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Old 12th October 2012, 09:04 PM   #21
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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New Weller models don't seem to build a good rep among experienced users lately.
when you say among 'experienced builders', I suppose you refer to the new more expencive professional Weller stuff
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:09 PM   #22
Salas is offline Salas  Greece
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JBC is the power and agility ascending champion these days for pros but naturally expensive for tips.
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:10 PM   #23
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... steps in ERSA Icon Nano and OKI Metcal PS-900 territory.
wow, that Ersa model look real great, and ok price, I want it
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:14 PM   #24
Salas is offline Salas  Greece
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Originally Posted by disfunctionalshadow View Post
From a usability perspective of a production line worker, the Weller was much better. Those that could afford to mess with all the Metcal tips (Eng. techs and Engineers) they greatly liked them. But I found they didn't handle some tasks as well as a basic Weller soldering station.
What they could not do as good as a Weller? Not having a temp knob maybe?
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:16 PM   #25
Salas is offline Salas  Greece
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Originally Posted by tinitus View Post
wow, that Ersa model look real great, and ok price, I want it
Its good, and has temp control. ERSA are not that great for thermal graphs as OKI or JBC on paper but they got very agile irons at that price range and their tips are very natural with solder flow in my experience. The nano eats little bench space too.
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Old 12th October 2012, 10:53 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Salas View Post
What they could not do as good as a Weller? Not having a temp knob maybe?
The Metcal was really good at Surface mount, but when it came to soldering emitter loops (just solid core wire making an 2.4GHz transmit/receive loop into an antenna assembly) it didn't work as well as a soldering iron.

It was really useful for dealing with swapping out SMD fets and 8-lead SMDs. But we did do most of the surface mount work with soldering irons. It was 5 stage, discrete, 900MHz oscillator/amplifiers and fewer stages for 2.4GHz on teflon PWBs.
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Old 12th October 2012, 11:01 PM   #27
Salas is offline Salas  Greece
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Is it possible it wore the low temp tips range bought for surface mount when attempting at the wire loops? PACE and JBC are real boilers when it comes to delivering over 100W to the work piece hit after hit.
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Old 12th October 2012, 11:22 PM   #28
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For heavy work all you need is a powerful tip. I agree that the standard smaller more detail orientated metcal tips aren't amazing when it comes to sheer power jobs, like melting the enamel insulation off of and soldering thick solid core copper wire, or soldering big things onto large thick copper planes. That's why I purchased this tip.

STTC-117 - METCAL - TIP CARTRIDGE, SOLDERING, CHISEL | Newark

Now that thing is a beast and so far there's been nothing that I've needed more power for.

The one thing you do have to watch out for is that the RF heating system that Metcal's use does not work well at all when in close proximity to magnetic fields. This means that soldering standard ferrite tweeters and small unshielded ferrite drivers can be a right pain. The one thing Metcal's don't have is a high thermal mass, this is one of their usual benefits as it allows for rapid heating and cooling of the tip, but this does mean that you can't really let the tip heat up and then solder the wire. You can work around this by heating the wire up, especially if it's thick, before trying to solder it, the insulation though will probably melt and you may burn you fingers, but you'll get the job done.

Bottom line, if soldering drive units is going to factor highly into you soldering requirements, then don't get a Metcal.
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Old 12th October 2012, 11:37 PM   #29
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This previous model line, one piece JBC station without LCD screen can be found second hand from time to time on a good price if someone needs pro features like really on the fly tips exchanging.

Howard Electronic Instruments Soldering Video Clip - YouTube
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Old 13th October 2012, 12:08 AM   #30
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That video helps to highlight another reason why I like the Metcal . The wand, the part where you insert the tip to in the Metcals extends almost right up to the tip, you only have around 4-5cm of tip that extends beyond where you fingers grip. This does give finer control over the tip and as there's less hot metal exposed you are far less likely to melt other things when you're working in space constrained, heavily populated, fiddly to reach areas.

Now I do a ton of soldering with SMD, standard parts and in fiddly areas, so the features of the Metcal are very well suited to my needs. If your needs are different then it might not be quite as beneficial or worth the cost. One things for sure, I would definitely not pay the full retail price for a Metcal unit as they are overpriced imo.
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