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September 2, 2009 AT 11:34 am

USB powered soldering iron

Usb Soldering Iron
Usb Soldering Iron 2
USB powered soldering iron, this scares us a bit – beyond possibly damaging your computer we can’t imagine it has good thermal properties (but if someone has another point of view, post up in the comments). The most you can get out of a USB port is 5V * 1amp (yes you can get 1 amp before the fuse blows) so thats 5W. We usually suggest 25 W irons to prevent cold solder joints and lifting pads.


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12 Comments

  1. I especially like the way it looks very much like a cheap cigarette lighter. That way when it catches fire you won’t be totally surprised.

  2. Interesting concept, though. It could be (combined with Joshua’s comment) actually containing a liquid gas chamber, igniting via a spark generated by a high frequency up-converter (5V->3KV …).
    Or even simpler, a cheap chinese way to waist your money and kill your PC.

  3. “now includes an On-Off switch” — with features like that, you’d expect to pay department-store prices. But no, you get the whole “bad idea” package: the USB soldering iron, USB hot air rework station, and USB hair dryer for only $14.95!!! (plus S+H). Call now and you’ll receive, absolutely free, this USB car jump start kit!

  4. I really can’t imagine this being a good idea… but….

    http://www.getlofi.com/?p=1451

    It still seems like black magic to me. I didn’t even know there were battery powered irons other than the cold heat!

    If weller makes one I’d trust it to run from usb. However the… ahem… “other”… version… not so much.

    Minty boost testing would be fun though.

  5. actually, it’s just 0.5A if I understand correctly. (But I’ve seen devices that included Y-Cables, so one could use the power of more USB ports. [I don’t know… do the hubs have to provide every port with 0.5A or do the ports share the power? Also, the complex USB tree on many laptops makes this even more awkward.])

  6. @hn: only powered hubs give 0.5A per port. Otherwise all ports share the 0.5A that the hub draws form its port. This gets fun when you have 5 unpowered hubs daisy-chained together 🙂

  7. Could it be that the USB only charges an internal battery? I had a rechargeable soldering iron with repectable heat when I worked TV repair thirty-mumble years ago.

  8. WOW just WOW

  9. Some people are very skeptical about this product, however its pretty great. Nay-say all you want, but its the ONLY USB soldering Iron on the market and so far its been exceeding my expectations.

    There is no built in battery, the current is regulated by a controller built into the handle, so the USB power wires are running directly to the heating element. Chances of frying your ports are pretty slim.

    Having seen lots of cockeyed plastic gadgets from China in my life time I can proudly say that this is NOT one of them, everything fits perfectly together.

    Does anyone at Adafruit want to do a review of this? Let me know.

    –CM

  10. Oops, that should say, “the USB power wires are NOT running to the heating element.”

  11. I was totally skeptical this thing was gonna be anything but junk but I gotta say it actually frickin’ works! Need to try with a 9V since obviously I would rather not wreck a computer’s USB but for just testing it soldering some 24 gauge solid core I had lying around its working perfectly.

    Somewhere I have a Cold Heat buried deep in the back of forgotten drawer of failures and that thing is definitely worthless garbage – I couldn’t even get it to melt solder! I also have an over decade old Radio Shack butane that works, is a bit more portable than the Mega Power (great name, right?) since it doesn’t require the cable but it takes forever to heat up, the tip is rather large/blunt for tight spots, and frankly it only makes me wish it was my regular Weller WES51 or the old WTCPT I had before that.

    Having irregular but often enough need to go climb up a ladder to patch something and while dragging a desktop iron up there is not especially difficult it doesn’t fit nicely in a toolbelt or kitbag and with a few hours of testing this definitely has replaced the old rat shack gas one.

    It does have a cheap plastic feel and is extremely lightweight, but a stand isn’t really needed since it can lay flat keeping the tip off the surface. It’s rated at 800mA / 4-6W according to the packaging and obviously not gonna work on things that can sink a lot of heat – haven’t gotten to anything SMT yet either, since my primary use is 18+ gauge wire to wire connections, but the tip is very small and very tempting.

    Actually just finished up a project last week that meant soldering my old Boarduino to a protoboard so need to pick up a new one, and I definitely could see completing a kit with one. Long term? Remains to be seen, but so far it’s working good enough I was compelled to post a video on youtube.com since again, I was completely skeptical myself but for $20 was willing to take the chance, and it’s looking like it’ll work out –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYa3SIg15Hg

  12. “So now when you are trying to repair the electronics in your computer, all you have to do is plug into your USB for seamless soldering*. It takes all the hassle out of plugging into an outlet!”

    *Not recommended for people who value their computer or their lives.

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