Author Topic: What Metcal?  (Read 96148 times)

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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
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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.
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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?
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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.


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