JBC HDE soldering station repair/refurbishment (WHL #86)

Do you own one of those very expensive JBC soldering stations?
A damaged or defective one, maybe with a display (with salt water ingress) like this?

Or an abused case with pinky-sized holes and damaged inner wiring like this? (after a lot of cleaning!)

Or a smashed stand with dislocated tip holder (and several 3D printed replacements that all shattered like the original one after hard impacts on the floor) like this and this?

Or just a soldering iron with broken wiring near the moulded handle, caused by people ripping apart the bend relief and then folding it even tighter because they can…like this?

Also, do you have the

just thinking about throwing the soldering station away?

Well – don’t!
There’s replacement parts available! And, contrary to the initial purchase price of the station, those parts are actually affordable!

Here’s the thing: I got this scrapped JBC HDE, which is actually the 250W top-of-the-line base station for single-tip tools, and decided it could be worth spending the money. Sure, those parts (300€!) were twice of what a very reasonable Ersa icon pico (new & ready to use, including tip) goes for these days, but it’s also way less than a new HDE, which is priced well beyond hobbyist level. Cleaning (oh the cleaning ), repairing, figuring out which parts are needed and finally sourcing them also accounts to easily over ten hours, so not really feasible in a business environment where a new HDE bundle is ordered within an hour. But I’d say this is the only chance of getting my hands on such an excitingly powerful soldering station at 1/3 to 1/4 of the MSRP (“may show signs of usage”), so I went for it…

Long story short, Batronix is the national supplier of JBC parts (among others), so I worked with them to order the things I cannot (reasonably) fix myself. It took quite a while and they don’t really reacted to my initial inquiry, but in the end it worked out fine. Batronix was also the first reseller of Rigol gear in Germany, so this is where my DS1054Z originated from in very early 2015. Time flies…

Most importantly, the plastic holder of the HD-SE 223416 stands is available as a replacement part. Unfortunately the massive metal ring is also part of it, so it is way more expensive than it needs to be (the metal thing won’t break on impact, but the plastic one does!), but at least it can be ordered. The alternative would be an entire HD-SE or HD-SF, with the SE currently being phased out. As far as I understand JBC tool stands, they’re all using the same cast metal base and just differ in the ring that actually holds the tool – so this is probably where the spare part grouping with the fragile and the optional parts comes from. Anyway, a full HD-SF is a 250€ part (oof!) – the ring itself can be had for 34€. Alternatively, I do have some 3D models resembling it, but of course any PLA, ABS or PETG part wouldn’t be heat resistant on tip contact…

One more thing on the assembly of, well, the entire JBC product: It is beyond me why they would use self-tapping screws. As can be seen below, the ring uses self-tappers with a sort-of premoulded, quadratic thread in the part, and even the station is pieced together with self-tappers into plastic. Jeez, it’s a 1000€+ tool, can’t you use metal inserts for plastic parts or regular machine screws for metal ones? Why the penny-pinching?

Replacing the forcibly removed ring contact is pretty easy, it’s just adding another thin M3 cable lug to the blue (center) contact after carefully routing it through the case. The ring then sits directly onto the screw, ideally connecting it to the metal ring without touching the metal base. The cable lug with the green wire is mounted to the tool holder itself (likely grounded). If both pins are electrically connected, the tool enters standby. This is also a great test if you’ve pinched the cable somewhere :)

And as for the case: Once you’ve got the part and made everything inside work again – just route all flat flex cables so that they don’t bend over or interfere with other components, position front and back plates to the correct notches, and swap the cover. This was actually the cheapest part at ~17€, should be an universal fit for HD/DD/DM/JT/TE/04 units (according to the bill), and also uses cheap self tapper that scream “don’t do this often”.

Does it work again?

It sure does…that’s the former mounting spot of an Amphenol 51939-072LF connector on an eight layer server board. 92 pins, each rated for 6 amps. Flooded the area with solder, heated up to 350°C (the station can do 500…), and then removed by the simple pull with a pair of pliers. The HDE is amazing!*

*(but also large, noisy and their smallest tip, C470 series only, is 2mm in size. So unfortunately no direct replacement for my Ersa pico, but a great addition to the inventory)

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