Product Reviews Archives

Latex Gloves – Are You Allergic?


Many industrial manufacturing environments require workers to wear protective gloves, including during electronics and medical device production and assembly. Latex gloves not only protect workers from harmful chemicals but also protect products from worker contact and contamination during manufacturing Read more

ST 925 SMT Rework System–Three favorites combined into one nice savings


Save a few steps--and some money--with the Pace 925 SMT Rework System Pace has introduced a new low-cost “combination” system ideal for surface mount technology (SMT) rework. It’s worth adding up the savings by comparing the a la carte prices Read more

Metcal’s CV-5200 Connection Validation Soldering Station Changes Everything


You may or may not have heard about Metcal’s new soldering station, the CV-5200. The evolutionary tool removes much of the reliance on visual inspection of hand-soldered joints and adds a second, more technology-driven method for validating a successful Read more

For Your Electronics Reading Pleasure

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

For me, reading about something I’m interested in is half the fun of actually participating in that activity. I’m sure I can’t be the only one so I’ve compiled a short list of reading material to keep you busy, interested and informed.

My absolute favorite way to get an idea of what people are saying about a product or service is through forums. There are usually tons of posts to read and the reviews are real.

My favorite electronics forum is Dutch Force Electronics Forum. Members of this forum have made over 138,000 posts so the reading material is plentiful plus there must be a lot of fans because there are always recent posts. Individual forum topics vary from General to Printed Circuit Board Design to Home Made Gadgets.

Toolmonger is another cool place to hang out. Toolmonger claims to be the web’s first tool blog. With that said, I should probably tell you that all the posts aren’t electronics related, but they’re still interesting. Plus, you can browse the posts by tool type, subject and manufacturer. There’s also a useful section called “TV Tonight” that gives you the TV schedule for shows such as Myth Busters, Modern Marvels, Cool Tools and many others.

Another useful resource is All About Circuits. This site has free online textbooks on electricity and electronics. Examples of textbooks on the site include Digital, Reference, Semiconductor plus three others. The books are fairly in-depth and the site says the books are a continuous project so new material may be added from time to time. All About Circuits also has a forum.


What ESD Bags Should I Buy?

Posted on by Andy in ESD News, Product Reviews, Technical Articles Leave a comment

Anti-Static BagsThe options are almost endless when it comes to ESD bags on the market. Some of the more popular bags are anti-static bags, static shielding bags and moisture barrier bags. Many of the bags come in different variations and size; which bag you choose depends on your need.

Anti-Static bags are almost exactly like

poly bags.These bags are made with an additive in the material so the anti-static properties of the bag will never wear off. While anti-static bags will not protect what is inside the bag from an electronic charge, they will not build up a charge either.Because of this, an anti-static bag is generally used in a situation where the part being placed in the bag is not particularly ESD sensitive but some of the items it may come in contact with are ESD sensitive.

Static shielding bags are another common type of bags. These bags are made to hold items that are ESD sensitive. They are made up of a multi-layered material which includes a specialized layer to reduce static build-up. Part of the layer is made with aluminum which keeps the charges out of the bag and creates a Faraday cage. A Faraday cage is an enclosure made of a conductive material that blocks out electrical fields. An example of a common Faraday cage is an elevator. Depending on the material used to construct the elevator, cell phones may not work because the elevator is blocking out the signal needed to send or receive phone calls.

Both anti-static and static shielding bags have options for both open top and zip-top.The open top bags are sealed with a heat sealer or folded and secured with either tape or an ESD label.The zip-top bags cost more but have a closure of their own which is similar to a freezer or sandwich bag.

Moisture barrier bags, also known as Dri-Shield bags, are designed to keep items safe from not only ESD but also moisture, radio frequency interference (RFI) and electro magnetic interference (EMI).These bags are very similar to the static shielding bags with the exception of a thick single layer of  metalized material or multiple layers of the metalized material.This addition makes it more difficult for the bag material to “breathe,” which means moisture doesn’t transfer through the bag as easily. The added thickness is what shields magnetic and radio interference.


The Weller WES51 vs. the Hakko 936-12

Posted on by Andy in ESD News, Product Reviews Leave a comment

The Weller WES51 soldering station and the Hakko 936-12 soldering station are often compared when it comes down to buying a new soldering station. Below are some basic facts about each model.

Weller WES51 Soldering Iron

Weller WES51:

-Temperature: adjustable 350°F – 850°F within ±9°F

-50W, 120 V input (line voltage) and 24 V output

-Automatic shutoff after 99 minutes to prolong station and tip life

-Works with Weller ET series tips

-Cordless temperature lockout prevents temperature from getting higher than specified for board or component

-Non-burnable silicon rubber cord attached to iron

-Iron design reduces fatigue

-Comes with power unit, soldering iron, iron holder with sponge and ETA tip

Hakko 936-12 Soldering StationHakko 936-12:

-Temperature: adjustable 392°-896°F within ±1.8°F

-60W, 24V

-Lock screw prevents accidental temperature changes

-Compact unit

-Compatible with lead-free solder

Comes with station, ESD safe iron (Hakko 907), tip (Hakko 900M-T-1.6D) and iron holder with sponge

– accommodates large, medium or small irons

Both the WES51 and the 936-12 are ESD safe, have slim handled irons for comfortable use and both stations have a heater/sensor combination for rapid heat-up and recovery.


Weller WD2M Review

Posted on by Andy in New Products, Product Reviews Leave a comment

Weller WD2M Control Unit Weller seems to outdo itself time and time again with their innovative products. With the Weller WD2M control unit, hand soldering is easier than ever before due to the vast amount of control functions built into its menu. The best part about this station is its small size that barely takes up any room on a workbench. Not only does its small size make it easy to use, its large LCD display is really easy to read as well. On the technical side, the WD2M has high speed regulation and its WMRTH thermal tweezers and WMRP micro soldering iron can reach a maximum of 150 watts. The temperature stability can also be guaranteed with its closed loop control and efficient thermal energy transfer from the heating element to the soldering tip. Other important features of the Weller WD2M include:

  • Dual outputs so you can use two tools at once.
  • Automatic tool recognition so you don’t have to reset the control parameters after switching tools.
  • Stop and go function: Placing a tool in the stand will switch the tool off and removing the tool from the stand will send it back to its correct temperature.
  • USB interface that can connect to a PC. If you use the correct monitor software, the station can easily document process temperatures and setting changes.

Take a closer look at the WD2M here, it’s pretty nice.


Weller ML500MP Review

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

Weller ML500MP Mid-Sized Soldering Pencil The new Weller ML500MP is a versatile mid-size soldering pencil that came out recently. Its main selling point is the fact that the user doesn’t have to choose between power and run time. With its medium setting working time of 30 minutes, it has the ability to finish numerous jobs between refills. This definitely makes it useful for field service repairs.

It also has a widely ranging temperature (750°F-900°F) allowing it to handle basic tasks as well as detailed projects. In addition, one of the most functional things about the ML500MP is that when its soldering tip is removed, it can be used as a mini-torch.

Here are a few more features of the Weller ML500MP Magna-Lite Butane Soldering Pencil that may interest you:

  • Uses a Piezo ignition system
  • Adjustable gas flow valve controls temperature range
  • Wide base allows hands-free operation
  • Window allows user to see fuel level
  • Iron is refillable with Weller WB1 or WB2 filtered butane
  • Comes with an ML501 tip
  • Also uses ML502 and ML503 tips

All-Spec Industries carries the new Weller ML500MP as well as its accessory tips.