The youtube video used to have captions to describe the meaning
of all the menu settings. However, the captions have disappeared
for unknown reason. I've now gathered operating instructions here.
You can also refer to the menu state diagram further below to help
navigation in the menus.
The basic usage of the soldering station is very simple. When you power it up, it heats up to previously used temperature. You can change the temperature by rotating the knob. The station can be put to standby by pressing the knob.
There is setback mode as in original Weller station. It means
that temperature is reduced to a lower value to preserve tip life
if the station is not used for a while. There is a reed switch on
the handle and a magnet in the stand. When the iron is on the
stand for a predefined time, it goes to reduced setback
temperature. You can revert back to normal operating temperature
by taking the iron from stand or pressing the knob.
If the station is unused for a longer period, it goes into
standby mode. In standby mode the heating is completely off.
Normal operation can be resumed by taking the iron from the stand
or pressing the knob.
Basic setup parameters can be adjusted in setup menu. These parameters have all similar function as the genuine Weller setup parameters. You can enter the setup menu by a long press of the knob, approximately one second.
'bAcc' or Back exits the setup menu and resumes normal
'SEtb' or Setback allows to set the setback temperature. Default value is 250ºC.
'dELA' or Delay sets the setback time delay in minutes. You can also set the delay to zero, then the iron goes immediately to standby when put to stand. You can also disable the setback feature by turning the delay setting to maximum 'oFF'. Default value is 5 minutes.
'PoFF' or Power off delay sets power off delay in minutes. Also this setting can be set to zero or off. However it is not recommended to set to zero because repeated cooling down and heating up just puts more stress to the heating element. Default value is 30 minutes.
'oFSE' or Offset allows to fine tune the iron temperature. If you have a soldering iron temperature meter or the Weller calibration tip, you can correct the temperature offset here. If you don't have any means to measure actual iron temperature, leave this setting to the default value of 0ºC.
'Unit' sets temperature display unit, either Celsius or Fahrenheit. Default is Celsius.
'StEP' sets temperature adjustment step size. It can be set to 1ºC or 5ºC. When in Fahrenheit, the coarse step is 9ºC.
'diAG' or Diagnostics enters the diagnostics and advanced settings menu level
The diagnostics and advanced settings menu contains diagnostics
information which can be helpful in debugging your newly built
soldering station. It also contains some advanced settings which
are not available in genuine Weller stations.
'bAcc' exits the diagnostics menu and returns to setup
'coLd' shows the cold point compensation temperature. This is the temperature measured from inside the iron handle, close to the 3.5 mm jack. This temperature should be close to room temperature if you have just the handle connected without the tip (and handle is otherwise cool, that is, not used for some time). This temperature will rise during normal use, maybe up to 50ºC, depending on handle type, target tip temperature and ambient temperature. If the temperature sensor is not connected (e.g. 'poor' mode is enabled), the cold point temperature defaults to 30ºC.
'rEF' allows to fine tune the PIC16F1788 internal voltage reference. The internal reference can have initial tolerance of up to ±5%, although I haven't ever seen nowhere near that big errors. When you enter this menu setting, the reference voltage is constantly on. You can use a multimeter to measure the reference voltage from the test point on the Weller driver PCB. Then enter the measured voltage to this menu setting. The temperature calculations will then take the reference error into account. Note that the reference voltage is available on the test point only when this menu setting is active.
'tyPE' shows the connected tip type which the Weller driver has identified. Shows 'WMrP' for the soldering pen, 'WMrt' for the soldering tweezers and 'nc' if nothing is connected. The tip type is recognized based on the size of resistor in parallel with the reed switch inside the handle. If the iron is on stand when powering up, the resistance can't be measured because the reed switch is shorting the resistor. In this case, the tip type is recognized by briefly pulsing current to heater 2, and tip type is recognized based on the response.
'tc 1' and 'tc 2' show unfiltered thermocouple temperatures. Thermocouple 1 is the WMRP thermocouple or WMRT right tweezer temperature. Thermocouple 2 is the WMRT left tweezer temperature.
'dc 1' and 'dc 2' show duty cycles of heating elements. Duty cycle 1 means again WMRP or WMRT right tweezer heater duty cycle. Duty cycle 2 is WMRT left tweezer.
'idLE' allows to set a duty cycle value below which is considered as 'idle'. This is an alternative way of detecting that the iron is not used. You can use this e.g. if you don't have the magnet on stand or the reed switch on the handle. If the duty cycle is below the value set here for duration of setback delay, it goes to setback temperature. It also further goes into standby if the duty cycle still stays below this setting for the duration of power off delay. The station will also revert back to normal temperature from the setback temperature if the duty cycle increases higher than this setting. However, if the setback temperature is very low, it might not be possible to get high enough duty cycle for resuming. Also from standby you need to return to normal operation by pressing the knob, since there the duty cycle will always be 0 because heater is off. You can look at typical duty cycles in 'dc 1' menu during soldering and inactivity to help selecting a suitable setting here. If the components you are soldering are very small, this method probably doesn't work since the duty cycle is small all the time. You can set this setting to 0 or 'oFF' to disable this feature, which is the default setting.
