Soldering Comparison (Metcal)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by LutherBaker, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. LutherBaker

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 24, 2012
    I know the Metcal 5000 series has more power than the 500 ... but wondering how important that would be if I'm an electronics newbie and I generally want to work with circuit boards ... want to build mixers, equalizers, compressors ... or synths ...

    I really dig nice tools and it seems like most Metcal user's swear by their stations so that is part of why I'd like to get one. I also saw a video of someone calibrating a decent Pace soldering station and realized the calibration piece was > $400 ... so while the Metcal is more expensive, it would be cheaper than purchasing something like the Pace ST50 and a calibration unit. Maybe I really don't need a calibration unit and can live with the factory settings --- but not sure how to ever test the iron then.

    Is the 5000 for "bigger" stuff? The 500 series was really popular ... were people disappointed they couldn't do certain things very well?

    Also, the pens are slightly different, anyone here have a 5000 and find they like the 500 better?

    Metcal has literature on the 500S series ... but most ebay auctions are for the 500P ... should I care? Is there a difference?

    Any suggestions as to what to look for and why I wouldn't be served well with used, older a 500P? When would I need something bigger?

    Oh, and finally, how DOES one control the temperature with the Metcal units? Do you leave it on there longer? Isn't that bad for the components?

    Sorry for the barrage, I'm just sort of excited about one of these guys and don't want to get something only to realize I should have purchased something else.

    Many Thanks,
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    both are overkill for a "newbie" and you have no need for calibration either.. At this point a $5 pencil iron can get you started but I would go a little better obviously.

    I think that for a "good quality" brand (not Chinese knock-off crap) the Hakko FX-888 (like $80-$90 new) is an excellent starter iron that can solder virtually anything you want..

    I would consider myself a master of soldering and am IPC certified and can solder with anything with a $5 pencil iron to a $500+ setup and the quality is identical.. Its all about the user and their "skills" really IMO..

    An expensive soldering station does NOT make you an excellent solderer..Only practice/time will.
    KJ6EAD likes this.