Hot air pencil for under $20

hotairpencil20usd1

Here’s a project from back in 2001 that might be of interest to some of you. It is a guide on how to build your own hot air pencil for SMD soldering.  He is using a super cheap 45W soldering iron from “the shack” combined with a pump type desoldering tool and an aquarium pump. He says it works pretty well, and we don’t see why it shouldn’t. This is a pretty elegant solution. There are also some more recent versions of this mod, but the idea is basically the same.

[thanks Stuart]

Eee PC bios resurrection

flashsolderedtoboard

Hot on the heels of our post about reading passwords from EEPROM, [n0th1n6] tipped us off about a similar hack used to resurrect an Eee PC from a bad bios flash. After discovering that a factory repair for a dead bios costs about $200, [CutenaCute_7] took on the challenge herself. She disassembled the computer and desoldered the bios chip from the board. After writing a program to flash the chip using C#, she temporarily soldered jumpers to make sure the flash worked. Looks like this is a zero cost hack, plus the time savings from not having to ship her computer somewhere. Bravo.

Double the RAM on D-Link router

d-link_double_ram

[Pelaca] upgraded the RAM on his D-Link DIR-320 router from 32MB to 64MB. This hack is simple enough: swap out the existing RAM chip for another one and change the bios to make use of the upgrade. The actual execution is not that simple because of the pitch of the TSOP II package; you’ll need to bring your mad soldering skills to pull this off.

This reminds us of when upgrading original Xbox RAM to 128MB was all the rage. It involved the same type of hack, adding four memory chips to unpopulated positions on the motherboard. The forums are thick with people complaining that their box not working after a failed upgrade attempt. Hopefully you’ll have better luck.

[Thanks Juan]

Hard Core Nintendo DSI hacking

dsi (Custom)

So, you hacked your DSI did you? Let me guess, you ran a flash cart. No? You probably added some LEDs then right? No? You must be pretty hard core, did you add a NES controler? No? Well what did you do?

We still have no idea what this guy is doing. But he is doing it very meticulously. We found [Micah Dowty]‘s photo stream on flicker and we were instantly pulled in. He has done some extensive modifications to his DSI. He has spread its innards for all to see and begun hacking. It appears as though most of this is for memory dumps and direct access to the RAM in the unit, but frankly we just want to stare at these pictures.

Wire glue

wireglue2

[John P. Barker] writes up an interesting product called Wire Glue. This conductive adhesive is a paint-on alternative to soldering. At first it seems like a bizarre product but we can think of a few uses. Who hasn’t had a solder joint on a free-formed circuit break? One thing’s for sure, we’d recommend throwing a resistor into that LED circuit he’s working on.

Home made solder pot

solder pot

Our reader [Damir] built a home made soldering pot. It can be used to solder and desolder components. To remove a through hole component, the solder side is placed in the bath. Then the component is removed with pliers. It is also possible to solder components, by placing the leads in the molten solder; similar to wave soldering. Another common use is tinning self stripping wire. The insulation of the wire is designed to burn off, allowing the strip and tin phase to be single step. This solder pot would be a nice addition to the hacker’s soldering station we had covered in 2008. For more pictures, check out the photo gallery. In the video embedded below, a transformer is easily removed from a modem.

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Soldering headphone wire

heaphones

Many people find themselves frustrated when working with headphones. The tiny coated wire can be a real pain to work with. They are so very very small, and usually coated.  We generally just end up doing a quick “sand and tape” which just isn’t very high quality.  [Alex] sent in some tips that can really help you get those repairs or modifications going.