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Old 04-30-2019, 11:05 AM   #1
redwire
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Default Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

My old Radio Shack (Archer/TechLine) butane soldering iron, the seals are gone now.
When you turn the +/- adjust, butane hisses out of the knob...
sometimes it sticks and won't turn on gas flow. I think it is time for a new one before it blows up. It's made in Ireland.

I use them for car wiring and heat shrink, outdoor stuff. Battery or butane doesn't really matter to me.

Many years ago, I used:
Wahl Isotip (NiCd) never worked very good and the tips broke, in the tool box there is no protective cover.
Weller Portasol or Pyropen was just expensive and huge, over $100.
Hakko FX-901 (two AA battery, 60 minutes) I have not tried.

There are cheap chinese butane soldering irons but thought I'd see what people here suggest.
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Old 04-30-2019, 01:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

get a TS100 and make a battery pack from a lithium tool battery.
(or an old laptop pack)
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

What's the hit rate of getting *good* 18650s from an old laptop pack? :o

I got a broken 6C battery laptop pack, and lo and behold it has water damage. The cells were flat (as in 0V) when I got them out of the pack. Was able to charge them back up to 4.2V but the internal impedance of the non-leaking cells are very crappy... and hence I'm not sure how much power you can get out of them to heat a solder iron?

I'm currently using them in a "battery powered battery charger" box...
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

I have open over 500 packs and in most cases just 2 maybe 3 cells of the 6 and 9 packs are bad, the rest are fine, so they are worth salvaging if you have a use for them.
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Old 05-02-2019, 04:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

yes, but it gets better,
the bad "pair" once seperated you can sometimes recover one by VERY slowly charging it at about 20-50ma.
think of it like re-forming a cap.
i use a 5v supply and a 75ohm resistor.
the current is too low to generate any heat, so explosion risk is zero - either it charges and holds at 3.7v or it doesnt.

also, some packs are all-good.
just some cells are out of balance by maybe .5v so the internal board shuts the pack down.
once you strip it they are all good.

Last edited by stj; 05-02-2019 at 04:02 AM..
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
get a TS100 and make a battery pack from a lithium tool battery.
(or an old laptop pack)
I looked at the TS100 and it's around $47 USD plus power pack. It seems tiny and no grip and likely a big fat 2.5mm barrel connector and stiff PVC cable will make the iron move around and burn my hand or land on the carpet
Voltlog #212 - DIY Silicone Extension Lead For The TS100 Soldering Iron he uses tattoo machine cable but still awkward.
It's a cute soldering iron but the ergonomics look awful?

I see lots of T12 soldering stations, some low cost $26 due to plastic housing and a STC 7-seg display controller. Older STM32 OLED controllers overheat the linear voltage regulator. It looks like lower cost and more selection for T12.

I did like this T12 with boost-converter and 12V gel-cell bd139 built. It seems to need 24VDC at 3A max. for a few seconds on warm up. Or XT60 RC hobby connector or cig lighter for input.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg t12_on_12V.jpg (556.3 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg t12 _boost.jpg (127.3 KB, 23 views)
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

i skipped the T12's because of the seperate controller, but if that's not an issue then they are the best option.
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwire View Post
It seems to need 24VDC at 3A max. for a few seconds on warm up. Or XT60 RC hobby connector or cig lighter for input.
Be careful when connecting to car cigar lighter... 80W plus is pushy, might burn the fuse.
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Old 05-02-2019, 03:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
I'm currently using them in a "battery powered battery charger" box...
Quote:
Originally Posted by brethin View Post
I have open over 500 packs and in most cases just 2 maybe 3 cells of the 6 and 9 packs are bad, the rest are fine, so they are worth salvaging if you have a use for them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
yes, but it gets better,
the bad "pair" once seperated you can sometimes recover one by VERY slowly charging it at about 20-50ma.
think of it like re-forming a cap.
i use a 5v supply and a 75ohm resistor.
the current is too low to generate any heat, so explosion risk is zero - either it charges and holds at 3.7v or it doesnt.

also, some packs are all-good.
just some cells are out of balance by maybe .5v so the internal board shuts the pack down.
once you strip it they are all good.
Battery packs is a wonderful business... for the sellers that is
out of curiosity recently stripped out a 9V, square type, Duracell brand, long gone, but pouring when it shouldn't.
and behold inside 3x3v, in series, rounded crappy bats
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

I have a cheap butane solder iron too, it's pretty horrible, mainly because it basically expects you to be working upwards IMHO. Thermal mass and thermal control is miserable. About the only thing I use the butane torch for is *really* melting ground planes... or melting the blob of waste solder I've not thrown away yet...
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:43 AM   #11
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
yes, but it gets better,
the bad "pair" once seperated you can sometimes recover one by VERY slowly charging it at about 20-50ma.
think of it like re-forming a cap.
i use a 5v supply and a 75ohm resistor.
the current is too low to generate any heat, so explosion risk is zero - either it charges and holds at 3.7v or it doesnt.

