A closer look at my cheap soldering station (and some upgrades)


that’s always a good way to start a
video isn’t it this here is torque brewings roundabout
English dark mild ale this is a video I’ve been meaning to make since early
2018 and it’s about this cheap soldering station over here which so many of you
have complained about but enough of you as a matter of fact that one of you
decided to step up and actually donate a higher-end
iron this year t12 which once I get some more tips for it I’m gonna spend a
little bit more time on it but for right now it’s the Baku that I’m gonna
look into you know open up the box which like I said I should have done years ago
but whatever that’s what’s happening today so what else can I say about it
it’s worked for me for a couple years it hasn’t failed on me it hasn’t
electrocuted me it hasn’t bone up or done anything unpredictable it’s been a
reasonable thing especially for the cheap price when it comes to the tools
and actually most things related to to hobby stuff I tend to lean towards some
advice that I heard Adam Savage give one time I mean I I have been doing this
since long before I knew who he was but it sort of confirms my suspicions that
if you don’t have a tool need a tool for a job therefore for a task especially
something non-critical a hobby just ask buy the cheapest viable tool you can if
you use it a lot then buy a good one once the first one breaks but start with
a cheap one because you don’t know necessarily how much you’re gonna be
using it that that’s how I approach most of my my hobby stuff I mean most of
those tools back there we’re all bought super cheap
and actually I don’t think there’s anything in that selection back there
that I’ve had to buy twice because I don’t use them professionally I don’t
use them heavy-duty they get the job done and when I was looking for a hobby
soldering station to upgrade from a bunch of non temperature controlled
irons that I’ve had forever some of which I bought at RadioShack in Canada
back when they existed back when I was a teenager some have had from various
other places that’s probably the best of them and again that’s just a 35 watt
plug in the wall iron it just runs out whatever temperature it runs at and it
did it does the job but tips because they have the whaler brand on them
aren’t really expensive so I went looking for something else I found this
guy and it’s been serving me well for a couple of years and it still works fine
it hasn’t given me any trouble at all so when I bought this thing back in
early 2018 it cost me 75 bucks now it’s about $80
which still puts it cheapest in class for something like that yeah it’s it’s
not the best it’s not professional-grade it’s certainly not Weller it’s not
Haeckel even though it’s sort of slightly pretending to be kinda sorta
and it does use the same replacement parts as hako the same tips this the
same form factor of iron handle and voltage and even the plug so at least
that stuff was easy to get hold of even you know that’s sleeve there and I
bought it from a Canadian seller so I figured I was slightly less risk of
sending you know 75 bucks away than if I was sending it to some sweatshop in
China I don’t know maybe that’s just me but anyway the specs of the things such
as they are hundred ten volts power North American that’s fine total
consumption 750 watts the iron temperature 200 480 see the
heat gun hundred to 500 and I’ve used this quite a lot for heat shrink set
down to about 150 or so just so I don’t burn my hand and I’ve also used it for
both solder desoldering INRI flowing surface mount and it works just
perfectly well for that so the first thing that a lot of people ask me about
when I first got this thing is to open it up and make sure that it’s that it’s
grounded it won’t be so that’s that question answered the only minor
annoyance a head with this thing the there’s a little magnet in here and
there’s a magnetic sensor in here so that when you hang it up on on its stand
it goes into cooldown mode until the temperature drops down to you know
two-digit number and then it shuts off but it wasn’t quite doing it so I had to
put this elastic band on here just to position it exactly right so maybe hole
I’m in then I’ll try and reposition that but that’s that’s the literally the only
problem this thing’s given me it does have a fuse it says in the back here
push eight amps if you recall on the website it said this is good for a 750
watts do the math 750 watts and a hundred and
ten 220 volts that’s close ish to eight amps okay I’ve seen what’s under the
cover we have a transformer 110 volt 50 60
Hertz input 226 volts 10 volts and 32 volts on the three different tabs so one
of these pairs of windings will be 26 volts what are we 10 volts when we 32
volts it looks like they all go up to the front here ah so there is some
grounding to the case here there is a wire that goes to the front that’s gone
out of the case and there’s a wire that goes into this handle that’s grounded to
the case but of course the case itself isn’t grounded I probably should replace
that cord at some point here it looks like everything is mounted to the front
panel by the nuts on these guys so okay there is the board so these two are pots
both 10ks this one is a rotary encoder for the for
the power setting there so there’s basically the two sections of it this
side is the heat gun and this side is the soldering iron through these two
controls of the heat gun so there’s kind of divide there at a couple of three
different to-220 power devices on heat sinks and another one just sitting and
that’s so needle v it’s marked it there which is a regulator I can’t see
markings for the other ones bt 136 or 8t 136 okay it’s a triac this one’s a – 600
so it is four amps 500 volt okay that’s reasonable enough and
unfortunately I can’t get at the other ones
this connectors gooped in place so I can’t pull it off to see what’s back
there though that is a nice touch that they’ve
they’ve adhered some of these connectors especially well that’s the connectors
for the AC means and one of the three winding sewing from the transistor
transformer okay and then the connector for the iron those wires come up over
here and ah I don’t really want to take off all these good dome connectors that
is nice of them to do that that way it’s a pain in the ass for servicing but it
means they’re not going to vibrate loose which is a good thing trying to get a
look at some of these other components but they’ve also got what is that them
three five eight that’s an op-amp could be being used for
measuring that the thermistor or it could be being used as a comparator
kinda hard to tell is a bridge rectifier down there or with it which makes sense
with these capacitors and the 1705 and these blue and yellow wires are coming
from the transformer so that’s creating a five volt power supply for this guy
which is SN 8 P 2 7 a 1 4 K B so this is as close as I could get to that one this
matches it does say Sonic’s on the chip and SN 27 is to start all of these are
8-bit microcontrollers with various different features a DC’s and op amp
comparators and stuff like that built into them here’s just one of them a
