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Cold heat soldering tool

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Richard Henry, Dec 17, 2005.

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  1. Another early-morning TV ad for Cold-Heat, right before Ron Popeil's show'
    Anyone tried one? Any idea how it works, or whether it works?
  2. Guest

    It does work, and pretty well. I think that on a very basic level, it
    passes a current through the tip whenever solder is available to
    complete the circuit. They're pretty nice to have when you're putting
    speakers in your car doors or scavenging in scrapyards. I am not sure
    it's the best choice for ESD-sensitive work though.

    Does anyone know if it's been evaluated for this kind of soldering?
  3. Leon

    Leon Guest

    I've seen it mentioned on the QRP-L amateur radio forum; it's a waste
    of money for electronic work, at any rate.

    I think it passes a high current through the joint to be soldered.

  4. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    its ok for a quick portable solution to do things
    like connectors in your car, audio system and
    maybe a coax connector while your up in the air
    on a tower ect.
    i wouldn't try it on anything small like boards
    and smt parts etc...
    especially on boards since it does generate
    current and you may just hit the correct
    component on the board and the correct position
    thus passing current for a moment through a
    sensitive component.
  5. Agreed. I have one and have given them as gifts, but you have to
    realize that they are best at precisely what the commercial says they
    are. I haven't even attempted any kind of real electronics work with
    mine, because I know it'll be a disaster. Instead, it's used for bulk
    (but not too bulky) soldering jobs, e.g. wires to connectors, patch
    jobs, etc.

    If you try to heat too much material with it, you won't get anywhere,
    but for medium-sized jobs it does indeed work very well, as advertised.
    Dirty little secret: the only electronics (at least in the basic $20
    version) are the LEDs. Literally, all the "magic" is in the tip, made
    of some material that presumably aids in the process somehow. The
    switch connects the two ends of the 4 AA's to the two sides of the tip,
    and incidentally the LEDs. A current dump across the part to be
    soldered (6V at whatever current the AA's can put out) heats it up
    enough to melt solder and get the job done. I'm tempted to take some
    batteries and plain old wire and see what happens, should be similar
    results except for the sacrificial aspect of the tip.

    I don't think it's actually going to be any kind of problem for mildly
    sensitive electronics, unless you're not very careful. Touching one
    side of the tip to the circuit won't do anything, because the circuit is
    open on the other end, batteries or no. As the other side connects, the
    voltage is shunted entirely through the pin/wire/etc being heated. The
    only way you're going to get a high-current 6V dump through your part is
    if you manage to touch each half of the tip to separate ends of the
    circuit and allow a loop through your parts.
  6. Guest

    I am sure it doesn't comply with military or NASA standards for their
    kind of work, but I wonder how damaging it can actually be. You can't
    damage an IC by passing any amount of current through only one pin. I
    think there are a couple different sized tips available too.

    Now if you contact two different pins with the two halves of the tip, I
    can see that having an unhappy ending. This is probably easy to do when
    the trace being soldered leads to other pins on the same device. Aside
    from that, though, I imagine that the tool being ungrounded would be
    more dangerous to the work than the way it operates.

    The only reason I don't have one is because I've got a great
    electric-powered iron on my bench, and three or four perfectly useful
    butane irons in my toolbox. It's probably fine for what it is, a
    portable iron; but I've seen that Ronco ad and I don't agree with their
    claim that it's the ultimate soldering system for everything from the
    bench to the beach.
  7. Puckdropper

    Puckdropper Guest

    Marketing... Make your tool seem like the best thing in the universe by
    reducing the size of your universe of discourse. I've got one and have
    been unable to find anything worth soldering with it. I wind up breaking
    things trying to let the tip get hot enough to start melting the solder.



    Old computers are getting to be a lost art. Here at Uncreative Labs, we
    still enjoy using the old computers. Sometimes we want to see how far a
    particular system can go, other times we use a stock system to remind
    ourselves of what we once had.

    To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at)
  8. Pooh Bear

    Pooh Bear Guest

    By definition no currrent can pass through *one* pin. There has to be a
    return path.

    That return path is the other pins though.

    There's plenty of damge I can see this iron doing to electronics.

  9. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    It's a piece of crap. It'll solder two skinny wires
    together - that's about it. Somebody mentioned soldering
    a coax connector when you're up in the tower. No way.

  10. Guest

    What I meant was, if all the current enters and exits through the same
    pin, crossways or longitudinally, there's no problem. This is certainly
    possible. But it's very easy to get your tip halves in between two
    pins, or to contact a pin and the land you're trying to join before
    they're electrically connected.

    Small amounts of current flowing on the board during soldering are
    harmless to 99.99% of electronic components. Electrostatically
    significant voltages are what you have to watch out for, and it's a
    problem with all portable soldering irons, not just electric ones. It
    would be interesting to know just how "small" the current and voltage
    used in ColdHeat soldering is.
  11. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  12. Guest

    I've thought it a few times but I'd almost be embarrassed to be seen
    leaving the store with one.
  13. As well as the answers here, search google groups.

    If you just want portability, the butane irons work wonderfully, have
    nice tips like real irons and can be refilled in a snap. Mine is an
    orange one made in Ireland (Portasol).

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
  14. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    However, one should be somewhat more careful where one might happen to
    set down a butane iron, as the exhaust ports can be just a tiny bit
    hotter in the off-axis direction than one's common experience with
    resistive element heaters.

    Fortunately, I rather quickly entered into full-bore "Holy shit!" mode
    and got to it before the ESD pad (or anything else!) was too seriously
    damaged... ;-)
  15. Ian Stirling

    Ian Stirling Guest

    It's not complex, I'd expect a minimum of 1.5V, if it puts all the
    cells in parallel, and several amps of current.
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