Most soldering irons in the market seem to fall into a few distinct categories. They either provide a full-blown station to which the soldering iron is wired, powered straight by mains, or an iron powered by DC power. The Miniware TS1C takes up an interesting position here in that it features both a station you put the iron into and adjust the temperature, as well as a fully cordless iron. Sounds too good to be true, perhaps, but a recent Tom’s Hardware review by [Les Pounder] seems to think it has real merit.
Behind the glossy exterior and marketing, we find a cordless soldering iron that uses a supercapacitor to power itself when it is not inserted into the station, with communication between the iron and station performed using Bluetooth. This way, you can keep an eye on both the tip temperature and the remaining charge left, which [Les] found to be sufficient for soldering about 80 smaller joints, with the marketing claiming it can solder 180 size 0805 SMD parts with one charge.
The advantage of having a station is that it is the part that is wired to a power bank or wall wart, with the temperature setting performed using a chunky dial. The station also provides a place for the iron in between soldering sessions, but in order to recharge the iron, the brass bands near the front have to be pushed into the holder for them to make contact. This also makes one-handed removal of the iron from the holder not as easy as you’d hope.
With the $125 price tag for the TS1C, it does raise a lot of questions about the intended audience, when for about the same price, a (65 Watt) Hakko FX-888D can be obtained. What you gain over said Hakko with the TS1C is the ability to power the station from USB-PD (45 Watt) and the lack of a cord between the station and iron. The TS1C also seems to have an unfortunate design flaw in that the hot iron’s tip has to be navigated past melty plastic bits and the fragile OLED display permanently disfiguring those, as [Les] discovered to his dismay.