Have JBC Soldering Handle, Will USB-C Power Deliver

Frequent converter-of-tools-to-USB-C [Jana Marie Hemsing] is at it again, this time with a board to facilitate using USB Power Delivery to fuel JBC soldering iron handles. Last time we saw [Jana] work her USB-C magic was with the Otter-Iron, which brought Power Delivery to the trusty TS100 with a purpose built replacement PCBA. This time he’s taking a different approach by replacing the “station” of a conventional soldering station completely with one tiny board and one giant capacitor.

If you’ve been exposed to the “AC fire starter” grade of soldering iron the name JBC might be unfamiliar. They make tools most commonly found with Metcal’s and high end HAKKOs and Wellers on the benches of rework technicians and factory floors. Like any tool in this class each soldering station comes apart and each constituent piece (tips, handles, base stations, stands, etc) are available separately from the manufacturer and on the used market at often reasonable prices, which is where [Jana] comes in.

The Otter-Iron PRO is a diminutive PCBA which accepts a USB-C cable on one side and the connector from a standard JBC T245-A handle on the other. JBC uses a fairly typical thermistor embedded in the very end of the iron tip, which the Otter-Iron PRO senses to provide closed loop temperature control. [Jana] says it can reach its temperature setpoint from a cold start in 5 seconds, which roughly matches the performance of an original JBC base station! We’re especially excited because this doesn’t require any modification to the handle or station itself, making it a great option for JBC users with a need for mobility.

Want to make an Otter-Iron PRO of your own? Sources are at the link at the top. It sounds like v3 of the design is coming soon, which will include its own elegant PCB case. Check out the CAD render after the break. Still wondering how all this USB-PD stuff works? Check out [Jason Cerudolo’s] excellent walkthrough we wrote up last year.

8 thoughts on “Have JBC Soldering Handle, Will USB-C Power Deliver

  1. If this works it’ll be a game changer for home/hackerspace soldering stations. Pair up an old laptop USB-C charger and one of these for a top tier soldering station!

  2. I’m continuously dissapointed that the focus is always on powering things with existing USB PD power supplies and never about making a flexible power supply that can substitute existing USB PD power supplies.

      1. Also, it’s a cheap commodity item. I have several 100W USB-C power supplies lying around the house. And if I need another one, I can pay $50-$70 to get one. And the nice thing is that it won’t go unused on days when I don’t want to solder. Those days, it’ll power my laptop or my cell phone or my camera or a hub or … And if one day I need to be mobile, I can just use a USB-C battery pack. It’s nice to use standards, if they are applicable.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.