A Sneak Peek At The TS100 Soldering Iron’s Younger Sibling

Many readers will be familiar with the TS100 soldering iron, a lightweight and powerful tool with an integrated temperature controller in its handle based upon an STM32 microcontroller. As an iron it’s a joy to use, it has hackable code, and it has become a firm favourite within our community. There have been rumours of a TS100 stablemate for some time now, with the model number being touted as a TS200 and with it being said to be USB-C powered. But beyond those tidbits, until now there has been not a lot to go on.

So [Marco Reps]’ video that we’ve placed below the break is a particularly interesting one, featuring as it does a prototype of the iron in question. It’s called the TS80 but there is evidence on its PCB that it has held the TS200 moniker in the past, it’s USB-C powered, and it features a new integrated heating element and bit with a Weller-style 3.5mm jack connector.

He runs it through a battery of tests and finds it to perform very well indeed, sometimes better than the TS100 despite his not having a USB-C power source capable of supplying the same voltage that his TS100 gets through its DC jack. To be clear, the TS100 is still a very good iron indeed, this one is simply a little bit better. Inside a sturdier metal barrel is a PCB with the STM32 on board as well as an OLED display that looks a little smaller than the one on the TS100. The shorter element receives praise, while the TS100 is hardly a long iron it is always good to get as close to the action as possible.

There is a concern over the lack of a DC jack and its reliance on USB-C, though he points out that with the appropriate cables and increasing USB-C adoption this should not remain a problem for long. We’d be interested to ensure that it can be powered through the USB-C socket from a simple DC power source such as a battery though, as that flexibility is such a bonus with the TS100.

So then, the TS80 is coming, but the TS100 is still a very good iron indeed so there’s no need to throw yours away any time soon. It’s an iron we look forward to seeing when it arrives though, and no doubt we’ll give you our verdict.

You can see our TS100 review if that takes your fancy, and while you’re at it take a look at one of the community’s most awesome TS100 hacks. [Marco] muses on how long it’ll be before someone has their TS80 playing audio through that 3.5mm jack.

37 thoughts on “A Sneak Peek At The TS100 Soldering Iron’s Younger Sibling

  1. Looking forward to this. I was putting of buying the TS100 since I found no “good” way to use it with USB-C without rolling my own USB-C PD breakout board.
    Powerbanks delivering 60W via USB-C are a thing now so it should not be a problem to power the TS80 from such a battery and I’m looking forward to powering my phone, console, laptop and now soldering iron from the same connector / wall adapter / powerbank.

    1. Just because the tip uses that plug doesn’t mean the iron is using an off-the-shelf socket. Obviously they’ve tested the design they’re using and it works… but hey, your theoretical objection should *totally* trump their real-world tests.

        1. I think we can use Miniware’s superb batting average to be an indicator that they think things through. The TS100 iron, the ES120/121 screwdrivers, and even a smattering of portable oscilloscopes.

    2. Agreed. I don’t know why they call it a “Weller-style 3.5mm jack connector”, as far as I know the only thing Weller uses a 3.5mm headphone jack for is for changing tip grounding on some of their soldering stations. No appreciable current flows through it. It is a 1/8 inch headphone jack.

      1. The ratings for 5A, 2kV_dc are likely absolute maximums and must be derated for actual operating conditions. For instance power dissipation curves usually are nonlinear and by increasing current you cannot operate at max rated voltage so 5A could safely work at a much lower voltage but not 2kV, and likewise 2kV could safely work at a much lower current but not 5A. This is a common thing in rating relays and switches for applications. As my grad advisor used to say, “there are no free lunches”, to gain something you have to sacrifice something else.

        1. I mean even if you derate it pretty dramatically I think that’d still be overkill for a soldering iron… 5A at 24 volts would already be significantly more power than can be sourced over USB-C anyway.

