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Weller Soldering Station WT Series - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 9
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 8
The price to performance ratio was good: 7
TotalScore: 54 / 60
  • RoadTest: Weller Soldering Station WT Series
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Workshop Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: TENMA 80W Soldering Station 21-21310, Aoyue 866, and Weller WE1010
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Struggled to find manuals or documentation.

  • Detailed Review:

    Weller WT1 Soldering Kit

     

    A bit of history:

    I still remember my first time holding a solder iron, many years ago. It was when I was trying to fix a buzzing noise coming from my guitar. I bought a cheap kit, was not sure what I needed to do other than that I needed to join things together somehow. I ended up with a big blob of solder covering most of the back cover of the volume potentiometer. I later learned of the magical compound called FLUX!!!

     

    General background:

    My experience in electrical/electronics engineering started in PLC maintenance, I then moved to power supply design and focused on DC-DC choppers and inverters. Somehow the power rating I worked on designing, kept on getting lower until I took part in a project involving ultra low power design, found the IoT world very interesting and been in this field for a while.

     

    Soldering and PCBA background:

    I work with traditional electronics and with printed electronics, most soldering needs are for prototyping or rework.

    Usually the first revision of a new design will require some rework.

    Some of the problems I came across:

    - Faulty components (capacitors).

    - Components placed rotated when polarity matters.

    - Mistake in the design.

    - Worse fault I experienced was when the ground and power planes in a 4 layer PCB where misaligned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

    [Update] Specifications Comparison:

    This comparison is between the WT1 / WSP80 combination and the Aoyue 866 3 in 1 soldering station.

    The Aoyue 866 has extra features like the hot air gun and heated bed, but this comparison will only consider the soldering iron functionality. 

     

     

    WT1 / WSP80 combinationAoyue 866
    Dimensions (mm)150 x 138 x99192 x 11 x 325
    Weight (Kg)1.96.59
    Power output 95 for WT1 and 80 for WSP8060
    Channels11
    Temperature range (C)50-550 for WT1 and 50-450 for WSP80 100-480
    DisplayBacklit LCDBacklit LCD
    Heating technology Silver line heating element technologyQuartz Infrared
    Tip heating time (S) [measured]2245

     

     

     

     

    Unboxing:

    The unit arrived safely without any damage.

    Contents:

    - Weller WT1 soldering station

    - WSP 80 soldering iron 80W, with Silver-Line heating technology

    - WSR 201 Docking station

    - Tip: LTB

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The WSR 201 Docking station has a nice weight to it. The 2 in 1 design for both dry and wet tip cleaning is a very nice idea.

    My favourite feature is the shelf used for stacking spare barrels and tips. However, its height is not very practical, as the sponge needs to be removed for the barrel to sit in place.

    This can be solved by removing the WSP80 dock and rotating it to the sponge side.

     

     

     

    Exploded View of the WSP80

     

     

    Extra attachments:

    An extra barrel was very handy to have, instead of having to wait until it cools down to be able to replace the tip.

    I also got an adaptor to test tips made for other types of soldering irons, but could not find clear documentation on which series would fit. I will have to look into it, so I will leave that test for later.

     

    NumberDescriptionMPN
    1BARREL ASSEMBLY, WSP80/MPR80/FE7558744710
    2ADAPTOR, FOR LT SERIES IRON54441799

     

     

    Extra tips:

     

     

     

    NumberDescriptionMPNPhoto
    1LT GW TIP, SOLDERING IRON, GULL WING, 2.3MMLT GW
    2LT K TIP, SOLDERING IRON, CHISEL, LONG, 1.2MMLT K
    3LT 1 TIP, SOLDERING IRON, ROUND, 0.25MMLT 1
    4LTF TIP, SOLDERING IRON, ROUND, BENT, 1.2MMLT F
    5LT 4 TIP, SOLDERING, SLOPED, 1.2MMLT 4
    6LT 1S TIP, SOLDERING IRON, ROUND, 0.2MMLT 1S
    7LT 1SC TIP, SOLDERING IRON, CHISEL, 0.4MMLT 1SC

     

     

    Testing:

    I tried to test various types of soldering, tips, components and PCBs. First test results are shown in the photos below, and I thought I would create videos for the rest of the tests. I added some comments in the videos to clarify the process.

     

    First test RFID tags:

     

    The 2 photos below show my attempt to solder RFID transceivers on a flexible substrate, the one on the right was done using a solder paste and a reflow oven, whereas the one on the left was done manually. As you can see the substrate creased at around 200 C, I tried to keep to that threshold to be able to solder, but it was not that simple I ended up destroying many samples.

     

    To be fair I will not hold that against any soldering station, as conductive inks and most flexible substrates are not meant to be soldered manually, I tried it out of curiosity.

     

     

    Second test:

    Soldering an SMA connector

     

     

     

    Third test:

    SMD rework

     

     

    Fourth test:

    Drag soldering

     

     

    Fifth test:

    Desoldering

     

     

    Sixth test:

    Thermal test, settling time

     

     

    Conclusion:

    I have used other soldering stations before some were great, others kept breaking, the one I currently have in the office is an Aoyue 866 which is a great value for money.

     

    The Weller WT1 and WSP 80 give a great soldering experience, will definitely recommend it for professional use. It can be pricey for personal use, especially if the plan is to upgrade it and buy compatible soldering tweezers, and the heatgun desoldering station is almost double the price.

     

    I struggled to find a user manual to read about how to store settings and any other available options, but it was not very complicated to figure out.

     

     

    [Update 11/4/2020]

    I have been testing the extra tips in the table above for 3 weeks so far, the soldering process is very smooth and enjoyable so far. My favourite tip for rework and reflow for small footprints is the LT4. The size of the tip and angle are perfect to touch and melt solder on pads.

     

    The unit is meant to go to standby mode if not used after a certain amount of time (adjustable) since it has an acceleration sensor, it would have been also useful to get the unit to wake up once picked up, but it seems that a button needs to be pressed for that to happen. (Maybe it is a safety feature!).

     

    The lock mode can be very handy when working in a team when you need this unit to keep the same settings for repeatability.


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