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temp control iron

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by davelectronic, Aug 31, 2011.

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  1. davelectronic


    Dec 13, 2010
    Hi to you all.
    Ok ive been meaning to try this for a while, but really was not sure on the results.Well some of you are going to say waste of time, go by a proper unit, well my answer is i might if this idea does not perform, oh dont panic people, no windings as such or major inductance in this one, feel free to rip in to me, i can take it.
    Any way onwards and upwards, is this getting any where, promise not to drag it in to 4 pages of posts ha ha, ok here we go, you all buckled up for the ride.
    I have wanted to build a very simple and basic temperature controlled soldering iron, so ive got two anttex irons an 18 and 25 watt, my idea or plan was to wire a line socket to the dimmer, box up the unit, and calibrate the electrical travel of the potentiometer, for a temp scale, i know some say there is no temp feed back or compensate, ok i know this.

    So this afternoon i got some old components out and bit of old copper strip board and had a play, my initial response is good, ive calibrated the temp for my solder, high silver content, lead free, ok it expensive, and some say rubbish to use.

    The problem i had was to high a temperature, about 420 C it was burning, or should i say vaporizing my flux before it had chance to tin and flow, making joint making hard work, but ive got good temp control, ive used a thermal couple to look closer in operation and the heat transfer affects, its good, today ive managed better practice joints with this method, and good contact bond of the joint, thick and thin, ive soldered heavy lead components and small diameter leads as well.
    So i will eventually treat myself to a proper station, a good one, but for the minute it works well, ok feel free to give me a grilling, bare in mind iam not reinventing the wheel, and my sir names not Faraday or Henry, great blokes though.

    The cost less than £ 5.00 uk sterling. Ok lecture time, only joking. Dave. :)
  2. daddles


    Jun 10, 2011
    Dave: I'm so glad you did this, as I've been toying with the idea of doing the same thing. A few years ago a friend moved out of town and gave me his Radio Shack temperature-controlled soldering iron. It had closed-loop control on the temperature and this worked well, although the user-interface design was a POS (rhymes with "pizza chit") as was the reliability of the device -- it failed after not much use. But when it worked, it was handy.

    I have a Weller 25 W soldering iron I bought back in the 1970's to build Heathkits with. I'm still using it. In fact, I have a plastic welding kit that is basically a soldering iron with a lamp dimmer for temperature control. As you mention, it's not closed-loop control, but it works like a charm. Thus, I felt strongly that this would be a good approach for the soldering iron too. Thanks for the validation!
  3. davelectronic


    Dec 13, 2010
    Dimmer controled iron

    Hi Daddles. yes i was sceptical as to the perfomence, excpecting the iron to drop in temp on joint contact, i was pleasantly supprised at the results, good flow of solder no flux burning. I think a good quality solder station a nice idea, might get one for me birthday or something, LOL, to replace the dimmer if needed is £ 2.50 open the enclosure and its done, ive calabrated the box for a temp scale, its simple cheap, and works. Some times the simple ideas work out suprisingly well. Dave.
  4. jackorocko


    Apr 4, 2010
    I have actually seen quite a few people do this on the net and post pictures of a light dimmer switch and a electrical outlet all contained in a electrical box.

    I had plans on doing this since I have some ancient solder irons. The real big ones with wood handles and braided electrical cords. Got to be pre 1950's (Thanks grandpa) But, they are big, as in 40W or bigger. :)

    Now I will surely attempt to build one. Thanks for the input on this idea. Got pictures???
  5. davelectronic


    Dec 13, 2010
    Dimmer solder temp

    Hi jackorocko.
    Yes give it a go, your be surprised at the range of temperatures you can archive it works well, over here in the uk we have two domestic units 250 watts and 400 watts, those are max load power ratings, i expect they go higher in power for the work businesses sector, my 250 watt unit came with the usual face plate for the wall fixing, i removed it and put it in this ABS psu box i had laying around, never could find a transformer to fit it anyway, to small for what i wanted it for originally, pic's below, it very basic, but works very well, your irons should pose no problem. Dave. :)




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