16 am »
Don't know on the 500.  that's why I asked.
The old MX500 only has an on/off button and an screw to activate/deactivate auto sleep. No display or microcontroller or anything like that.
MX-500P schematic: http://www.mikrocontroller.net/attachment/193474/MX-500P-11.pdf

« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 03:47:57 am by AndersAnd »
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2013, 03:06:18 am »
Makes sense.  I had a slightly used 5000 with the window.  Was not thrilled with the performance.  I'm sure it had more problems than just shutting down prematurely and I probably would have dug into it to see what the trouble was but I do a lot of different types of soldering and having to have different tips for size and temps would have bugged me in the long run.  I dumped it for what I figure I paid for it and the person I sold it to knew it had problems but he got it cheap so it worked out.  If I had bought it new I would have sent it back for repair but I got it buying an estate and did not have any paperwork on it.

Offline quarros

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2013, 03:55:31 pm »
I made the LED change and like the results. Now I can distinguish between shutdown and actually being off.



The PCB change. One trace cut, one short and one added resistor. The output of the comparator is open collector so I could not use the existing yellow LED resistor.

Can I ask you why did you gone to the effort to cut the trace soldermask? If it would be me I would just simply solder the resistor to the joint below. 

(Also is that a 2.2K 1% resistor? Cant make out the bands)
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2013, 04:07:11 pm »
I made the LED change and like the results. Now I can distinguish between shutdown and actually being off.

Can I ask you why did you gone to the effort to cut the trace soldermask? If it would be me I would just simply solder the resistor to the joint below. 

(Also is that a 2.2K 1% resistor? Cant make out the bands)

The cut is to disconnect R35 from the yellow LED DS2 and the jumper connects R35 to V+.  U2 output is open collector and must have a pullup to work. As for the resistor, yes, it's a 2.2k. The original resistor is 1.5k but I did not have one. 2.2k looks just as good.  (V+ is 18V in case you want to calculate resistor power).

If you do not want to cut the trace, you can lift R35 from the other side of the PCB and wire it there.  (to remove the PCB, you need to remove the 4 big transformer screws, the two small screws, release, but not remove, the screw at the back of the unit, and pull the connection between the PCB and power in socket).

Schema at the bottom of this pds:
file://localhost/Users/tal/Desktop/MX-500P-11%20(1).pdf
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline quarros

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2013, 04:22:16 pm »
The cut is to disconnect R35 from the yellow LED DS2 and the jumper connects R35 to V+.  U2 output is open collector and must have a pullup to work. As for the resistor, yes, it's a 2.2k. The original resistor is 1.5k but I did not have one. 2.2k looks just as good.  (V+ is 18V in case you want to calculate resistor power).

If you do not want to cut the trace, you can lift R35 from the other side of the PCB and wire it there.  (to remove the PCB, you need to remove the 4 big transformer screws, the two small screws, release, but not remove, the screw at the back of the unit, and pull the connection between the PCB and power in socket).

Schema at the bottom of this pds:
file://localhost/Users/tal/Desktop/MX-500P-11%20(1).pdf

Thank you. I missed the part where you cut the trace too not just the solder mask. Now I understand  ;D
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2013, 04:29:34 pm »
file://localhost/Users/tal/Desktop/MX-500P-11%20(1).pdf
Dead link, you are linking to "file://localhost" which doesn't work over the internet.

But there's s MX-500P schematic here: http://www.mikrocontroller.net/attachment/193474/MX-500P-11.pdf
 

Offline quarros

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2013, 04:36:38 pm »
file://localhost/Users/tal/Desktop/MX-500P-11%20(1).pdf
Dead link, you are linking to "file://localhost" which doesn't work over the internet.

But there's s MX-500P schematic here: http://www.mikrocontroller.net/attachment/193474/MX-500P-11.pdf

Doesn't matter. You already linked it earlier. Thanks for it by the way.
http://www.mikrocontroller.net/attachment/193474/MX-500P-11.pdf

Zapta
Can I ask what is your second opinion about the station now that you used and  :-/O for a while.  ;)
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2013, 05:17:25 pm »
file://localhost/Users/tal/Desktop/MX-500P-11%20(1).pdf
Dead link, you are linking to "file://localhost" which doesn't work over the internet.

But there's s MX-500P schematic here: http://www.mikrocontroller.net/attachment/193474/MX-500P-11.pdf

Doesn't matter. You already linked it earlier. Thanks for it by the way.
http://www.mikrocontroller.net/attachment/193474/MX-500P-11.pdf

Zapta
Can I ask what is your second opinion about the station now that you used and  :-/O for a while.  ;)

Simply love it.  Melts solder like butter, light, short and very accurate hand piece, large selection of tips, well constructed, easy to maintain and fix (standard through hole components, schematic and description available online) and very simple to use.  I the transformer hums a little bit when plugged in, that's my main complaint, but got used to it.  The other con is that the switch is on the secondary so it consumes some energy and hums, moving the switch to the primary will improve the situation.

One mistake I made was buying the narrowest possible conical tip. Not as useful as I thought. A 1-2mm chisel is more useful.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline quarros

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2013, 08:08:42 pm »
One mistake I made was buying the narrowest possible conical tip. Not as useful as I thought. A 1-2mm chisel is more useful.
Good to hear you're enjoy it.  :-+

Yeah conical tips as not as useful most of the time but actually the real fine one can be good if you're reballing BGA's when only a light touch is needed (according to my friend who does that). Anyways there is one conical tip I found real useful: STTC-140 it is really good for those hard to reach places. Other than that I use a STTC 136, 117 chisel and a SMTC-1161 blade, but I'm looking for a smaller chisel for SMD rework the 136 is a little bit too big for tightly packed boards. Anyone have recommendations?
 

Offline Someone

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2013, 09:45:04 pm »
One mistake I made was buying the narrowest possible conical tip. Not as useful as I thought. A 1-2mm chisel is more useful.
....Anyone have recommendations?
STTC-116 is the go-to tip for me, the fine radius on the tip gets into small pins/faces without getting damaged and does everything from 0402 up to through hole and even silly things like D2PAK. A nicely wetted curie heating tip doesnt need the large contact area with the pad like conventional soldering irons so chisels are less needed.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2013, 09:55:21 pm »
Ebay has numerous Thermaltronics tips for MX500. Are they just as good as Metcal?
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline quarros

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #45 on: December 07, 2013, 07:46:29 pm »
STTC-116 is the go-to tip for me, the fine radius on the tip gets into small pins/faces without getting damaged and does everything from 0402 up to through hole and even silly things like D2PAK. A nicely wetted curie heating tip doesnt need the large contact area with the pad like conventional soldering irons so chisels are less needed.

Thanks very much for the suggestion. Please don't take this the wrong way, but I doubt It would help me with densely packed SMD boards, and as I pointed out, that's the only situation I don't have a solution for... Yet.  ;)
 

Offline London Lad

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #46 on: December 07, 2013, 08:11:19 pm »
Have a look at the new ultra-fine hand piece and bits, they are amazing and will work with your MX500
 

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #47 on: January 02, 2014, 03:33:38 pm »

Be aware that usually there is no tip-cartridge included, so you have to get some. Personally, i prefer the STTC-126 cartridge. It is a fine point tip, but with a 30° bent tip. This basically combines a small pointed tip with something that can be used like a chisel tip if needed: http://www.ebay.de/itm/291010830853

I love the STTC-126.

I worked in a PCB factory for 2 years in the late 1990s / early 2000's. I was on a production line that soldered through-hole terminal blocks (like these for example) into PCBs. Soldering in ~2,000 four-legged terminal blocks per night was typical. We also did rework on boards that failed testing in the HP3070 machine, which usually consisted of replacing tiny surface-mount components. There were many tip cartridges available to choose from, but most people (including myself) used the STTC-126 for pretty much everything, including the relatively large through-hole terminal block joints and the small SMT rework stuff. I also use an STTC-126 at home, and it is the only tip I've needed since I bought a Metcal in 2007. It is good for the smallest and largest joints that I've ever encountered on the stuff I normally work on (mostly classic video arcade machine stuff, using 63/37 solder).

Quote
Edit: Generally you can stick to the -1XX type of cartridges, 700°F.

I agree.

I have a question: what is the difference between the RFG-30 power supply and the PS2E-01 power supply (and the PS2V-01 power supply for that matter)? I know that the PS2E (and probably the PS2V) power supply has an auto-shutoff feature that the RFG-30 lacks, but is there any difference in power/performance?

At work we used STSS-002s (I don't remember if the power supplies were RFG-30s, PS2E-01s, PS2V-01s, or a mixture, because they all look basically the same, and they all came as part of systems named "STSS-002") and MX-500s interchangeably. I actually preferred using one of the STSS-002s over one of the MX-500s when I could, as it seemed to perform slightly better when pushing it hard than the MX-500 did. That may have just been an anomaly, but when I sat down and there was an MX-500 in front of me, and the person beside me had an STSS-002 in front of them, I'd always swap with them.

The Metcal that I bought for myself in 2007 is an STSS-002 with the RFG-30 power supply (I got it for less than $40 shipped, complete with the handpiece, handpiece stand, and a used STTC-125 tip cartridge which I never use, given my preference for the STTC-126). As far as I can tell, it performs as well as any of the Metcals I used at work years ago, but then, I never even come close to pushing it hard at home like I routinely did at work.

At work I "speed soldered" thousands of relatively large through-hole joints a night, and those circumstances will reveal a soldering iron's weaknesses, i.e., if the recovery time isn't up to snuff, you'll soon notice it. And like I said before, I generally had better luck with the STSS-002 stations than the MX-500s. Also, after about 80 hours (2 work weeks), a tip cartridge's performance would start to degrade slightly, slowing me down, and I'd get a new one from my supervisor. I wish I would have saved all of those still-quite-usable tip cartridges that my co-workers and I threw away back then, I could make a fortune selling them on eBay. On the other hand, I'm still using the STTC-126 tip cartridge that I bought new when I bought my Metcal in 2007, and it still works perfectly for what I do, but that's the difference between production line use and home use.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 03:46:52 pm by MaximRecoil »
 

Offline CSmith

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #48 on: January 03, 2014, 08:27:25 am »
Metcal extols the virtues of how their SmartHeat RF heating technology maintains tip temperatures better, and they claim that in some cases this can lead to up to 100F/38C less idle temperature required. However when I examine the temperature details about their various tip series, I notice that their "standard" tips operate at a temperature of 775F/412C, which already seems high to me, especially given that it isn't adjustable. My Weller WX2 standard temperature presets are 608F/320C and 662F/350C for the WXMP/WXMT micro tips, while the corresponding Metcal UltraFine tips are only offered at 775F/412C. Is Metcal's standard iron temperature of 775F/412C too high for everyday use with modern PCB's and SMT components?

I like their no nonsense "just turn it on and go", "it'll work" approach (especially compared to the overly elaborate Weller WX2 Series) and their extensive tip offerings, but I'm concerned about the higher tip temperatures, associate tip life degradation with SAC305 at those higher temperatures, and the potential for overheating components.

I'm also digging their generous assortment of included nozzles on their new HCT2-120 Digital Hot Air Pencil, which their iron stand conveniently stores at the ready.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 08:37:43 am by CSmith »
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #49 on: January 03, 2014, 02:43:31 pm »
Exactly why I did not go with a Metcal this time around (besides my last Metcal would keep going into standby and not turning back on).  I just could not justify spending that much on a fixed temp station.  I have a very old fixed temp (by tip) Weller station and a newer adjustable station on the main bench for working on through hole and vintage point to point wiring but wanted a station with temp control and SMD tools.

Weller had a deal at the end of 2013 that offered a free tool if you bought a WX controller.  I picked the tweezers and stand as the free tool.   I've been extremely happy so far with the WX2 and the micro soldering pencil for the fine work.  I also picked up the 65 watt iron for larger jobs.  They have shipped the free tweezers and stand I got with the deal so I'm looking forward to using those.   At some point I will do a review on them.

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2014, 05:07:00 pm »
Is Metcal's standard iron temperature of 775F/412C too high for everyday use with modern PCB's and SMT components?

Apparently not. At the PCB factory I worked at in the late '90s, we built PCBs for commercial fire alarm systems, like you'd find installed in a hospital, factory, or other large building (we built the entire systems, not just the PCBs), and many of those PCBs were almost entirely SMT, which we built on a multi-million dollar Panasonic SMT machine which was at least 100 yards long. Here's a friend of mine loading one of the reels of SMT components:



In any event, fire alarms are categorized as "life saving equipment", and as such, they are subject to certain mandated quality control regulations. We used Metcal STSS-002 and MX-500 solder stations, usually with STTC-1XX tips (STTC-126 is what I used, as did most others). Granted, all of the SMT components were soldered in the Panasonic SMT machine, and most of the through-hole components were soldered in the wave, but the techs and everyone on my line did rework on both SMT components and through-hole components with Metcals (and my line hand-soldered in through-hole terminals blocks in every board, which for whatever reason, they didn't want to run through the wave). Each board was fully tested in the HP3070 machine (which had a custom "bed of nails" type fixture for every type of PCB we manufactured, so as to test every circuit/component on the boad), which would give a printout showing what faults existed, if any, and if a fault needed to be fixed, I, or a tech, or someone else from my line, would do the rework (which was nearly always an SMT component, usually one that was lifted from the pad), and then we'd send it through the HP3070 again.

