Because every pilot need a soldering iron, I thought that could be useful to you if I show you my soldering iron. At any racing drone you have to do some soldering work, so you need a good tool to help you on this process, even at the flying field sometimes you need to do some quick repairs. So what I chose to help me on the drone building process is the SainSmart PRO32 soldering iron. It’s a high tech and at the same time small and light soldering iron. On this review I’ll show you everything about it stay tune.
This version in particular is an upgraded version that includes two soldering tips and wall charger, all of this came on a very fancy box, during the unboxing process I felt like I was unpacking a brand new smartphone. Inside you find the soldering iron laying on a foam alongside with the two soldering tips. Underneath, there is a wall charger that provides on the output 12V up to 2.1A, as accessories the Pro32 came with two screws to hold the tips, in case if you lose the one that is on the soldering iron and they also included a screwing tool. This was all I got from the box.
Before I got this soldering iron I had a soldering station with dimmable temperature, but I had to give a try on this little piece of technology, because it’s portable to take it to the flying field and at the same time can be good to use on the bench. I think this soldering iron was a game change on this market, the developers have been able to introduce so much technology into a such small plastic body, this Pro32 soldering iron is almost the size of a pen, it’s very light weight and comfortable to use for a long period of time.
The Pro32 features a stm32 microprocessor and a gyro, together they introduced capabilities that were not possible until now, like if you don’t move the soldering iron he enters in standby mode after a configurable time, once you pick up the soldering iron again he senses the movement and starts to heating up automatically at the configurable temperature. Every parameter can be quickly adjusted thanks thanks to the monochromatic LCD screen. The firmware on the Pro32 soldering iron is open source, this means that with some programming skills you can develop your own firmware. You can also change the boot logo to the one you like for example your name. Along side with the LCD screen you find two physical push buttons allowing you to interact with the soldering iron not just to configure the setting parameters but also to start heating up and to cool down after your job is done.
On top of the Pro32 you find a DC5.5X2.5 connector to power with a power source, with a voltage range between 12V to 24V. On top you also find a micro USB type B to connect to your computer and flash newer firmwares or change parameters with a text document. To change the firmware you have to enter on DFU mode, for that you have to push the first button, counting from the soldering tip, during the power up.
This specific version came with two soldering tips the PR-B2 and the PR-BC2 and there are a lot of other soldering tips on the market that you can buy, some for soldering electronic boards that require thinner tips but you also find some bigger tips for jobs that don’t require too much precision. I think that with this kit you get the best of the two worlds with a nice small tip and another bigger. To change the tips you only have to unscrew a small screw on the top of the soldering iron which will allow you to pull the tips, doing the opposite to change for the other tip, you just have have to slide the tip into the soldering iron and barely tighten the screw.
One of the great advantages of this soldering iron is the ability to power up with not only a wall power supply but also with a lipo battery which can be the same as the ones you use to fly your quads.
The firmware that came with the Pro32 is a bit limited and is also an older version. Because this soldering iron is the same as the TS-100 from mini so you can update it to the latest version available at the official mini website. If you prefer to have a better firmware version you can flash it with the Ralim, you can find this firmware at the GitHub. I tried this firmware and I’m really happy with it, allowing much more configurations, many more features, like boost mode for example if you have your soldering iron configured to 320°C as the soldering temperature and if you need to boost the temperature quickly you can push the first button and it will heat up to 420°C or the value that you configured, once you release the button it will return to the normal temperature. At the configurations menu you can adjust everything for example timers, temperatures, level of detailed information on the screen during the soldering process and rotation of the screen. Because the SainSmart Pro32 has a gyro built-in you can choose the screen rotation to be an automatic process, this allow you to change the soldering iron from the left hand to the right one and the screen orientation is always turned to you.
With so many nice features this product is now my main soldering iron, I absolutely love him and I know that if you have opportunity to have one also you will share the same opinion. After flashing the Ralim firmware I felt that this SainSmart Pro32 is the best soldering iron available at the moment for the price he costs. I don’t know about the durability that he will have but the portability, the speed that the tip get’s hot, the ability to reduce temperature on standby and once you pick up again he starts to heat up again is phenomenal. This soldering iron now goes with me every time I fly, it already saved me on some races that I had to change burned ESC’s and change VTX, I only had to plug to a LiPo battery and it’s ready to rock and roll.
I also recorded a video showing the soldering iron with a quick unbox and also the custom firmware.
For better experience with the SainSmart Pro32 I bought some extra parts like the iron stand which is developed specially by e-design for this soldering iron with a extremely good quality and like the cable to connect it to the lipo battery with a DC5525 plug on one side and a XT60 on the other side.
At last I want to thank to SainSmart for giving me the opportunity to test this soldering iron.
Official link for SainSmart Pro32 2017 Upgraded Version: SainSmart Pro32 2017 Upgraded
Official link for SainSmart Pro32 Normal Version: SainSmart Pro32
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