Review: Aixun T3A Smart Soldering Station – Premium Performance and Features at Budget Price

by Oscar
Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station

When it comes to achieving superior quality in your drone builds, a reliable soldering station is crucial. The Aixun T3A Smart Soldering Station emerges as a compelling choice in this regard. Not only does it offer affordability, but it also comes with lots of great features that make it stand out.

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It boasts compatibility with both JBC 245 cartridges (C245) as well as T245. So, if you’re on the hunt for a high-quality soldering station, one that’s not only feature-rich but also wallet-friendly, you might want to stop and take a closer look at the Aixun T3A.

Take a look at other essential tools for building and repair FPV drones:

Where To Buy?

Get the Aixun T3A soldering station from these vendors:

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Unbox Accessories Parts

It includes the primary base station, a smart cradle (handle holder) and the T245-A handle. The accessory box comes filled with helpful extras, like a power cable, a conversion adapter, and 3 soldering tips.

What Makes the T3A Stand Out Over the TS100?

You might be wondering, with portable soldering irons like the TS100 and Sequre SI012 serving their purpose just fine, why should you even consider the Aixun T3A?

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Compare Ts100 Si012 Portable Size Length

That’s a fair question. It seems ESCs are growing ever more powerful, and as they do, the copper mass in these boards increases, making soldering harder. For instance, my TS100, which is rated at 65W, often finds itself struggling with soldering hefty XT60 battery leads. The solder joints take a long time to melt, which could potentially harm the board’s components due to prolonged exposure to high heat. Not to mention, achieving the desired results can be a struggle.

Enter the AiXun T3A. Rated at a whopping 200W, it is capable of heating up solder joints with impressive speed. It’s no wonder it has received such high praise in the electronics community. With a modern and sleek design, it also manages to pack a punch in a relatively compact form, making it an excellent fit for my workspace. Plus, its budget-friendly price tag is the cherry on top.

That said, when it comes to field repairs, the TS100 remains my go-to because of its superior portability and versatility. So here’s my take: If you can only afford one soldering iron and plan on doing field repairs, go for the TS100. However, if field repairs aren’t a priority, the T3A deserves some serious consideration.

Update: I recently tested the HGLRC RC 2 (Sequre SI012 rebrand) and found it to be even better than the TS100. Check it out here: Review: HGLRC RC2 68W Portable Soldering Iron – Better than SI012 and TS100?

Features and Specs

The Aixun T3A comes packed with a suite of features that make it both efficient and user-friendly:

  • Maximum Temperature Setting: While most portable irons only do up to 450°C, the T3A lets you set the highest temperature up to a scorching 500°C.
  • High Power: Boasting a 200W rating, the T3A makes soldering larger wires and solder joints a breeze.
  • Temperature Calibration: This allows you to calibrate the iron’s temperature for reliable, accurate readings.
  • Standby Settings: Here, you can adjust the standby temperature, the delay and other related settings
  • Sleep Time: This safety feature automatically switches off the device after a predetermined period of inactivity for safety.
  • Beeper: Want sound notifications? You can toggle them on or off.
  • Preset Temperature Levels: For convenience, you can set your preferred temperature levels for quick access later.

Now, let’s delve into the specifications:

  • Compatible Handles: T12, 936, T245
  • Input Voltage AC 110V / 220V
  • Rated Power: 200W
  • Output Voltage: DC 24V
  • Current Range: 0-8A
  • Temperature Range: 100°C-500°C
  • Weight: 520g
  • Dimension: 145*110*54mm

A Close Look at the T3A

Let’s diving deeper into the Aixun T3A.

Design and User Interface

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Base Screen Home Main Temperature Display

The T3A is refreshingly simple in its design – compact, intuitive, and uncluttered. The main base unit packs the buttons and control knob in an accessible layout, making temperature adjustments a breeze. Its large LED display offers clear, real-time temperature readings.

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Base Front Screen Buttons

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Base Back Power Connector

Encased in sturdy aluminum housing, the back panel features power input, DC in ground pins, a power switch, and a DC output jack. This streamlined design minimizes clutter and enhances ease of use.

Upgraded Holder

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Holder Cradle

While the basic T3A kit includes a standard stand for the iron, I’d strongly recommend the upgraded stand, otherwise known as the “Smart Cradle”. Though the basic stand is functional, its quality leaves something to be desired, especially when compared to the main unit.

