|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|
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!!!
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 combination||Aoyue 866|
|Dimensions (mm)||150 x 138 x99||192 x 11 x 325|
|Power output||95 for WT1 and 80 for WSP80||60|
|Temperature range (C)||50-550 for WT1 and 50-450 for WSP80||100-480|
|Display||Backlit LCD||Backlit LCD|
|Heating technology||Silver line heating element technology||Quartz Infrared|
|Tip heating time (S) [measured]||22||45|
The unit arrived safely without any damage.
- 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
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.
|1||BARREL ASSEMBLY, WSP80/MPR80/FE75||58744710|
|2||ADAPTOR, FOR LT SERIES IRON||54441799|
|1||LT GW TIP, SOLDERING IRON, GULL WING, 2.3MM||LT GW|
|2||LT K TIP, SOLDERING IRON, CHISEL, LONG, 1.2MM||LT K|
|3||LT 1 TIP, SOLDERING IRON, ROUND, 0.25MM||LT 1|
|4||LTF TIP, SOLDERING IRON, ROUND, BENT, 1.2MM||LT F|
|5||LT 4 TIP, SOLDERING, SLOPED, 1.2MM||LT 4|
|6||LT 1S TIP, SOLDERING IRON, ROUND, 0.2MM||LT 1S|
|7||LT 1SC TIP, SOLDERING IRON, CHISEL, 0.4MM||LT 1SC|
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.
Soldering an SMA connector
Thermal test, settling time
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.
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.
Weller WTA Soldering Tweezers
I had a batch of the circuit board shown above made, it is part of a battery pack that holds some safety components (fuses and diodes). The problem was that the wrong fuse was fitted, which meant that I'll have to replace 10 fuses on each board. When I did this roadtest last year I remember seeing that there was a compatible desoldering tweezers in the accessories portfolio, so when this issue came up now I thought it'll be a great time to order the tweezers and make use of them. I made a small video below:
Overall was really easy to use, and they worked even better when the tips have got a bit of solder on them. The rework process was very smooth.
A bit pricey, but will definately be worth it if there is a lot of rework to be done. Can be bought as a standalone or as a bundle with the stand.