Author Topic: Induction soldering iron review  (Read 12776 times)

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Offline Marco

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Induction soldering iron review
« on: January 12, 2016, 06:38:33 pm »
We have had low cost induction soldering irons for a few years now and they seem to have a big advantage as far as temperature control is concerned. I'd really like to see some comparative tests between some commonly available inductive soldering stations and the old school Hakko FX-888. Hakko FX-100, ATTEN AT306DH and Xytronic LF-3200 seem the most common devices.

Temperature control testing would be especially interesting, for instance by attaching a thermocouple to the tip and graphing the temperature when the tip is brought into contact with a solder blob on a piece of PCB.
 

Offline wblock

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 08:30:09 pm »
There is an older document from JBC that I can't find on their site, but did find here: www.elektroda.pl/rtvforum/download.php?id=401508
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 10:07:10 pm »
I don't think that is the same technology exactly, doesn't Metcal rely on the transition temperature to passively control temperature? These stations I mentioned use a control loop with a thermocouple, with the thermocouple going in through the core of the tip with the induction coil on the outside.
 

Offline wblock

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 11:29:21 pm »
The Hakko FX100 seems like a refinement.  This article http://www.stratesysgroup.com/Product_Reviews/HakkoFX100 suggests that it does not actually monitor the temperature, but monitors current and raises the voltage during high current draw to get the tip back up to temperature quickly.

I don't know about the others.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2016, 12:04:43 am »
Ah, okay. As far as I know the Atten and Xytronic use this kind of wand (this is an image from the Kingsom KS-200DH) :

 

Offline coppice

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 12:49:45 am »
Why is the Hakko FX100 listed as something to compare induction heated irons against? It IS an induction heated Curie point iron.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 12:59:50 am »
There is an older document from JBC that I can't find on their site, but did find here: www.elektroda.pl/rtvforum/download.php?id=401508
Though take that comparison with a grain of salt. At least comparison with ERSA is just ridiculous. 3mm JBC chisel vs 1.6mm Ersa chisel, very fair comparison  :--.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 01:14:07 am »
As mentioned above, the FX-100 is an induction based station that relies on Curie Point to set the temperature. As does OKi/Metcal, Thermaltronics, and the old Weller WTCP for example. The Weller's were slower, as they were literally just a magnetic switch that activates the heating element when the tip is below the Curie Point (there's an iron pellet in the tip that controls the temp in Curie Point based stations). The others use the same basic principle, but a more advanced implementation (faster recovery).

At the time Metcal was introduced, it was quite an advance over other soldering stations in performance. But enough years have passed, combined with the RoHS switch over, that other temperature controlled stations have caught up, and in some cases, exceeded the performance of the Metcals.

For example, another member GreyWoolfe, has both a Hakko FX-951 and Metcal station (13.56Mhz model; 5000 series I think). Though the Metcal is no slouch, he indicated the edge goes to the Hakko.
 

Offline jwm_

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2016, 01:33:05 am »
I was just debating between a FX-100, a JBC station, a used metcal, or a thermotronics. 

FX-951 is also tentatively on the list, but i was actually a little underwhelmed with the 888D (even though i think it is a fantastic value!), but that could just be because it is the bottom of the line model and not anything to do with hakko in general.

Are thermaltronics just generic metcals? They are a few hundred dollars less.

Honestly, a really big selling point of the JBC is the auto-turn off when the iron is in the holder. I have left my iron on for days at a time by accident.

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2016, 01:44:36 am »
I was just debating between a FX-100, a JBC station, a used metcal, or a thermotronics. 

FX-951 is also tentatively on the list, but i was actually a little underwhelmed with the 888D (even though i think it is a fantastic value!), but that could just be because it is the bottom of the line model and not anything to do with hakko in general.

Are thermaltronics just generic metcals? They are a few hundred dollars less.

Honestly, a really big selling point of the JBC is the auto-turn off when the iron is in the holder. I have left my iron on for days at a time by accident.
The FX-951 is a completely different beast from the entry level FX-888D. Not only in performance, but the feature set it brings to the table as well (i.e. stand connects to the station, so it can reduce temp when the iron hits the stand, and auto-off based on a user set time).  :-+

Regarding Thermaltronics, it was founded by a couple of ex-Metcal employees when the patents expired. So if you're set on a Curie Point induction station and can get it at a better deal, then go for it.  ;)

Performance wise, I'd put JBC at the top. But it's not going to run absolute circles around any of the other stations at this level (FX-951, FX-100, Thermaltronics, Metcal, or Weller WS, WD, and WX series for example). I'd recommend looking at the tip cost, repair parts, and availability as part of your purchase considerations.
 

Offline wblock

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2016, 01:46:01 am »
I was just debating between a FX-100, a JBC station, a used metcal, or a thermotronics.
I was in that position a few months back.  The Metcal seemed the way to go, but the fixed temperature meant multiple tips would be needed.  Then I learned more about JBC.  The final push was when I asked a US distributor of JBC and other irons if they ever had any JBC refurbs or clearance.  They said "we never get the JBC units back."

