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  • Mick Bailey
    replied
    Here are a few pics. The display doesn't render very well on my phone. You can see the PSU doesn't have enough space and I had to mount it offset. The actual controller is the PCB behind the front panel and that's the impressive bit. Not a copy of a Hakko, but works well with their T12 bits. There are different versions of this - this is I think the latest LED one. More popular is the OLED version but I see that as perhaps a downside so I prefer LED for long-term reliability.

    There's just a contact board in the hand piece and a vibration sensor. I tool a look and it will fit inside a Xytonics unit I have that feels a lot better with a slightly heavier handle and overall much better quality. You could of course use the controller with flying leads to a full-size socket in a larger enclosure. I have sheet metal facilities so may fold up a custom enclosure with more room inside and use a fused regular IEC inlet instead of an unfused C6, though there is an on-board fuse and a 1A fuse in the UK mains plug.

    The supply is rated from 90v to 265v so will work anywhere. Again, there are many different versions of this - I think there are some better designed boards that use the same components but have isolation slots. Bear in mind it was $5 including delivery. For that price I can cut my own slots.
    Attached Files

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  • nevetslab
    replied
    Originally posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    As a follow-up to post #20, the final part arrived yesterday to build up a T12 solder station. It's worked out much better than I expected - here are my first impressions;

    The PSU/controller unit is tiny. I went for a 100W 24v SMPS which means it's small, light and efficient.
    Heat up time is 8 seconds from cold to melt solder on a 5mm chisel tip, and 10 seconds to reach and stabilize at full temperature.
    1 degree variance between displayed temperature and actual.
    Hardly any heat transfer along the solder tip to the handle.
    Temperature is rock solid when soldering to the back of a pot, larger terminal or ground plane. No need to increase temperature to compensate for larger mass.

    Features of the unit are;
    Configurable sleep mode where tip temperature steps down to 200 degrees after period of inactivity (woken by vibration sensor in hand piece, or rotating encoder)
    Configurable off mode where unit stays powered up but no heating to tip.
    Calibration via trim pot and if necessary, firmware.
    Non-volatile memory
    Press-to-boost temporary uplift in temperature - temperature increase and duration can be programmed.

    So, the downsides;
    Hand piece is functional but feels cheap and very light. Easily upgraded, though.
    Alignment issues between controller PCB and cutouts in ready-made case. If I was doing this again I'd go for a different enclosure (maybe Hammond)
    Miniaturized 5-pin connector. I would prefer a standard-size. Easily done if the case is changed.
    Supplied cable is too short
    Poor documentation for controller firmware.
    Unstable display - needs DC- tying to mains earth and tip ground to fix
    No ESD protection of encoder - needs mounting tab grounding

    Overall though, really impressive. All parts are easily and cheaply replaceable and the T12/T15 tips are cheap and plentiful. I see a major advantage to having the heater and PTC built right into the tip - the heat transfer, feedback and thermal properties are superb.

    Of course, it would be better to have a JBC or Hakko, but at an all-in cost of 24 (30) it's a pretty cheap entry point. Now I look around I see I could build it for even less.
    Are there photos to follow? I am intrigued by hour description & highlights.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mick Bailey
    replied
    As a follow-up to post #20, the final part arrived yesterday to build up a T12 solder station. It's worked out much better than I expected - here are my first impressions;

    The PSU/controller unit is tiny. I went for a 100W 24v SMPS which means it's small, light and efficient.
    Heat up time is 8 seconds from cold to melt solder on a 5mm chisel tip, and 10 seconds to reach and stabilize at full temperature.
    1 degree variance between displayed temperature and actual.
    Hardly any heat transfer along the solder tip to the handle.
    Temperature is rock solid when soldering to the back of a pot, larger terminal or ground plane. No need to increase temperature to compensate for larger mass.

    Features of the unit are;
    Configurable sleep mode where tip temperature steps down to 200 degrees after period of inactivity (woken by vibration sensor in hand piece, or rotating encoder)
    Configurable off mode where unit stays powered up but no heating to tip.
    Calibration via trim pot and if necessary, firmware.
    Non-volatile memory
    Press-to-boost temporary uplift in temperature - temperature increase and duration can be programmed.

    So, the downsides;
    Hand piece is functional but feels cheap and very light. Easily upgraded, though.
    Alignment issues between controller PCB and cutouts in ready-made case. If I was doing this again I'd go for a different enclosure (maybe Hammond)
    Miniaturized 5-pin connector. I would prefer a standard-size. Easily done if the case is changed.
    Supplied cable is too short
    Poor documentation for controller firmware.
    Unstable display - needs DC- tying to mains earth and tip ground to fix
    No ESD protection of encoder - needs mounting tab grounding

    Overall though, really impressive. All parts are easily and cheaply replaceable and the T12/T15 tips are cheap and plentiful. I see a major advantage to having the heater and PTC built right into the tip - the heat transfer, feedback and thermal properties are superb.

    Of course, it would be better to have a JBC or Hakko, but at an all-in cost of 24 (30) it's a pretty cheap entry point. Now I look around I see I could build it for even less.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mick Bailey
    replied
    One of the crap jobs is to remove a 3PDT switch that's a press-fit in a double sided PCB before being soldered in with unleaded.

