I remember bringing my TS80 Soldering iron to my local hackspace the first time. I was part of the cool gang: all the RC-heads were looking at me with approval. The tool was the equivalent of the younger brother, good enough to be part of the gang, but nowhere powerful enough to spark envy in TS100 owners. This changes with MiniWare TS101
It was clear to me, that I had fought an uphill battle, each owner of TS100 would swear by it, boasting how easy it is to use a LiPo pack from their RC car to power it up, while I presented my moot arguments about the superiority of the USB-C and PD charging standard. The truth is: that none of us was ready to change our position and drop our favourite tool. RC heads had their TS100, TS80P was better for anyone else (after all, who else travels with LiPo packs).
This argument is now over thanks to MiniWare TS101. It brings everything I love about TS80P (USB-C port with PD charging) and marries it with a DC jack and high power specification. MiniWare TS101 offers 0-400℃ working temperatures and 45W performance when plugged into a USB-C PD charger or 65W coupled with a 24V DC power supply (2.8A>). The drawback – unlike the TS80P – the new soldering iron from MiniWare doesn’t support Quick Charge.
With everything else, it’s an extremely light, portable soldering iron with customisable firmware that everyone should consider getting.
My biggest complaint about the MiniWare TS101 is about tips. As a TS80/TS80P owner, I can’t use existing (3.5mm jack) tips with the new model. Owners of TS100 are in luck, as their old tips are compatible with this design. Anyone picking MiniWare TS101 as their first soldering iron won’t be facing this dilemma. As an added bonus, the tips for TS100 are much cheaper than the ones you can get for the TS80 series. I guess I’ll start a new collection.
Soldering with MiniWare TS101
All this translates to an even better soldering experience. MiniWare noticed that everyone was testing heats-up times, so included these in the manual for the argument’s sake. You can have your MiniWare TS101 ready in as little as 9s (30-300℃) or 6 seconds later if you are connected to a good USB-C charger. A small ring with anti-rollback features prevents the soldering iron from travelling across the table and burning down everything on its path – something that TS80 series irons were keen on doing.
You can put custom logos on it! The config file is still editable on PC – which lets you set defaults quickly and conveniently and you can create a bitmap image with your splash screen as long as you set it to 128x32px and name it:
LOGOIN.bmp. Connect your soldering iron to a PC via USB-C and drop the image over.
It’s too early to tell if MiniWare TS101 will support IronOS – some of the TS100 irons were not supported due to timeout issues caused by the main IC being changed, but I’m hopeful considering good support for TS80P.
If you need a default config file – here is the template:
It’s a matter of time before IronOS will become compatible with TS101 as well, so if you are into modifying your firmware to your heart’s content, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
I don’t know what kind of soldering you are into, but for my maker’s needs, MiniWare TS101 is ideal. Powerful enough to handle most of the jobs, while staying small and being extremely portable. It’s the soldering iron you need for your travel toolbox and desk with limited space.
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If I had to pick a single tool from MiniWare’s rich library I use the most, it’s the soldering iron. Until now, it was TS80P, moving forward it’s going to be MiniWare TS101 as it would be silly not to have your cake and eat it. It’s time to buy some TS100 tips and print a new carrying case. If you are looking for a soldering iron, honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of MiniWare’s offerings. MiniWare TS101 should be your default pick. Let me know what you think in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈 – See the transparency note for details.