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A soldering iron tip cleaning sponge is a basic soldering accessory. Many soldering iron stands even include a small rectangular cleaning sponge plus a tray in the base where it is to be housed.

soldering-sponge

The whole point of keeping the soldering iron tip clean is to protect it against wear which can lead to tip failure.  Continue Reading »

Getting precise temperature control is one of the challenges when working with a regular plug-in soldering iron. The best way to get temperature control is with a high quality soldering station but many people who work with electronics have one or more plug-in soldering irons in their toolboxes.

110v 60w soldering iron with cycle timer temperature control circuit

110v 60w soldering iron with cycle timer temperature control circuit

Although these plug-in soldering irons are considered to be good tools with much remaining useful life, they could be much better tools if a there was a reliable way to get consistent and precise temperature control from them. Continue Reading »

This is a project for a do it yourself analog soldering station. The design is a variation on some low-end commercial units that don’t have a built-in temperature sensor in the soldering iron.

diy-analogue-soldering-station-setup

It’s made with a dimmer switch and a few other hardware store items. It is fairly inexpensive to make and the project can easily be completed in an evening. I needed a unit like this for some experiments I was doing with soldering irons. Continue Reading »

This is a follow up post to the previous post on how to modify a regular plugin soldering iron to work with a digital temperature controller.

Comparing the tip temperature with the internal temperature of the soldering iron

Comparing the tip temperature with the internal temperature of the soldering iron

The tricky part is finding the right location for the thermocouple inside the soldering iron. The thermocouple is very sensitive and temperature readings can be affected by the slightest change in position. Continue Reading »

Soldering irons that plug in to an AC outlet are inexpensive and convenient, but one drawback to them is that they don’t have very good temperature control. They often are either too hot or not hot enough.

Soldering iron with PID controller and thermocouple - minimal rig

Soldering iron with PID controller and thermocouple – minimal rig

Some plug-in soldering irons are adjustable. Some models have a temperature adjustment built into them and function like a light dimmer. Although better than units without any kind of temperature control, they are somewhat limited. Continue Reading »

Most modern small appliances that run on low voltage DC power will come with an ac adapter. You see them on phones, TV accessories, personal care products, computer peripherals, etc.

AC adapters

AC adapters

After many years of accumulating and discarding many of these devices some people like myself have managed to save a few of the ac adapters even though the device had worn out or became unusable for one reason or another. Continue Reading »

The previous posts showed how to use an inexpensive voltage converter module to be able to get variable voltage from a fixed DC power supply. This post is one more variation and is the last build of these modules that I planned to do (build no. 3).

Step up step down DC buck converter module

Step up step down DC buck converter module

This unit is a step up step down DC buck converter module. The unit uses an LM2577S for boosting the voltage up and an LM2596S for stepping the voltage down. It has an input range of 3.5 – 28 volts and an output range of 1.25 – 26 volts. Both the input and output is rated at 1 amp stable and 3 amps maximum. Continue Reading »