The fact that Metcals are so popular for production line work in general, and STTC-1XX (700 series) cartridges are the most popular tips, is a testament to them being safe for use with modern PCBs and SMT components.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 05:16:09 pm by MaximRecoil »
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #51 on: January 03, 2014, 06:03:47 pm »
You really can't generalize all components, chips, and boards from one type of production and components used 15 years ago.  While I will agree the temp is not all that important for most jobs, when I'm doing a repair on a multi-layer board with very small traces I still am careful about temp settings and the length of time heat is applied.  If I'm soldering micro components and I start to see discoloration or notice the heat affecting a wider area than just the pads, I like the option of lowering the temp.  I don't have to change tips or irons, it's just a quick touch.  Some manufacturer's have requirements on temps used and when there is it's not usually 700 degrees.

Back in the 80's when I worked for a defense contractor we would have to use a specific temp in production once in awhile.  The cal lab would have to set up and certify the the irons for a specific temp and monitor and test them on a daily basis.  Not sure how they did it as I know they had to get specific tips and adjust the supply voltage.  I remember they could not use magnetic tips with preset temps for certain jobs.   I'm sure it's a lot easier to do that now than it was back then.  My WX2 has a usb port and comes with software to quickly set all stations the same in a production environment.  Something I'll never use in my workshop but I wanted the two channel controller and it comes with the port.

The Metcal I had was fine for general circuit board and point to point work but would not be my choice for micro soldering due to no temp adjustment.  If I hadn't had problems with it I would still probably be using it on the main bench.

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #52 on: January 03, 2014, 06:34:48 pm »
You really can't generalize all components, chips, and boards from one type of production and components used 15 years ago.

Sure you can, given that nothing has meaningfully changed since then. We soldered for example, surface-mount ICs that were e.g. 1.125" square with e.g. 160 legs, or resistors and capacitors that were about the size of 1/8 grain of rice, all the way through to relatively large through-hole terminal blocks with the same tip. Actually, the only thing that has really changed is the proliferation of regulations calling for lead-free solder, which tends to call for higher temperatures. "Life saving equipment" is exempt from that foolishness though, because lead-free solder joints aren't as good. Also, the factory I worked at was far from the only one using Metcals, then or now.

Quote
While I will agree the temp is not all that important for most jobs, when I'm doing a repair on a multi-layer board with very small traces I still am careful about temp settings and the length of time heat is applied.  If I'm soldering micro components and I start to see discoloration or notice the heat affecting a wider area than just the pads, I like the option of lowering the temp.  I don't have to change tips or irons, it's just a quick touch.  Some manufacturer's have requirements on temps used and when there is it's not usually 700 degrees.

If for whatever reason you need a different temperature with a Metcal, change the tip, a process which takes maybe 15 seconds, including the time it takes for the different tip to reach operating temperature. Even with an adjustable temperature station, you're going to have to wait at least that long for it to cool down to the lower temperature you selected.

In any event, as a general rule, the Metcal STTC-1XX tips are fine for SMT components, which is why so many factories use them. If professionals stopped buying Metcals they'd probably go out of business, because I doubt there are enough hobbyist sales to support them. In the case of whatever exceptions there may be out there, well, make an exception when you encounter them.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2014, 07:21:57 pm »
... If I hadn't had problems with it I would still probably be using it on the main bench.

Are you referring to the standby problem you mentioned earlier?  Did you try to fix it? With MX500 for example, you can find on the internet schematic and operation overview and it is made of common discrete components.  (The MX500 has small screw to enable/disable the automatic timeout shutdown, I presume this is not your problem).

As for fixed temperature, I had an analog Weller (WES51?) that came with a magnetic key to lock the temperature setting in production environments. I always had it on 700F and just swapped between two tips.
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Offline SLJ

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2014, 08:47:54 pm »
Actually the WX changes temp in 3 or four seconds at the touch of the screen without a tip change.

The Metcal problem was not the adjustment screw.  If it did go into shutdown it would not wake up.  Problem was it did it intermittently, about on time out of maybe four or five.  You never knew when.  Just enough so you would have worked for a half hour and then all of the sudden you had a cold tip.  Only way to get it back on was to shut the power off.  I suspect maybe a bad solder connection somewhere but when an acquaintance said he'd take it as is (for what I paid for it) I sold it since I have several other stations.  Next time I see him I'll have to ask him if he figured it out although I suspect he's just using it without standby.

My WESD51 has that magnetic key to lock the temp. It's just used by me so I haven't needed it.

All parameters of the WX2 can be programed at once, temps for each tool, standby time, heat speed, etc., and then loaded onto each unit on a production line via USB for any tool or anything else plugged into them (SMD pencils, soldering irons, tweezers, reflow ovens, fume eliminators. etc.).  It knows what's plugged into it and if pre programed, adjusts all the port settings for that tool.  Do you need all that at home or in a service shop?  Nope, but I could see where it would be very handy in a large production environment where parameter changes and different tools were necessary.  The Metcal reminds me of my old Weller station where you changed tips depending on the temp and what you were working on.  They do heat up fast and tip changes are fairly quick but for me the WX or a JBC probably has more value for the money.

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #55 on: January 03, 2014, 08:58:34 pm »
So does anyone know the difference(s) between the various pre-MX-500 stations? Why is it so hard to find official technical information on Metcal stations?

Here are the ones I've seen:

Soldering System: STSS-001
Power Unit: RFG-30
Notes: No LED, glossy
plastic trim piece down the middle
of the front, 115 VAC, 60 Hz., 1.5 A

Soldering System: STSS-002
Power Unit: RFG-30
Notes: One LED,
115 VAC, 60 Hz., 1.5 A

Soldering System: STSS-002
Power Unit: PS2
Notes: One LED,
115 VAC, 60 Hz., 1.5 A

Soldering System: STSS-002
Power Unit: PS2
Notes: Two LEDs,
115 VAC, 60 Hz., 1.5 A

Power Supply: PS2E-01
Notes: Two LEDs,
115 VAC, 60 Hz., 1.5 A

Soldering System Power Supply: STSS-PS2V-02
Notes: Two LEDs,
230 V~, 50 Hz., 1.0 A

Besides the different number of LEDs (or lack thereof), and the different circuitry associated with them, and the obvious power standard difference of the STSS-PS2V-02, what are the differences among these power supplies? They can all use the same handpieces (as they are all 13.56 mHz), and all of the 115 VAC ones are rated to draw 1.5 amps. Note that the 115 VAC MX-500 is only rated to draw 1 amp, so they are either more efficient or they have less power, because, not taking into account efficiency, 1 amp @ 115 volts = 115 watts, while 1.5 amps @ 115 volts =  172.5 watts.

It wouldn't surprise me if the MX-500 has less power than the older units, because like I mentioned earlier, when I worked at the PCB factory, the older units seemed to perform a little better when pushed hard, which is why I always tried to swap with a co-worker if I got stuck with an MX-500. I usually sat at the same bench every night, but those squirrelly first-shifters liked to move things around, so I'd make a trade so I could have my trusty STSS-whatever one night, come back the next night and an MX-500 might be sitting there again.

The Metcal problem was not the adjustment screw.  If it did go into shutdown it would not wake up.  Problem was it did it intermittently, about on time out of maybe four or five.  You never knew when.  Just enough so you would have worked for a half hour and then all of the sudden you had a cold tip.  Only way to get it back on was to shut the power off.  I suspect maybe a bad solder connection somewhere but when an acquaintance said he'd take it as is (for what I paid for it) I sold it since I have several other stations.  Next time I see him I'll have to ask him if he figured it out although I suspect he's just using it without standby.

That was another reason I preferred using the older STSS stations to the MX-500 stations at work; that auto-shutdown function irritated me to no end, even when that function was working correctly (and we did have a few that sometimes wouldn't come out of shutdown properly as well).
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 09:03:39 pm by MaximRecoil »
 
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Offline SLJ

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #56 on: January 03, 2014, 09:44:38 pm »


Sorry but if I really had to choose which one...


Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #57 on: January 04, 2014, 04:48:41 am »
We used Metcal STSS-002 and MX-500 solder stations, usually with STTC-1XX tips (STTC-126 is what I used, as did most others).

You really can't generalize all components, chips, and boards from one type of production and components used 15 years ago.

Sure you can, given that nothing has meaningfully changed since then.

Speaking of nothing changing, I figured I'd check with my old friend Jenn, who still works there:

Quote from: Jenn
We use the STTC-126 for both leaded and unleaded solder. That is the most popular tip, but we use a variety. We haven't gone completely lead-free yet and we're not going to!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 04:55:17 am by MaximRecoil »
 

Offline Frost

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #58 on: January 04, 2014, 05:45:56 am »
Sorry but if I really had to choose which one...
Then I would definitely choose this one ;D

 

Offline quarros

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #59 on: January 04, 2014, 07:35:25 am »
I never knew ersa made an all in one i-con station too. Nice...
Altough they could have polished the exterior design a little bit more.
It looks rather bland.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 07:46:13 am by quarros »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #60 on: January 04, 2014, 08:02:26 am »

Then I would definitely choose this one ;D

Drain the swamp.
 

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #61 on: January 04, 2014, 03:31:25 pm »

Then I would definitely choose this one ;D

That looks like a miserable place to work. I soldered on a production line for 2 years, but it was nothing like that, mainly because my line was only doing a relatively small aspect of production. Out of the many types of PCBs the factory I worked for manufactured (and PCBs weren't the only thing they manufactured), there were several types that needed terminal blocks hand soldered into them. I don't know why they didn't solder the terminal blocks in the wave.

But either way, in our little corner of the factory we were supposed to inspect the boards, solder the terminal blocks in, run them through the HP3070 tester, fix any errors that the tester pinpointed (usually SMT component errors), and conformal coat them. So there were only about 7 people total in that area, and we weren't all crammed together, lined up like chickens at an egg farm. There was only one person that sat directly beside me, and there was plenty of elbow room between us. 2 to 3 people sat across from us at work benches butted up against the same tall rack (which held tools/supplies) that our work benches were butted up against. Then there was someone at the conformal coating machine and someone at the HP3070 machine. Technically we were supposed to take turns on the different jobs in that area, but I preferred to be on the same job every night (inspecting/soldering), and usually no one minded. Sometimes the supervisor would notice that I'd been on the same job for many nights in a row and he'd move us around, and I'd get stuck on the HP3070 or the conformal coater, but that was rare.

Plus we had comfortable, padded, swiveling, tilting office chairs, a radio, very little supervision, and we could shoot the breeze with each other all night (as long as we met our quota no one cared), which made time fly.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 03:34:23 pm by MaximRecoil »
 

Offline SLJ

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #62 on: January 04, 2014, 04:24:43 pm »
The ERSA looks interesting but hard to find dealers and parts in the U.S..  They mostly sell to industry through reps.
They do have strikingly similar hokey PR videos just like Weller though, background music and all:

ERSA Video

Weller Video

I still would like to take a JBC for a test.

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #63 on: January 04, 2014, 07:04:07 pm »
It does not matter what tools we have, it matters what we build with them.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #64 on: January 04, 2014, 08:00:34 pm »
It does not matter what tools we have, it matters what we build with them.

Christmas of '88, when I was almost 14, we got a VCR as a family present. When I moved out in '93, I was allowed to take it with me. By the mid '90s its remote control was starting to get flaky; it would intermittently stop working, and you had to bang it against your hand and/or mess with the pair of AA batteries to get it to work again, and it wouldn't be long before it would flake out again. It was especially annoying because most of the VCR's functions were only on the very large remote control (my friend Tom used to call it "The Bat"). The VCR itself only had Play/Pause and Stop/Eject, it didn't even have FF and RW. However, I didn't have a clue about anything electronics-related at the time, so the idea of being able to fix it never even crossed my mind.

In '98 I got hired at a PCB factory, and I was trained on soldering, inspecting, and rework. We used Metcal STSS and MX-500 stations interchangeably. After working on PCBs night after night, I decided to take my remote control apart to see if I could see anything obvious that was wrong with it. I noticed immediately that the solder joint for the (+) battery terminal was cracked all the way around.

I didn't have a soldering iron at home at the time, but I did have a little bit of solder wire in the pocket of my smock from work. I could have simply taken it to work the next day and easily fixed it, but I wanted to fix it then and there. So I grabbed a flat-blade screwdriver, fired up my propane torch, heated the blade until it seemed hot enough, pressed it against the pad and post, and using a touch of new flux-core solder (I had no way to remove the old solder) reflowed the joint:



It has worked perfectly ever since, though I haven't had any use for a VCR since the early '00s. I've never bothered to redo that joint, even though I've had proper soldering/desoldering tools at home for many years now, because there is nothing wrong with it the way it is.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 08:03:26 pm by MaximRecoil »
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #65 on: January 06, 2014, 01:30:49 am »
STTC-116 is the go-to tip for me, the fine radius on the tip gets into small pins/faces without getting damaged and does everything from 0402 up to through hole and even silly things like D2PAK. A nicely wetted curie heating tip doesnt need the large contact area with the pad like conventional soldering irons so chisels are less needed.

