Review of Weller 200W High Powered Digital Soldering Stations

Table of contents

RoadTest: Weller 200W High Powered Digital Soldering Stations

Author: mpopovics

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: My old TCP iron and WS81 station.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: The USB data logging and WX Monitor SW doesn't work for me, because of some reason. Contacted Weller about it. UPDATE: It works now! Weller distributor has contacted me about the problem and it is solved.

Detailed Review:

When we are talking about soldering, the first name to pop-up in our mind is Weller.


Weller stations are the industry standard tools, but also very popular among hobbyists.

I had few, of course, my first Weller TCP, later I bought a WS81 station.


With the new WX series of stations Weller designed a very energy-efficient soldering station. The WX2 design is robust, as usual, but the big display and the capacitive touch-pads are new.


After opening the WX2 station box, along with the station I found a power cable, grounding pin, operation manuals in different languages and a safety booklet.

The WXP120 iron's box contains the iron itself, the WDH 10 holder and the operating instruction. It is important to know, that last pages of the operation manual contains order numbers for all available tips for WXP 120 irons.


I don't want to copy here the user manual, just highlight the functions which are very useful in practice at home lab.

I have planned several tests with the stations in advance:

 

I. General

a. Usability of the new capacitive touch pads

The new capacitive touch pads are easy to use (and easy to clean after usage, as every fingerprint is very visible on the touchpads). The new menu system is efficient. When the station is turned on, the main screen appears, with fix temperatures. Set-point temperature is easy to adjust, just scroll around the touchpad and press enter.

 

b. Heat up time

Power-on time is around 6 sec (until the main screen displayed), heat-up time to 350 C is 18s (!).

 

c. temperature change time (up and down)

The thermal mass of the tips are very low, it heats up very-very quickly and cools down very quickly. Temperature change times:

from 350 C to 380 C is between 2-3 seconds

from 380 C to 310 C is around 15 seconds

from 310 C to 350 C is around 5 seconds (to heat up to 380 C, additional 3 seconds)

from 350 C to 420 C is around 9 seconds

 

d. intelligent tool recognition function

When switching the irons, the last used fix temperatures are stored in the iron. Upon connection to the station, the iron is heated up to its last stored temperature, of course, the other iron heats to its last used and set temperature.

 

e. parameter configuration and data logging via USB stick

Parameter configuration is easy, operation manual gives good advices there.

USB data logging vuia USB stick function doesn't work for me (or until now I was not able to discover), as there is nothing in the menu that showing ability to do this. 

I think, it is under development or even not developed yet. Anyway, I have asked Weller directly, how to do that. In many brochures it is written, that the USB port is: "Multi-Purpose USB Port Quick and localized software updates, parameter configuration and data logging via USB stick", but some papers says, it is only for firmware updates

UPDATE 14.02.2012:

USB data logging works now, see the WX Monitor section bellow

 

f. automatic energy saving mode

This is one of the most liked function by me. You can save a lot of energy at home by this function. (I guess it is not happening just with me, that when I turn on my iron, I found many times some different things to do, and start soldering just later, maybe 1-2 hours later only...)

First level:

The station, when the soldering tool is not in use, the temperature is reduced to the standby  temperature (can be set, default value is 150 C) after the set standby time has elapsed. Standby mode is indicated as a flashing actual value and displays "Standby" on the top.

Second level:

When the soldering tool is not in use, the soldering tool heater is switched off when the AUTO OFF time expires. Temperature deactivation is performed independently of the set standby function, it displays "OFF".

In parameters menu is possible to adjust both time, independently.

See the WX monitor section bellow for more information

 

g. temperature accuracy

Within 1 C.

Apart from manual, where it is written how to adjust and set temperatures (2 fix temperatures), there is a way to set temporary a third temperature on the iron. When adjusting a set-point temperature, the iron heat to that temp. If we do not store it by pressing and hold the fix-temp buttons, we can get a third temperature temporary. If we finished the soldering on the temporary temp, by selecting one of the fixed 2 temperatures simply change back to the normal set value. (eg. fix temps are 330 C and 380 C, and temporary we adjust 410 C by scrolling around the touchpad and pressing the enter)

 

h. temperature stability

As the irons are 120W , and the heater is very effective, the temperature stability was good. As the tip has relatively low thermal mass, the heater can work with high precision and accuracy, and with given power (see later for TH and SMD soldering part)

 

i. tool compatibility

On the WX stations only the following tools are functioning directly: WXP120, WXP200, WXMT Micro and WXMP Micro. As the connector is different in size and pinout, older irons cannot be used.

