Review T12 Soldering Iron

  1. eSCHEn

    eSCHEn Bit Wrangler

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    Utterly utterly fed up with traditional soldering irons and the dire performance they give I decided to get myself a new iron. I have been through a plethora of the standard type where you have a tip either inside or on top of a heating element. I hate the lack of tip temperature from the heating element being miles away and usually none to very little temperature monitoring.
    WP_20191011_21_01_00_Pro.jpg I'm looking at you... :mad:

    I had a look about and the Hakka T12 based series look fantastic but I'm cheap and don't want to pay fantastic prices for it ;) Fortunately our friends on Banggood have a cloned version for only twenty quid. A nice neat little unit it is: 1-front.jpg 2-back.jpg

    As seen from the rear shot it requires 16 .. 24VDC up to 3A. What this means in practise is the lower the voltage and amperage you give it the slower it heats up. With this in mind I grabbed a 24V 3.75A laptop style power adaptor from here with a DC plug to suit: 3-power.jpg

    The "wand" assembly is very basic, little more than a non-conductive tube with the required bits inside. That being said the cable is a lovely flexible silicone type and very nice to use. The ubiquitous connector in a four-pin variant attaches the wand to the unit. Disassembly is very simple and the tips come in an assortment of ends to suit different jobs: 4-wand.jpg 5-wand-dissassembled.jpg 6-tips.jpg

    Inside of the wand is a reed switch which activates a configurable timer on the unit. The default is to turn off after five or seven seconds IIRC. Normally this would be a massive pain because the old units take so long to heat up but this is where the T12 is amazing in its performance. I've done a video but have no means of hosting it so you'll have to make to do with a screenshot. It took a couple of seconds to switch it on so you can subtract that from the time elapsed: 7-heatup-time.jpg

    So in about 13 seconds it is hot enough to melt non-Pb based solder with no issues. It also maintains that temp perfectly. You'll have to take my word for it as I cannot get a photo close enough :) 8-soldered.jpg

    Conclusion
    Really impressed and happy with the unit's performance. I've not used it as much as I would have liked to have before posting this (only six months or so) but it's been excellent every time I used it.

    Total price for setup with five tips and DC adaptor was about £45 all in. For that price I am very happy and would recommend to anyone.

    Links to Product Pages
    • Unit and Wand with "K" style tip - normal price is about £20
    • Spare tips - normal price is about £10
    • 24V adaptor no longer available from seller I used on eBay but you need 24V with at least 3A capacity to get fastest heating times. The DC input on my unit is 5.5mm x 2.1mm sized. Normal price is about £15.
     
    Hood, Rannsachair, skotl and 4 others like this.
  2. graffian

    graffian Seer unto the end of his beard

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    I have had a T12 iron, it's been hanging out of a desk draw for a few years I haven't found the
    roundtuit to make a unisolder station and probably never will.
    I may get the one you have. it looks pretty good.
     
    eSCHEn and Maker like this.
  3. Migmac

    Migmac Member

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    Kintyre. Scotland
    I keep promising myself a new soldering iron, you may have just prodded me into action
     
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  4. eSCHEn

    eSCHEn Bit Wrangler

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    I'm sweethearting the OH to use her camera and YouTube to upload a video of it in action as what really swayed me was how fast it was to heat up. Hopefully she'll be happy enough when I pick her up after her night out that she'll agree :D

    Hopefully be back soon with a video of it in action.
     
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  5. Hood

    Hood Forum Supporter

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    Just wave your wand at her, no not that one you clorty basket.
     
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  6. Hood

    Hood Forum Supporter

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    I could do with a new soldering Iron for the workshop. Had an excellent one, good make but the name escapes me. It heated up in about 5 seconds but now it is dead and a new iron for it is well over £100 I think.

    Might just grab one of these instead.
    I see them on ebay and not any more expensive and quicker delivery (if they stick to it :D )

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/1637614361...wm8wHr8lA3K31wfq-s3S9owb0Rh48YhIaAnp2EALw_wcB
     
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  7. eSCHEn

    eSCHEn Bit Wrangler

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    A video of the unit heating up from cold, the rattle you hear as the wand is tapped is the reed switch inside that triggers movement. Solder is tin/silver/copper mix so not the easy lead stuff, that is even quicker :laughing:
     
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  8. Hood

    Hood Forum Supporter

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    8,967
    Location:
    Carnoustie, Scotland
    Mine arrived today, found a 19v power supply and hooked it up and works great, very quick as you say.
    The tip that came with it is a kind of knife edge one so I will now have to go and buy some others, not looked yet to see if they are available on ebay or not.

    I am going to try it out on 12v and see how it goes as it would make it very handy for working on boats and as a lot of the ones I work on have outboards then they are just 12v electrics.
     
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  9. eSCHEn

    eSCHEn Bit Wrangler

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    Really pleased to hear you're getting on well with it Hood :thumbup:

    You can actually adjust the voltage at which you warn the user inside of the settings on the rotary encoder (push to select). I read about it and all it means (IMHO) is if you aren't running 24V capable of 3A then you won't get the fastest heat up times. As to what that constitutes in the real world I don't know ;)

    Yes, I think they did a few too many batches of the T12-K (knife) tips as that's what seems to come with them. Agree they look kinda useless except for maybe doing the legs of a chip. That's why I posted the link to the spare tips as well - you get three different shapes. And another K tip of course :rolleyes:
     
  10. Hood

    Hood Forum Supporter

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    8,967
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    Yes, hooked it up to the 12v supply and it was taking an age to heat and not really getting past 170.
    I noticed the display was saying the PSU was 11.9v and I had seen the battery save mode was at 12v when I was in the menu earlier. I went into the menu and changed it to 11.5v and it heated right up to the 300 I had set. It seemed almost as quick but as it had been switched on previously it may have been because it still had heat in it.
    I will let it cool right down and try again but even if it takes 30 or 40 seconds to heat that is no big deal.
     
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  11. Hood

    Hood Forum Supporter

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    Ok just tried, 40 seconds from stone cold to 300 degrees with a 12v supply, nothing to moan about with that :)
     
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  12. Hood

    Hood Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    8,967
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    I put it back onto the 19v supply which is actually showing as 17.9v and it heated to 300 degrees in 17 seconds.
    What really impressed me is once at temp I held the iron onto a big plate of aluminium and the temp hardly varied. I thought maybe it was just the display was lying a bit to me but after 30 seconds on the aluminium I raised it and right onto some solder and the solder instantly melted. :)
     
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  13. eSCHEn

    eSCHEn Bit Wrangler

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    This is what made me really like it. Not only does it heat up fast it has enough guts (PSU dependent) to keep it there. The built-in temperature sensor in each tip is the icing on the cake :)
     
    Hood likes this.
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