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Electronics Metcal Solder Station - Any Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by dlt123, 28 May 2006.

  1. dlt123

    dlt123 New Member

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    Hi all, it's time for me to update from my $10 soldering iron to a better unit. I am thinking of getting a (used) Metcal Solder station, but I'm not sure which one so... If I may, I am asking for anyones opinion(s) on the Metcal Soldering Station(s)?

    I've been searching threads here and have not been able to find answers to a couple of questions I have about the Metcal Solder stations.

    The MX500 is out of my price range so that leaves me with either the SP200, STSS-001, STSS-002.

    Does anyone know what the differences are between these units other than price? Does the 001, 002 have the "Smart Heat" abilities?

    I've noticed a lot of SP200 power supplies for sale on eBay so this makes me wonder it there are problems with the SP200 Metcal unit. Does the number of SP200 power supplies offered for sale on eBay reflect popularity rather then model problems or is this a model plagued with problems that I should stay away from?

    Does anyone have insights into any of the 001, 002, SP200 models or possibly own one of these and can give me feedback?

    Also, I'm not sure if I will need the User Manuals for any of these units, but is there some place that I can get the user manuals if I need them?


    Thanks in advance and Any help is appreciated.
    Regards,
    DennisT
     
  2. dlt123

    dlt123 New Member

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    Doesn't anyone here have experience or opinions of the Metcal? ... and since, I'm at it, after some research, I've discovered that STSS-001 and STSS-002 are older models.

    Does anyone have experience with either of these older units? Any idea what the averagae life expectancy in hours used for the older units before they are ready for the bone yard?

    I would sure like to hear from others what their experiences have been with this Solder Station.

    Regards,
    DennisT
     
  3. agent420

    agent420 New Member

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    Sorry, no experience with Metcal, probably out of the price range for most hobbiests unless you find a good deal on ebay,. etc.

    I took a peak on ebay as well and also wonder why there are multiple listsings for the sp200 power supply. But I get the general impression that Metcal is top shelf stuff.

    Out of curiosity, is there a specific reason you're hooked on the Metcal brand? There are several other good stations available that would be a big jump from a $10 unit like the XYtronic 379. Don't let the low price intimidate you, XYtronic manufactures a range of high end industrial products. I've used an XYtronic 168 for years without issue. In fact, I've not even had to replace the tip! (and it gets a good bit of use - nice plating)
     
    Last edited: 31 May 2006
  4. Starman97

    Starman97 New Member

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    The Metcal is the only RF iron that I know of.
    It pipes a 27MHz signal down to the tip where it gets converted to heat.
    This makes it very fast reacting to load, like when you have to solder
    something with a big copper back like a transistor. The tip stays at the
    optimum temperature for soldering no matter if you are soldering tiny chip
    resistors or big power transistors. It's also very light, there are no big heating
    elements or heavy wires in the handset. You can also change tips in seconds,
    they cool quickly and heat up in seconds, you just pull out the tip from the handset and plug another in, no unscrewing of anything.
    I liked using the forked tips that could touch both sides of a chip resistor or cap.
    I used to use one at work, best soldering iron I ever used. I think it was a MX200.
     
  5. dlt123

    dlt123 New Member

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    Well, I bit the bullet today and bid on a MX500 Metcal on eBay and won. I got a great deal on a used unit in excellent condition. It's time to dump my old ratshack soldering iron. It did crappy soldering and I can't wait to use my new Metcal.

    I appreciate all who responded to my thread. After using my Metcal for awhile, I'll post my impressions here. For the record and those who are thinking of looking into a Metcal, I paid $140 plus shipping for the unit with cartridge. It didn't come with a stand, but I will get a used stand later or use my existing one for awhile.

    Thanks all,
    DennisT
     
  6. agent420

    agent420 New Member

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    That rf heating method sounds like it's the real cold heat technology :) I'd be interested to hear your impressions.
     
  7. Stonewall78

    Stonewall78 New Member

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    In my years of experiance nothing beats the use of a Metcal iron. The tips maybe a bit expensive but if you consider that you will never have to replace a heating element and you will always have a consistant temp you will find it is well worth it. Another thing you will like is that you can hold the iron much closer to your soldering point them you would on any other iron, I always found that I had finer control that way. One of these days I will have to pic one up on ebay for myself.
    Edit: you maybe seeing lots of those stations on ebay as they are used at most places that are under the ISO standards due to the constant temp of the iron and many places close down or replace them.
     
  8. dlt123

    dlt123 New Member

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    I've seen a lot of units going for very reasonable prices on eBay. I just camped on eBay and bid till I won one at the price I wanted to pay. Took some time, but it was worth it since I did get a unit in excellent condition at a great price.

    Good luck to those who decide to go this direction.
    DennisT
     
  9. Stonewall78

    Stonewall78 New Member

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    I did look a while back just never got around to buying one. I still have a half dozen tips or so sitting around from when a old job closed so maybe it is time to buy a iron to go with them :)
     

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