While [William] may not know what he’s doing (his words, not ours!), at least he can SEE what he’s doing now with this awesome soldering iron light modification. And judging by the build quality, we’d reckon he really does know what he’s doing!
He’s taken a piece of copper-clad PCB, and formed it to create a nice circular copper donut. This allows him to make a ring of LEDs in parallel that will slide nicely over the soldering iron and integrate into the plastic case.
To power it, he’s made a small diode bridge to rectify the AC, and a 24 ohm high-wattage resistor run in series with the heating element. The voltage drop across the resistor is 7.5V max, which equates to about 5.3V RMS minus the diode voltage drops. This means the LEDs see about 4.5V at a total of 135mA, which works out to about 17mA each — just under the approved rating. All of this fits nicely into the original casing of the soldering iron.
Finally to finish it off, he’s MacGyver’d an old pill bottle into a protective casing around the LED ring — it looks surprisingly stock on the soldering iron!
Do you have a tool hack that adds handy features? Let us know through the Tips Line!