New soldering station

Alright, the electronics cause has plenty of cash and is overdue for some decent soldering irons.

I’ve been looking into the metcal and JBC stations and both would do the trig. I’ve used the JBC stations at uni and am thoroughly impressed at the amount of heat they can push into the tip while surviving students using them. We can get a new metcal station for around $230, or a JBC station for $500.

We currently have 2 metcal stations with one set up at the moment. They are 40W if I remember right, with easily swappable tips and are very capable irons when a decent tip is used unlike the rubbish that is on there at the moment. New handpieces are around $80aud and tips are around $30. I’ll be getting in some new tips for these, though I’m not sure if it is worth getting a new handpiece for the second iron depending on how good the below soldering iron is.

I’ve noticed these T12 DIY soldering stations popping up on ebay and aliexpress, and they look like they might be a good replacement for our current failing soldering irons. The T12 tip is the standard hakko soldering iron tip, so there are plenty of clone tips on the market for around $4 per tip. The soldering station itself costs around $60 prebuilt or $40 if we were to build it by hand from parts linked here, here and here. They are 70W, same as the official hakko stations, but a hell of a lot cheaper (official stations are around $450 for these tips). While they aren’t as nice as the metcal or JBC stations, what do you guys think about getting one in to try?

If you’re at QUT then you must have seen those new JBC irons have their tips destroyed in about a week :slight_smile: My question would be: which decent irons have the cheapest tips available and good reliability? I use a Hakko FX-888 at home and find it does a great job for about a sixth of the price of the JBC, tips are around $12-$15.

I did look at the FX-888D which is quite reasonably priced ($160), but figured that for the extra $70, we might be better off with the metcal with the better tip temperature regulation and hot swappable tips if we’re looking at new irons.

Fair enough then on the JBC irons, I’ve always found that they’re working when I’m there but you might be right in that they’re not suitable for our purposes. Still, super nice bit of kit.

I just noticed, you can get the proper FX-951 stations off aliexpress for around $100. Might be a good option

Do you reckon they are fakes though? Or is ~$100 actually a price these may hit stores at in certain countries.

The metcal we’re currently using is freaking great. Even with the fine conical tip (which is usually awful on an iron) it has it’s fantastic at getting heat into a joint, and since it’s non-adjustable people aren’t tempted to crank the temp on it and wreck the tip. I’ve hit the 40W limit, though.

There’s a place in Bowen Hills that has compatible thermaltronics tips for under $20 each.

For whatever its worth, I was looking at that Metcal and considering swapping to it from my current Hakko FX-888 (The analogue one). If I did that, I’d be happy to sell off my hakko to the electronics cause if they wanted it.

Having said that, the dream would be to standardise on the metcals I think. They seem fairly ideal for our situation.

I’ve just ordered in a new 1.5mm chisel tip for the old metcal to bring it up to scratch.
I’m thinking we get a new handpiece and 2 more tips for the 2nd old metcal station to replace the crappy $15 ebay ones.

Then I think it might be worth taking the plunge and grabbing that Metcal PS-900 station as we can grab some new multimeters on the same order and have a really nice modern high wattage station.

Quick reminder to people who need a high power soldering iron at the space in the meantime, we do have a high power soldering gun sitting where the magnifying headset is. it’s a 40W iron that goes apparently to 130W when the trigger is held.

Here’s the local supplier for the compatible thermaltronics tips: $17.50 each"Tips%20S%20Series"

And they’re in Bowen Hills.

(edit: oh, they’re sharing premises with Prime Electronics…)