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Cold Heat (R) Soldering Irons

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Mark Jones, Nov 17, 2004.

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  1. Mark Jones

    Mark Jones Guest

    Perhaps you've seen ads on TV for the so-called "cold heat"
    soldering iron. Cordless, tip heats and cools instantly, 1000 solders
    per 4 AA batteries. But is it right-on, or a rip-off?
  2. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    It's junk, read the reviews.

    Basically, anything advertised on TV is not worth buying, particularly
    when they say, "Not available in stores" :)

    ...Jim Thompson
  3. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hi Jim,
    And when they say "Wait! There is more!" or "only if you call within the
    next six hours". Or "with our socks you can fly to the moon".

    Regards, Joerg
  4. Active8

    Active8 Guest

    A lot of that stuff that was not available in stores finds its way
    there anyway.

    I kinda wanna get those weed wacker blades.

    Endless inkjet is another. For S&H ( they gotta meke $ somewhere) I
    get the same thing the fat **** at the state fair sells for $50. The
    bad thing is that I stood right there in front of her crowd and
    pointed out that the ink cartridge she claimed she could fill 8
    times from one bottle appeared to have a resevoir with a capacity of
    a few ccs greater than the ink bottle. She said that was

    Basic shit, right. 6th grade math. Say 2 cm X 5 cm 4 cm > 8 cc
    bottle. Did that keep these fuckin' morons from plonking down their
    credit card? No.
  5. Active8

    Active8 Guest

    That's a typical sales technique. I've called days later and gotten
    the "extras."
  6. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    And then the commercials that sound like they're all localized to
    your demographic, but they say, "call that number you see on your
    screen there." I guess that way they can use the same tape no matter
    how many times they have to move to evade the authorities. ;-)

  7. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    It doesn't really make any difference if you call "within the hour" -
    all that does is bookend the slot so they know who gets credit for
    the air time. In your case, whoever was running the spot when your
    call came in got the commission. That's also why they have "operator
    numbers." Come to think of it, this could also be what those dynamic
    phone numbers are for.

  8. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    A mall in my area has a "As seen on TV" store that sells all those
    products. One of the local TV stations does reviews on whether they work or
    not;a few actually do work!

    I don't know about the soldering iron,although I've seen it in that store.

    (Altamonte Springs,Fl. mall)
  9. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    I refilled ink cartridges on my Canon BJC-620 and a short while later,the
    printhead began leaking and emptying the cartridges,and then the printhead
    failed.Goodbye printer.
    Also,the black ink on printouts faded to barely readable light brown even
    when kept in dark conditions.
  10. James Meyer

    James Meyer Guest

    It's a tool just like a lot of other tools. If you know what it is and
    how to use it properly, you'll be pleased with it like I am. If you are
    clueless and expect it to do something it was never intended to do, you'll wind
    up being disappointed.

    The cold heat "iron" is an example of what's know as a "resistance
    soldering tool". It has two carbon or graphite probes set side by side but not
    touching. The probes are each connected to either end of a voltage source so
    that when the probes contact a conductor together, the conductor gets hot from
    the current passing through it. The conductor heats up but the graphite probes
    stay relatively cool.

    I was trained to use resistance soldering tweezers when I attended a
    NASA hand soldering school at MIT's Lincoln Labs many years ago. Those tools
    are mainly used to solder wires into multi-pin military style circular
    connectors. Those connectors have hollow solder cups where the wire goes and
    the pins are sometimes very close together. If you use a normal soldering iron
    with a hot tip, you usually wind up melting the insulation on the already
    installed wires and making a mess. With the resistance tool, only the pin
    you're working on gets hot and you don't melt any insulation. Also, solder
    won't stick to the graphite probes. It only goes onto the pin and wire.

    The cold heat tool is powered by 4 AA batteries so the amount of heat
    you get is somewhat limited. It's great for up to 22 AWG wire, somewhat usable
    up to 12 gage, and useless for soldering big pieces of copper like the heatsink
    tabs on TO-220 transistors. It works really well for resistor and capacitor
    leads on PC boards.

    There is 6 volts between the two halves of the cool heat tip. That may
    or may not be a problem if you get the tip between two pins on an IC. Most ICs
    will tolerate 6 volts applied almost anywhere as long as that's the only source
    of power applied.