Thanks very much for the suggestion. Please don't take this the wrong way, but I doubt It would help me with densely packed SMD boards, and as I pointed out, that's the only situation I don't have a solution for... Yet.  ;)

The 116 tip is rather chuny: very short with a point tip. The 126 is already much better in that regard. But you can also get long-reach fine-point tips like the 190, 106, 145, etc. Take a look here: http://www.okinternational.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/products/hand-soldering-systems/tips-and-cartridges/mx-cartridges/sttc-series-conical

That's one of the nice things about Metcal, the massive range of different tip styles. Not to mention the SMTC rework tips, which make things like desoldering SMD packages really easy.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #66 on: January 06, 2014, 01:41:23 am »
I have a question: what is the difference between the RFG-30 power supply and the PS2E-01 power supply (and the PS2V-01 power supply for that matter)? I know that the PS2E (and probably the PS2V) power supply has an auto-shutoff feature that the RFG-30 lacks, but is there any difference in power/performance?

The PS2V does not have that shutoff-feature. And from what i know, neither do the PS2E or RFG30, but only the MX500 and onward. About the differencies between them all, my guess is that it is just minor circuit changes to upgrade to newer parts. The driver and final FET's in these units are old. For example, the main circuit part in my PS2V is the same as in the MX500-P, but it uses different FET's. Also, the PS2V is missing the auto-off and the power-meassurement circuitry that the MX500-P has (going by the available schematics, one only needs to hook up one of these analogue instruments, the circuitry itself is already in the unit).

Fun thing, a friend of mine also has a MX500, but it also uses different FET's in the driver and output stage, compared to what is shown in the schematics. So really, my guess is that these different version are just accomodating for newer parts (like swapping in new transistors/FET's for the then-obsolete types) and don't really change the overall circuitry. After all, the principle is rather simple (after all, i built my own supply unit that i also published here on the forum), and not much room to do it much differently either, if you want to keep it cost effective. Just build an square-wave oscillator, connect to a driver, which in turn connects to the final. Then transform and filter the result to get close to a sine wave. Monitor reflected power or RF current, and use that to regulate the DC supply to the final.

Greetings,

Chris

 

Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #67 on: January 06, 2014, 01:56:29 am »
Metcal extols the virtues of how their SmartHeat RF heating technology maintains tip temperatures better, and they claim that in some cases this can lead to up to 100F/38C less idle temperature required. However when I examine the temperature details about their various tip series, I notice that their "standard" tips operate at a temperature of 775F/412C, which already seems high to me, especially given that it isn't adjustable. My Weller WX2 standard temperature presets are 608F/320C and 662F/350C for the WXMP/WXMT micro tips, while the corresponding Metcal UltraFine tips are only offered at 775F/412C. Is Metcal's standard iron temperature of 775F/412C too high for everyday use with modern PCB's and SMT components?

I like their no nonsense "just turn it on and go", "it'll work" approach (especially compared to the overly elaborate Weller WX2 Series) and their extensive tip offerings, but I'm concerned about the higher tip temperatures, associate tip life degradation with SAC305 at those higher temperatures, and the potential for overheating components.

I'm also digging their generous assortment of included nozzles on their new HCT2-120 Digital Hot Air Pencil, which their iron stand conveniently stores at the ready.

Regarding the tip temperature, it all boils down to what you need to work on, and how quick you can do that. Note that Metcal tips come in 500/600/700 and 800 °F, while the 500/800 types are not available for every tip geometry. The 700°F is just a good compromise. What makes the difference is the thermal recovery that can only be reached if the tip/heater/sensor is a single assembly. This is true not only for Metcal, but also for the JBC stations. With conventional stations, the heat is sucked out of the tip rather quickly, and it takes time for the control loop to compensate for that. Which in turn leads to a longer time of contact of the tip to the joint, which in the end also transfers more heat into the part/pads itself for a longer time. Not to mention the overshot you will get at that point with most conventional stations.

Sure, if one scrapes the tip on the pad/pin for a long time, at high temps, there is a risk of delamination and such. But then, learning how to solder properly and quickly will in the end reduce that risk, while the higher _stable_ temp actually helps to speed up the whole process. After all, the melting point of the solder does not change just because it is on a small or huge pad/copper plane. The goal is to have it melted as quickly as possible, to transfer enough heat into the pad and pin as quickly as possible, without needing to crank up the dial...

Also, note that in production environments it is crucial that the person working can not fiddle around with the temp settings. And these environments are where Metcal's are usually used. All that fiddling around with temp settings is more of a hobbyist thing for the past decades. Would be interresting to know how folks who now have a JBC, for example, handle the temp settings. My guess woulld be that now they just leave it at a set temp and simply forget to bother about that, compared to the fiddling they did before with simpler stations.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #68 on: January 06, 2014, 01:58:14 am »
I have a question: what is the difference between the RFG-30 power supply and the PS2E-01 power supply (and the PS2V-01 power supply for that matter)? I know that the PS2E (and probably the PS2V) power supply has an auto-shutoff feature that the RFG-30 lacks, but is there any difference in power/performance?

The PS2V does not have that shutoff-feature. And from what i know, neither do the PS2E or RFG30, but only the MX500 and onward. About the differencies between them all, my guess is that it is just minor circuit changes to upgrade to newer parts. The driver and final FET's in these units are old. For example, the main circuit part in my PS2V is the same as in the MX500-P, but it uses different FET's. Also, the PS2V is missing the auto-off and the power-meassurement circuitry that the MX500-P has (going by the available schematics, one only needs to hook up one of these analogue instruments, the circuitry itself is already in the unit).

Fun thing, a friend of mine also has a MX500, but it also uses different FET's in the driver and output stage, compared to what is shown in the schematics. So really, my guess is that these different version are just accomodating for newer parts (like swapping in new transistors/FET's for the then-obsolete types) and don't really change the overall circuitry. After all, the principle is rather simple (after all, i built my own supply unit that i also published here on the forum), and not much room to do it much differently either, if you want to keep it cost effective. Just build an square-wave oscillator, connect to a driver, which in turn connects to the final. Then transform and filter the result to get close to a sine wave. Monitor reflected power or RF current, and use that to regulate the DC supply to the final.

Greetings,

Chris

Thanks for the reply. So would you say that the RFG-30 through the MX-500 are all 40 watts?
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #69 on: January 06, 2014, 02:11:43 am »
Thanks for the reply. So would you say that the RFG-30 through the MX-500 are all 40 watts?

No. from what i know (which may be wrong, of course) is that the RFG-30 and PS2V/E stations have 30 watts nominal, the MX500 has 50 watts, and the MX5000 is 80 watts. Problem is that i can't really meassure the actual output power due to lack of proper instrumentation.

The actual maximum power output is a function of reflected power meassurement, and thus the DC voltage applied to the final output stage. You can adjust that in these stations. All tip cartridges behave differently during heat up. They do not really start out with the maximum power when cold, but at a high power output that, during heatup, just peaks at some point, and then goes back down. In a direct comparison with brand new 126 tips, my own circuit heats it up just a tad faster than my PS2V, while at tthe same time it uses a generally lower DC supply to the RF final, as well as a "smaller" FET there. Maybe i just got lucky with that design, dunno.

In any case, there won't be too much difference beetween them, assuming the same _small_ tips are used. Thing is that in these tips the "active" mass is really small. Pumping in much more power only gains very small. Where it will make a real difference is with much bigger tips (i.e. much larger thermal mass), i think.

But then, in the end i don't care if it need 5 or 6 seconds to heat up from cold to operating temp. It still is friggin fast, and heatup time is only one side. Keeping the tip at the temp is far more important, and that they all do just fine, from what know.

Greetings,

Chris

Edit: Just for fun i attach two pics of a coin soldered to a bare copper clad PCB, using the 126 tip. The whole process took a bit over one minute, where most of that time was spent rotating the board properly to reach all around the coin. And yes, no problem touching the thing rather close to the just-soldered parts. heat transfer into the actual joint area was fast enough to not heat up the surroundings too much.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 02:17:23 am by mamalala »
 

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #70 on: January 06, 2014, 03:36:45 am »

No. from what i know (which may be wrong, of course) is that the RFG-30 and PS2V/E stations have 30 watts nominal, the MX500 has 50 watts, and the MX5000 is 80 watts. Problem is that i can't really meassure the actual output power due to lack of proper instrumentation.

The MX-500 has always officially been rated at 40 watts, and Metcal made of point of stating that the MX-5000 has double the power of the MX-500. You can see this in the MX-500's owner's manual (page 18 of the manual itself, which corresponds to page 20 of the PDF file):

Quote
SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS
POWER SUPPLY
Tip-to-Ground Potential < 2 mV True RMS, 50-500 Hz
Tip-to-Ground Resistance < 2 ohms DC, unit on
Idle Temperature Stability ± 2° F (± 1.1°C) Still air
Ambient Operating Temp. 50 - 104° F (10 - 40 °C)
Maximum Enclosure Temp. 150 ° F (65°C)
Thermal Switch Setpoint at 150 ± 3° F (66 ± 1.2°C)
Auto-reset once cooled to 110° F (43°C)
Input Line Voltage 90 - 130 VAC (-11) 190-260VAC (-21)
Input Line Frequency 45 - 70 Hz (-11) 50-60Hz (-21)
Fuse 250V, 1.25 A, “Slo-Blo”
Output Power 40 Watts maximum
@ 72°F (22°C) ambient temperature
Output Frequency 13.56 MHz
Auto-Off Feature 10 millisecond lag time
Power Cord (3-wire) 6 ft (183 cm) 18/3 SJT
W x H x D 5.3” x 9.5” x 4.7” (13.5cm x 24.1cm x 11.9cm)
Weight 7.5 lbs. (3.41kg)
Standards Compliance MIL-STD-2000, -1686, -45743E, WS-6536D/E

The newly redesigned MX-500 is rated at 40 watts as well:

Quote
New MX-500P Power Supply
MX-500P
Metcal’s MX-500 Soldering and Rework System has been reimagined, adding features and a new look to a bench top icon.

The system utilizes SmartHeat® Technology, wherein each cartridge is equipped with a self-regulating heater which ‘senses’ its own temperature and closely maintains its pre-set idle temperature for the life of the heater-tip. The tip temperature is determined by the inherent metallurgical properties of the heater; no external adjustment or equipment is required. The MX-500 retains switchable dual port, 40W operation while introducing numerous new features in a new housing.

Link

As I mentioned in a previous post, at the PCB factory I worked, we used MX-500s and the older STSS models interchangeably. I preferred the STSS models over the MX-500s as they seemed to keep up better when pushed hard (i.e., under extremely rapid soldering of hundreds of relatively large through-hole terminal block joints in a row). I did everything I could to keep from being slowed down, which included getting a new tip cartridge every 2 weeks (always an STTC-126) and doing my best to avoid getting stuck with an MX-500 (I'd always swap it for an STSS if I could).

The type of slowdown I'm talking about was very slight, as in, you are soldering along full speed ahead and then on your next joint (usually toward the end of the 400-joint board) you feed the solder wire in and instead of wetting instantly like it had been doing all along, nothing happens for a split second; it was annoying. MX-500s would often do that even with brand new tip cartridges. STSSs never did that with new or less-than-80-hours-of-use tip cartridges.

Quote
The actual maximum power output is a function of reflected power meassurement, and thus the DC voltage applied to the final output stage. You can adjust that in these stations. All tip cartridges behave differently during heat up. They do not really start out with the maximum power when cold, but at a high power output that, during heatup, just peaks at some point, and then goes back down. In a direct comparison with brand new 126 tips, my own circuit heats it up just a tad faster than my PS2V, while at tthe same time it uses a generally lower DC supply to the RF final, as well as a "smaller" FET there. Maybe i just got lucky with that design, dunno.

Very interesting information. Thanks.

Quote
In any case, there won't be too much difference beetween them, assuming the same _small_ tips are used. Thing is that in these tips the "active" mass is really small. Pumping in much more power only gains very small. Where it will make a real difference is with much bigger tips (i.e. much larger thermal mass), i think.

I know it. Have you ever tried using one of the big quad IC-removal tips, like the SMTC-144? Those take forever to heat up. I wonder if they would heat up reasonably fast with the 80-watt MX-5000.

Quote
Edit: Just for fun i attach two pics of a coin soldered to a bare copper clad PCB, using the 126 tip. The whole process took a bit over one minute, where most of that time was spent rotating the board properly to reach all around the coin. And yes, no problem touching the thing rather close to the just-soldered parts. heat transfer into the actual joint area was fast enough to not heat up the surroundings too much.

Yeah, I saw those pictures in an earlier post of yours. It reminded me of when I used to solder surface-mount components to pennies to kill time at work when there was nothing to do. In fact, I just went and checked my drawer, and I still have one; it's been there since 1999:

« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 03:59:39 am by MaximRecoil »
 

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #71 on: January 09, 2014, 05:08:46 pm »

In any case, there won't be too much difference beetween them, assuming the same _small_ tips are used. Thing is that in these tips the "active" mass is really small. Pumping in much more power only gains very small. Where it will make a real difference is with much bigger tips (i.e. much larger thermal mass), i think.

