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Old 20th July 2006, 10:45 PM   #1
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Default Metcal questions

I've just got a used Metcal SP-800 from ebay and tried to check out the differences between the Metcal products (bit late now lol) but couldn't find much. Google brought up page after page of factory blurb...Perfect for lead free ... etc. Nothing saying why the next up in price was better.

So for my curiosity and others wondering which Metcal would suit them best can anyone explain the differences between the SP-200, SP-800, MX-200 and the MX-500 please.

Any suggestions for tips? Say the 3 or 4 most likely to be useful for smd and through hole components. (4% silver loaded solder, melting temp 217 C.)

Also, what's that square of plastic clipped to the lead for?

Thanks.
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Old 20th July 2006, 11:12 PM   #2
poobah is offline poobah  United States
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The square of plastic is actually silicone. You use it like a pot-holder or oven mit to change hot tips.

If you have the 800, who cares about the differences between it and the others?

As far as tips go... that is the beauty of the metcal system. Because the temp is regulated at the tip, one tip can do more things. For all around work a 60 mil (1.5mm) chisel tip is probably your best choice. For SMT work, you should use the smallest tips available. The cone shaped rather than the "necked" tips have the best performance (less thermal resistance between business-end and temp sensor").

Do keep mind, the tips fail sometimes without warning, so you should always keep a spare. At the same time, I've had tips last almost 3 years.

Despite the high cost of tips, I have 2 SP200's and would not consider soldering with anything else. The speed with which you can work (high power) and the protection afforded small components (limited temperature) just can't be beaten. I was reluctant as hell, because some greasey salesman was trying to sell my company some 40 or so units some 12 years back. After I soldered with one 1/2 an hour or so, I haven't used anything else.

GOOD PURCHASE!



P.S. as far as temperature is concerned the 600 series tips are good for all around. Keep in mind, the "heat of fusion" (the heat required to change a material from solid to liquid without changing its temperature) and a skilled touch are the best regulators of component temperature. Heat sensitive components are best protected by the least amount of solder applied in the fastest fashion. So... you're skill level has alot to do with how high you can go on temp anyway.

SMT components demand that you get yourself some liquid flux and practice with it... it is the secret to beauty joints... and also the key to drag soldering... a must for really tiny SMT stuff.

www.metcal.com

Check on their site for specific rec's for silvered alloys.

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Old 21st July 2006, 12:03 AM   #3
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Please send me one of the 40 units...
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Old 21st July 2006, 12:12 AM   #4
poobah is offline poobah  United States
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Sorry Joe... those 40 were for Megacorp... I ebayed mine ~$100.

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Old 21st July 2006, 12:13 AM   #5
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I'm bored and in need of new toys. Maybe I will buy a Metcal.
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Old 21st July 2006, 05:01 AM   #6
poobah is offline poobah  United States
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Well get on Newark or Digikey and price out tips first... they're not cheap.

Otherwise... you will come from the dark side and see the light.

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Old 21st July 2006, 07:01 AM   #7
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I have recently changed from an ancient Weller to a Metcal SP200.
I certainly won't be changing back! It's a dream to solder with.
Sorry, I can't help with differences.
The tips do seem to be hard to find.
If you find a uk source, please let me know!
I've ordered a couple from huntertools, but they seem to be a long time coming.
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Old 21st July 2006, 05:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by poobah


If you have the 800, who cares about the differences between it and the others?

Thanks for the response, it's now just out of curiosity I'd like to know the differences in the systems and for all the acclaimed quality of Metcal their sales pitch is somewhat lacking for me. I take it the dearer product does a bit more than the cheaper... but like what?
Rework gets mentioned for the MX-500 but not for the others, about the only clue offered.
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Old 21st July 2006, 06:08 PM   #9
poobah is offline poobah  United States
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I agree, their website is lacking a sound selection matrix.

I haven't used anything but the SP200... I think your model is about the same with the exception of a slimmer handle and a smaller footprint on the tabletop.

Keep in mind, Metcal was bought up buy OK I guess. In the transistion, I'll bet their original web material got mangled (like Vishay & Tyco).

Buy a few basic tips... you will never consider another brand of iron.

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Old 22nd July 2006, 08:46 AM   #10
drwkng is offline drwkng  Hong Kong
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Default Metcal SP-800

well, i bought a metcal sp-800 from digikey out of curiosity. i don't know it is me or what. the heating element disintegrated within a month. i've to replace the whole handle. and the handle is far too hot to use continously. the power is quite limited especially when you try to solder a large area of copper.
the quality is a bit iffy for me as compared to my hakko. can't say it is that much better. it is cheaper than other models probably because of country of origin and less power. in this case it is from China. i will probably get a sp 200 or 500 and see whether they are really that good.
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