After nearly a decade of availability, Smart Tweezers has become a worldly recognizable alternative tool for evaluating and testing Surface Mount Technology (SMT). Siborg Systems Inc. has compiled a brief history and side-by-side comparison of the two most popular models, the ST-5 and the LCR-Reader.
The first prototype was a set of hand-made tweezers in a hand-carved housing that was powered by a AA alkaline battery. A new design environment and evolution of components brought upon a completely redesigned device, similar to the design of the newest models. The ST-1 was released in 2004.
In 2007 the ST-2 model was released featuring replaceable gold-plated tweezer tips, improving the lifespan of the device. It also featured better insulated handles resulting in higher accuracy.
The ST-3 was released in 2009. The main difference being a rechargeable battery via induction. The new battery was introduced to address a problem with housing being damaged each time the old batteries needed replacement. Though this model had a slightly higher price, many assembly lines embraced the ability to recharge the battery.
In 2011 the ST-5 model was released. This model features the highest basic accuracy yet, and a Li-Ion battery rechargeable via micro-USB connection.
The ST-5 remains the leading device among professionals and companies alike, though the varying price between $340 and $700 (depending on region, re-seller, etc.) is too high for non-professionals and hobbyists.
Siborg released the ST-5L in 2012, as a budget model of the popular ST-5. This model was slightly less expensive, and the market was found unchanged.
Siborg began working on the LCR-Reader, released in September of 2013. The new LCR-Reader, which was prototyped using 3D printing, is offered at half the price of previous Smart Tweezers. At 1 oz., the LCR-Reader is half the weight, and is offered at almost half the price. It features a Li-Ion battery and a one-button navigation. The design maximizes operation simplicity while still offering a high basic accuracy of 1%.
Unlike LCR-Reader, the ST-5 arrives with a calibration certificate which is traceable to the National Institute of Standards, required by all major high-tech companies. It also offers the highest basic accuracy in the line, of 0.2%, and various features that are not available on the LCR-Reader.
Smart Tweezers ST-5 features:
-Automatic LCR and ESR measurements
-Basic accuracy of 0.2%
-NIST Traceable Calibration Certificate
-Variable Test Signal up to 1 Vrms
-Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
-2 oz. weight
-Automatic LCR and ESR measurements
-Basic accuracy of 1%
-Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
-1 oz. weight
-Fixed test signal of 0.5 Vrms
-No calibration certificate
-No diode tests
-No component sorting
-No tolerance Check
On Monday, December 2nt, 2013, Siborg Systems Inc. will be offering the popular devices at a discount to celebrate Cyber Monday.
The sale will begin at 12 am Eastern Time, and will end at 11:59 pm.
To order, click a link below, or order by phone or fax
In the United States
Siborg Systems Inc. has decided to put Smart Tweezers and LCR-Reader on sale on November 29th, 2013. The sale will start at 12 am Eastern Time, and will end at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.
Orders for the sale can be found at the respective links:
or by phone at 519-888-9906
or fax: 519-725-9522
Germany’s KIT and USA’s Bokar International are taking the LCR-Reader and ST5 to Produktronika in Germany.
The first few batches of the new LCR-Reader have made their way to Bokar International in the USA, Van Device Ltd. in Japan, Sanata-Tech in Russia and Advance Tech in India.
“We are not sure how popular the new device will be. It is always hard to predict the market. But we are hearing good responses from our European distributors and therefore we are going to presetn LCR-Reader at Produktronika in Munich in November. Meet us at KIT Kroschewski Industrie Technik GmbH, Booth number 532, Hall A4, Messe Müchen, to see a quick LCR-Reader and Smart Tweezers ST-5 demo.” says Czes Ruskowski, the CEO at Bokar International.
Sanata-Tech, based in St.Petersburg, has joined Siborg Systems Inc. in marketing LCR-Reader and the ST5 model in Customs Union countries, including Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Following a summit in Minsk on October 29, 2013, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan announced their intention of forming the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, and opened the invitation to join to Turkey, India and Syria to join the alliance, further expanding past former Soviet Union countries.
Sanata-Tech is an Eastern European supplier of soldering equipment, electrical test equipment and workplace furniture and hand tools.
“A major portion of our clients are electronic companies dealing with Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).” says the CEO of Sanata-Tech, Natalya Petrova, “Any person using soldering equiment finds Smart Tweezes LCR-meter very efficient in testing and characterization of Surface Mount Devices and it is an indispensable tool for PCB debugging and repair.”
This new partnership offers further accessibility to Smart Tweezers and LCR-Reader to customers in the Eurasian Economic Union.
Smart Tweezers ST5 and New LCR-Reader Now Available in Vietnam from Indochina Equipment and Accessories JSC
Siborg Systems Inc. and Indochina Equipment & Accessories Joint Stock Company, in Hanoi, Vietnam, has agreed to join efforts in offering both ST5 and LCR-Reader models of Smart Tweezers in Southeastern Japan.
Indochina JSC is a known supplier in Southeastern Asia, specializing in supplying equipment and spare parts for various industries using heavy machinery.
“In a modern world, all machines use Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) with a high density of Surface Mount Devices (SMDs),” says the CEO of Indochina JSC, Mr. Tam, “A few of our clients approached us with a request to procure Smart Tweezers LCR-meter, which is an indispensable tool for PCB repair.”
Both devices are now available for order.