    Leave a comment:


  • Enzo
    replied
    I've encountered boards where resistors and such sit up off the board a little ways. The wires are kinked in a little S curve so they sit at the right altitude. In fact you can buy special pliers to do such kinking. But I have also encountered boards where the part wires come through the board, and on the solder side, the bit of wire sticking out was squashed with pliers or something to spread it. That means the wire won't fit back through the hole. It means parts can't fall out before they are soldered. it also means you can't heat solder and pull the part out, you HAVE to snip the end off.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dave H
    replied
    Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
    I get very impatient because I know I need to get in and out. I pull assuming I've got the solder melted and think there must be a kink in the lead at the other end of the hole.
    If there's a bend in the lead I cut it off flush with the board on the component side then remove the cut off end from the solder side. It's better to write off the component than write off the board.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chuck H
    replied
    Originally posted by OwenM View Post
    ... but I'd add don't wiggle or tug on any component to be removed if it seems stubborn, especially on boards with stubborn solder and weak pcb traces. The still-hard solder just levers the pcb pad off the board.
    You've found my weakness I get very impatient because I know I need to get in and out. I pull assuming I've got the solder melted and think there must be a kink in the lead at the other end of the hole. A bend in the lead on turrets and eyelets is common practice for good technique (make the contact solid and the solder just holds it in place...) So instinct tells me when I can see melted solder and there's resistance it's a bend in the lead. But I don't work on PCB's much. And usually when I do they're older ones. I've ripped up more than one trace. I do a little better now but my PCB technique isn't winning any awards

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  • OwenM
    replied
    Many great posts from folks a thousand times more knowledgeable than me, but I'd add don't wiggle or tug on any component to be removed if it seems stubborn, especially on boards with stubborn solder and weak pcb traces. The still-hard solder just levers the pcb pad off the board. That sinking feeling when you see a little bit of foil flake away is your ticket to another half an hour fixing, if you are lucky! Make sure your iron tip is good and clean and tinned and if it doesn't seem to want to melt don't just wait around forcing heat into the thing, take a step back and asses. I've found running a little more fresh solder onto a stubborn joint helps thermal heat transfer and can get a pad to heat up quicker you can pull a piece directly out at 90 degrees with practically zero force. I always clean pads like this if I'm not sure if the solder I added is different to the original solder, maybe creating weak joint. (though really I tend to clean most pads on most repairs for the same reason, I may be corrected on this!). I find if you get the right angle on solder wick it draws enough heat into itself and not so much the pad's glue so the solder flows into it easily and swiftly, I've found it a little harder to use a solder sucker well on these weaker boards but it's probably just my technique ;P

    I recently had to fix a frontman 212r with a loose input jack that had mangled the hell out of the pads on the board through people using it with the jack-nut loose, it's doable, and you can make it strong again even though it doesn't look pretty, but much better to take it real slow at first and try and avoid creating any new problems!

    Highly recommend a practice board first, most I've worked on seem to have been fairly forgiving but certain newer fenders seem to be very fragile if you go in with 'a blunt instrument'.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mick Bailey
    replied
    I've ordered parts to build a 70W T12 station as an experiment. Intended as a low-cost backup unit but I'll see how it goes. The thermal transfer is theoretically a lot better with direct-drive than a slip-on tip type bit and the temperature feedback more accurate. What this means is that the mass of the part being soldered should have less of an effect on the bit temperature. Also, tips can be changed on the fly while they're hot. At the moment with my 80W Xytronic which I really like, to solder onto the back of a 24mm pot I have to raise the temperature to compensate, or change the tip which means letting the iron cool down. One thing I've found is that improving the thermal coupling between the element and tip helps a great deal. I use a cylindrical brass shim and 1200 degree ceramic grease and it really improved the temperature regulation.
    Last edited by Mick Bailey; 02-11-2020, 06:12 PM.

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  • Perkinsman
    replied
    I've had several Wellers, a new temp adjustable model but the pencil's connecting pin broke while removing it, and an old WTCP with 201T pencil and station that just quit getting hot, the pencils aren't interchangeable so now i have 2 Weller stations and 2 pencils and nothing works except the on light. Time to buy a Hakku.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chuck H
    replied
    Originally posted by nosaj View Post
    Ask if you can et something out of the trash they've thrown away. The idea is spend no money.
    nosaj
    Yes, but you still have to go through the actual store too. You never know what you'll find!

    Leave a comment:


  • nosaj
    replied
    Originally posted by dadroadie View Post
    Thanks for all of this great information and advise! I'm going to run over to Good Will and pick up a "practice buddy".
    dadroadie
    Ask if you can et something out of the trash they've thrown away. The idea is spend no money.
    nosaj

    Leave a comment:


  • dadroadie
    replied
    Thanks for all of this great information and advise! I'm going to run over to Good Will and pick up a "practice buddy".
    dadroadie

    Leave a comment:


  • nosaj
    replied
    Originally posted by alexradium View Post
    to work on those boards,you need to solder and desolder in the fastest way possible,that means you need enough power,especially on ground planes,i use 48W minimum,today you can find even a bargain TS100,which is a very powerful tool,powered at 24v/3A you can get more than 60w and the tip is superfast.
    I have found as of late working on RF amps removing the finals A weller Heat gun with a short piece of 12g copper gets solder flowing real quick to use the solder sucker. Works great for chassis connections also, but also acts as a quick media eraser for magnetic tapes.

    nosaj

    Leave a comment:


  • alexradium
    replied
    to work on those boards,you need to solder and desolder in the fastest way possible,that means you need enough power,especially on ground planes,i use 48W minimum,today you can find even a bargain TS100,which is a very powerful tool,powered at 24v/3A you can get more than 60w and the tip is superfast.

    Leave a comment:

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