A Power Bank For Soldering On The Go

If you have a portable gadget, the chances are you’ve probably used power banks before. What few could have predicted when these portable battery packs first started cropping up is that they would one day be used to power soldering irons. Dissatisfied with the options currently available on the market, [Franci] writes in with his own power bank specifically designed for use with his TS80 portable soldering iron.

The electronics side of this build is simple and easy to replicate, with 4 18650 Li-ion cells standard to most high-capacity power banks and an off-the-shelf Fast Charge module serving as the brains of the operation. The beauty of this project however lies in the design of the actual case, completely custom-made from scratch to be 3d printed.

Unlike most power banks, where the outputs stick out to the side and leave the connectors prone to being bumped and damaged, [Franci] engineered his case so the ports are stacked on top and facing inwards. That way, USB plugs are contained within the footprint of the power bank’s body, and therefore protected from bending or snapping off in the socket. He also gracefully provides all instructions needed to make your own, including a wiring guide and a reminder about safety when dealing with battery packs.

If you’re unfamiliar with the TS80 soldering iron, we’ve featured the younger sibling of the TS100 in a previous post. And if you think this power bank is too simple for you, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

15 thoughts on “A Power Bank For Soldering On The Go

  1. Looks awesome, though a tad limited in power (18W max power draw). Wondering if adding an actual Type-C port with Type-C power management controller could help to up the power limit… but then, you would likely need to draw *a lot* of current at 4V from the 4p1s 18650 pack. I personally just chain 4 18650 batteries together (so it’s ~16V), add a fuse, a sufficiently long power cord with a DC jack, and then run a TS100 off that – more than enough power + no active circuitry required.

    1. OP here: 18 W is plenty for the TS80, it heats up barely noticeably slower than on full power. You would not use it for thick cables or IGBTs in any case. In retrospect, I wish I had bought the T100, it does keep things simpler. But on the plus side, I now have a big powerbank for my phone for travelling :)

  2. okay, sorry, but I can’t help myself for acting a bit like a troll:

    “Unlike most power banks, where the outputs stick out to the side and leave the connectors prone to being bumped and damaged, [Franci] engineered his case so the ports are stacked on top and facing inwards”

    That’s one way to put it. If you’d ask me I would say that the “Qualcam QC3 FCM” mostly dictated the way it would be used. He could have rotated it 90deg, but he didn’t. Sure the connector isn’t as exposed as normal powerbanks. Although they do this for space saving reasons, something that is completely flat mostly fits better in you pocket or suitcase.
    And seriously, is having a connector on the edge, really such a big issue?
    To be honest, the only “advantage” of this design (the connector not being on the side)is most likely it’s biggest issue during long term use. Because now you MUST always must bend the wire 180deg in order to read the display while using it. But that wouldn’t be a nice thing to say, so we just mention the fact that the connector isn’t exposed. Now that’s a sales pitch! However on the project’s website I fail to find this “selling point”, so I guess hackaday made this up, or not I’m just guessing here?

    Regarding the project itself it mentions “If you will be using the TS80 soldering iron, limit the power to 18W in the iron settings. If you don’t, the protection will kick in and turn off the powerbank” which is understandable but also highly questionable regarding the fact that things are used beyond their specs.
    I really like the concept of a portable iron. But i fail to see the benefits of this project compared to any other off the shelf “high end” powerbank. Of which I’m sure are also available in pink if you are willing to search for it.
    I would have loved to see a decent integrated soldering stand, you know, some safe place to put that blazing hot smoking stick when not using it. Otherwise it just a matter of hoping the batteries will die before the house burns down. That is IF the house isn’t burned down by the batteries itself but that’s a thing the maker is already aware of and warns about in his post.

    1. Yes, the connector orientation is that big an issue. I’ve always tried to design my gadgets with this style of inward-facing connector, because I like to leave things connected when I toss them in my backpack and that’s a good way to kill cables, or knock connectors off boards, when done the other way.

    2. OP here: I’m guessing you don’t plan on building it ;)
      But I do have one comment: You say “Regarding the project itself it mentions “If you will be using the TS80 soldering iron, limit the power to 18W in the iron settings. If you don’t, the protection will kick in and turn off the powerbank” which is understandable but also highly questionable regarding the fact that things are used beyond their specs.” AFAIK, the powerbank conforms to the QC3.0 standard, the TS80 is the problem here. A normal QC3.0 load should not exceed 18W, but TS80 gives you the option to cheat. For details, see here: https://www.androidauthority.com/quick-charge-3-0-explained-643053/

    1. Idk I think it’s about your expected use.

      For example I have a Master Appliance UT-100 from my field work days soldering wire splices for fire alarms…it’s the Cadillac of butane soldering irons. Even in heavy wind it will easily solder 6x18awg solid copper wires together. But I would never approach a PCB with it…it will also lift pads very easily.

      I think if you’re expecting to have to do PCB work out and about that the lower power setup shown would be great…i may have to roll my own version.

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