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Holder Cradle Back

The smart cradle, in contrast, adds valuable features such as a brass tip cleaner and tip storage, making it a worthwhile investment. The cradle snugly fits the T245 type handle and its quality easily matches the main unit. A standout feature is its built-in sleep mode detection that gets activated when the metal collar of the handle touches the cradle. This places the iron into standby mode when idle, automatically reducing the tip’s temperature and thereby prolonging its lifespan. With my previous TS100, I’d often forget to manually turn it off, so this is a much-appreciated feature.

Handle and Tip

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Handle Tip

I have the T245-A handpiece here.

It’s equipped with a long, flexible silicon wire, which makes for a comfortable, unrestricted soldering experience. It has a plastic grip that provides decent ergonomics during use. If you find the handle too small, the included sponge sleeves can add thickness and improve grip.

The smart cradle offers storage for spare tips, allowing you to swap them out as needed. Changing tips couldn’t be easier – just pull out the existing tip and slide a new one into the handle. No screws, no hassle. Super simple and user-friendly.

It comes with 3 different tips.

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Tips

Performance Test

Let’s discuss how the Aixun T3A performs in real-world use. Spoiler alert: it’s impressive.

The T3A is a speed demon when it comes to heating up. It leaps from room temperature to 450°C in a swift 5 seconds, all while drawing 100% of the claimed 200W power, as indicated on the screen. For comparison, the TS100 takes nearly double the time, clocking in at 11 seconds, while the Sequre SI012 heats up in 9 seconds.

Its temperature control capabilities are noteworthy. The T3A responds almost instantly to adjustments and maintains a stable temperature throughout your soldering work. Say goodbye to frustrating temperature fluctuations, which I’ve experienced with the TS100 in the past. This model excels in temperature recovery as well. When the tip comes into contact with a large ground plane or a heat-absorbing component, the station quickly detects the temperature drop and compensates accordingly. It returns to the set temperature remarkably quickly, ensuring consistent heat transfer and high-quality soldering results.

In terms of safety features, the standby mode is a standout. When the soldering iron rests in the base, the device cools down (to the standby temperature set by the user), adding an extra layer of security.

After a few days of testing, during which I built and repaired several quads of various sizes, the T3A performed exceptionally well. Its combination of power and precision efficiently handled all tasks, suggesting its suitability for both hobbyist and professional use.

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Fpv Drone Build 4in1 Esc Xt60 Solder Joints

It’s worth noting that the soldering experience is also affected by the type of soldering tips you use. I found the included blade tip (T245-SK) quite versatile and used it throughout my testing period. However, for soldering XT60 pigtails on ESC’s, I’m considering purchasing a larger tip, such as the T245-K or C245-K (4.7mm blade tip).

Get the T245-K or C245-K here:

Both T245 and C245 tips are compatible with this model.

T245 K Soldering Iron Tip 4.7mm Blade Wide Large Mass Solder Joints Xt60

Room for Improvement

Although the Axiun T3A is an excellent device overall, there are a few areas that could benefit from improvement.

Let’s start with the language setting. The T3A features a language switch in its settings menu, which is quite intuitive to navigate. The hitch? The default language is Chinese. A few buyers in the US and UK have reported the same issue. If the manual or online reviews were not available to you, you might need a quick crash course in Chinese to operate your new soldering iron. But not to worry – I’ll walk you through the steps to switch languages later in this review.

Next on my list is the control knob. Its movement doesn’t feel quite as smooth or robust as I’d like. When scrolling through options, it only registers after two notches, making navigation a bit sluggish.

Another aspect that could use some tweaking is the beeping sound the device makes when you scroll through options – it’s rather loud. While you can turn the buzzer on or off, there’s no option to adjust the volume. A volume control feature would be a welcome addition in future iterations.

After you unplug the T3A, it takes about 20 seconds for the screen to turn off. This delay is a bit unusual, and it often leaves me second-guessing if I’ve actually powered down the device. It’s a minor annoyance, but an improvement in this area would enhance the overall user experience.

Finally, the tip of the iron takes a bit longer to cool down compared to other soldering irons I’ve used. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, but it’s worth mentioning as a safety reminder. Give it a good 4 to 5 minutes to cool down before touching the tip after use. Safety first!

Comparing the T3A and T3B

Choosing between the Aixun T3A and T3B boils down to the type of soldering tasks you’ll be doing.

The T3A stands out in terms of power and portability. It boasts a rated power of 200W and has a slightly more compact, lightweight body (145x110x54mm, 520g). These qualities make it not only handy for transport but also capable of handling heavier soldering tasks. Moreover, its compatibility with T12, 936, and T245 handles adds a layer of versatility, making it ideal for a broad range of general-purpose work. Impressively, the T3A can heat up to 380°C in just 4 seconds and comes with a black iron handle base.

