Add this USB powered soldering iron to your EDC

{ 11 comments }

usb-soldering-iron

Check out this pencil sized soldering iron that is powered by USB. It features a super thin tip that is perfect for delicate surface mount (SMD) work and a protective cap when it’s not in use. Plug it in to a USB port and it will heat up quickly for those impromptu maker sessions. It has a momentary trigger that powers the iron on and an auto shut-off after 25 seconds of inactivity. The USB soldering iron is priced at $24. For more info visit Brando.

*Note* be sure to read Andrew’s comment below for more info on soldering irons of this type.

Posted in: Do-It-Yourself, How-To, News
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Andrew Baker September 21, 2015, 11:25 am

    This product makes me cringe, cry and sweat.

    This is not a safe product in many many ways.

    1. Current draw needed to heat element to 186c+ is fairly high. Poorly built USB ports may not be able to provide the current necessary to safely do this. You can run the risk of the USB port shutting down, burning out, or blowing the micro fuses. In poor/cheap/knockoff controllers without sufficient safeties I can see this possibly causing fires as internal traces and joints over heat. (this is a real concern with many “Chinese” knock off USB devices)

    2. 8 watts is not enough to work on majority of solder joints. This will require tip be in contact with solder for longer heating times. This can cause 2 very big problems. The first is your continued high draw on USB, this can lead to a higher chance of damaging your USB sub systems. The Second is long heat times on components GREATLY increases your chance of damaging the part due to heat. Any soldering needs to be <1 second to help avoid component damage. 8watts can require 5+ (~10?) second long melt times. Destroying any heat sensitive IC's/

    3. Iron is NOT electrically isolated. This is VERY VERY dangerous when working with electronics. USB was not designed to protect your equipment OR you from high amperage voltage coming back through the USB ports. Granted high quality USB controllers/designed will have a high-voltage/amp cut-off that will shut down the controller in the event the device fails, it can not protect you from voltage being discharged from whatever you are working on. Good quality USB controllers DO have pico-fuses that may help in this case protecting your desktop/laptop however they generally are not user replaceable and will render your USB port PERMANENTLY dead (hopefully sacrificing itself to save your desktop/laptop). Cheap "chinese" knock-offs generally omit both these safeties features to reduce cost. But regardless of having a high quality or low quality controller, none of these is sufficient to protect your hardware (and possibly your life) in the event your iron comes in contact with a component carrying a high voltage/amperage charge. (capacitor, transformer, fly back, etc). No shutoff is fast enough to protect you hardware, High-voltages/amperage's will just arc across pico-fuses, destroying your controller/main board, power supply, hard-drive, and in worst cases through your chassis and into yourself. Yourself being a prime example of a non-electrically compatible grounding mechanism. XX

    If you are interested in soldering, please don't buy something like this.

    If you are just learning. Get something 20-40 watts. Preferably adjustable.

    Example of a cheaper, safer, more useful superior product

    http://www.amazon.com/60-Watts-Soldering-Iron-listed/dp/B0006NGZK0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442847920&sr=8-1&keywords=soldering+iron+pen

    For $10 more you can get a nice (light years more superior then the USB iron) soldering station

    http://www.amazon.com/60-Watts-Soldering-Iron-listed/dp/B0006NGZK0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442847920&sr=8-1&keywords=soldering+iron+pen

    If portability is your concern Get a gas iron. I personally prefer Protosol

    http://www.amazon.com/Portasol-010589330-Super-125-Watt-Heat/dp/B003H6NN2Q/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442847832&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=portosol+soldering

    More expensive yes, but an order of magnitude cheaper then replacing your laptop due to blown hardware, and/or the bill after spending a few days in ICU.

  • Andy Chen September 21, 2015, 1:39 pm

    Yup. I’m giving this a big “nope”. I’m sticking to my corded (and grounded) Weller soldering station.

  • Jhon September 21, 2015, 2:53 pm

    Yup — in “fantasy land” I’d be able to use this to finish building my “usb powered” hair dryer.

    But in the Real World ™ this is just a not-so-safe toy.

  • Andy Chen September 21, 2015, 4:02 pm

    On second thought, I suppose if I were making a non-sensitive solder joint (say, joining two wires or tinning ends) that doesn’t require static safety, AND I didn’t have a traditional soldering station, iron, battery or butane powered iron… I would only use this as a last resort with perhaps an external USB battery pack. I’d be too chicken to try this with a computer’s USB port.

    So to echo Andrew Baker’s sentiment: Way better options out there.

  • wisata ntt kupang October 10, 2015, 11:44 am

    For the reason that the admin of this website is working,
    no doubt very soon it will be famous, due to its quality contents.

  • Neeta December 29, 2015, 8:35 am

    Hello Julie,

    I think this is an innovative concept. However, will the power from USB is sufficient for soldering? Considering the fact that soldering irons are not really expensive things to have, the USB powered ones might not be preferred by many.

    But yes, in case of emergency…they might be handy 🙂

    • Andrew Baker February 29, 2016, 10:02 am

      In emergencies (2004, Sierra Nevada mountains busted trailer electric brake controller about 60 miles from nearest town) I would prefer (and did use), Solder, chewing gum wrapper, screw driver and lighter. Seriously. balled solder up on wire and board. Used gum wrapper to hold in place. Heated tip of screw driver melted solder (gum wrapper busting into flame doing it’s short lived job). Got back to town, replaced brake controller. I had my electric kit with me, but unfortunately it required a 110v outlet. We looked at all the trees, but none had yet evolved 110v AC outlets.

      I bought a “Cold Heat” Iron for emergencies. First let me tell you. DON’T it’s a awful piece of donkey doo. That didn’t last long, It was quickly replaced by a second Porto-Sol.

  • Sam February 29, 2016, 2:17 am

    Hi Andrew, thanks for raising the concerns over the potential safety issues.

Leave a Comment