By the way, I got about the biggest standard STTC tip available for the Metcal in the mail today: STTC-117 (mine's new, not used), which is a 5mm wide chisel tip. I think the only bigger STTC tip that they make is the STTC-165, which is the same width and style as the 117 but a little longer. 5mm means it is as wide as the cartridge barrel itself.

Surprisingly, it heated up to soldering temperature from room temperature just as fast as my STTC-126, which is ~9 seconds with my STSS-002/RFG-30. I think the difference in mass between the small and large tips in the STTC line is too small to make a significant difference in heatup time. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, with a truly huge tip, like one of the big quad IC-removal tips in the SMTC line, it does make a big difference.
 

Offline quarros

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #72 on: January 09, 2014, 09:28:35 pm »
By the way, I got about the biggest standard STTC tip available for the Metcal in the mail today: STTC-117 (mine's new, not used), which is a 5mm wide chisel tip. I think the only bigger STTC tip that they make is the STTC-165, which is the same width and style as the 117 but a little longer. 5mm means it is as wide as the cartridge barrel itself.

Surprisingly, it heated up to soldering temperature from room temperature just as fast as my STTC-126, which is ~9 seconds with my STSS-002/RFG-30. I think the difference in mass between the small and large tips in the STTC line is too small to make a significant difference in heatup time. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, with a truly huge tip, like one of the big quad IC-removal tips in the SMTC line, it does make a big difference.

Yeah. It is a very good tip and interestingly it is not too bulky to use it for trough hole soldering or big SMD removal on not densely packed board. I often find myself using that tip even trough the big stuff (heatsinks, etc)  that needed removal is already done, but I couldn't be bothered to change it. One note tough because of the large surface area it has excellent heat transfer. In some cases a little bit too excellent so if one is not fast enough it could cause some damage.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #73 on: January 10, 2014, 02:43:58 am »
By the way, I got about the biggest standard STTC tip available for the Metcal in the mail today: STTC-117 (mine's new, not used), which is a 5mm wide chisel tip. I think the only bigger STTC tip that they make is the STTC-165, which is the same width and style as the 117 but a little longer. 5mm means it is as wide as the cartridge barrel itself.

Thanks for the recommendation.  eBay has new ones for $13 shipped, so I just ordered one. My wider tip is about 1.5mm.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline MaximRecoil

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #74 on: January 10, 2014, 04:12:11 am »

Thanks for the recommendation.  eBay has new ones for $13 shipped, so I just ordered one. My wider tip is about 1.5mm.

Yeah, that's where I got mine, from " laptopsource02" on eBay, brand new for $13 shipped. It looks like he has a lot of them (says "more than 10 available"), and that's a good price for a new, large STTC tip cartridge, especially with the free shipping. He shipped it quickly and it was packed well. I figured it would be good to have on-hand for particularly large-mass joints.
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #75 on: January 10, 2014, 09:38:51 am »
You guys in the US really have it good when it comes to such things. I always see lots of Metcal stuff for small money on eBay US. But shipping to Germany usually kills it for me, especially when they use that crappy "serice" with Pitney Bowes, that handles import charges and stuff. For example a refurbished SMTC-061 blade tip. 28,99 US$ the tip. 15,37 US$ shipping, plus 12,94 US$ for that "service". Thing is that this "service" is not really needed. Normally one would get a notification from the customs office about the shipment, sends them a copy of the payment confirmation, then gets a notification about how much tax/import-duties to pay, pays them and then get's the goods. Using that "service" costs quite more than that ;(

I'm also wondering about the shipping rates from the US in general. They vary wildly for basically the same stuff, depending on the seller. After all, these tips are really light-weight and small. Sometimes i see shipping rates in excess of 30 US$ for a single tip that costs 20 US$. Basically the other extreme end when it comes to shipping charges, compared to China stuff, where you buy things for a buck and have it shipped for free...

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #76 on: February 02, 2014, 07:17:31 am »
Just stumbled upon this soldering video. The guy is using a large 3mm beveled Hakko tip T15-CF3 (see 20 seconds mark) and solders the SMD ics very elegantly.  I looked for an equivalent one for the MX500 but could not find any.  What would be the closest MX500 tip? I would like to give it a try.

Drain the swamp.
 

Offline quarros

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« Last Edit: February 04, 2014, 01:39:41 pm by quarros »
 

Offline SteveyG

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #78 on: February 06, 2014, 10:36:54 am »
Just stumbled upon this soldering video. The guy is using a large 3mm beveled Hakko tip T15-CF3 (see 20 seconds mark) and solders the SMD ics very elegantly.  I looked for an equivalent one for the MX500 but could not find any.  What would be the closest MX500 tip? I would like to give it a try.

The SMTC-1147 looks like a good tip for drag soldering.

A video of the MX-5200 here:

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/sdgelectronics/
Use code: “SDG5” to get 5% off JBC Equipment at Kaisertech
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #79 on: February 06, 2014, 12:26:43 pm »
I bought a fistfull of second hand tips from this guy the other day, I'm waiting for them to arrive. I got  7 2nd hand large chisel tips for $20~, i intend to hit them up with a lathe and mill and see if i can work the large tips into smaller tips. I was under the impression that the tip of the tip is near pure copper at the end, so it should work just fine.
 

Offline SteveyG

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #80 on: February 06, 2014, 01:20:57 pm »
I bought a fistfull of second hand tips from this guy the other day, I'm waiting for them to arrive. I got  7 2nd hand large chisel tips for $20~, i intend to hit them up with a lathe and mill and see if i can work the large tips into smaller tips. I was under the impression that the tip of the tip is near pure copper at the end, so it should work just fine.

That's not going to work too well as you don't want exposed copper on the tip of the soldering bit as it'll just oxidise quickly. They're normally plated which is what keeps them working well at high temperatures.
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Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #81 on: February 06, 2014, 02:01:59 pm »
I bought a fistfull of second hand tips from this guy the other day, I'm waiting for them to arrive. I got  7 2nd hand large chisel tips for $20~, i intend to hit them up with a lathe and mill and see if i can work the large tips into smaller tips. I was under the impression that the tip of the tip is near pure copper at the end, so it should work just fine.

That's not going to work too well as you don't want exposed copper on the tip of the soldering bit as it'll just oxidise quickly. They're normally plated which is what keeps them working well at high temperatures.
At a rate of $3~ per tip, i don't mind. That said, it's pretty easy to electroplate with Iron so I might give that a whirl.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #82 on: February 06, 2014, 03:13:39 pm »
The SMTC-1147 looks like a good tip for drag soldering.

Does it fit this hand piece? So far I have used only STTC tips.

http://amzn.com/B001BY4848
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Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #83 on: February 06, 2014, 03:22:45 pm »
The SMTC-1147 looks like a good tip for drag soldering.

Does it fit this hand piece? So far I have used only STTC tips.

http://amzn.com/B001BY4848


Edit: just checked it's price, $45. Wow!  what makes it so expensive?
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Offline SteveyG

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #84 on: February 06, 2014, 08:57:06 pm »
I think probably just because they can charge that much. Should last ages though.

Might be worth a look on the Thermaltronics website for a cheaper version
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Offline SteveyG

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #85 on: February 07, 2014, 10:00:10 am »
The SMTC-1147 looks like a good tip for drag soldering.

Does it fit this hand piece? So far I have used only STTC tips.

http://amzn.com/B001BY4848

I'm going to buy the SMTC-1147 next week to see if it's any good or not. I'll try to upload a video or something showing what it's like.

Edit: just checked it's price, $45. Wow!  what makes it so expensive?
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Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #86 on: February 12, 2014, 11:41:16 am »
I just noticed Metcal will be releasing an all new Metcal MX500 later in December.



40 W, dual port (switchable like the old MX-500 + MX-5000) and now with an universal mains input (most likely SMPS), a power display like the MX5000/MX5200 series and adjustable power save timer.

Confusing to be reusing the name of the old MX500.

New MX500: http://www.metcal.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/products/hand-soldering-systems/systems/dual-port-switchable/mx-500-series



Same case design as the more powerful 80 Watt MX-5200 Dual Port Simultaneous power supply, but lighter and smaller.

New MX-500
Power Supply Dimensions w x d x h 12.1cm (4.8”) x 12.1cm (4.8”) x 22.2cm (8.8”)
Weight of the power supply: 2.65 Kg (5.85 lbs)

MX-5200
Power Supply Dimensions w x d x h 12.1cm (4.8”) x 13.0cm  (5.1”) x 23.5cm (9.3” )
Weight of the power supply: 3.35 kg (7.4 lbs)

Dimensions for New MX-500 are only slightly smaller than for MX-5200, so it seems strange to not just reuse the casing.

MX-5200 system:


It's the MX-RM3E handpiece, pretty much the standard. The newer version would be the MX-H1-AV, which is basically the same handpiece, just made of metal and with a replaceable grip at the front. There is an ultra-fine version of that as well, IIRC, but that goes more into speciality stuff. The one you selected will be perfectly fine for electronics work.
The new MX500 systems will also come with the original plastic MX-RM3E used by the old MX500 series, instead of the newer alloy MX-H1-AV / MX-H2-UF from the MX5000/MX5200 series.
But the kits with talon or desoldering gun with come with the new versions from the MX5000/MX5200 series).



Metcal are also releasing a new HCT2-120 Digital Hot Air Pencil

http://www.metcal.com/Convection_Rework_System/id-HCT2-120/NEW_HCT2-120_Digital_Hot_Air_Pencil


The new MX-500 is now for sale in Metcal's own US Web Store:
https://www.okinternational.com/us-web-store/english/globalnavigation/oki-metcal/shop-by-category/hand-soldering-systems/systems/dual-port-switchable/mx-500-series

 

Offline Fsck

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #87 on: February 12, 2014, 04:20:50 pm »
for large chisel tips: I'd raise you a Thermaltronics MxCH250H
for big ass knife: I'd raise you a Therm... MxDS526H
and to whack ginormous components with a blade: Therm... MxLB128
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Offline SteveyG

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #88 on: February 13, 2014, 01:06:12 pm »
Just stumbled upon this soldering video. The guy is using a large 3mm beveled Hakko tip T15-CF3 (see 20 seconds mark) and solders the SMD ics very elegantly.  I looked for an equivalent one for the MX500 but could not find any.  What would be the closest MX500 tip? I would like to give it a try.

The SMTC-1147 looks like a good tip for drag soldering.

A video of the MX-5200 here:



I've just received my SMTC-1147, so I'll try to put up a video of my first attempt with it  :-//

« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 01:12:34 pm by SteveyG »
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Offline Frost

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #89 on: February 13, 2014, 01:26:34 pm »
Is this a tip with a concave fillet at the front for QFP "wave soldering" by hand?
 

Offline SteveyG

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #90 on: February 13, 2014, 01:30:35 pm »
Is this a tip with a concave fillet at the front for QFP "wave soldering" by hand?

Yes, for drag soldering.
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Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #91 on: February 13, 2014, 02:45:01 pm »
As far as I know the STTC-847 or the SMTC-0147 is what you seek. Never used those tough.

Here some links for you:

SMTC HOOF
http://www.metcal.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/products/hand-soldering-systems/tips-and-cartridges/mx-cartridges/smtc-series-hoof

STTC BEVEL
http://www.metcal.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/products/hand-soldering-systems/tips-and-cartridges/mx-cartridges/sttc-series-bevel
I've done a lot of drag soldering with Metcal MX-500 at a previous job, but I can't remember what tip model we used.

According to SteveyG the 'hooof' type SMTC-x147 has a concave fillet, which is good for providing high solder retention capability for drag soldering.

And from what I remember the profile of the drag soldering tips we used looks also looks like SMTC-x147:


They must be called hoof tips because they resemble the shape of a horse hoof.

I guess the difference between 'hoof' and 'bevel' tips is that bevel tips has a flat solder surface while hoof tips has a concave filling, providing high solder retention capability?

Btw. I also find the hoof tips the best for tips tinning stripped wire ends, because they can hold a lot of solder. It works better than a chisel tip for this.


However John Gammell just use a flat bevel tip in this video


Not sure why he doesn't use a hoof tip with concave filling? I would think it would be easier to use as it can hold more solder with the concave filling, so you don't have to feed solder while dragging. Just remeber to add flux to the pads before drag soldering ad the flux in the solder quickly vaporize when you put it on the tip before dragging. Adding flux also makes it much easier to drag the solder from pad to pads without making any unintentional solder bridges between pins.
I see he use a 60 degree angle Hakko T15-CF3 bevel tip for drag soldering: http://www.hakko.com/english/tip_selection/series_t15.html#type_bc_c
But Hakko only make the "Shape BCM/CM" hoof type tips in a 45 degree angle unlike the flat bevel types in 60 degree angle, like the Metcal hoof and bevel tips. I think it's much more comfortable to use a 60 degree angle tip than 45 degree for drag soldering.


Another tip we used a lot for drag soldering is the knife tip, but this was for drag soldering PLCC-chips only.


For most other drag soldering like SO-chips, the hoof tip is better.