 

j. WX Monitor software

The WX Monitor software is coming on the CD with the station. I have installed it, and played around a bit. Unfortunately I can't connect the station to my PC, neither copy any data from station to PC, as written before, the USB logging doesn't work for me. But in the WX Monitor you are able to load datalogger file, and able to control the station remotely (or create settings and load via USB), in theory. Basically I couldn't use nay of the SW functions so far. I am in contact with Weller about it.

UPDATE 14.02.2012:

I got the information from Weller distributor about how to use the WX monitor SW offline (eg datalogging). Here is the instruction for use:

To enable the USB data logging function, please start the WX monitor software. Meantime attach an empty USB flash to the PC.

On main screen (Parameter), set the path to USB stick by selecting the drive (1) by pressing up/down arrows.

When the drive selected, press the "Create File" button (2) to create WX parameter file on USB flash disk. In advance you can select and adjust different parameters for the station. Do not remove yet the USB flash.

In next step go to "Datalogger" screen in the WX monitor. Set the measuring interval time for the datalogger function with up/down arrows. Then you can press the "Activate" button (4). After this step you can remove the USB flash disk from your PC and plug in into the WX station.

Data logging has started. On WX screen sometimes you see "writing to USB" message displayed.

When finishing the data logging, remove the USB flash disk from WX station and plug in into the PC. WX software shall be started, of course.

On "Parameter" screen ensure, the USB drive path selected correctly. On "Datalogger" screen press the load button (5) to see the temperature history for each channel.

Voila!

II. Through hole application

 

a. small and big solder joints

As the iron heats up very quickly, to solder big solder joints is not a challenge, the WXP120 just doing by easy.

 

b. heat keeping and heat transfer efficiency

With smaller joints there is almost no extra heat added, but with bigger joint heating turns on, and gives enough heat in extremely short time to solder. Basically 120W is enough, far enough for home lab use.

 

c. soldering and de-soldering test

Resistors and connectors were de-soldered. With resistor de-soldering the solder wick was full with solder within a second or two, thus easy to remove the component. With connector with the attached tip was good to remove solder with solder wick, I made 2 pins in parallel (just need to care to give enough fast the solder wick)

 

III. SMD application

a. down to 0805 components

b. fine pitch ICs

This two cannot be tested, as the tip on the WXP120 was XT B (2,4mm x 0,8mm) in size. I need to order smaller tips later on.

 

c. soldering and de-soldering test

De-soldering test was successful done, de-soldering D-Pak packages (it has relatively big heatsink). It has heated the whole package within few seconds

 

d. bare pcb surface tinning / cleaning

Very easy job by WXP 120.

When cleaning, depending on remaining solder amount on pads, solder wick shall be added with faster speed.

 

All in all, the new Weller WX station with WXP120 iron is a very efficient and robust tool for home use. As it is designed for professional applications, you can be sure at home it will last "forever".  Robust design, energy-efficient and ESD safe. It is easy to use and maintain, tip care is an important factor, but Weller is give a good and useful tips for it.


At the end, I would like to thank for the opportunity to make Roadtest to Element14 and Weller.

 

Best regards,

Milan

Anonymous
  • UPDATE 14.02.2012:

    Weller distributor has contacted me about the problem.
    I have got all the instructions to get the USB data logging function working!

    I have updated the review and attached also pictures

  • Not yet, but I would like to investigate and discover this.

  • Thanks for the review. Nicely done. Between yours and DAB's review I have to say that I believe you both paint a very nice picture of the product. The Energy saving modes, quick tip heat up, plus a variety of options make this seem like a very nice product.

     

    You mentiond the USB and data monitoring SW didn't work; has Weller helped resolve the issue?

  • Yes, it is possible to solder 0805 with that tip, but I prefer to use the right size of tip for the app.

    In case of 0805s, I do prefer 1,6x0,7mm (XT A) tip, which is much more better for that purpose (with my old station I have used LT A and LT AS). It is still good for 0603s. For 0402s I do prefer LT H (0,8x0,4mm)

    If we go more down with size, I have used the 0,6mm dia tip (LT 1S) for very fine pitch IC and fine pitch connectors repair, when only a  few contacts need to be soldered. But there is a point somewhere between, when hot air gun usage need to be considered (this I don't have at home).

  • Very useful information , but with the standard 2.4 tips it's possible to do 0805 , i have done exactly that all the time .

    I use two 936 clones and both uses the same tip ( They warm up in 22 secs to 350C ( not F but C ) )

  • Interesting review, useful infomation.

  • Great review.

    I found particularly interesting the energy saving mode. Just as you say when building a new prototype I often turn on the soldering station start to solder and find out I have to spend some time looking at the schematic/layough or fitting components/connectors in place so this feature is really great.

     

    And thanks for the soldering test, good to know it works just as good with big solder joints. BTW its easier to solder fine pitch ICs using drag soldering with a wide besel tip rather than with a fine pointy tip.

  • as the original content restored, I have removed it from here...