Is It A MagLite Or A MagnaStat?

[David Schneider]’s love affair with Weller temperature controlled soldering irons began many years ago, but when he came to the point of needing a cordless iron he had problems finding one that replicated his trusty mains-powered soldering station. His solution was simple, to build his own, and in a stroke of genius he did so with an odd combination of a Weller MagnaStat element and bit, and a repurposed MagLite flashlight.

The Weller parts are all available off-the-shelf as spares, and the MagLite was easy to source. But its D cells would never give the required 24 V for the iron, so he had to incorporate a set of 14500 Li-ion cells with built-in electronic protection. The element protrudes from the front of the flashlight, giving an iron that seems to do the business but to our eyes looks rather unwieldy. Still, it does the job, and provides a far more sturdy and reliable iron than any cordless one we’ve yet seen, so we think that’s a result.

We’ve reviewed a Weller MagnaStat in the past,with a special look at availability of bits for older models.

27 thoughts on “Is It A MagLite Or A MagnaStat?

  1. Built in ten foot pole mass only on the other end at least. Three meter pole for everyone else that have not heard the shtick about “I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole”, meaning it’s a stinky or dirty task.

  2. Running DC through that switch might shorten its life. Also, I agree about it being big and bulky. I’d rather have a battery box (with a regulator and inverter) that I can plug my normal TC201 iron into.

    Heck, maybe I could get a broken PU120T power supply off Ebay, gut it and put what I’m talking about inside. Then it would look like a perfectly normal WTCPT soldering station with no mains cord!

  3. Best iron I ever got… seriously… $8 USB model and a $15 brand-I’ve-never-heard-of power bank from WalMart. Works better than my Hakko 926, no kidding — more portable, too — and the tip will almost certainly last longer than that Sparkfun thing I got that’s really an ATTEN brand Hakko knockoff. All that — and to think, I got it on a lark because of the Hackaday review and BigClive’s video :)

    BTW, if you add a diode or two, you can run those irons off a 6v lantern battery. No, not the *nice* alkaline ones, the Rayovac “heavy duty” ones WalMart sells for $2.49 each (or something like $4.89 for a two-pack) that are filled with old iron filings and wet sawdust (despite what it says on the label about a carbon-zinc constitution) and that will barely run an incandescent lantern for thirty minutes :P You know the ones. I cut down a random spare blank wallplate, drilled some holes, and put in screw terminals and the elastic neckband from an old ID tag. To the screw terminals I attached wires, a switch, a USB port I ripped (brutally) out of a dead charger, and an RK44 diode (it’s what I had in reach that could handle the current). The port’s a bit stiff to plug into (and unplug from), but that’s because it’s superglued to the wallplate and can’t flex the way it’s supposed to…

    That abomination of a power supply /should/ be putting out about 5.8v or so at the amperage those irons pull (1.6a, for 8w power overall), which is a bit higher than the USB spec really allows — ah, but if you know the circuit inside those irons, you know it’ll run fine at freaking *12v* for probably a half hour… well, the circuit /inside the iron/ will work into perpetuity at that voltage, it’s just the heater you have to worry about there, and that’s built into the tip… I can’t imagine it’s particularly picky tho.

    Oh… and if you think my homemade power bank is awesome, you should see my battery drill… ;)

  4. Nice hack. Got it working. Gained experience. He’s got a nice energy storage pack there. Build another head with flood LEDs , add fan if maybe, make an incredible portable floodlamp.

  5. My portable was 3.98 from Radio Shack and used a screw in butane the size if a CO2 cartridge. Some minor care is required when working under a confined car dash. These are 20$ now and don’t throw a sideways flame 4 directions I thiMk. This is a benefit as car dashes have so much FN plastic nowadays. The Jolly Giant above could have LED worklights in in as some Wellers do, which is a nice option, that I may HACK OFF OF MINE. Good sometimes; not always.

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