Retrofit Temperature Control to a Soldering Station

We’ve probably all seen USB soldering irons advertised for very little money, and concluded that they might not necessarily be the most useful of tools. The cheapest of these lack any real temperature regulation. Enter [Paulo Bruckmann], who has attached a thermistor to his iron with Kapton tape, added an Arduino Uno clone with rotary encoder and Nokia LCD, and put the result in a 3D printed case for a tiny and low powered temperature controlled soldering station. The claimed cost is only $10, which seems credible given the low price of Arduino clones.

The software provides the expected PID control, with the advantage of very quick warm-up due to the tip’s tiny size. The power source is 9 V rather than a USB 5 V, so the combination gives an iron capable of working on much larger joints than when unmodified. He therefore seems to have created what appears to be a significantly more capable iron from this unpromising start, something we find quite impressive. Take a look at his video below the break.

We reviewed one of these little irons last year, and found it to be a toy, but not a joke. Meanwhile we’ve seen some other mods for them, including a pair of desoldering tweezers.

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