Review: TS101 Soldering Iron, Is it better than TS100?

by Oscar
Creator: Gd Jpeg V1.0 (using Ijg Jpeg V80), Default Quality

The TS100 is one of the most popular soldering irons if not the most popular in the RC community. It’s compact and powerful, and it can be powered by a LiPo battery directly and just works. Recently MiniWare released a new version – the TS101, in this review we will check out what they improved on and how it compares to the TS100 and TS80P.

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Where To Buy?

Specifications

  • Material: plastic and metal
  • OLED display, 128x32px
  • Optional soldering tips: TS101-BC2, TS101-B2, TS101-I
  • solder tip quick release, anti-slip handle
  • Input power ports: DC 5525 Jack and USB-C (PD3.0)
  • USB-C port can be used for connecting to the PC for firmware updates
  • Input voltage range and power: DC Jack 9-24V, up to 65W; USB-C (PD3.0) 9V-20V, maximum 45W
  • Temperature control ranges: 50-400℃ (stability +/-2%)
  • Soldering iron bit to ground resistance: <2Ω
  • Size: 98 * 16.5 * 16.5mm
  • Weight: 33g

Ts101 Soldering Iron Screen

Comparison to TS100 and TS80P

I previously compared the TS100 with the TS80 in this testing, these two soldering irons are designed for different markets in my opinion. The TS100 can be powered directly from a LiPo battery and is more powerful, which is a great option for FPV hobbyists. The TS80 can be powered by a PD capable power bank or charger through USB-C, which is a common standard power source in the electronics world.

MiniWare more or less just took the best features from the two irons and put them together and in the TS101. When powered via the DC jack it’s just as powerful as the good old TS100 (up to 65W), but it also has a USB-C port so you can use a PD charger to power it too (up to 45W). However it doesn’t support Quick Charge (QC) unlike the TS80P.

Ts101 Soldering Iron

Closer Look at the TS101

Almost identical size to the TS100, extremely lightweight, compact and portable. In the TS101, they made the screen is wider so it’s easier to read.

The tips in the TS101 are compatible with the TS100, but NOT compatible with TS80’s and TS80P’s (3.5mm audio jack). That means you can pick up any existing tips for the TS100 and it will work on the TS101. The tips for the TS100 are usually a lot cheaper than those for the TS80P (about half price) so that’s great.

It has a new square handle design – what they refer to as anti-rollback feature that prevents the soldering iron from rolling across the table.

By default the maximum temperature of the TS101 is 400°C, the older TS100 with custom firmware (IronOS) can do up to 450°C. The TS101 just came out and it’s not supported yet by IronOS to unlock higher temperature, but I am hopefully that would happen sooner or later.

One thing that disappoints me is the input voltage range. The TS101 is the same as the TS100, only rated for 9V to 24V, which means a fully charged 6S battery is not officially supported. In my opinion it should support all the way up to 25.2V (6S voltage when fully charged).

Heatup Time Test

When powered via the USB-C port by a PD charger, the TS101 takes 15 seconds to get from 30°C to 350°C. On 24V via the DC jack, it takes 10 seconds to get from 30°C to 350°C.

Creator: Gd Jpeg V1.0 (using Ijg Jpeg V80), Default Quality

Conclusion

The TS101 soldering iron has some nice new features and improvements. I think it makes a great upgrade for the TS80/TS80P if you prefer to travel with PD chargers/power banks instead of a LiPo battery, and the TS101 is more powerful and the tips are cheaper. However as a TS100 owner I personally don’t find TS101 appealing enough for me wanting to upgrade, especially I normally just use a LiPo or my P200 bench power supply to power the solder iron. The TS101 doesn’t really offer any improvements in terms of performance.

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9 comments

MINIWARE 12th December 2022 - 8:08 am

In fact, the DC interface of TS101 soldering iron supports 30V input at most, so you can use 6S Lipo to supply full power to TS101. Under 30V input, the power of TS101 exceeds 100W.
Because of the calculation formula of voltage resistance and power, when the PD20V power supply is applied to TS101, the power is about 47W, 20 (voltage) x20 (voltage)/6.5 (resistance) ≈ 47w (power).
Oh, the latest TS101 V2.0 firmware supports the PD3.1 protocol. Support 28V input, so under the calculation formula of voltage resistance and power, the maximum power is about 92W, and 28 (voltage) x28 (voltage)/8.5 (resistance) ≈ 92w (power). But you need to have a power supply and cable that supports the PD3.1 protocol.

Reply
Oscar 12th December 2022 - 1:04 pm

Are you the real “Miniware”?
If so that’s great news! And please update the new specs on your product page :)
Are you guys increasing the maximum temperature to 450 degree at some point too?

Reply
MINIWARE 13th December 2022 - 2:00 am

Yes, I am the MINIWARE team.
The product information of TS101 has been updated at: https://www.miniware.com.cn/product/ts101-smart-soldering-iron/
Regarding the increase of 450 degree temperature control, there will be many other problems, such as the temperature of the soldering iron handle, the life of the soldering iron tip, the material of the control end, etc., we think it is not worth it. 400 degrees Celsius is enough for welding.

Reply
Oscar 13th December 2022 - 1:55 pm

ok thank you for the info!
I have been using the Iron OS (custom open source firmware) on the TS100, and 450 degree makes it noticably easier to solder XT60 wires than 400, soldering iron tips are relatively cheap to replace anyway, mine lasts a few years so I am not concerned about tip life span.

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AltSpective 15th December 2022 - 9:26 am

How does the tip suddenly change its resistance from 6.5 Ohms to 8.5 Ohms when PD3.1 is used? I measured my tip and it is exactly 6.5 Ohms. Under 28V it would produce around 120W.

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Jonathan 15th December 2022 - 9:26 pm

Wow, that is great news, just one bit of feedback, the Iron is awesome, I just got mine today to replace my TS80p which I love, but its not quite powerful enough for some jobs I do. The TS80p feels amazing, the textured aluminum body feels solid in the hand, but the TS101 feels like a toy, super thin plastic that rattles and resonates. My suggestion is class it up a little and give it an optional more robust case, or sell an aftermarket case in metal, or at least thicken up the plastic in the case so it doesn’t make noise when you move a finger across the sides.

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Jonathan 13th January 2023 - 10:14 pm

Do you know if there any issues with using the 6ohm tips from Pine in the TS101? I have not tested this yet, but wondering if the lower resistance tips would end up with a boost in power, plus the new Pine tips are shorter, making small work easier.

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JimmyZ 30th November 2022 - 6:44 am

But why limiting PD to 45, even older PD supports up to 100W you know?

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Jonathan 13th January 2023 - 10:12 pm

Jimmy Z the Voltage isn’t converted in the Iron, just Voltage squared over resistance, so the voltage and resistance are the critical items in the Iron. TS100 tips are 8ohm, so you’re getting about 45w of power out the other end. Since the iron was updated to support EPR (USB PD Extended Power Range) it supports 28v via USB PD for ~90w (double the original shipped/spec power). As Miniware have stated this iron actually supports up to 30vin which works out to ~120w of power, which is getting pretty serious at that point. TO get those wattages the iron would have to be much larger and have a boost circuit in it to take the [email protected] (100w) and make it high enough to output that wattage on the output, but that would be more expensive and higher cost. You could do it yourself with a small box that takes USB PD via a trigger board and dumps the 20v 5a into a boost that can be set to output all that power at 28-30v to get as much of it to the tip as you want. The parts would cost about $20-30 from amazon.

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