Quote
Honestly, a really big selling point of the JBC is the auto-turn off when the iron is in the holder. I have left my iron on for days at a time by accident.

That seemed like merely a nice feature.  But having used it, it's great.  Tips don't oxidize just sitting in the stand, and tips bought used look like new.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2016, 02:03:27 am »
That's all fine and well, but I'd like to see the low end induction with closed loop control tested (so not the FX100 I guess).
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2016, 04:39:14 am »
That's all fine and well, but I'd like to see the low end induction with closed loop control tested (so not the FX100 I guess).
So you're looking for the cheap Chinese clones?

If so, seems you'll have to wait a bit, as they're not out yet AFAIK. Not sure they will TBH, given the part count (search for a Metcal schematic to see for yourself  ;)  >:D). FWIW, I think Quick has released a couple, but they're not exactly cheap from what I've seen, though usually less than US, EU, or Japanese manufacture's equivalent offerings IME (makes sense IMHO due to cheaper labor + they don't do a lot of pioneering R&D).
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2016, 05:15:20 am »
The ATTEN AT306DH has been out for a long time, the Xytronic is on the second model (LF-3200 is successor of LF-3000) and is available at Reichelt and Jameco. Kingsom and Bakon have quite a few models, but they seem to be mostly aimed at the Chinese market.

Who are they cloning exactly?
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2016, 08:28:13 am »
Who are they cloning exactly?
Thinking in terms of who was responsible for bring induction heating to market (Metcal), which isn't any of the companies you mentioned.

The models you listed are interesting, as they don't rely on Curie point for setting the temp. (appears to be a traditional NTC or PTC feedback design + induction heating based on how I interpreted the sales sheet). I like the basic concept, as it eliminates the need for multiple tips of the same profile should the user need more than one temperature.  ;) I would prefer to wait and see regarding build quality & reliability however, given some of the examples of build quality offered up for display in the forum.
 

Offline jwm_

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2016, 11:19:08 pm »
That's all fine and well, but I'd like to see the low end induction with closed loop control tested (so not the FX100 I guess).

Induction curie point machines don't have closed loop control in general (at least not the kind that involves anything past the tip) The main box just blasts RF energy down the line, the tip either absorbs or doesn't absorb the energy based on its temperature set by the curie point of the magnet in the tip. No thermocouples involved.

Offline zapta

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2016, 06:52:54 am »
Honestly, a really big selling point of the JBC is the auto-turn off when the iron is in the holder. I have left my iron on for days at a time by accident.

Be aware that JBC has two categories of soldering irons with very different heating times. It was mentioned in one of the threads here.
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline wblock

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2016, 09:10:17 pm »
Be aware that JBC has two categories of soldering irons with very different heating times. It was mentioned in one of the threads here.
Well, JBC does have old-fashioned "classic irons".  As far as I know, all the temperature-controlled stuff is fast heating.  But none of the JBC irons use induction heating.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2016, 04:04:49 am »
Be aware that JBC has two categories of soldering irons with very different heating times. It was mentioned in one of the threads here.
Well, JBC does have old-fashioned "classic irons".  As far as I know, all the temperature-controlled stuff is fast heating. 

Check this thread. Clearly two different heating times for current JBC products.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/disappointed-with-jbc/msg744917/#msg744917

Drain the swamp.
 

Offline wblock

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2016, 05:53:52 am »
Two seconds or five seconds, you mean?  Mine are up to temp by the time I get the iron and solder in place (T245 handles).  The time is also going to depend on the tip.  Some have "high thermal efficiencies", some have large mass.  Can't see that being much different with an induction iron, it's still just power delivery.

Come to think of it, the variety of tips available is another thing to consider.  There is not going to be a big variety in tips until a series of iron has been around for a while.  For example, Hakko has 10.4 and 15.7mm "spatula" tips for the FX-100 (in two temperatures, 400C and 450C).  Metcal looks to have 10, 15.75, and 22mm, JBC has 10, 15, 21, 32, and 37mm.  Whether it matters depends on the operator and usage of the iron.  Most people will be happy with a few typical shapes and sizes, but some will find extra versatility valuable.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2016, 06:16:49 am »
Two seconds or five seconds, you mean? 

The graph here says 9 secs for that JBC model vs 2 secs advertised for other JBC models.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/disappointed-with-jbc/msg744838/#msg744838

If you buy a JBC, be aware of the difference. Some models can deliver heat to the tip X4 faster than others.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 09:13:42 am by zapta »
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline Hydrawerk

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Re: Induction soldering iron review
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2021, 06:58:30 pm »
There are few high frequency induction soldering stations. They are made by Metcal, Thermaltronics and then there is Hakko FX-100. The heating cartridges are powered with about 450kHz or 13MHz voltage.

The JBC CD-2BQF, PACE ADS200 and Hakko FX-951 use a resistor heating element cartridge powered by DC od pulsing 50Hz voltage. It is not so advanced as Metcal, but it also works OK.

Am I right?

(In past i thought that PACE and JBC was induction type, but I was wrong apparently.)
Amazing machines. https://www.youtube.com/user/denha (It is not me...)
 


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