The TS100, possibly the best portable soldering iron for quadcopter builders, arrived in the mail and we tested it in a couple of mini quad builds. In this review we will have a look at why this solder iron is so great.
Why is the TS100 Soldering Iron Great?
The TS100 is a portable, programmable soldering iron. It’s only 31g in weight and 17cm long.
Input voltage is 12V to 24V which means you can power it off a PSU as well as any 3S, 4S or 5S LiPo batteries allowing you to carry out field repairing easily. The power of the iron is proportional to the input voltage.
|Input Voltage||Power||Time to heat up from 30° to 300°|
The temperature range is between 100° to 400° which should be more than enough for RC hobby use. (Any higher than that increases the risk of damaging PCB)
It’s got REAL temperature control! Unlike traditional soldering irons that simply apply a constant power, the TS100 actually monitors and adjusts the temperature by heating up and cooling down with built-in temperature sensors.
When the iron is idle for too long (3 mins) it enters Standby Mode automatically (it has an accelerometer with STM32 processor!), in which it lowers the temperature to 200°. This prevents dry heating that could oxidize the tip, prolongs the life span of soldering head, and helps save your energy bills. When you hold it up again, it will detect the movement and raise temperature.
- 1x TS100 Soldering Iron
- 1x TS-B2 Solder Tip
- 1x Allen Key and 2 screws (For replacing the tips and heating element)
Assembly only took about 10 seconds :)
It has 2 buttons and a OLED screen.
On the rear of the body, it mentions the connector type (DC5525) and input voltage range. And the model number of the tip (TS-B2) is printed on the head.
On the end of the TS100, there is a micro USB port for updating firmware (not a 5V USB charger), and the power connector.
Different shape and size tips are available (purchase separately). The one that comes with it is the TS-B2 pencil tip. I think it’s probably the best choice for mini quad builds if you ever only use 1 tip.
My User Experience
Overall, the TS100 is a great soldering iron: simple to use and works as expected. It’s compact and light weight. It can be powered off our 4S LiPo batteries, makes it perfect for bench as well as field repairing and building.
However the grip is a bit small compared to my full size soldering iron. If you have big hands you might find it harder to handle than a proper bench soldering station.
Lastly, you will need the following 2 items to make your TS100 perfect.
Power Adapter Cable
You can get a power supply for the TS100 with the correct connector. But if you want to power it from LiPo batteries you’ll also need a XT60 2.5mm Barrel adapter cable. You can get buy it from GetFPV or DIY.
It’s really simple to make, all you need is a female XT60, a DC5525 Barrel connector, and some silicone wires.
For the wires, I think 26awg or larger wires should be fine (current at max power is under 3A). The lighter wires handle better, I tried 16awg wires and I didn’t like the extra weight on the soldering iron. Also make it longer, 2 feet or more ideally.
Soldering Iron Holder
TS100 doesn’t come with a holder, so you have to be creative and safe. There are some 3D printed solution like this one. I am not a big fan of this since the soldering iron could get warm and melt the plastic :)
Or you can use a soldering helping hand stand like me.
Should I buy TS100?
If you are new to soldering, I don’t think this has to be your first choice of tool but it is a good option though. For $60, you could get a pretty decent soldering station for cheaper. But if you want a portable soldering iron, this is definitely the one to get!
Here is a review video from Carlos on his YT channel.