Siborg Systems Inc. has released LCR-Reader, a new member of Smart Tweezers LCR-meter family. The new device is half the weight of previous Smart Tweezers models at 1 oz. and a lower cost. It is offered at introductory price until October 31, 2013. To order please follow LCR-Reader Sale link.
The new design keeps up with Smart Tweezers tradition of an accurate LCR-meter merged with a set of tweezers. The LCR-Reader is smaller and lighter than previous models, while still maintaining a 1% basic accuracy.
Before the release, the new device was showing variations while trying to reach the 1% basic accuracy objective. This problem was fixed by calibrating each unit using the Calibration Fixture.
“We are very happy with the new device. Customer satisfaction is our main priority.” said Michael Obrecht, the Director of Research and Development at Siborg, “Therefore we took additional measures to ensure high measurement accuracy of the LCR-Reader before we start mass production of this model. Basic accuracy of 1% was our target and we eventually have been able to achieve it.”
The most obvious differences between the LCR-Reader and previous Smart Tweezers, from first glance, is the size and the new high-contrast LCD screen. Still available are such features as;
- automatic Capacitance, Resistance and Inductance measurements
- ESR measurements
- 1% basic accuracy
- ergonomic, one-handed design, now with only 1 oz. weight
- one button navigation
- test signal amplitude of 0.5 Vrms
- automatically selected test frequency
- Li-Ion battery with micro-USB charging (cable not included)
The one handed navigation button allows users to easily switch between measurement modes, from Automatic to Inductance, Resistance, Capacitance and ESR modes.
The photo above demonstrates the new screen. AM indicates Automatic Mode, ‘L’ indicates that the component under test is an inductor, the value 104.8 uH is the main impedance value, ‘Rs’ indicates parasitic series resistance of the inductor. 10 kHz is the test frequency being used. The bottom right hand corner provides an indication of battery power remaining.
While creating a device with a lower cost, some of the features found on Smart Tweezers had to be left out, including; semi-automatic offset subtraction, component sorting, open circuit detection and continuity and diode testing.
The new LCR-Reader still offers the same functionality and easy-to-use experience of previous Smart Tweezers, but the new upgrades will maximize these features, while offering a lower-priced device.
The Smart Tweezers Comparison Table has been updated to provide a side-by-side comparison of previous Smart Tweezers and the new LCR-Reader.
With the approaching targeted release date of the new LCR-Reader, Siborg Systems has to review the firmware to ensure that the devices are working at their best.
After the first few hundred models were produced, inconsistencies between each device reaching the projected 1% basic accuracy. This problem is due to a variation of component values on different PCBs, which Siborg found is easily solved by individually calibrating each and every PCB, using a special calibration fixture.
“Customer satisfaction is our main priority,” says the Director of Research and Development at Siborg Systems Inc., Michael Obrecht, “Therefore we would like to ensure a high measurement accuracy of the LCR-Reader before we start mass production of this popular LCR-meter of Smart Tweezers family. Basic accuracy of 1% is our target and we will do our best to achieve it.”
The new, lighter and cheaper model of Smart Tweezers LCR-meter, the LCR-Reader is scheduled to be available this summer.
The first batch of the new LCR-Reader, the lightest and cheapest model in the Smart Tweezers LCR-meter line, has been manufactured, and begun to replace the ST5L model of Smart Tweezers. Now that the LCR-Reader has begun production, the ST5L model production has stopped in June 2013.
First shown to the public last April, the new LCR-Reader is very simliar to Smart Tweezers in use and function. The most obvious upgrades made to the device are the new high-contrast LED display, as opposed to the previous model with LCD screens. The weight is only 1 oz., half of previous Smart Tweezer models. A one-button navigation makes switching between modes such as Automatic, Inductance, Resistance, Capacitance, and ESR as easy as a push of a button. The device features a high basic accuracy of 1%, the test frequency is automatically selected depending on the type of component, and all measurmeents are done with 0.5 Vrms test signal amplitude.
Features on LCR-Reader;
-Automatic LCR and ESR measurment
-Basic accuracy of 1%
-Best Range Selection
-Li-Ion battery and USB connector
-1 oz. (30 grams) weight
Some features available on previous models, but not on LCR-Reader;
-semi-automatic offset subtraction
-diode and continuity testing
-open circuit test
Following the release of the new LCR-Reader, a lighter and more cost effective model in the Smart Tweezers LCR-meter line, Siborg has decided to start phasing out production of the ST5L model, the “budget” model of Smart Tweezers.
The LCR-Reader is in the final stages before production, with small changes being made to the mold, packaging and PCB, the device has an intended release date of July 1st, 2013.
Like Smart Tweezers, the LCR-Reader has a fully automatic mode, where the device automatically determines what type of component is under evaluation and measures respectively.
Fig 2. shows the device during an Inductance measurement, displayed as ‘L’,
indicates that the device is measuring in Automatic Mode, the parasitics are also accounted for, displayed here with Rs, 10kHz is the test frequency being used. 108.4 uH is the main impedance value. A small battery icon shows the remaining charge of the Li-Ion battery.
Unfortunately, to be able to offer LCR-Reader at a significant cost reduction, some features available on previous Smart Tweezers LCR-meter models had to be left out on the LCR-Reader, including;
-Diode and Continuity testing
A short video introduction of the new LCR-Reader is available on youtube.