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Thread: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

  1. #1
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    Default A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    I want to extend a thank you to the various CPFers who, by their postings a year ago, called to my attention the existance of Metcal soldering equipment. Over the past few months I have purchased a wide assortment of Metcal accessories on Ebay. Boy are there some good buys on Metcal stuff! I guess we are still seeing the after affects of the Dot-Com bust. I can still remember decades ago when I upgraded for a "dumb" soldering iron to one with adjustable closed loop temperature control. I remember thinking at that time "how did I ever get along without this?". Well I find that my recent upgrade to Metcal is just as big an improvement in soldering capability.

  2. #2

    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    ...I can barely see to type through the tears...at long last, this validates all those years of enthusing over the Metcal in CPF posts. ( And a tip of the hat to Hmmwv /Hummer for turning me on to them! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] )
    Now here's an iron that heats up faster than that unwieldly Weller gun, is much more manueverable due to your hand being close to the short pencil tip, and able to solder bigger, and smaller, jobs with a quick change of the tip. Keep the tip tinned and shiny all the time, especially when you put it away for a while, and it will last forever. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] enjoy. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    So whats the lowdown on this metcal stuff? I have a decent Weller station but I'm always looking for quality tools...

    Mark

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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Originally posted by Minjin:
    So whats the lowdown on this metcal stuff? I have a decent Weller station but I'm always looking for quality tools...

    Mark
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Be prepared for a little cost nosebleed. Bigger bucks than your Weller.
    Don't have one yet, but have heard impressive things about it. Supposed to be great for extremely small or really delicate work-like SMDs.

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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Here is a link to their PDF (Acrobat) file which is their soldering catalog:

    Metcal Soldering Stations

    The file size is approx 850k so be forewarned if you have a slow connection.

    Ed.

  6. #6

    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    vcal, not only small and delicate jobs..switch the tip and in a second you can solder that 50 amp battery clamp to the 6 gauge cable..
    .. it heats up in about 6 or 7 seconds and maintains tip temperature within a degree or 2, even on the big jobs -- I recommend getting at least 3 tips, the normal that comes with, and a conical pointy lower temp for the smaller jobs, and the hottest chisel tip they have (I'll insert the designation for this tip later when I find it--...found it: it's a "717A" )... tips are about $20 each, but, worth it. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7
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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    So which one is the one to buy? Looks like is more than one model...

    Mark

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Originally posted by Minjin:
    So which one is the one to buy? Looks like is more than one model...

    Mark
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Mark, I am answering this question on the assumption that, like me, there is no way you could afford to buy new and therefore are looking at the used market [Ebay]. Current Metcal systems can be grouped into the SP200 series and the MX500 series. Think of these as consumer grade and professional grade, respectively. The tips and handpieces are not interchangeable between the two series. There are a much wider assortment of tips and accessories available for the MX500 series and more importantly they are more abundant on Ebay. Earlier Metcal power units [there may be others], the RFG-30 and the PS2E-01 both can be used with all of the tips and accessories for the current MX500 series power units. The RFG-30 and PS2E-01 power units and complete systems using them are quite reasonable on Ebay. Buying used, the additional features of the MX500 power units is not worth the added cost.
    The difference between the RFG-30 and PS2E-01 is that the later has auto-shutoff after 30 minutes idle time. The difference between the PS2E-01 and MX500 is that the later has two output ports so that you can have two handpieces plugged in at once [but can only use one at a time, a switch selects which one is powered]. I've been told that the maximum power output capabilities of the PS2E-01 and MX500 are greater than that of the RFG-30. I personally have an RFG-30 and have never found it lacking for adequate power. TED suggested a minimum of 3 tips. All I can say about that is that he must have better self control than me. Blame it on Ebay...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Here's an MX500 for bid right now, for example:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=1788409885

    I don't want to take anything away from the obviously excellent Metcal systems. But we also know that not everybody can afford the golden standard. For those interested in something a bit cheaper - more of a "starter excellent station" - I can recommend the HAKKO 936. It was recommended to me by a trusted friend, and I've used mine for a couple of days now and just love it. This is more in the $80 (new) price range (vs many hundreds for the Metcal). This was my upgrade from an $8 Radio Shack unit, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

    I never knew how important tip temperature recovery was until I began using a "real" soldering station. I'm *almost* glad that I didn't read this thread before making my Hakko purchase. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    I use the SP200 model -- that one doesn't have the dual soldering iron ports like the MX in darell's pic does...

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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    BTW, there is a complete PS2E-01 based system including a couple of tips [just put] up on ebay with a $100 "buy it now" option. This is about as cheap as you are likely to see a complete system sell for.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=1789924055

  12. #12

    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    that seems wierd, why would someone offer the metcal solder system so cheaply and then sell it to the first and only bidder 4 hours later?

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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Originally posted by Ted the Led:
    that seems wierd, why would someone offer the metcal solder system so cheaply and then sell it to the first and only bidder 4 hours later?
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">That is how the "Buy It Now" option works it the Seller chooses to use this option.

  14. #14

    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    oh, I didn't see that "buyer used buy it now option" -- wonder what the final price was...

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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Originally posted by Ted the Led:
    oh, I didn't see that "buyer used buy it now option" -- wonder what the final price was...
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">$100, that was the offered "buy it now" price.

  16. #16

    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Originally posted by Doug S:
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by Ted the Led:
    oh, I didn't see that "buyer used buy it now option" -- wonder what the final price was...
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">$100, that was the offered "buy it now" price.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">gee then if that was the price the guy got it really inexpensively..I see on ebay usually the 'buy it now price' is higher than the 'opening suggested bid' price, which is often even lower than the 'reserve', which means it's not even available at the opening bid price (posted by the seller)..the low 'opening bid' price is posted just to get people interested and bidding..

  17. #17
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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Since with the buzz about the ARC Grey Kits, a number of people may be experiencing the joys of SMT work for the first time, I thought that I would bump this up. Be warned: if your flashoholicism is a manifestation of your obsessive-compulsive tendencies, you may find you have a similar problem with regard to wanting "just one more" style of soldering tip.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    As to Metcal - We do a lot of fine SMD soldering (Mainly reworking boards from the manufacturing line in the process of development) at work, and most people are using Metcal units. The SP200 is great.

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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    In addition to what you have and the STTC-x37 you are considering, a finer chisel such as the STTC-x25 [0.040"] is nice. I find that I use a 0.060" bent tip chisel quite a bit, STTC-x99. If you find yourself cleaning pads after removing multi-lead ICs quite a bit, an SMTC-x60 is useful. If you do a lot of drag soldering of fine pitch ICs, a hoof-tip like the SMTC-x147 is nice but you can make a chisel tip serve this purpose instead. It seems like the majority of the tips you see on Ebay are the 700F tips [x=1]. When I can find them, I prefer to get the 600F tips [x=0] as the lower temp is easier on components. Those SMT ceramic caps seem to be especially sensitive to excess temperatures.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Doug, as long as you bumped this thread back up, I'll take the opportunity to ask a question. I just bought a PSE2-01 a month ago for $110 with 6 tips but no chisel tips. They're either rework tips or are bent fine points. I'm looking to get a STTC-137 soon but wouldn't mind hearing from others what they like.

    What are people's favorite tips for the kind of work that it takes to mod lights? And if you can be specific with the Metcal model #, that would be helpful. Thanks.

    StreamChucker

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    Default Re: A belated Thank You: Metcal soldering equipment

    Doug, how well would the 500 series work? There is a STTC-x25 on ebay right now.

    StreamChucker

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