Metcal MFR-1351 review / repair

After repair

I made the mistake of buying a Metcal MFR 1351. 
The first problem was you can not use the soldering iron and desolder iron at the same time. So it is not a real dual powersupply. The desolder tips are very fragile. The inner tube get loose from the sleeve and then they are not usable anymore. I could use them 2 to 3 months. I have two units, both pumps lasted 6 months each. The rubber membranes teared. 

If it works, t solders very well, it gets hot in seconds and has a lot of power. 

The real problems started after a few months. Both desoldergun and solder handpiece had to be replaced. This a was done under warranty. A year or so later the cable between handpiece and station started to get hot. After 2 months or so it became dangerous hot, over 100 degrees. I contacted Metcal and they told me it was a known problem and for new handpieces it was solved. But it turned out my handpiece (the replacement I got 14 months before) was almost 2 years old so now warranty. 

The guts

Later I heard many more people had problems with this stations. So I refurbished my old Pace MBT250. Pace still sells spares but it turned out to be still in very good shape. I replaced the desolder handpiece for a SX-100 and now after 1 years it is still performing like new. I have worn 2 desolder tips but they are much cheaper as Metcal and even worn a lot better as a Metcal after a few weeks of use.

I teared the Metcal handpiece apart to see how it is made (after almost 2 years collecting dust) Turned out it was just crappy construction. The black wire was burned through and thanks to bad manufacturing it was at  shorted to the shield. So the power ran through the shield instead of the black wire and that became very hot. On the pictures it is hard to see but the place the black wire broke was easy to find. I was colored a lot darker as the rest.

I soldered it back together and now the cable does not get hot any more and the tip heats up much faster as before. 

Resoldering the shield to the sleeve ring for better contact

Ready to insert in the handpiece


I inserted it back in the handpiece and used shrinktubing. Not very durable but I only gonna use it as a spare station and probably replace it in the future for a cartridge type Pace

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