I can see John Gammell also use a hoof/bevel tip for drag soldering PLCC. He has just turned it upside down, with the solder facing the chip instead of the pads:



It looks like this also works fine, but I haven't tried this. We always used knife tips for this instead and just tin it on both sides and drag it in a 45 degree andgle between the pins and pads.
I don't think the hoof tip would have worked as well in our case as there was very little rooms around the PLCC, and it's easier to get the knife tip in a proper angle on PLCC tips in tight spaces.
But unless you solder a lot of PLCC chips there's usually no need for this knife tip. I have replaced countless PLCC-chips because the developers didn't bother to use a PLCC-cocket because it only had a simple firmware that never needed upgrading. OF course they later found a bug in this simple firmware which meant we had to replace all of these PLCC chips to upgrade the firmware when these products came in for repair.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 03:18:32 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #92 on: February 16, 2014, 06:53:02 am »
I've just received my SMTC-1147, so I'll try to put up a video of my first attempt with it  :-//

Looking forward for it. In the original video it looks simple and effortless but this is often the case when you watch masters.

BTW, I ended up ordering a SMTC-1174 (narrower 1.14mm hoof).  I realized that the 1147 is too wide for some of the boards I am dealing with, not enough clearance with adjacent components. Haven't got it yet.
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Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #93 on: February 16, 2014, 12:22:48 pm »
I've just received my SMTC-1147, so I'll try to put up a video of my first attempt with it  :-//
Looking forward for it. In the original video it looks simple and effortless but this is often the case when you watch masters.
It's actually incredible simple, at least with SMTC-1147. Much easier than I thought when I first tried it. It doesn't take many tries to learn. Just apply plenty of solder to the tip and find the right speed to drag it. And if you create solder bridges between two pins, just drag again.
But remember to always apply flux with a flux pen before dragging; because the flux inside the solder, applied to the tip beforehand will vaporize before you have finished dragging.
And solder the two corner pins on one side before drag soldering the other side of a SMD IC, so it's in a fixed position before dragging.

BTW, I ended up ordering a SMTC-1174 (narrower 1.14mm hoof).  I realized that the 1147 is too wide for some of the boards I am dealing with, not enough clearance with adjacent components. Haven't got it yet.
Not sure how well it works with a smaller tip than SMTC-x147 though as I have never tried it.
Don't know if a smaller tip is capable of carrying enough solder to drag solder a whole side of a SOIC.
1.14 mm sounds very small for drag soldering. But there's also other sizes in between SMTC-x174 and SMTC-x147.
But if it can't hold enough solder, there's other meathods too. John Gammell use solder past for drag soldering in one of the videos posted here and apply solder while dragging in another video. I have only tried pre-applying solder to the tip and flux to the pins before dragging.

But the strange thing it that the .89 mm and 1.14 mm dimensions on SMTC-x175 and SMTC-x174 respectively seems to be measured differently from all the other hoof tips. On these two tips it's measured along the tip surface according to the drawing.
On the other straight hoof tips the dimension is measured vertically in a 30 or 60 degree angle to the surface.
This means the surface on SMTC-x174 is even smaller than 1.14 mm vertically.
Not sure if it's some of the drawings there's wrong. It seems strange to measuer the dimensions differently on different sizes, this makes it very hard to comapre sizes.

http://www.okinternational.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/products/hand-soldering-systems/tips-and-cartridges/mx-cartridges/smtc-series-hoof


SMTC-x175


SMTC-x174


SMTC-x167


SMTC-x169


SMTC-x183


SMTC-x170


SMTC-x147
« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 12:30:08 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #94 on: March 15, 2014, 11:14:02 pm »
Here is a small 'mod' that works for me. The tip removal pad arrived attached to the handpiece's cable. Which made it awkward to use. I chopped the tab and am now having a nice rectangular pad that sits on the benchtop and is easier to use.

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Offline philpem

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #95 on: March 23, 2014, 12:39:20 am »
Small tip for those of you new to the Metcal systems...

The MFR series have two indicator lamps - one for the state of the AC input (off=off, green=OK, red=ground fault) and another for the state of the output (referred to in the manuals as the "channel LED").

If the output light starts out green when the iron is in the workstand, but cuts to red when the iron is required to source heat, your bit is almost certainly worn out.
Seeing as most people don't read the manuals very closely, this is often overlooked - I resurrected a "dead" MX500 by replacing the tip, and fixed my MFR1110 yesterday by doing the same.

In my experience, the heaters usually fail before the tip plating (unless the tip has been abused). I'd be curious to hear if others have had the same experience.
Phil / M0OFX -- Electronics/Software Engineer
"Why do I have a room full of test gear? Why, it saves on the heating bill!"
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #96 on: May 07, 2014, 09:12:45 am »
There has been a discussion about drag soldering with hoof tips in this topic. So here's a Metcal Technical Note about this:

Technical Note - Surface Mount Techniques https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3F9Hf1ku1QQdXhKakEzaFdfTTQ

Other Metcal hand-soldering notes: http://www.okinternational.com/metcal/english/globalnavigation/applications/hand-soldering
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #97 on: May 07, 2014, 10:45:14 pm »
In my experience, the heaters usually fail before the tip plating (unless the tip has been abused). I'd be curious to hear if others have had the same experience.
Yes, apart from the very small points - a common failure mode is they go intermittent and need an occasional tap to get going.
There was a time when the heaters had a "lifetime" warranty and you could get free replacements for tips with dead heaters.
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Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #98 on: May 08, 2014, 08:13:08 pm »
In my experience, the heaters usually fail before the tip plating (unless the tip has been abused). I'd be curious to hear if others have had the same experience.
Yes, apart from the very small points - a common failure mode is they go intermittent and need an occasional tap to get going.
There was a time when the heaters had a "lifetime" warranty and you could get free replacements for tips with dead heaters.
Unfortunately now Metcal only offer 200 hours heater/coil assembly warranty as mentioned in the Metcal quote below. They probably figured out the lifetime warranty was too expensive due to too many RMAs for failed heater/coils.

It's also my experience that the heaters usually fail before the tip plating.
I used to work at a Danish TV manufacturer (there's only one) where we probably bought 10-20 Metcal MX-500 solder stations in the late 90's to replace old Weller WS 51 stations at the service repair department. The heaters often failed and sometimes after just a few months in tips with no visible wear. We got them all replaced under warranty though, so no big deal as we always kept extra tips in stock.
But I really hope Metcal has improved the heater lifetime since then as it wasn't very impressive to say the least and I have just bought two defect MX-500 which I have repaired. After many years without Metcal, I'm back with this awesome solder station. So hopefully the heater lifetime has improved.

Not sure why so many heaters failed so so quick, but Metcal warns about mechanical shock like dropping the tips onto a floor or floor or benchtop, maybe that was part of the reason. So be careful with mechanical shock. I think we often kid of threw the hand-piece into the stand.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3F9Hf1ku1QQbEdIVjhkbUFRQTA
Quote
Technical Note
Extending Soldering Iron Tip Life


... Care of Heater/Coil Assemblies

Due to the simplicity of construction, the heater/coil assembly in an OKi/Metcal tip cartridge is extremely robust. OKi/Metcal warrants its tip cartridge heater/coil assemblies for 200 hours and they are engineered to last well beyond this period. Under proper care, the heater/coil assembly should outlast the plating.
However, the heater/coil assembly can be damaged by abuse. The two most common forms are described below.

Heater Abuse #1: Using Pliers to Change Tip Cartridges

The most common abuse is using pliers to remove the cartridge from the handle. Pressure from the pliers deforms the shaft, damaging the heater/coil assembly (see Figure 6). Never use pliers to change a tip cartridge! Metcal supplies an insulated silicone rubber Cartridge Removal Pad (AC-CP2) with every system. Use only a Cartridge Removal Pad to change the tip cartridge.

Heater Abuse #2: Mechanical Shock

The heater/coil assembly can also be damaged by severe mechanical shock. Dropping the cartridge onto a floor or benchtop can damage it. In the case of SMTC surface mount removal tips, damage can occur from banging the tip cartridge against a workstand or other hard surface to dislodge a surface mount component from the tip. Instead, to dislodge a component from the tip, either wipe it gently on the workstand sponge or use tweezers to separate the component from the tip.

Before deciding on Metcal MX-500 we got several different brands of solder and de-soldering stations to each test out for some days before deciding on which one to get for all. I remember we tested Metcal, Pace, and a more modern Weller than we already had. Can't recall testing Ersa and Hakko or JBC, but I think JBC has changed dramatically since then. Don't think they had the super fast heating ones with a lot of thermal capacity they have today.
After everyone had tested them for a few days our boss asked us all which one to get for all of us. I think everyone without exception said MX-500.[/quote]
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #99 on: May 11, 2014, 03:54:40 pm »
this seems as good a thread as any, for this kind of question.

I have an older power supply unit (the 13mhz style, of course) and it currently uses an rm3e wand.  there is also the older style non-sleeper holder/base that I have.

I am wondering if I can simply buy the new aluminum wand and use it with my existing base (non-sleep style) as well as the new base that they recommend for it.

the new alum wand is in the $100 range and so is the plastic rm3e wand.  I'm not sure why I'd want the older plastic one if the new alum one is so close in price and also comes with 3 different grip styles.

the new alum wand is marketed toward the 5000 series, but as I understand it, its still the 13mhz stuff with the same rf connector, right?  so 500 = 5000 for wands and tips (??)
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #100 on: May 11, 2014, 08:27:43 pm »
the new alum wand is marketed toward the 5000 series, but as I understand it, its still the 13mhz stuff with the same rf connector, right?  so 500 = 5000 for wands and tips (??)
Yes the alloy MX-H1-AV and the plastic predecessor MX-RM3E use the same tips and power supplies.

For the new MX-500 with display (not to be confused with the original MX-500), they even sell solder station systems with both options and with the "cheap" and expensive stand.
But there's only a $30 price difference between the two systems. With such a small price difference I don't know why they even bother marketing it with the cheaper MX-RM3E + WS1 option.  :-//

MX-500S (with MX-RM3E and WS1 sleeper workstand) $535.00: https://www.okinternational.com/us-web-store/english/globalnavigation/us-webstore-product-detail?productId=44acb82c-91c4-4ddb-a828-973dd0a249e2
MX-500AV (with MX-H1-AV and MX-W1AV adjustable workstand) $565.00 https://www.okinternational.com/us-web-store/english/globalnavigation/us-webstore-product-detail?productId=f848e03d-2614-4a98-a06d-aa6b73f111bb


I just bought and repaired two of the original MX-500 (with no display) power supplies and got a new MX-H1-AV alloy wand to use with it and it works fine.
I was originally looking for a used or new MX-RM3E. But I found out even a the used MX-RM3E's at eBay was almost as expensive as a new MX-H1-AV. And the Thermaltronics plastic clone of MX-RM3E was almost as expensive too.
So I got a MX-H1-AV instead, it's more compact and comes with 3 replaceable rubber sleeves with different patterns (as if they were selling different ribbed condoms).

MX-RM3E at Newark $103.68: http://www.findchips.com/search/MX-RM3E
MX-H1-AV at Newark $114.60: http://www.findchips.com/search/MX-H1-AV
EasyBraid [Thermaltronics] SHP-1 $93.06:
http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/soldering-desoldering-rework-products/soldering-irons-tweezers-handles/1311717?k=EBSHP-1
EasyBraid / Thermaltronics SHP-1 is cross compatible with Metcal MX-RM3E and  MX-H1-AV too. Can use the same tips and power supplies.
SHP-1 looks like a mix between MX-RM3E and MX-H1-AV. Plastic like MX-RM3E, but with replaceable rubber sleeves like MX-H1-AV.


The broken MX-500's also came with a free WS1 auto sleep workstand:
http://www.okinternational.com/Hand_Soldering_Systems/id-WS1/Solder_Auto_Sleep_Workstand



It says "Compatible with MFR-H1-SC, MFR-H2-ST, MX-RM3E and MX-H1-AV hand-pieces."
It works fine with my new MX-H1-AV, although it sits a bit loose in the hole, but it's not a problem. Don't know if the diameter at the end of MX-H1-AV is smaller than MX-RM3E, I think it is, so maybe  MX-RM3E has a more tight fit. But it's not like MX-H1-AV can fall out or anything.
So I'm not going to spend a small fortune on a new stand. Stands for the high end brands like Metcal and JBC are way overpriced for what they are. So no reason to spend money on a new stand if you already have a compatible one.

The auto sleep part in the stand is just two big flat magnets, placed one on each side of the tip inside the stand. I believe they simply lowers the curie temperature of the tips magnetically to lower the tip temperature while the tip sits in the stand. Once removed the temperature rises quickly again. So you should be able to just glue two strong magnets inside any workstand to add auto sleep function. Lowering tip temperature can improve tip life a lot.
It's not the same as the auto sleep function in the power supplies. The auto sleep stand just lowers the temperature, while the auto sleep function in power supplies like MX-500 turn of the power permanently after sitting approx 30 minutes unused. There's a sensor circuit inside MX-500 which detects power changes to the tip. If no change has occurred in 30 minutes it simply turns off the power supply to the tip permanently until restarted. This function can be deactivated by loosening a a screw, if you solder very small loads where the circuit can't detect the power changes and if you don't use a wet sponge to clean the tip but the brass wool.

