TS100 Soldering Iron

December 28, 2018
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Everybody and their mother has made a 30 minute spam filled YouTube video review and un-boxing for the TS100, so I won’t.

Because hobbyists deserve better than Weller

What I will tell you, is that the TS100 is the de facto best, small soldering iron out there. Before the TS100, I had wondered why, with all the tiny and robust MCUs, power management circuits, temperature sensors, etc., available to the electronic hobbyist, that soldering irons were mostly enormous stations, expensive, and/or as antiquated as a turn of the century curling iron.

I had a cheap 60 Watt RadioShack soldering iron die on me last year, in the middle of a project. With a project deadline looming, I drove 30 minutes across iced over roads, to make it to a Lowe’s hardware store before it closed for the night. I made it in time to choose from a few different models of Weller soldering irons. I bought a Weller Wps18mp High-performance Soldering Iron, for just under 30 US dollars.

Another sketchy 30 minute drive on an ice sheet of death, and I got home. I opened the packaging to see how cheap the iron felt in hand, and how poor the tolerances were on the fitment of the power switch, tip, and power plug. I plugged it in, flipped the switch, 40ish seconds later I saw the green LED indicator turn green, and I was immediately disappointed. The shit electronics indicated it was hot with an LED, but it could not melt solder. It wasn’t even warm to the touch. I tried about 15 more times, on different outlets. With slightly better performance a couple times.

In short, I paid 30 US Dollars, for a defective piece of shit, and wasted over an hour of my time driving on sketchy iced over roads.

I angrily ranted on the twitter machine, and tried tagging Weller, which is actually Apex Tool Group, with headquarters in Shanghai. The brand that spawned from an american soldering gun patent in 1927 was now complete Chinese shit.

I finished the job with a 4 dollar soldering iron, from Fry’s. I own a few ‘just in case’ irons, and treat them as disposable. They smell awful when in use, part of the charm I guess.

I vowed to either get a nice Hakko soldering station, or at least try the TS100 soldering iron. Well, I’ve tried the TS100 with the standard firmware, and its everything its been touted to be by anyone who’s used one. I can positively recommend it to anybody tired of having a box of crap soldering irons and tips, or just in the market for a decent iron, at a reasonable price.

The TS100 heats up very quickly, is easily temperature controlled( 100C to 400C ), is compact, can be updated via firmware, and can even run off of Lipo battery packs for field use.

As for the Weller… Well’r I gutted it, and confirmed everything I had thought about it. It was all really cheap components, in a poorly molded handled that felt like shit, and had an even worse fitment. I also want to be very transparent. I buy a lot of stuff from China. Chinese manufacturing isn’t inherently bad. Clones, and IP concerns aside I don’t believe everything that comes from China is crap. But the Weller I regretfully purchased was.

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