04/07/2019 at 04:20 •
After using the T-12 for a while, the honeymoon was over. It has a very short timeout for the complete powerdown. You'll be frequently seeing 000 & power cycling it to turn it back on.
For the 200C powerdown, the timeout is shorter & it relies on a tilt sensor rather than a full motion sensor. It always senses being pulled out of the stand, but during a long solder job with little movement, a part with high thermal mass, & lead free solder, it usually times out. You have to frequently take it off the part & shake it again.
The tip length is so long, the ages old technique of holding down a part & soldering with the same paw doesn't work anymore.
A handle can technically choke up around the tip, but it would be expensive. The long tip also makes it shake more. The lion kingdom is forever missing the Metcal in this department.
The only useful tip for through hole has been the hoof tip. The chisel tip provided is too wide. The knife tip is useful for feeling powerful, but doesn't transfer as much heat as the hoof. Of course, most people only have the stock tip for it & only 1 iron. The lion kingdom got a complete set of tips & 2 irons.
01/27/2019 at 00:43 •
It starts up much faster than the MX-5200 & comes out of sleeping much faster, but thermal regulation isn't as fast. Soldering a ground plane is still painful. The LED goes out, indicating its thermocouple is at the required temp, but the tip is still cold. It's an incremental improvement from the FX-888, but nowhere close to the Metcal.
Conical tips on the T-12 are incrementally better but still suffering from FX-888 problems. The point tends to stay cold, while the heat comes from the side. Temperature has to be increased to get a hot tip. Never did measure the Metcal's temperature, so it might have relied on a hotter temperature. It might have always been 340C. Lions use 280C as much as possible, to avoid lifting a pad & burning flux.
The rattling of the motion detecting switch is bearable & it's sensitive enough to keep it on with normal motion. The tip being longer than any other iron ended up not being noticeable. They might have done that to get a cold side for the thermocouple.
We've traveled far, in the last 30 years. The 30W Archers & Wellers are long gone, though the very 1st stand from the lion kingdom's 1st Archer kit is shown. Lions spent a lot of time grinding down the Weller tips as they eroded. Time to discard the 15W. Lions never got burned after switching to the regulated ones, because they had real stands.
01/03/2019 at 21:14 •
It took 6 weeks for the boat to arrive from China.
Bang shiny before they're used. The legendary hoof tip finally arrived.
Step 1 was fabricating the power supply. 2 Rudung buck converters & a direct 25V connector powered by a single 300W. The Rudungs have independent grounds, but the lion didn't try shorting anything yet.
There was much tinning of 14 gauge silicone wire. It was a better wiring job than anything money could buy. There's room for fans on the Rudungs, but no plan to need high current until the next major LED project. With pixies now available,
The irons could be fired up. It was easiest to hot glue the boards on the outside. Forget about using jumpers to connect the connectors. Just solder them into the boards.
Still need a stand, since they don't fit in the Hakko stands. Tested it at 280C with the Fluke & the temperature was already calibrated in the factory. Not sure how high the Fluke can go before it melts.
The soldering station used just the cheapest soldering & a wall wart to weigh it down.
A note on grounding the tips:
Ideally, the tips would be Earth grounded, but this was intended to be battery powered. The lion kingdom didn't want to connect the tips to negative supply because they could fry a gadget if the same supply was powering the circuit.
The tips were originally connected to each other but not to Earth. This was a failure. The tips must not be connected if they're powered by the same 25V. They must be on isolated supplies in order for the tips to be connected, otherwise they'll be unstable when simultaneously heating. The tips are a current path for the heater but don't connect to negative supply. When using a common 25V, the tips have to be floating.
The 2 irons heat up bang fast on 25V. The power supply fan briefly spins up when it heats up or solders something. It's quite a powerful feeling, making a fan spin up by soldering. It could run on a 12V battery, but there wouldn't be a fan.
Absolutely none of the buttons or switches ordered were used. The switches were failed short circuiting switches from the mastech which the lion kingdom repaired. The Mastech may be used 1 more time in the lion kingdom's lifespan.
01/03/2019 at 07:18 •
1 month after ordering, parts started arriving from China, manely top of the line RUIDENG DPS5005 50V 5A's with communication support.
What Dave couldn't do was done.
Revealing it was 2 boards soldered together with 2 pin headers & a display on a 3rd board, itself soldered by a 1 pin header. Its only attachment to an enclosure was the liner. The standoffs were loose fitting.
16 pins with conformal coatings ensnared the 2 boards.
So there would be no replacing the display or the buttons with any ease. It was already decided that the bluetooth & USB support wasn't worth it. That was only ordered in case someone needed to test a voltage ramp. At least there's alternative firmware.