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.


  1. Jerry M says:

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I believe that you ought to publish more
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    To the next! Cheers!!

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USB soldering iron test and teardown with schematic

    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.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    3 Easy-to-Make USB Hack Tools – Just 5 mins

    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)

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    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

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How to make a MINI USB POWERED SOLDERING IRON with Just 5 mins – (10sec heat up)

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

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Build Your Own Portable Arduino Soldering Iron

    At this point you’ve almost certainly seen one of these low-cost portable soldering irons, perhaps best exemplified by the TS100, a pocket-sized temperature controlled iron that can be had for as little as $50 USD from the usual overseas suppliers. Whether or not you’re personally a fan of the portable irons compared to a soldering station, the fact remains that these small irons are becoming increasingly popular with hackers and makers that are operating on a budget or in a small workspace.

    Believing that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, [Electronoobs] has come up with a DIY portable soldering iron that the adventurous hacker can build themselves. Powered by an ATMega328p pulled out of an Arduino Nano, if offers the same software customization options of the TS100 but at a considerably lower price. Depending on where you source your components, you should be able to build one of these irons for as little as $15.

    DIY soldering iron- Arduino based

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USB-C-PD Soldering Pen for Weller RT Tips

    Small and powerfull controlling unit powerd from USB-C-PD

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Homemade Magic Makes The Metcal Go

    Entering the electronics workplace one comes across the next level of quality soldering iron: high end HAKKOs, Metcals, JBCs, and the like.

    [SergeyMax] seems to have had this problem. He bit the bullet, figured out how the Metcal works, and made his own base. This is no mean feat as a Metcal might look like a regular iron but it’s significantly more complex than ye olde firestarter. The Metcal magic is based on a oscillating magnetic fields (notice the handpiece is connected via BNC?) interacting with a tip bearing a special coating. In the presence of the changing field the tip heats up until it hits its Curie temperature, at which point it stops interacting with the magnetic field and thus stops heating.

    Reverse engineering a high-end soldering station

    it becomes clear that the resonant frequencies of the circuits are slightly shifted away from 13.56 MHz. The thing is, the closer the frequency to the self-resonant one, the less voltage is needed to power the HF generator and the higher is its current consumption.

    In case the cartridge is replaced or removed, the overvoltage can surge to 300-350V, but the authors of the original design chose not to bother with sophisticated protection

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Solder Ninja Dabbles In USB Power Arcana

    Solder Ninja

    A 40W Portable USB-Powered Soldering Iron for Makers and Professionals compatible with Weller RT Tips

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Your TS80 – Music Player

    By now most readers will be familiar with the Miniware TS100 and TS80 soldering irons, compact and lightweight temperature controlled soldering tools that have set a new standard at the lower-priced end of the decent soldering iron market. We know they have an STM32 processor, a USB interface, and an OLED display, and that there have been a variety of alternative firmwares produced for them.

    Take a close look at the TS80, and you’ll find the element connector is rather familiar. It’s a 3.5 mm jack plug, something we’re more used to as an audio connector.

    [Joric], who has created a music player firmware for the little USB-C iron.


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