Please note there's also the ultra fine MX-H2-UF alloy wand. This one use different ultra fine tips than MX-H1-AV and MX-RM3E. For general purpose get MX-H1-AV, this is fine for even 0603 size components for which I've used MX-RM3E a lot in a previous job. Only get the MX-H2-UF if you already have a MX-H1-AV or MX-RM3E and need to do a lot of ultra fine soldering. In most cases you won't even need MX-H2-UF as you can also get very fine tips for  MX-H1-AV / MX-RM3E. But MX-H2-UF is smaller if you solder in very tight spaces.


MX-H2-UF vs. MX-H1-AV www.auelectronics.com/forum/index.php?topic=205.msg508#msg508

You will probably get a lot more use out of MX-PTZ Precision Tweezers Hand-piece, this is very nice to have for SMT rework, but pricey. I have only used the predecessor MX-TALON and loved it. It makes removing SMT components extremely easy, bot tiny resistors and large ICs.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 09:14:13 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #101 on: May 11, 2014, 11:04:58 pm »
The auto sleep part in the stand is just two big flat magnets, placed one on each side of the tip inside the stand. I believe they simply lowers the curie temperature of the tips magnetically to lower the tip temperature while the tip sits in the stand.

Not exactly. What it does is saturating the core/cladding. This also changes the load matching that the supply sees (after all, the inductance changes), which in turn lowers the output power. And that, finally, keeps the temperature lower. At least that is what i was able to figure out by using large neodym magnets close to the tip cartridge and observing what my DIY circuitry does.

Greetings,

Chris

Edit: Since there was some discussion about tip/heater life. The wire used in these tips is rather thin. New stations have far more output power than the older ones. Also, the newer ones heat up a bit faster than the older ones, due to that increased power. I can imagine that this also puts a bit more stress on the cartridge, resulting in reduced lifespan. This is of course just me guessing, but i think it's quite plausible. After all, i also have an old STSS supply (which is one of the lowest power units in that 13.56MHz system) and had it running 24/7 for days quite regularly (which is why i added the auto-power reduction and wakeup in my DIY version). All in all i have tips that have way over 2000 hours on them, and they are still as good as new, as far as thermal capacity/heatup time is concerned. And no, i'm not exactly nice to the cartridges either ;)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 11:10:25 pm by mamalala »
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #102 on: May 12, 2014, 03:09:06 am »
Edit: Since there was some discussion about tip/heater life. The wire used in these tips is rather thin. New stations have far more output power than the older ones. Also, the newer ones heat up a bit faster than the older ones, due to that increased power. I can imagine that this also puts a bit more stress on the cartridge, resulting in reduced lifespan. This is of course just me guessing, but i think it's quite plausible. After all, i also have an old STSS supply (which is one of the lowest power units in that 13.56MHz system) and had it running 24/7 for days quite regularly (which is why i added the auto-power reduction and wakeup in my DIY version). All in all i have tips that have way over 2000 hours on them, and they are still as good as new, as far as thermal capacity/heatup time is concerned. And no, i'm not exactly nice to the cartridges either ;)
All the dead heaters I've experienced has been with MX-500. But as mentioned earlier it was in the late 90's I last used Metcal at work, so maybe they have improved heater life since then, but not sure.
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #103 on: May 18, 2014, 04:24:48 pm »
thanks for the very long post - very useful info there!

I decided to treat myself, so I bought a brand new aluminum handle and also a new tip (all my tips were used; and they did take a bit longer to heat up).  I also decided to go with the matching stand since the size of the pencil/grip is not exactly the same with the old RME style handle.  I tried swapping them, the old stand and the new pencil and they are not really the best fit.  they can work, but its not exactly right.

the new stand is expensive ($80 or more) but since I'll buy it once and own it for a long time, it was not too unreasonable an expense.  I like that it has drilled holes in the back to hold a small collection of tips.  very nice touch.  it also supports both sponge and brass, which is cool (lol).

here's a funny part: I ordered the handle via amazon and while everyone else shows 3 screw-on rubber grips (2 black and 1 green) amazon shows only 2 grips but charges the same price ($100).  when mine came in the mail, I was a little upset that it did come with 1 less grip than it should.  I called amazon, told them about it and they agreed to credit me back the cost of a 3rd grip, which is $30 (!).  the end result is that I kept the 2grip iron package, accepted the $30 discount and I can spend that $30 on more metcal tips, which is really the value of the whole system ;)   $70 for a replacement handle was a great deal.  they may still have that deal for a while before they correct themselves..

the feel is great!!  if you 'like' soldering and want the best, this is it.  very light, very cool to hold, nice feeling rubber (not plastic) grip, and a choice of black or green in case you dedicate irons to various tasks (lead/leadfree, or temp ranges, etc).

the RME handle is ok.  this new alum one with the soft rubber grips is wonderful to the touch.  if you can afford or justify it, get it!
 

Offline Towger

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #104 on: May 18, 2014, 06:32:22 pm »
How does the old pencil fit in the new stand?
I have two of the older handles, but just the one proper stand. Always keeping a eye on eBay, but cant justify the price. Often it would be cheaper to buy a new one.
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #105 on: May 18, 2014, 06:44:22 pm »
I would have to go and fetch my old gear to do a side-by-side test.  when I get a chance, I'll do that and maybe take some pics.

one pencil is a bit bigger in diameter than the other.  it did not HAVE to be (you could complain about that and be rightfully annoyed they changed that) but it just is.  one would be too wide and one would be too loose.

there is a sleeper stand for the older plastic RME handle.  its even cheaper, $60 vs the $80 or so that the alum handle is matched to go with.

having holes in the rear to hold up and store several tips was part of the reason I bought the expensive-assed stand ;)  it really helped organize the area and most of my go-to tips would fit in that stand and any specialty ones can sit somewhere else.
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #106 on: May 18, 2014, 07:33:23 pm »
How does the old pencil fit in the new stand?
I have two of the older handles, but just the one proper stand. Always keeping a eye on eBay, but cant justify the price. Often it would be cheaper to buy a new one.
I have a new handpiece with an old WS1 auto sleep stand for both sponge and brass wool + tip holder at the back. So if you order a new stand and it doesn't fit, I'm willing to trade your new stand with an old stand that fits your old handpiece. 8)
Or you can simply order the new stand directly to my address to save shipping and I will ship you the old one and pay the shipping. :)

The stand that originally came with MX-RM3E, didn't have auto sleep or room for brass wool, and you had to buy a separate tip holder to place behind it. So in that way WS1 is an upgrade from the first stand.

WS1 auto sleep stand: http://www.okinternational.com/Hand_Soldering_Systems/id-WS1/Solder_Auto_Sleep_Workstand





The first stand for MX-RM3E below [not sold anymore as it has been replaced with WS1 sold with MX-RM3E and MX-W1AV sold with alloy handpieces]. As you can see the metal tray corroded badly due to the wet sponge, especially if it's used daily.
This doesn't happen with WS1 as the tray and the rest of the stand is all plastic, except for the bottom inside the hole where the tip sits, so it doesn't melt from solder dropping of the tip and to add weight so the stand doesn't tip over from the wight of the hand-piece coax cable. But inside the sponge tray there's no metal.
I think it's the same way for the new adjustable MX-W1AV stand for the alloy handpieces, hopefully Metcal have learned their lesson from the original stand and don't use metal under the sponge anymore.

www.ebay.com/itm/161294702726

« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 07:57:28 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #107 on: May 18, 2014, 07:55:47 pm »
that's the stand that came with my mx500 system (my stand was not industrial abused, though!).  and its fine even though it does not support the brass wool very easily.

I bought my first mx500 system (first metcal system for me) just a few weeks ago, but loved it so much I wanted to upgrade it a bit.  so, new pencil, new stand and I found yet another power supply (very old rg30 unit that works fine) and now I have two full systems.

I may sell the mx500 system.  it take up more room than my older square RG box and the mx500 psu box hums a bit.  not sure if the trafo just needs tightening or replacing, but I prefer quiet over the hum, personally.  it hums even when the switch is off, that's what is weird.  other than that, its in good shape cosmetically and functionally.

I will use the new alum wand and the new stand and it will feel like a whole new system to me ;)

the metcal stuff seemed strange to me, coming from an all weller and hakko background, but I now prefer it and will put my hakkos and weller up for sale ;)
 

Offline Towger

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #108 on: May 18, 2014, 07:56:43 pm »
My stand looks like the bottom one, complete with corrosion :-)
 

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #109 on: May 18, 2014, 08:03:00 pm »
The switch is between the transformer and board.  Another thread covers this and some people have hacked there's.
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #110 on: May 18, 2014, 08:26:51 pm »
it hums even when the switch is off, that's what is weird.
That's because the switch doesn't actually turn off the MX-500 power supply completely. The switch sits on the secondary side and it just turns off the DC supply for the 18 V linear voltage regulator which in turn disables the LM2576 SMPS regulator. But the main 53 Vdc supply before the LM2576 is still powered on and a bit of the circuitry is still powered. So it still use some stand-by power with the switch off. So I always turn my Metcal off at the mains outlet when I leave my workspace.
Check where they placed the ON/OFF switch (S1) in this schematic: http://www.mikrocontroller.net/attachment/193474/MX-500P-11.pdf

I guess Metcal did it this way because the power switch also acts as a reset button. If it was placed on the primary side the main capacitor might still hold charge while quickly cycling the on/off switch to reset it, so it wouldn't even register it had been turned off. But it's easy to test by turning off and on the mains outlet quickly and see if it resets.
Metcal could have placed a separate reset button instead.

the metcal stuff seemed strange to me, coming from an all weller and hakko background, but I now prefer it and will put my hakkos and weller up for sale ;)
I came from Weller too, and had the impression it was a high end soldering station, but only until I tried Metcal and now I would never go back again. The only other system I would consider than Metcal/Thermaltronics at the moment would be JBC as it the only other system with as much (or more) thermal capacity and quick heat up time and easy changeable tips and an equally large tip collection as Metcal 13.56 MHz selection. The JBC's I once tried wasn't impressive, but that was a long time ago and very different from their current top of the range systems. Metcal/Thermaltronics and JBC are the two best soldering systems now from what I read. Don't think I've tried the German Ersa though, but have tried other big brands like Weller, Hakko and Pace and none of them come close to Metcal (or JBC by the looks of it).
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 08:31:00 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #111 on: May 18, 2014, 08:31:39 pm »
mine is the oldest kind, the slip of plexiglass with the color logo and a light bulb (no led) behind the plastic.  the bulb burned out and I put a blue led there just to have something.  its not the single or dual led version of stss.

so, the switch is, circuit-wise, in the middle.  ok, strange but I can understand.

but what can be done about the hum?  during use its kind of loud for me.  can I just buy a new trafo or are they pretty custom?
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #112 on: May 18, 2014, 08:40:21 pm »
Here's and idea for a Custom Metcal Soldering Iron Stand
http://blog.shop.23b.org/2012/08/custom-metcal-soldering-iron-stand.html



Easy to make you own with a peace of plastic, metal or wood and the right size drill. If you have a 3D printer you can even print your own instead.

Another DIY tip holder, to hold a lot of tips: http://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-image.html?adId=529417902&image=0&enableSearchNavigationFlag=false




The original Metcal AC-TSTAND designed to fit around the first MX-RM3E stand looks like this:


http://www.all-spec.com/products/ac-tstand.html


http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/AC-TSTAND/389-1045-ND/427650
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 08:47:20 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #113 on: May 18, 2014, 08:44:27 pm »
what is yours made of?  acrylic?

I might try that.  was wondering if plastic would be ok.  if you place the bottom part of the tip, that is always room temp, so it should be safe.
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #114 on: May 18, 2014, 09:09:42 pm »
that's the stand that came with my mx500 system (my stand was not industrial abused, though!).  and its fine even though it does not support the brass wool very easily.
Just buy a separate holder for brass tip cleaner. They only cost from aprrox $4 at eBay and Aliexpress including brass wool.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271271949920



http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-BEST-brand-Soldering-Iron-Tip-cleaner-iron-clean-mouth-Wire-Sponge/1865157561.html


The first one pictured looks more like copper than brass to me though.
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #115 on: May 18, 2014, 09:17:57 pm »
what is yours made of?  acrylic?

I might try that.  was wondering if plastic would be ok.  if you place the bottom part of the tip, that is always room temp, so it should be safe.
As long as you put don't put the hot end down the hole any plastic should be fine. The connector end is never hotter than you can touch it. On the other hand if you ever forget which end to put down the hole, plastics with low melting temperature could soon become messy and smelly. If you make a tiny stand alone holder a heavy metal holder might be better so it doesn't 'tip' over easily when you accidentally hit the long tips.

