Cheap USB soldering iron tested

I have earlier written about USB soldering iron and DIY USB soldering iron. The question is that how useful they are because of the limited power available from USB port (just few watts). The maximum power you can get from normal USB 2.0 port is only 2.5W (5V 500mA), but some special “charge” USB ports can supply more current.

I happened to come by a cheap DANIU Portable USB Powered Mini 5V 8W Electric Soldering Iron With LED Indicator product that I decided to test. The product was in sale for around 4 Euros (now costs US$ 7.40 / €6.27).

At the first view this looks like a very good solution to have always a soldering iron with you.  It’s very light-weighted. And the price is really amazing (especially around 4 Euros sale price). It’s rated at 8W, or 5V1.75A, so not very powerful, and a small tip. Doesn’t take a lot of time for the iron the heat up. This soldering iron can be powered from any suitable USB charger that gives enough power. It work with USB battery pack with enough current output capacity.

Package Includes :
1 x Soldering Iron
1 x USB Cable
1 x Metal Stand

This DANIU Portable USB Powered sodering iron claims to be a fully functioning USB powered soldering iron that heats up quickly. Product page claims that heating up in less than 15 seconds and cooling down in less than 30 seconds.

Specification :

Material: Plastic Handle + Soldering Iron
Input: USB 5V
Power: 8W
Highest Heating Temperature: 380-400℃
Heating Time: <15 seconds
Cooling Time: <30 seconds
Auto Shut Off: 25 second idle
LED Indicator: Yes
Soldering Iron Length: Approx. 16.2cm/ 6.38″
Cable Length: Approx. 150cm/ 59.06″

Very well packaged, looking good and in good condition. work very well.

Aaa

This as a nice USB soldering iron.The soldering iron works as promised. It heats up quickly and turns off when not used for some time. Touch the metal point again to re-start work. Sightly touching the metal point on the body of the soldering pen, then the LED light will be lightened up and job can be started. If leaving the item unused for 25 seconds, the LED light will be turned off and the pen will get into sleeping mode

To power it you need to have powerful enough USB power supply (an give up to 1.5A).
The soldering iron works as promised. It heats up quickly and turns off when not used for some time. The iron heats to around 440 degrees Celsius. I got the soldering iron at a campaign for around 4 Euros, and at this price it was really a bargain.
I used the soldering iron to solder a small electronics kit. It worked well for making normal component soldering to circuit board. Low power showed that it was not powerful enough to solder largest connectors to ground plane… Anyway useful soldering iron that works better than I expected from low 8W power.

Results of soldering electronics kit with this soldering iron:

Note on USB chargers: Check that you use USB charger that does not have too much leakage current from mains to the USB output, because the soldering iron tip is in electrical contact with soldering iron tip. Too much leakage current can damage sensitive components on the circuit board you are soldering.

Similar soldering irons that I have are sold with different brands and different prices. I believe those different brands are basically the same product sold with different name. Here is a video about one USB soldering iron similar what I have: USB Soldering Iron – (13sec heat up)

You might be also interested what is inside this device. I did not have to take it apart myself, because bigclivedotcom has already done that in USB soldering iron test and teardown with schematic video that reveals that this was built around classic 555 timer IC:

End verdict: This DANIU Portable USB Powered Mini 5V 8W Electric Soldering Iron With LED Indicator works well and does that it promises. If you are looking for a small low power USB powered soldering iron, this is a product worth to consider.

1 Comment

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Upgrading A USB Soldering Iron!
    https://hackaday.com/2017/12/04/upgrading-a-usb-soldering-iron/

    Seeing the popularity of the TS-100 soldering iron, GitHub user [ole00] found himself desirous of a few of its features, but was put off by its lack of a power supply. What is a hacker to do? Find a cheaper option, and hack it into awesomeness.

    [ole00] stumbled across the inexpensive ZD-20U and — despite a handful (sorry!) of issues — saw potential: it’s compact, lightweight, and powered via a USB power cable.

    ZD-20UM: modified ZD-20U soldering iron
    http://mujweb.cz/molej/zd20um/

    Then I came across a cheap USB powered soldering iron ZD-20U which at the first glance looked more like a toy rather than a real soldering iron. I had a look at the youtube video by ‘bigclivedotcom’ who seemed to be impressed by the capabilities of the iron, he took it apart, described the principles of how it operates and also produced a schematic. Another video made by ‘TheStuffMade’ measured the heat temperature on the iron tip, and found it was too high (360 deg. C) to be used for electronics projects.

    In the first video you can see the PCB of the iron and I’ve noticed the 555 chip uses SOIC8 package exactly the same as the ATtiny13a MCU I used on my ORB board. Then – inspired by the TS-100 iron – the idea struck me: let’s replace the 555 IC by the ATtiny13 and control the heat temperature by the tiny MCU.

    Let’s list the new firmware / modded features:

    uses ATtiny13a MCU to control the iron operation
    3 heat modes: Full, Medium, Low and an Off/Sleep state.
    switch between the heat modes by pressing a button (not the flaky metal stud!)
    visual indication of the heat modes via LEDs:
    Full : Red + Green
    Medium : Red + Dimmed Green
    Low : Red
    Off/Sleep : no LED is on
    heat modes/temperatures are user configurable via heat profile. Lower value of the heat profile means lower temperatures for Medium and Low mode.
    timer to turn off the heat after configurable amount of seconds.
    timeouts are user configurable via timeout profiles. Lower value of the timeout profile means shorter time to switch to Off/Sleep mode.
    Value 1: 32 seconds, value 2: 64 seconds, value 3: 96 secs, value 4: 128 secs
    LED indication (blinking) that the heat will be turned off shortly. During that time pressing the button snoozes the the heat-off timer. The bigger the timeout profile value the longer the indication time.
    Value 1: 10 seconds, value 2: 12 seconds, value 3: 14 secs, value 4: 16 secs
    sleep profile allows the iron to completely turn off and cool down (value 1) or to get asleep to draw some current every 18 seconds (value 2). Sleeping saves some energy while keeping the iron hot. It also tricks some ‘smart’ power banks not to auto turn off. Default value of the sleep profile is 1 (full off).
    enter profile selection / configuration by holding the button pressed for 5 seconds right after the power-up.
    RED blinks R times to indicate which profile is being set:
    1 RED blink -> the heat profile
    2 RED blinks -> the timeout profile
    3 RED blinks -> the sleep profile

    Reply

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