'dCLi' sets a maximum duty cycle for the heaters. Setting a higher value gives you faster heat-up time and more heating power, but downside is reduced heating element life. A smaller value might increase the heater element life but heating is slower and soldering of large parts becomes more difficult. The default duty cycle is 58% for 50 Hz mains setting and 50% for 60 Hz mains setting. When the supply voltage to Weller driver is 12.0 V, the 58% duty cycle gives very similar heat-up speed as the genuine Weller WD1M, WD2M and WR3M stations. It is highly recommended to leave this setting to default value. However, if you need more power to solder something big and heavy, you can briefly increase this setting at your own risk.
'Poor' allows to enable or disable 'poor mode'. This mode allows to use a poor mans handle, i.e. just the 3,5 mm stereo jack. When enabled, the station assumes that a WMRP is always connected, reed switch is closed and cold point temperature is 30ºC. Despite the name of this mode, it actually works really well and is completely adequate for hobby users. See more info from Q&A section on how to connect the 3,5 mm stereo jack in this mode. The default setting is poor mode off.
'FrEq' sets the mains power frequency. Set this to either 50 Hz or 60 Hz, whichever is used in your country. This setting affects the temperature measurement timing and filtering. I have noticed that mains frequency noise coupling to iron cable is the most common cause for unstable temperature readings from the tip. The thermocouple produces a tiny, millivolt level voltage which can be easily ruined by noise coupled to signal. The mains frequency can be very effectively eliminated by sampling the temperature at twice the mains frequency, and averaging two consecutive measurements. It doesn't matter that the sampling is not actually synced to mains frequency, as the two measurements will cancel out the error, assuming that it has sinusoidal or otherwise symmetric shape (which it usually has). Default setting is 50 Hz.
'vErS' shows the firmware version.
The thermocouple inside the WMRT and WMRP tips seems to be quite
close to D-type thermocouple. On firmware versions up to 0.901 I
was using lookup table based on D-type thermocouple. On newer
firmwares the lookup table is calibrated using Weller K1101
calibration tip. Calibrated TC voltage vs. temperature is shown in
graph below. You can download the data
in excel format from here.
Q: How to connect WMRP / RT tip with 3,5 mm stereo jack?
A: See WMRP pinout from here. Connect sleeve to 'GND'. Connect ring to 'TC1'. Connect tip to 'HT1'. Use FW v0.6 or newer, enable 'poor' mode from diag menu.
Q: The WMRT tip makes noise! Is this normal?
A: It seems that the heating elements of WMRT make noise when power is switched on or off rapidly. Earlier firmware versions used to periodically pulse current to heating element 2 to recognize tip type. This caused constant buzz with WMRT even when in standby. FW 0.6 and newer recognizes tip type from resistor in parallel with reed switch so the noise is reduced. Original Weller stations drive heating elements using AC and zero point switching. So the current to tip rises and falls slowly, that's why they don't make noise.
Q: The temperature reading is not stable like in the Youtube
video, it flickers like there's noise in temperature readout.
A: Most likely some external disturbance is coupled to the iron cable. The output of the thermocouple is only some millivolts so it is quite sensitive. WMRT is more sensitive because it has 2k resistor in series with thermocouple while WMRP has 1k. Especially mains frequency seems to couple to the thermocouple line. Starting from firmware v0.6 there is special filtering against mains frequency noise. Temperature measurements are done at double the mains frequency interval, and two consecutive measurements are averaged. This effectively cancels any mains frequency noise. The diagnostics menu has a setting to select between 50 Hz and 60 Hz mains frequency, be sure to set it correctly. Another thing which may help is to connect the ground of the soldering station to mains ground. The noise might also originate from your power supply, so you can try to add capacitors at Weller driver supply voltage input or try different type of power supply.
Q: How can I program the PIC? There is nothing on the PCB to
connect the programmer!
A: See this page for more information on how to program the PIC in my projects.
Q: I have read and understood the PIC programming instructions
but I still can't program it. The programmer doesn't find the PIC!
A: The ICSP lines on this board are shared with the rotary encoder. On some encoders, the encoder can keep the one of the programming lines pulled down even when it is at detent position, where both switches should be open. Try to rotate the encoder to such position that neither PGD nor PGC are pulled to GND.
Q: I can only adjust the reference to one direction! Some of the
parameters show '-1' or other erroneous or garbage values!
A: These kind of issues seem to happen if the PIC is programmed with MPLAB IPE. By default, the MPLAB IPE doesn't seem to erase or program the data EEPROM. These kind of problems are fixed in firmware v0.9 and newer. All the parameters are checked at startup and if any of those are outside of valid range, all parameters are set to default values.
Q: Can I use the (rare) 24V version of the WMRP tip or WMRT
tweezers with this station?
A: Yes, it is possible. The voltage regulator IC3 needs to withstand 24V. You should use e.g. UA78M05CDCYR type given in BOM as alternative type. This has been tested to work.
kair.us/ projects/ weller_driver/page created 23.12.2015