The 5 tip holes at the back of the WS1 stand are quite deep (5 cm) and made of two different diameters, a large diameter at the top to make it easier to hit the hole and a smaller diameter at the bottom to make it sit up more straight and stable. But the holes are quite loose even at the bottom so the tips more around if you push the stand. The 5 holes sits very close to each other, so the loose holes also helps making room for large tip, e.g. PLCC desoldering tips, by having them tilting in different directions so one tip doesn't take up all the room above all the holes.
To replicate these holes make sure you have material more than 5 cm deep. Then first drill a 6 mm hole 5 cm deep followed by a 9 mm drill but only 2 cm down the same hole.
This is fine when you often change tips. But if you have a more permanent storage with a large tip selection on a separate board, I would make the holes smaller so the tips doesn't wobble around as much when you move the board. Then have the tips you often swap at the loose holes at the end of the tip holder. Then you also know which tips are still hot and don't accidentally touch a hot tip on you large tip board when looking for the right tip.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 09:45:30 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #116 on: May 19, 2014, 12:10:51 am »
mine is the oldest kind, the slip of plexiglass with the color logo and a light bulb (no led) behind the plastic.  the bulb burned out and I put a blue led there just to have something.  its not the single or dual led version of stss.

so, the switch is, circuit-wise, in the middle.  ok, strange but I can understand.

but what can be done about the hum?  during use its kind of loud for me.  can I just buy a new trafo or are they pretty custom?
I guess you have a Metcal RFG-30 power supply? I think this is very similar to Metcal PS2E except for no 30 minute auto shutdown feature. The PS2E model came after the RFG-30, but before the MX-500: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=66275.0

PS2E use a 'Signal Transformer' model 241-8-28 [single 115 V] or DP-241-8-28 [dual 115/230 V]. Read here:  https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/metcal-mx-5251/msg434729/#msg434729
This could very well be the same transformer used in RFG-30.

Both available at Digi-Key for approx $32: http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?pv258=188&FV=fffc0253&k=241-8-28&mnonly=0&newproducts=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&quantity=0&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=100

Datasheet: http://www.signaltransformer.com/sites/all/pdf/241.pdf

Maybe you can even buy a used 115V transformer from chrisc posting in the above topic as he wants to buy a new 230V transformer to convert his 110V [115V] model. Or buy a used one from notsob who has already replaced the transformer to a 230V model.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 12:13:04 am by AndersAnd »
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #117 on: May 19, 2014, 01:08:05 am »
rfg30, definitely, for my old silent one and mx500 for the new hummy one.

I can either sell the mx500 to someone and let they worry about the hum (they may not care) or I can try to fix it myself.  I can't figure out how to open the mx500 though; it has security screws and needs a long extension to get TO them (yes/no?).  the rfg30 opened easily and I could see a simple toroid inside that was screwed and glued to one of the metal sides.  but I have not opened the mx500 yet and have no idea what is inside that beast.  might have to get some special screwdrivers for it.

if anyone is in the US and does need either a full mx500 system or just the base, PM me.  I'm happy enough with the older RFG unit and I'll just use that.
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #118 on: May 19, 2014, 06:57:39 am »
I can't figure out how to open the mx500 though; it has security screws and needs a long extension to get TO them (yes/no?).
You need a tamper resistant / security torx 15 screwdriver or a very long bit:
Most bit holders are too wide to go all the way down the holes. I had a very narrow bit holder I was able to get down in two of the holes with a regular lenght bit. But it was just a 'bit' too wide to go down the two other holes.
So I had to borrow a 100 mm extra long bit to open it. If you havew to buy a long bit it's often as cheap to just buy a whole screwdriver.

Here's a German high quality Wera T15s screwdriver:
Wera 05138261004 for $8.05 with free shipping within the US: http://www.ebay.com/itm/181130722495

« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 06:59:45 am by AndersAnd »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #119 on: May 19, 2014, 07:55:02 am »
... also, IIRC there is a screw on the back of the unit that you need to release but not fully remove. It disengages the thermal coupling to the back of the unit so you can separate the tow halves (after removing the deep screws mentioned above).
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Offline Towger

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #120 on: May 19, 2014, 11:35:11 am »
The previous guardian of mine, was annoyed at her underlings leaving it switched on. She obviously never realised that they had unscrewed the timeout grub screw/switch. They got their revenge by breaking the switch, and sometime afterwards the unit made its way as faulty to a used equipment sellers eBay listing.
There were signs of a tin of tip cleaner attached to the top, which may have attributed to her tip replacement difficulties.



 

Offline baoshi

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #121 on: June 12, 2014, 06:16:29 am »
Yeah after years of struggling with ATTEN 8586 hotair+soldering station I finally reward myself a MX-500 system.
But it does not comes with stand. I put the hand piece into 936 clone stand but that is way too loose.
Any suggestions how to make one my own or getting one cheaper?
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #122 on: June 12, 2014, 12:28:28 pm »
the real one is expensive (over $50) but since you went this far, why not just buy the real one?  the sleeper stand is even nicer, but of course, more expensive.

its a first-class system.  do it right and you'll enjoy it for years and years.
 

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #123 on: June 13, 2014, 04:37:37 am »
the real one is expensive (over $50) but since you went this far, why not just buy the real one?  the sleeper stand is even nicer, but of course, more expensive.

its a first-class system.  do it right and you'll enjoy it for years and years.

I'm not sure if the WS2 can fit, but element14 sells WS1 at $86, which is almost the price I paid for the whole system  :-//
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #124 on: June 13, 2014, 05:05:35 am »
you're still coming out ahead ;)

I don't see the stands, used, and so I had to buy a new one, myself.  the pencils are not as big as the hakko and weller and such, so they do get you on the price of the stand.  if you are going to pay so much for the stand, might as well get the sleeper stand since its not much different in price and you at least get a new benfit from it.
 

Offline baoshi

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #125 on: June 13, 2014, 05:19:29 am »
you're still coming out ahead ;)

I don't see the stands, used, and so I had to buy a new one, myself.  the pencils are not as big as the hakko and weller and such, so they do get you on the price of the stand.  if you are going to pay so much for the stand, might as well get the sleeper stand since its not much different in price and you at least get a new benfit from it.

Totally makes sense. I found amazon selling cheaper. Remember Dave gets a cut if buying through his affiliate program. Anyone knows how it works?
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #126 on: June 13, 2014, 01:18:03 pm »
simple magnets in the stand that fool the tip into thinking it already reached the curie point.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #127 on: June 13, 2014, 01:49:04 pm »
simple magnets in the stand that fool the tip into thinking it already reached the curie point.

Can this be used to assist the temperature of curie points tips? An electro magnet embedded in the tip with variable current.
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Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #128 on: June 13, 2014, 01:52:42 pm »
I bet it would work.

I don't know the feedback method used, though.  I don't think they use a thermocouple in the tip and they rely on the tip doing the magic, itself.  but do they sense a change in load due to the rf level being consumed by the PSU?  I think they do that to detect if a tip is not inserted or is open/shorted.  some testing would be needed to find out what an acceptable mag field would be that would not upset the sending unit/station.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #129 on: July 25, 2014, 03:38:02 pm »
On ebay, 9 new SMTC-596 for $43 total shipped.

http://r.ebay.com/WdUjzB

Never used a tip with this shape. What are they good for?
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Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #130 on: July 25, 2014, 05:09:33 pm »
http://www.all-spec.com/products/SMTC-596.html

good for smd caps and resistors.  I have some tips of that shape and it makes easy work to solder or desolder smd 2-pad parts.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #131 on: July 25, 2014, 10:44:56 pm »
On ebay, 9 new SMTC-596 for $43 total shipped.

http://r.ebay.com/WdUjzB

Never used a tip with this shape. What are they good for?

-5xx series tips don't get hot enough to be useful - not worth it even if very cheap
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Offline linux-works

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #132 on: July 26, 2014, 04:33:46 am »
ah, good catch on that temperature issue.  I didn't even think about that.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #133 on: November 20, 2014, 03:48:47 pm »
My metcal handpiece and base developed stickiness since I got them new last year from Amazon (they were perfect when new). The problem occured each time I picked the handpiece and it felt as if it is stuck with some friction into the base. I tried to clean it but it did not help so I gently dremmeled the base's hole to have better clearance on the side of the handpiece and now it is awesome again. I wonder if anybody else had similar problem.
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Offline SteveyG

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #134 on: November 20, 2014, 05:21:33 pm »
My metcal handpiece and base developed stickiness since I got them new last year from Amazon (they were perfect when new).

I've never heard of that occurring, were they genuine parts?
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Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #135 on: November 20, 2014, 06:07:40 pm »
My metcal handpiece and base developed stickiness since I got them new last year from Amazon (they were perfect when new).

I've never heard of that occurring, were they genuine parts?

I think so. It was from Techni-Tool via Amazon and the base and the hand piece cost $160.
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Offline SteveyG

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #136 on: November 20, 2014, 06:15:06 pm »
The base on all of mine have been metal. What bit is sticky in particular?
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Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #137 on: November 23, 2014, 02:34:38 pm »
The base on all of mine have been metal. What bit is sticky in particular?

I got this base from Amazon. It is made from hard plastic, similar to the hand piece. The base has hole with a few narrowing steps and the hand piece get all the way in until it is stopped by the last step. In this position, the wide round end of the hand pieces had friction with the wall of the base hole. I gently dremeled gently the inside wall of the base hole to increase the clearance.


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Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #138 on: December 29, 2014, 07:22:54 pm »
I would like to get a MX-500 compatible tip to remove 0805, 0603 and 0402 components.  Any recommendation? What if I need only 0603 and 0402, will be a different choice?
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Offline Mr Simpleton

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #139 on: December 30, 2014, 11:13:05 pm »
I did the upgrade from Weller to Metcal and couldn't be more happy... We do have some JBC at work and they do perform nice too!

Now I have a broken PS2E-01, but with a wokring MX-500 and no schematics for the PS2E I haven't got round to look into what the problem is. Do anyone have a schematic for this station (PS2E)?? How different is it vs. the MX-500?? Someone mentioned that the FET used is obsolet but could be swapped for a new one with some rework.. Is there more information on this??

 

Offline KJDS

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #140 on: December 31, 2014, 12:20:32 am »
I would like to get a MX-500 compatible tip to remove 0805, 0603 and 0402 components.  Any recommendation? What if I need only 0603 and 0402, will be a different choice?

You can go down to 0603 with an SMTC 1161
For 0402 then an STTC 825

Smaller than that and you need the really fine conicals and not to have had a beer the previous night.

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #141 on: December 31, 2014, 03:38:36 am »
You can go down to 0603 with an SMTC 1161
For 0402 then an STTC 825

Smaller than that and you need the really fine conicals and not to have had a beer the previous night.


Thanks KJDS. I also found this one, STMC 188 which is intended for 0805 to 0402. Anybody has any experience with it or can comment on it?

http://www.all-spec.com/products/smtc-188.html

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Offline KJDS

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #142 on: December 31, 2014, 11:35:24 am »
You can go down to 0603 with an SMTC 1161
For 0402 then an STTC 825

Smaller than that and you need the really fine conicals and not to have had a beer the previous night.


Thanks KJDS. I also found this one, STMC 188 which is intended for 0805 to 0402. Anybody has any experience with it or can comment on it?

http://www.all-spec.com/products/smtc-188.html

Those are great for quickly removing components. Just don't try using one to put anything back on.

Offline artag

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #143 on: January 02, 2015, 07:29:27 pm »
I used a Metcal iron earlier in the year on which the cable was getting hot just where it enters the handle. I heard a few months later that it had failed completely. I think it was the SP200 type : it didn't seem very old but it had the larger DIN connector, not the F or mini-din.

I'm a big fan of Metcal and was surprised to see one fail this way. Maybe the cable had been stressed there.

 
 

Offline lotec25

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #144 on: February 13, 2015, 06:22:56 am »
That's because the switch doesn't actually turn off the MX-500 power supply completely. The switch sits on the secondary side and it just turns off the DC supply for the 18 V linear voltage regulator which in turn disables the LM2576 SMPS regulator. But the main 53 Vdc supply before the LM2576 is still powered on and a bit of the circuitry is still powered. So it still use some stand-by power with the switch off. So I always turn my Metcal off at the mains outlet when I leave my workspace.
Check where they placed the ON/OFF switch (S1) in this schematic

I picked up a Metcal MX-500P-11, well actually my wife got it for me, for my Birthday. I had the SP200 before this, and it was a very nice station also. Anyways been reading the thread, and seen everyone talking about it drawing power when the switch is off. Can anyone tell me a good location to move the Main switch leds to? So it is turning off the Transformer when I flip it off? I have looked over the schematic, and see a few places, just wanted to see what everyone else has done.

Thanks
 

Offline zapta

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #145 on: May 09, 2015, 03:50:44 pm »
I order a hakko inductive tip to see if it fits the MX500. It doesn't.  It's significantly shorter, as a female connector instead of male and is thicker and doesn't fit into the MX500's handle.





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Offline xnorbi

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #146 on: August 11, 2016, 11:48:32 am »
hello

I would like to ask, does the Metcal MX-RM3E fit into workstand Metcal MX-W1AV?
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #147 on: August 11, 2016, 10:16:08 pm »
hello

I would like to ask, does the Metcal MX-RM3E fit into workstand Metcal MX-W1AV?