    Put the tip down on the copper land area where you want a joint. Press
    the button to apply current. Let the copper heat up, it does that very quickly,
    and then apply the solder to the hot copper. As soon as the solder wets the
    joint, release the button and you're finished.

    Used properly, the cool heat tool works a treat!

  11. Asa Cannell

    Asa Cannell Guest

    I bought one and now its sitting in a drawer and hasn't been used for
    months. After I abandoned it I got a portasol butane torch that works
    great and gets plenty of regular use, including heat shrinking and
    blow torching.

    The tip is a special material with a thin slot down the middle. The
    slot is about half a mm wide. You are supposed to put the junction you
    want to solder across the slot, shorting the two sides. The current
    then flows from one side of the slot to the other _through_ the
    junction you want to solder. The special tip material heats up real
    hot with all the current flowing through it and thats what lets you

    Problems I encountered:

    The slot width makes it impossible to solder any small joints. Forget
    smt or delicate work. This is something meant for big wires like
    repairing your vacuum.

    You have to maneuver the slot around on the piece you are trying to
    solder until it makes sufficient contact to bridge the slot and heat
    the tip up enough to melt the solder. This can be time consuming and

    The tip material is somewhat soft and easily gets damaged, especially
    while you are trying to get it into position to solder. Once you mess
    up the tip, you cant get it to bridge anymore and thats the end of
    that. And the tips cost about 10$ each last time I checked.

    The slot is easily plugged up with flux residue, and good luck
    cleaning it without damaging the soft tip material.

    There are about 12V across the 'slot' so anything you short will get
    12V across it at low impedance. Forget soldering closely spaced
    components, the current from the soldering iron will flow where you
    don't want it and hurt things.

    I took mine apart to see how it worked. There is a small PCB with a
    smt IC on it. The IC markings had clearly been ground off, but you
    could still see the ST trademark and a few digits of the part number.
    I went to ST's website and did some detective work and narrowed it
    down to a few DC-DC converters. So basically you have a bunch of AA
    batteries hooked up to a DC-DC to convert it to 12V, and the 'magic
    tip material' does the rest.

  12. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    I bought one of those re-ink kits, and took it back and got my money
    back the first time I tried to use it. The ink was good ink, but it
    got everywhere except inside the cartridge. It cost more to clean up
    after it than to just buy a new cartridge.

    Good Luck!
  13. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Actually, I read the actual product description, and it's not junk,
    it's just a pain in the ass to use. It's a resistance-soldering
    tool with a pinhead sized gap. The guy didn't like it.

    But I can see how you can get a lot of joints out of it, if every
    joint is nothing but a DIP pin or something.

    If you want a _real_ cordless iron, I've used these before and they're
    really quite nice:
    - not a shill, just a satisfied user.
    Caveat Emptor. :)

  14. Pooh Bear

    Pooh Bear Guest

    Meaning " not available from anyone who tried it out and doesn't want
    returns ".

  15. Active8

    Active8 Guest

    Ah. I forgot that trick. They do it with department numbers on the
    addr, also. I've only ordered a coupla things and they weren't
    overly concerned exactly when I saw the ad.
  16. Active8

    Active8 Guest

    I've had much better luck so far.
  17. Active8

    Active8 Guest

    They were in our mall for a few weeks. They had a "well built
    feeling" 4-way cig lighter splitter for $2 and some other stuff that
    looked like it might work... and some snake oil.

    Like those pasta pans. They work, but the bottoms of cheap aluminum
    cookware warp and don't conduct heat from flattops and maybe to a
    lesser extent, the old electric elements.
  18. Jim Meyer

    Jim Meyer Guest

    The tip is connected directly to a 6 volt supply (4 AA cells).
    The IC is an LED driver for the white LED "work light".

    My cold heat iron was sold with the Coleman, lantern fame guys,
    label on it. Sears has them also.

  19. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    You pay your money and take your chances.
    Are new printheads available for your printer,or are the PHs integral with
    the ink cartridges?
  20. Why's that? Last and only time I used one there were no problems with the
    syringe and needle transfer.

    Anyway, I use a cheapo laser now.


    The Consensus:-
    The political party for the new millenium
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