On the other hand, the T3B is designed with nano-precision soldering in mind, and as such, is more suited for precise and delicate jobs like repairing smartphones and laptops. It supports T210 and T115 handles. While the T3B is a bit bulkier (160x110x54mm) and heavier (640g) than the T3A, its rated power is a lower 96W. Despite this, it can heat up to 380°C in a speedy 2 seconds and features an upgraded metal steel handle base.

In terms of screen, menu, user experience, and sensors, the T3A and T3B are very much the same.

For FPV drone building, which often involves heavier jobs like soldering XT60 connectors, the T3A’s versatility and power make it the more fitting choice.

Which Handle: T245, T12, 936

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station T12 936 T245 Handles

Most shops offer these 3 handles to choose from when purchasing the T3A: T245, T12, 936. If you prioritize ergonomic design and excellent thermal performance, the T245 handle might be the best choice, and that’s what I got. Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of each handle.

T245 Handle

  • The T245 handle is known for its ergonomic design, which makes it comfortable to use for extended periods.
  • It has a wide range of compatible tips, which makes it versatile for different soldering tasks.
  • The T245 handle is praised for its excellent thermal performance, which allows for efficient heat transfer and quick heating times.
  • the quick change feature of the T245-A handle makes it simple to switch between different tip types mid-project without having to wait for cooling.
  • However, it is slightly more expensive than the other handles.

T12 Handle

  • The T12 handle is appreciated for its compact design, which makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces.
  • It also has a wide range of compatible tips, offering versatility for various soldering tasks.
  • The T12 handle is known for its quick heating times and stable temperature control.
  • It is more affordable than the T245 handle, making it a good choice for those on a budget.

936 Handle

  • The 936 handle is the most budget-friendly option among the three.
  • It is compatible with a decent range of tips, although not as extensive as the T245 or T12 handles.
  • The 936 handle is known for its durability and reliability, making it a good choice for those who prioritize longevity.
  • However, its thermal performance and heating times may not be as efficient as the T245 and T12 handles.

How to Use the T3A

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Connectors Input Outputs Diagram

Here’s a simple guide on how to start using your Aixun T3A soldering station:

  1. Plug the handle into the front connect on the base unit (handle interface).
  2. Connect the Smart Cradle to the base unit (using the IN: Port1 connector on the back).
  3. Power up the soldering iron from your AC power source.

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station How To Use Connect Handle

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station How To Use Connection Holder Base Power

When you first turn on the soldering iron, its large, the diQsplay lights up, showing important information such as the current temperature of the iron tip, voltage, firmware version, and unit temperature. It even detects the type of handle in use.

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Screen Parameter Temp Settings Diagram

The unit ships with Chinese as the default language. If you’d like to switch to English, simply press the SET button, select the second option (“语言设置”), then press down on the knob. Voila! Your interface is now in English.

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station Base Screen System Menu Options

By default, upon powering on, the soldering station goes to the standby temperature of 200 degrees Celsius. This is adjustable, and you can even set it to remain off until you lift the iron.

When you lift the iron off the stand, it will automatically heat up to your chosen working temperature.

The T3A allows you to customize 3 temperature presets. You can swiftly scroll through these temperatures by pressing the CH button. I have mine set to 350°C (for signal wires), 400°C (for motor wires), and 450°C for XT60. The highest available temperature is 500 degrees Celsius, but I don’t personally use it as it’s more likely to damage components.

Making small adjustments to your working temperature is as simple as rotating the knob. Each notch you turn adjusts the temperature by an increment of 5 degrees.

Lastly, to adjust any other settings, press the SET button. This will take you to the system menu where you can modify various settings to best suit your soldering needs.

Final Thoughts

Aixun T3a Smart Soldering Station

In conclusion, the Aixun T3A Soldering Station emerges as a compelling choice for both hobbyist and professional electronics enthusiasts. Delivering professional-grade performance and features without the professional-grade price tag, it’s a game-changer in the soldering landscape. The broad feature set and ease of use make it a go-to choice for anyone shopping for a new soldering station.

Yes, it has a few minor user experience shortfalls, but they don’t negatively impact its overall performance and they are not deal breakers. If you’re serious about electronics and soldering, this soldering station is well worth considering.

From my personal experience, the Aixun T3A soldering station, coupled with the T245 type handpiece and Smart Cradle (the combo I reviewed in this article), is the best choice for FPV hobbyists.

Get the Aixun T3A soldering station from these vendors:

And one small piece of advice – don’t forget to add a larger blade style tip to your cart (only a few bucks). Trust me, it will make soldering XT60 power cable to your ESC a breeze.

Get the T245-K or C245-K here:

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