also, some packs are all-good.
just some cells are out of balance by maybe .5v so the internal board shuts the pack down.
once you strip it they are all good.
I did that for awhile but when you have several 1000 batteries it's not worth the time to save 1 or 2 more. I test all the good ones to get the capacity then put them in batches. I resleve them and sell them in batches of 500 mostly to ecig shops for like .25 to .50 each depending on capacity.
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Old 05-03-2019, 03:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

you really shouldnt sell to smokers,
laptop cells are generally only rated for about 5A continuous draw.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:43 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

I just see a lot of packs that have all cells that are pretty much worn out, especially if it was a properly designed pack with cells perfectly balanced from the get go. Perhaps those el-cheapo packs that did not well balance the pack one could end up with a few good and a few bad cells.

I'd really like to get a fairly large bank of cells set up as an emergency power source... or better yet, cheat the electric company that's charging $arm$leg for electricity during high demand hours, alas charge-discharge is not 100% efficient...
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

you are wasting your time with cells at 0 v.
anything much below 2v are usually not much good.
0v cells also carry a risk of dendrite shorts.
but the good news is that these cells are usually in such poor condition that even if they are directly shorted they dont have the energy to hit thermal runaway.
i have stripped hundreds of laptop and medical packs for cells to build solar banks with.
and have about 500 medical packs waiting to be stripped.
i love these.
they are max 2 years old and few if any cycles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stj View Post
yes, but it gets better,
the bad "pair" once seperated you can sometimes recover one by VERY slowly charging it at about 20-50ma.
think of it like re-forming a cap.
i use a 5v supply and a 75ohm resistor.
the current is too low to generate any heat, so explosion risk is zero - either it charges and holds at 3.7v or it doesnt.

also, some packs are all-good.
just some cells are out of balance by maybe .5v so the internal board shuts the pack down.
once you strip it they are all good.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:15 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

btw a iso-tip with a high drain 21700 li-ion and a tp4056 board works great.
i also replace bulb with a white led and resistor in the bulb base.
the yellow package high efficiency tips work best.
the standard tips overheat and glow if you hold it down.
so you cycle it.
18650,20700,ect work too. but must be at least 15a rated.
tesla model 3 cells do ok in the one i did recently.
they can be a trick to connect to the recessed aluminum + contact but the right flux and a good iron will allow you to solder quickly enough to avoid damage.
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:35 AM   #16
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

I like the Iso-Tip for field work but I wish they made a cap to cover it. Emailed Iso-Tip again about that. Butane irons have a cover/cap. Iso-Tip 7700 around $62 USD plus li-ion, looks elegant.

I see a KSGER T12 battery-powered station uses six 18650 2,500mAh batteries 6S1P with BMS. Brick is 25.2V 2A.
The BMS board alone is around $15 USD, and the batteries are heavy. It's alot of battery power.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKljvo9g0YE

A 12V->24VDC boost-converter would make 24V 3A from 12V 7.5A (80% efficiency), or 19V 4.7A 56W if using fewer batteries:
6S 22.2V 2.8A direct drive 61W
5S 18.5V 2.3A direct drive 43W
4S 14.8V 1.9A direct drive 27W
4S 14.8V 3.8A with 19V boost 56W
3S 11.1V 5.1A with 19V boost 56W
2S 7.4V 7.6A with 19V boost 56W

It's only full power for 10 seconds on warm up or soldering big joints.

A mini T12 soldering station, 907 handle, LED controller is around $25 plus battery pack and boost-converter. RC hobbyists are adding an XT60 input connector. I still haven't decided anything.
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:01 PM   #17
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

I bought two Ksger batteries protection for this soldering iron I want try them out and see how well they work

Battery-powered T12 Soldering Station Dedicated 6-series Lithium Battery 24v25.2v Balanced Protection Board
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:15 PM   #18
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

Missed this thread, you can't beat the TS80 for portability:
Uses USB-C Qualcomm quickcharge and usually you would have a charger for your phone or even better powerbank with you...
I have one in my laptop bag: beats carrying around a large Weller station for simple jobs...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z9es-D9_8g
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Old 05-11-2019, 03:27 AM   #19
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

TS80 is low powered shit though - no grunt behind it.
Jilien Ilet did a side-by-side with a TS100 on utube.
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:50 PM   #20
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Default Re: Cordless Soldering Iron - recommendations?

Cordless soldering is mainly about the available power source. How many watts do you have?

Hakko FX-901, four AA alkaline batteries 6W (NiMh 5W).
TS80 USB-C for 5V at 3A, it's a 15W iron.

For the T12 (8ohm) heaters on TS100 and 951 clone stations:
12V power, 20W.
19V power, 45W.
24V power, 72W.

This all assumes the iron is well designed and does not have crappy heat transfer from heater to tip.
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