          1. Yeah for a soldering iron it will no doubt be fine, I was just commenting specifically on someone supposedly having found a 3.5mm jack that can survive 10kW!

        2. I don’t think any sane engineer would try to pass 10kW through a 3.5mm jack plug, I guess I hid my sarcasm a bit too well… though this plug might be quite suitable for soldering irons as others already mentioned; it should not have too much problems with 24V / 2A which quite a bit oomph for a small soldering iron :)

      2. And unfortunately what Conrad state as “nominal”, isn’t the spec of that connector either.

        The linked datasheet on that page, from the manufacturer, state that maximum current is 5A, but that’s maximum, not nominal so it may only last one cycle. Equally, the 2kVDC is defined as a “withstand voltage” rather than anything to do with operating or continuous, think: ESD levels rather than electric car.

  2. I recently switched to the TS100 as my daily driver over my trusty Hakko FX-888D. I love the metal case and quick change tips, but I think the USB-C is just not going to work for me. I built a nice cable with some silicone wire so it’s super flexible and heat resistant (as any soldering iron cable should be). That said, for “field” use, I can see the USB-C connector working out better! Either way I’ll still probably pick up a TS80!

    1. Those are nice and all, but then add on the cost of the tips, at ~$25 each, things add up quickly.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like a good Weller iron, but they are proud of their parts.
      I have a WD1 with a WMP handle. The tips for that heating element have no active components (just a stainless steel tube with the tip on the end!) run ~$20 each. I don’t use this iron much, due to this; instead often using the WSP-80 handle, which has slightly more bulk, but higher max power and ~$5-10 tips.

  3. I have a “50W” Yihua. In many tasks I got problems with it not being powerful enough. A borrowed a good 936 clone, used my own tips – it’s way better despite the same rated power. Though even more powerful would work better.
    So I’m looking for a new iron. TS100 looks like a nice choice, but now I’m wondering what should I do about TS80:
    * Get TS100 now
    * Get TS100 after TS80 comes out (may be cheaper)
    * Get TS80

    TS80 requires a fairly expensive USB-PD charger which I will get eventually, but I’d rather wait for 100W chargers to be ubiquitous and cheap.
    TS100 is 65W. TS80…60? If yes, that’s a small point for TS100.
    Will TS100 be discontinued after TS80? Will I be able to buy spare tips for it?

    Suggestions?

    1. I figured I’d waited long enough and bought a TS100. The TS80 tips are at the moment not easy to find, the TS100 tips are everywhere. The TS100 is too ubiquitous for the tips to disappear any time soon. I could be wrong, but I don’t anticipate the tips needing replacement that often. I’ve had soldering iron tips last a decade before needing replacement. Keep it clean, use a damp cellulose sponge and only use brass wool when absolutely necessary. NEVER use steel wool or sandpaper, definitely NEVER touch it with a file.

      The problem with the 900M style of hollow tip is that there is an unavoidable air gap between the ceramic heating element and the tip. This causes a time delay in the response time and an unavoidable drop in temperature while soldering.

      The TS100 and any other iron that uses integrated tip, heating element, and temperature sensor, is that coupling between tip, heating element, and sensor are about as tight as they can be. You have only the length of copper from heating element to the end of the tip.

      I’m not tossing my Aoyue (900M type tips) any time soon. But I am looking forward to using the TS100 as a portable. I’m putting the TS100 in a case with a 4S 16.8V LiIon pack, with a step up boost converter to 24V to get the full power, and using a modified 19V laptop charger to charge the cells. There appear to be no holders for the TS100, so I’ll make my own with some PEEK or high temp clay epoxy and welding wire.

        1. So, don’t keep it a secret, where? I found it somewhere for $45, free shipping, one tip, no other accessories. Can’t remember where. I was happy to buy it on Amazon for $65 with 2 day shipping, a compact laptop 19V power supply, and a tip of my choice rather than those horrible thin conical tips that everyone seems to sell with soldering irons now.

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