In a previous post I had taken a look at the innards of said soldering station.
Now it is time to see if it is usable.
I tested it in several ways…
It is pretty intuitive to use:
- Turn the air-speed knob up and air-speed increases (you might have guessed)
- Turn the air-speed knob down …
- Press the up/down buttons and the temperature set-point changes accordingly
- Place the wand into its holder and the device goes into cool-down and finally shuts off
- It blows hot air out of the various nozzles
- The nozzles use a twist-lock mechanism (works fine when cold)
- If the wand is not connected, it will display an error message after a few seconds
- Once it goes into shutdown mode, the display shows “—” and blinks
The quirks / potential issues:
- Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough,
but I couldn’t find a fuse. Yes, it is fused! All OK.
- Although the device notices a missing wand, there may still be line-voltage on the circular connector
Not all countries have polarized AC outlets, so you cannot rely on the fact that the power-switch cuts the hot wire. And once the switch is on, the hot wire may go directly to the potentially exposed connector.
- During normal operation the device only shows the temperature set-point!
Set it to 150°C and it instantly displays 150. The only indication that the temperature is not at the target value is a blinking dot (heater action).
- There is considerable temperature overshoot (depends on nozzle size, air-flow). expect 20-30°C!
- The temperature set value is not necessarily equal to the air temperature, but it tracks.
The thermo couple is at the exit of the heater housing, so it always measures a higher value. Air temperature will be lower. Note: I don’t have a low-mass thermo couple, so I measured air temperature with a somewhat heavier high-temperature probe. This most likely will have affected the results. I also noticed that the smallest nozzle chokes the air flow considerably, so the full heating power of the device is not available.
- The only time the measured temperature is shown is in cool-down mode!
After the wand is below 100°C, the device powers off. Unfortunately there is quite a lot of residual heat, so the thermo couple will heat up again. Unfortunately the device does not turn the fan back on!
Is it usable? By all means: YES!
Is it a hazard? Not so easy to answer! The apparently missing fuse may be an issue. Potentially exposed line-voltage on a connector is not a good thing either – make sure not to turn it on with the wand disconnected.
In case you dismantle the wand, NEVER EVER turn on the power. Without airflow the heater will heat up excessively. The thermo-couple may finally kick in, but you will see smoke before that.