DIY USB soldering iron

I just yesterday wrote about commercially make USB soldering iron product. But how building a DIY USB soldering iron?

USB Soldering Iron article shows how to convert an inexpensive battery powered Soldering Iron into a slick USB powered soldering iron. The conversion idea is to cut USB cable and wire it to the battery contacts inside the iron (that is normally operated with 4.5v battery power).

USB Soldering Iron – Powering Stuff w/USB Part 1 article shows another similar conversion project from battery power to USB power.

Converting the HobbyKing Battery Soldering Iron to use LIPO or USB video shows clearly how you can convert a battery powered soldering iron to use USB power or LIPO battery.

This looks interesting project because I have years old Biltema 20-388 battery powered soldering iron, that looks pretty much same as the soldering iron on the video (my soldering iron is just colored red). The specifications for this soldering iron I have is 6W power and 4.5V operating voltage. Looks like a good candidate for modification.

Still one issue to think about: The soldering iron tip on this kind of soldering irons is in direct contact with negative power terminal. This means that if your USB power source has any considerable leakage current (like on some laptops and some mobile phone chargers), that can potentially damage sensitive electronics that you try to solder. So you have been warned.

8 Comments

  1. Jerry M says:

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I believe that you ought to publish more
    about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo
    subject but generally folks don’t discuss such issues.

    To the next! Cheers!!

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USB soldering iron test and teardown with schematic
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-8D5t6TJYU

    When I bought this I was very sceptical that anything powered from a USB port could actually produce enough heat to solder. But here it is, tested and reverse engineered for your viewing pleasure.
    Note the warning about using it from plug-in USB chargers. Most ungrounded versions have significant capacitively coupled mains leakage on the output that will be present on the irons tip and could damage some overly sensitive components. In delicate situations it’s best to power the unit from a decent chunky USB power bank.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    3 Easy-to-Make USB Hack Tools – Just 5 mins
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z1X8M5y2Dw

    3 USB Hacks Tools in this video you will watch: Smart USB Foam Cutter, Super Cool USB Fan and USB Soldering Iron (10sec heat up)

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    60 Watt USB Soldering Iron Does it with Type-C
    http://hackaday.com/2017/02/24/60-watt-usb-soldering-iron-does-it-with-type-c/

    Some time back we ran a post on those cheap USB soldering irons which appeared to be surprisingly capable considering they were really under powered, literally. But USB Type-C is slated to change that. Although it has been around for a while, we are only now beginning to see USB-C capable devices and chargers gain traction.

    [Julien Goodwin] shows us how he built a USB-C powered soldering iron that doesn’t suck.

    He is able to drive a regular Hakko iron at 20 V and 3 Amps, providing it with 60 W of input power from a USB-C charger. The Hakko is rated for 24 V operating voltage, so it is running about 16% lower power voltage. But even so, 60 W is plenty for most cases. The USB-C specification allows up to 5 A of current output in special cases, so there’s almost 100 W available when using this capability.

    Being such a versatile system, we are likely to see USB-C being used in more devices in the future. Which means we ought to see high power USB Soldering Irons appearing soon. But at the moment, there is a bit of a “power” struggle between USB-C and Qualcomm’s competing “Quick Charge” (QC) technology.

    Making a USB powered soldering iron that doesn’t suck
    http://laptop006.livejournal.com/59591.html

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How to make a MINI USB POWERED SOLDERING IRON with Just 5 mins – (10sec heat up)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaJ1fW57CII

    Materials: – Handle Grip, USB Cable, Copper Wire 2.5mm, Nichrome Wire 0,1mm, Heat Treatment Fiberglass Sleeving

    Reply

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