In the world of soldering, best soldering irons and stations Everyone is vying for your attention and money. Soldering stations are large and bulky. If you have the desk space, it’s a strong workhorse to get the job done. But what if you need a soldering station but don’t have the space? Miniware’s newest soldering station, the TS1C, is a cordless smart soldering station that uses a supercapacitor inside the soldering iron. Supercapacitors are suitable for many solder joints, and OLED displays can be used to monitor power and temperature status. The soldering iron and station are connected using Bluetooth.
But is the $125 price justified, or is it best to buy a soldering station with hot air rework capabilities? I need to pull out a few more kits to solder.
Miniware TS1C Specifications
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|45W (20V * 2.25A) for USB C
|row 0 – cell 2
|soldering iron tip
|row 1 – cell 2
|128×64 pixel OLED
|row 2 – cell 2
|Up to 400°C / 750°F
|row 3 – cell 2
|Station: 44.5 x 122 x 73mm Iron: 23 x 133mm
|Row 4 – Cell 2
Miniware TS1C Look and Feel
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At first glance, this is a classy looking soldering station, and the unpacking experience is equally classy, though not really part of the review. Moving the OLED screen and controls to the station means that the iron itself has just one “boost” button. Soldering irons are mostly made of plastic and a little quality control could be done here.
The seam along the length of our review iron had some sharp plastic burrs from the mold. It’s not ugly, but it made the whole feel cheap. There are two brass-colored bands between the tip and the body. These bands are how the cordless soldering iron receives power from the station. Inside the soldering iron is a supercapacitor, which is charged when the soldering iron is placed on the station. But how should the temperature be set?
The soldering station portion of the unit gives you full control over your soldering iron. With the iron inside the station, you can set the operating temperature to 400 degrees Celsius (750 degrees Fahrenheit), preheat and sleep temperature. It takes him 7 minutes to charge the soldering iron, but testing found this time to be much less. , more on that later. The soldering station looks great.
The internal structure of the station is made of metal, but the perimeter is covered with plastic. I ran into a problem here. Many good soldering stations have a metal stand for the soldering iron. This means it can get a little “wild” when placing the trowel on the stand. The TS1C’s case is different, but the plastic case and his OLED screen are easily marked with a hot soldering iron. Let’s hear how you know! Instead of sliding the iron into the stand, you have to put the iron on the stand for a bit and push it down until it gets a firm grip. It’s the two brass-colored bands that require a secure fit. These mechanical connections are the only means of charging the soldering iron, but they also create friction. Friction allows you to remove the iron with one hand, but removing the iron requires care. The weight of the station is not enough to keep it stationary, so you have to remove it with two hands or carefully with one hand. That means your hand pulls the iron and pushes the station all at once.
So much for the problem, let’s take a look at the controls. Two buttons (A and B) provide direct access to soldering iron controls and station setup. A dial (probably a rotary encoder) allows you to smoothly control the iron’s temperature. Setup allows you to set the temperature step that will be performed when you rotate the dial. The default is 1 degree per ‘click’, but you can rotate up to 25 degrees per click. For accuracy, keep the value low, or make sure the desired soldering temperature is divisible by the steps you choose. For us, 350°C is a working temperature and is really divisible.
The soldering station also comes with a sponge for cleaning the soldering iron tip. This isn’t the most interesting thing about this kit, but it can be used in one of three positions, making it useful for both left and right handers. Maker.
Soldering with Miniware TS1C
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The TS1C’s soldering is excellent. Let’s get rid of the problems already mentioned and create something with the TS1C. I have never been a fan of the TS-B02 chip used in his TS80Pl. I felt a little weak. But with the TS1C, it’s a precise and robust chip. It’s capable of some fine soldering, and I tested it by soldering an RC2014 Classic II computer kit. Yes, we used this iron to build an entire Zilog 80 powered computer from scratch.
At the station, the soldering iron reached 250°C, and when I removed the soldering iron, it rose to the recommended operating temperature of 350°C. There were many solder joints, some small and some large. On a single charge, I was able to solder 80 fine joints before the iron was forced to recharge. Now comes the big part. The soldering iron and station can communicate with each other via Bluetooth.
Stations display live temperature and power status. If you push the soldering iron to its limit, it will beep and flash a warning message before the iron begins to cool. In our tests, he got 80 precision joints before recharging. The sales brochure states that you can solder 180 surface mount components (0805 size) on a single charge. I don’t have any surface mount components to test, but 80 through-hole components are enough to make sure they can be soldered. Larger joints and greater thermal mass will reduce this number and thus change mileage. Speaking of larger joints, if you need a little more heat, you can press the “boost” button on your soldering iron and the temperature will rise to 400°C, but it will drain the supercapacitor faster.
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I threw in a full Z80 computer kit, a sturdy joint from an old Velleman PIC programming kit, and a simple electronic dice kit, and the TS1C just wouldn’t budge. It galloped soldering everything we threw at it. Sure, you can solder 80-180 solder joints on a single charge, but most manufacturers solder a few joints, wipe the tip, and then put the iron back on the stand. , not a big problem.
What if I want to change the soldering temperature when the iron is not at the station? The Bluetooth connection is two-way, so you can turn the dial to adjust the temperature without changing irons. Note that lowering the temperature shortens the soldering time.
Miniware TS1C software
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The software for the TS1C requires two firmware files. One for the station and one for the soldering iron. “But where is the soldering iron’s USB port?” Hidden beneath his silver Miniware logo disc is a USB C port that can be used for firmware updates. I updated the firmware before starting my review, and it was a simple matter of plugging in the drive, copying the firmware, and ejecting the drive. Job done. The TS1C got a little smarter.
The software also allows you to put your own logo on the screen. Save a two-color 128 x 64 pixel bitmap (BMP) to the soldering station’s USB drive to complete your own branded soldering station.
Miniware TS1C solder-in tip
The TS1C is the same product as the TS100 and TS101, but uses a solder-on tip designed for the TS80P. What’s the difference? The former is more general and uses friction to provide the connection. The TS80P and TS1C use TRS (Tip, Ring Sleeve) commonly used for 3.5mm headphone jacks.
This connection is robust and easy to use, but limits the number of chips you can use. That said, I used two tips, the default conical tip TS-B02 and the chisel tip TS-K4, to perform all the tasks I set. that. To replace the soldering iron tip, simply pull out the soldering iron tip and replace it when the soldering iron is clearly cold. But I miss the ejection system used on the TS80P.
Conclusion: Who is the Miniware TS1C suitable for?
At $125, the TS1C is an expensive soldering station. The biggest attraction is that it is cordless. It’s really nice to not have to worry about cables dragging around your project or desk. But is $125 good enough? Well, it depends on how much you value freedom. For the same price you can get a full spec soldering and hot air rework station. It may not be smart, and it comes with a cable, but it gets the job done and more.
If you want a small soldering station that works with USB-C, the TS1C is a great soldering iron. He is good at handling and can finish the work in front of him in a short time. The premium price is an early adopter tax for supercapacitor technology.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great soldering iron, but $125 is a little hard to swallow, especially given Miniware’s previous history of smart soldering irons. If you want a smart soldering iron on the go, the Fnirsi HS-01, Pine64 Pinecil V2, and his TS101 from Miniware are all great alternatives with the same features as the TS1C.
My time with the TS1C was great, I liked the speed of work and the quality of the solder joints. I just wish the price was a little lower.