Thermaltronics sells the SHH-1 which will fit the MX-RM3E.  I could be wrong, but I believe the difference between the MX-RM3e and the MX-H1-AV is the MX-H1-AV is a 2 piece wand with the main body being metal and it is supposed to be lighter weight.  I believe that the RM3E would fit in the MX-W1AV.  The MX-H1-AV is about $85 USD and the SHH-1 is about $60 USD.  I am not sure of pricing in your part of the world. 
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Offline toly084

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #148 on: August 12, 2017, 06:57:33 pm »
Hi all. Can someone tell me what workstand can hold metcal mx-h2-uf? The main question, can I use ws1 stand? In the message before, someone told that there is different positions for handpieces. I saw before on ebay MX-W1AV for about usd50, but didn't buy. Now I need the stand. In the mistake I bought a big one WS2, but this workstand only for big handpieces.
 

Offline neslekkim

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #149 on: August 13, 2017, 09:29:48 am »
Hi all. Can someone tell me what workstand can hold metcal mx-h2-uf? The main question, can I use ws1 stand? In the message before, someone told that there is different positions for handpieces. I saw before on ebay MX-W1AV for about usd50, but didn't buy. Now I need the stand. In the mistake I bought a big one WS2, but this workstand only for big handpieces.

http://www.okinternational.com/hand-soldering-systems/id-MX-W1AV/TipSaver_Solder_Workstand

 

Online mnementh

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #150 on: August 23, 2017, 04:23:47 am »
I just scored a working w/guarantee MX-500P from fleaBay for $63; I've been looking for a handle and tip at a reasonable price but of course nothing decent used here in the States right now, when I want it quick so I can confirm condition of my new acquisition.

I've got a line on a "good with tip" handle from a China vendor who already has good feedback on this specific item, and man that $57 pricetag is attractive, even if the wait time is 2-4 weeks. But I've read on here about how these handles are known to eventually develop cracks in the shield of the coax that cause operational faults, so I'm having second thoughts about buying used. How "rebuildable" are these handles? Is the coax cable some oddball type if it needs to be replaced, or is it possible to cut back existing cable and repair with reasonable chance of success if need be?

Also, concerning all the handle choices we have if buying new; Do all the Thermaltronics SHP-1 / Metcal MX-RM3E / MX-H1-AV support the sleeper base? Has anyone here successfully hacked the sleeper mode with a generic base? Are there any gotchas using the SHP-1 on the MX-500, like tip incompatibilities, connector not fitting quite right, etc?


Cheers and thanks for your patience,


mnem
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« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 10:15:27 pm by mnementh »
 

Offline Towger

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #151 on: August 23, 2017, 05:50:14 am »
The coax is odd ball, it is made from antistatic material.  I have never needed to repair one, but there should be no problem.

The sleeper base uses magnets and the laws of physics to reduce the heating effect of the RF energy in the tip, so will work fine with the different manufactures handles, once they physically fit the stand.
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #152 on: August 23, 2017, 03:31:37 pm »
The SHP-1 is a direct replacement for the RM-3E.  You should be fine.  I have a couple of Thermaltronics tips for my MX-500 and they work/fit the same as the NOS tips I bought.  The SHH-1 stand is the one that goes with it.  Check out this guy.  He has offered deals on the Blog in the past. https://www.ebay.com/sch/denbo32/m.html?item=261712067951&epid=872547024&hash=item3cef413d6f%3Ag%3Aio4AAOSwGWNUVjAr&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

Contact him and let him know you found out about him on the Blog, you make catch a break.
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Offline wkb

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #153 on: August 23, 2017, 09:18:21 pm »
Well.. I once fixed a handpiece which had its coax worn out just inside the handpiece.  Had to re-fit the coax
onto the coaxial socket for the tip.  More than a royal pain in the backside..  The cable is silicone rubber (I think) and
it has Teflon (from the looks of it) dielectric inside.  All very awkward to repair.  I did it 3 times over time and then muttered
something like scr* it and bought a brand new one.  Expensive but worth it..
 

Online mnementh

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #154 on: August 23, 2017, 11:26:15 pm »
Towger -

Thanks for the tech info on the cable and on how the sleeper stand works; I expected the cable wouldn't be run-of the-mill RG-59U. As for sleep mode, I imagined either something RFID-based in the stand that the MX500P detected, or something like it detecting a specific increase in SWR due to the magnetic flux and thereby knowing to reduce RF power. I'm pretty sure that's how it fault-detects the handset, or maybe it just looks for open-circuit; I dunno.


GreyWoolfe -

Yeah, I saw denbo32's listing for a SHP-S at $59 and almost plotzed, then realized it was NOT the one for the MX500 but for the SP200. I checked his other listings and added him to my list due to decent prices on new Thermaltronics tips. But man... even at his prices (his regular prices on fleaBay, that is) I can still get the Metcal Renewal Kit for around the same cost... ($160 on Amazon). That's a bit too much hobby expenditure for this paycheck; but I'll take your advice and contact him and see what he says anyways. :D


wkb -

Yeeeg... that's exactly what I feared I'd run into. Man I sure hope you're wrong because I'm really leaning towards one of those used handsets now, just due to simple economics and timing. We'll see what denbo32 has to offer before I pull the trigger, though.


Thanks all for the benefit of your experience; I do prefer to make an informed choice if possible.


mnem
Life is one big long educated guess; interspersed with brief periods of painful education.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 01:50:05 am by mnementh »
 

Offline macboy

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #155 on: August 29, 2017, 02:57:46 pm »
mnementh,
If you are still in the market, I have an extra used power supply (the single output one, STSS-002) and handpiece (MX-RM3E), plus a bunch of new tips that I am looking to sell.  I also have a desoldering gun (MX-DS1) available, which is by far the best desoldering tool I've ever used. I don't have stands available unfortunately. PM me if interested and we'll talk.
 

Offline eKretz

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #156 on: September 03, 2017, 02:04:17 am »
I can vouch for macboy - I purchased an MX-DS1 from him and it is great! Don't hesitate to trust him.
 

Offline Nuno_pt

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #157 on: September 03, 2017, 11:00:05 am »
I just bought an MX-500, and I'm looking at an ST2PV, but the output on the back is annoying.

The DS1 needs an external compressor right?

I'm looking at replacing my Atten rework station, so now I just need a hot air, and also a desoldering gun would be nice.

The Pace PPS85 can be better since it have the pump inside and has 3 channels.
Nuno
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Online mnementh

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #158 on: September 04, 2017, 08:29:01 pm »
The MX-DS1 uses a venturi to generate the vacuum; which actuates in milliseconds as opposed to others which draw a vacuum with a pump. This makes it one of the best functioning desoldering heads available. Also, since it runs from air, you can remote locate your compressor and never hear the pump running.

Cheers,

mnem
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Offline The Doktor

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #159 on: September 06, 2017, 09:40:59 pm »
I can vouch for macboy - I purchased an MX-DS1 from him and it is great! Don't hesitate to trust him.

Is macboy here frequently? I sent him a PM several days ago, but never got a reply.

Ed
 

Offline macboy

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #160 on: September 07, 2017, 12:16:17 am »
Sorry Ed, I see your PM now. I'll see what I have to meet your needs, I'll send you a PM soon.
 

Offline oilburner

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #161 on: September 11, 2017, 12:23:32 am »
I also bought some Metcal goodness from MacBoy, great guy to work with!

Greg
 

Offline blackberriesandthinkpads

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #162 on: September 30, 2017, 04:45:19 pm »
Looking for specifics on the older Metcal blocky power supplies. Are they ESD safe (grounded tips)?

What are the major differences between the models?

I notice Metcal's part numbering seems inconsistent between models and parts :S.

So what's the difference between?:
-RFG-30
-STSS-001
-STSS-002
-PS2E
-PS2V

Documentation on Metcal's website is very limiting.


Cheerio,
 

Offline macboy

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #163 on: October 02, 2017, 03:30:03 pm »
All Metcal STSS and MX systems are ESD safe. I have less knowledge about the other systems so I can't say but I'd be very surprised if not. The tip is grounded. The silicone insulation of the cord between the handle and power supply is also carbon-loaded to prevent static. All STSS and MX power supplies will also refuse to turn on if ground is not present on the AC line, and will power off if ground is lost.

The STSS-001 and STSS-002 are soldering systems, consisting of a power supply, handle, stand, etc. The power supply included with either STSS-001 or STSS-002 systems was one of: RFG-30, PS2, PS2E, or PS2V. The RFG-30 is older and the PS2- is newer. They are essentially functionally identical. I have read that the PS2E-01 has a 30 minute auto-shutoff, but I don't believe that is true. I believe that the timed auto-shutoff was added to the MX-500.

The MX-500 is also generic soldering system name, but it is even more confusing. It may refer to older systems with a power supply having two switchable outputs, or newer systems with a display and two simultaneous outputs. Various suffixes indicate the specific system. e.g. MX-500-S11 includes the MX-500-P11 (120 VAC input voltage, switchable output) supply and MX-RM3E handpiece. The MX-500AV includes the newer MX-500P (universal voltage, simultaneous output) supply and MX-H1-AV handpiece.
 
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Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #164 on: October 02, 2017, 05:36:30 pm »
MacBoy, you are correct the MX-500(I have the PII) has the 30 minute auto-shutoff.
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Offline blackberriesandthinkpads

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #165 on: October 02, 2017, 07:38:30 pm »
Thanks for the help macboy. I've read the manual for the PS2-E, no mention of timer shutoff.

I'm in the market for a single output system. I know the RFG-30 PSU is the oldest, so I'm avoiding that one. Still trying to figure out the difference between the PS2E and PS2V. At the least would like to know which one's newer for now.

I'd like to try and definitively know before I purchase. Was hoping this would be easier to figure out, just lost what looked to be a pretty decent setup.
 

Offline Nuno_pt

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #166 on: October 02, 2017, 08:11:23 pm »
The PS2E is 110V for US market and the PS2V is 230V for EU market, can't be rewired.

Like the old MX-500-11 is 110V for US and MX-500-21 is 230V for EU, but both can be rewired for 110V or 230V.

I've an MX-500-21 and an PS2V.

Still looking to choose between the RM3E or H1-AV irons, or Thermalite clones.
Nuno
CT2IRY
 
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Offline blackberriesandthinkpads

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #167 on: October 02, 2017, 08:57:04 pm »
The PS2E is 110V for US market and the PS2V is 230V for EU market, can't be rewired.

That's what I initially thought, but then thought I found US sellers selling PS2Vs, though now that I check again, can't find any. Must have been real tired when I came to that conclusion.

So PS2E it is then. Thanks.

Still looking to choose between the RM3E or H1-AV irons, or Thermalite clones.

What's the deal with the Thermaltronic clones, patent run out?
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 09:18:49 pm by blackberriesandthinkpads »
 

Offline Nuno_pt

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #168 on: October 02, 2017, 09:12:20 pm »
What's the deal with the Thermalite clones, patent run out?

Yes, Metcal patent end, and Thermalite are build by old Metcal employers.
Nuno
CT2IRY
 
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Offline blackberriesandthinkpads

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #169 on: October 02, 2017, 09:24:06 pm »
Still looking to choose between the RM3E or H1-AV irons, or Thermalite clones.

I'm guessing you meant to say Thermaltronics :). It seems Easybraid has also cloned Metcal's hand pieces.

Have you made any progress on your decision between the RM3E and H1-AV? I'm in the same boat.
 

Offline Nuno_pt

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #170 on: October 02, 2017, 09:29:31 pm »
Yes, Thermaltronics.

The diference I see is the the H1 is small and lighter since is made of aluminium, from what I could read here on the forum, the Thermaltronics looks like the RM3E.
Nuno
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Online mnementh

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #171 on: October 07, 2017, 01:29:30 am »
The Thermaltronics SHP-1 is a clone of the Metcal  MX-H1-AV. Both are equally functional with appropriate MetCal or Thermaltronics power units.

If you're shopping on fleaBay, I'll warn you against the guy from China selling "used" MX-RM3Es for approx $54-56 with used tip. I bought one due to being short of cash, and now regret not getting with macboy to sort my "new to me" MX-500. While the tip I received is serviceable, the handle is NOT "used, working"; it is "beat to death then cobbled back together with super glue."

The one I bought came with 4 slices in the outer sheath that had been patched with super glue and kapton tape, as well as the handle AND connector end had been ghetto-fab "fixed" and put back together with super glue and accelerant. Mine was repaired incorrectly; the center pin doesn't make contact unless I take the nut off the F-connector on my MX-500. It does work in that scenario, and when I spoke with the vendor he happily refunded me more than half; enough that I'm willing to take a gamble on fixing it as a spare. But I'll be getting another as soon as I catch up on my taxes.


Cheers,

mnem
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Offline connectionvalidationman

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #172 on: October 07, 2017, 03:02:29 pm »
The MX-500 kept its name due to customer demand. Many users spec-in a particular model of soldering system. When the manufacturer changes part numbers, they sometimes have to write a new specification document and this can delay their replacement process.

Another good example is to look at the automotive market:
The Honda "Civic" has been around since the 1970's and it is still a "Civic".
 

Offline icamaster

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Re: What Metcal?
« Reply #173 on: June 04, 2021, 07:41:34 pm »
Quick question about Metcal units. For a MFR-PS1100, if I want to use it with Thermaltronics cartridges, such as https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/soldering-iron-tips/8609450/, what handle do I need to get? MFR-H1-SC or MFR-H6-SSC? Or neither are compatible with Thermaltronics cartridges?
 


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