Most welders on the market seem to fall into a few different categories. They provide a complete station to which the soldering iron, powered directly by the mains, or a soldering iron powered by direct current is connected. The Miniware TS1C occupies an interesting position here, as it has a station where you place the iron and adjust the temperature, as well as a fully cordless iron. It may sound too good to be true, but a recent review of Tom’s Hardware by (Les Pounder) seems to think it has real merit.
Behind the shiny exterior and marketing is a cordless soldering iron that uses a supercapacitor for power when not plugged into the station, and communication between the soldering iron and station is via Bluetooth. This way you can keep an eye on both the tip temperature and the remaining charge, which (Les) found enough to solder around 80 smaller joints, and the marketing claims it can solder 180 0805 sized SMD parts on a single charge.
The advantage of having a station is that it is the part that is connected to a power bank or wall wart, and the temperature adjustment is done by a thick dial. The station also provides a place for the welder between welding sessions, but in order to recharge the welder, the bands of metal near the front must be pushed into the holder to make contact. This also makes removing the iron from the holder with one hand not as easy as you might expect.
With the price of $125 for the TS1C, it raises a lot of questions about the target audience, when for the same price you can get a Hakko FX-888D (65 watts). What it wins over Hakko with the TS1C is the ability to power the station from USB-PD (45 watts) and the lack of a cable between the station and the iron. The TS1C also seems to have an unfortunate design flaw in that the tip of the hot iron has to go through melted bits of plastic and the fragile OLED screen permanently disfigures them, as (Les) discovered to his dismay.
Would you get a TS1C, or do you prefer a TS101, Pinecil or a mains powered station? Or do you prefer to roll your own?