randomly but they all seem to be very similar inside so it’s you know it’s
just doing microprocessor kind of things it’s measuring the analog inputs and
it’s controlling outputs including I assume driving that LC error that led
for the temperature measuring the temperatures yeah normal microcontroller
stuff nothing nothing surprising but nothing
that we can easily dive down deeper into the
the software and I’m not going there so before I button this thing back up
completely I’m gonna replace the power cord with a proper grounded power cord
and ground it to there so this shouldn’t be that difficult really bit of shrink
tube and solder that together soldered onto there and put a crimp ring on to
there and screw it down and just use a random IEC cable which I have an almost
infinite number of kicking around here yes I know it’s probably not the right
crimper but it’s what I have so I am going to have to use the new and
improved soldering iron to fix the old one yeah some kind of justice there
thanks again for sending me this there’s the neutral soldered together so I had a
bit of heat shrink over it just like it was before just quickly give that a
shrink that’s not the most effective way of doing it using the heat gun would be
the most effective way of doing it but that’s not possible
right this second there’s the next most effective way of doing it that we have
done it for years back stages and other random places okay now that I’m gonna
slide two pieces of shrink over this one a small one will cover the wire itself
and a slightly larger one that’ll go up over that terminal there and that’s in
there but it doesn’t have enough solder on it I would like to get a good solid
blob on there that ought to hold it now then how am I gonna heat shrink that on
these two ground wires on there this is awkward
8f to get in here put that nut back on that I didn’t really need to take off me
there’s those two and pull the skate a little bit and there’s my four terminal
no it’s not ideal no it’s not not even proper but it’s better than what was
there before which was no ground at all I’ll just spin this guy down okay
so that goes on like that and squeezes down to go in through the hole you’ve
seen these things right it just pushes the wire down in kind of a bend that
shape down into the bottom so that it’s straining leaf it’s they said it does
the job it’s kind of an awkward connector to put on their awkward stream
new leaf you need to sort of squeeze it down while pushing it through the hole yeah no that’s sort of work with the
help of the plungers players I am going to do something ill-advised I’m going to
plug this guy in no sparks good I’m going to turn this on it’s gonna heat up
to 250 some and then I’m gonna use it to shrink its own heat shrink keeping a safe distance I’m a couple of
centimetres away because that is the live wire this one’s the neutral here a
little bit more and there that ought to hold it okay so I’ve got it all back
together again and test it in all works the only thing
left is to figure out this little sensor in here and as you saw before there’s a
little magnet in the vs and if I take mine and you did me a magnet I should be
able to trigger a sensor right in here it’s right on the side there and that
shuts off the heating element and kicks it into high wind and you can see the
temperature dropping here now the same thing should happen when I put it into
here and it does except for not when it’s holding on its own so that’s my
cheap solution there but obviously that’s not a very elegant solution it’s
been serving me well for two years but you know should do something about it
let’s get this guy open it’s a couple Phillips screws there and I think you
have that unscrew from there so it barrels and it’s still a hundred Celsius
so it’s probably shouldn’t be touching it directly right now but I’ll let it
cool down then I’ll take it apart okay now then this thing should just
clamshell apart so there’s a little squirrely Keith’s blower
oh there you can see there’s a little circuit board it’s just that terminating
board oh there’s the meg switch there okay see if I can drag this out of here
it is a little reed switch okay can you see that in there so it’s literally two
little Reed’s that when a magnet comes close to them
they move in the contact no that’s really hard to see but I think
if I just rotate it in its housing a little bit it might be more effective or
maybe a bit less effective I don’t know or maybe I’m just going to have to live
with this or maybe you have to put it more powerful magnet in there we go
throw that back on I still have a screw tail in but that’s okay for this
experiment this look needs to be sitting a little bit higher huh
let’s see if there’s anything that can be learned underneath here maybe I can
move that Megan or maybe even put a stronger one in there so did have a few
magnets kicking around here so there’s a magnet on this side and there’s a magnet
on this side so I guess that means put that in that way up or that way up and
it doesn’t matter okay let’s see if we can dig that out and you see what that
magnet looks like okay so if there is the magnet just drop down into there so
I wonder if these guys will drop down into their tube hmm that’s a little bit
bigger magnet no it doesn’t look like it wants to what else have I got
just when I thought the battle had been lost there it goes we put it the other way there it is actually holding so what I
did let me just just cool this thing down for a second I’ll show you what I
did so what I did was when they’re shoving that magnet back in there
there’s pried it down so that was behind this pillar and that was enough to move
it just like the width of that screwdriver which is all really needed
and now it works so I’m just gonna do the other one in a hot-melt that back in
there again and we’ll be done okay we’re all back
together now there I turn that on it should just sit there and not do
anything yeah so I pick it up in the way it goes that’s what’s supposed to happen
and it works both ways up perfect hey no more need for that elastic band that’s
excellent and that still works that’s great just let that wind down all right
so this guy is now a hundred percent and as I said a beginning this hasn’t let me
down it’s had a couple of minor annoyances but it hasn’t let me down
since I got it yeah it’s the cheapest available that’s
the way I normally roll but I am going to be using this t12 a lot more in the
future especially or especially once I get some smaller tips for it and I may
modify this holder because it’s for the aluminum handle not the plastic one or I
may just order the aluminum handle I haven’t decided yet anyway it it holds
it well enough and I do like this feature having that that scrubber holder
plus the sponge well I hope I hope that was slightly interesting for you guys I
this is like I said this is something I’ve been meaning to do since I got this
thing just never got around to it so now I was
getting around to it thanks for watching comments questions you know the drill
doctor eater

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