Portable Soldering Station Runs On Drill Batteries

Power tool batteries are a convenient portable power supply for all manner of different things. [Zachary Goode] noticed that Ryobi was using them to power soldering irons, but no such tool existed in the DeWalt range. Thus, he set about to build such a rig himself.

The build relies on a simple 3D-printed adapter to suck power from a DeWalt drill battery. It’s a little piece of plastic with spade terminals inserted to act as the contacts. Armed with this tool, [Zachary] included it as part of a simple compact portable soldering iron design that relies on the off-the-shelf T12-952 controller board. This allows him to use the rig with a wide variety of common soldering iron handpieces, like his favored Hakko FX-951. The design also features a lithium-ion battery protection circuit of [Zachary]’s own design, to make up for the fact that DeWalt don’t integrate them into their battery packs.

The high power density of lithium rechargeable batteries has led to a proliferation of portable soldering irons in recent years. Some are even completely handheld, with no external wires or power supplies to speak of. If you’ve been whipping up your own gear to solder on the go, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

37 thoughts on “Portable Soldering Station Runs On Drill Batteries

      1. DeWalt’s lawyers have $$$$$$$, whoever they sue do not have $$$$$$$.
        Doesn’t matter if you’re right if you can’t spend the thousands in lawyers fees for the years required (corporate lawyers are highly skilled in stretching out cases) to prove it in court.

        1. It does seem a bit ridiculous that you couldn’t represent yourself if you can present to the court: Exhibit A – online Hackaday article dating from 22nd June 2023 showing the soldering station adapter for DeWalt power tools battery – and Exhibit B – DeWalt patent dating from, say, 2024 on which DeWalt lawyers might attempt to base such a spurious claim?

          The judge should laugh it out of court…

          1. DeWalt would just buy up Mellit and then sue. “look we owned this exact tech 10 years ago, it even used DeWalt batteries”. Not likely they would do that as Mellit sells DeWalt powertool battery powered soldering irons, but still, they could.

    1. Just a thought… To file a patent they would have to show it was filed before this article at the patent office. If not then they cannot file it now as the information is public.

    1. I don’t intend this to demean the products in the link, but it it saddens me to see so many incompatible tool batteries listed, and how many other tool builders are not listed?

  1. FWIW, TS100 style irons also work well on an 18V drill battery. I made a Ryobi battery adaptor from a cut up broken Ryobi tool skin, a metre of silicone jacketed wire and a glob of silicone goo to attach the cable, for my TS100, years ago. Its been very useful.

  2. Great DIY solution.. But I just use a Pinecil and either a USB-C powerbank (that does 22.5w+) or one of my 4s drone batteries as most of the SOLD-ERing is done in the field.

  3. “The design also features a lithium-ion battery protection circuit of [Zachary]’s own design, to make up for the fact that DeWalt don’t integrate them into their battery packs.”

    This is why so many of my workmates are replacing batteries all the time on their Makita and Dewalt drills.

      1. Ok so this begs the question: would it be possible to use a Ryobi ONE+ battery in a DeWalt or Makita still (I imagine with a 3D printed adapter for different form factors) ?

        1. Yes. Imade an adapter for my old 18v ni-cad snapon wrecking saw to use the new 18v li-ion battery’s. The saw only gets used once a blue moon so didn’t feel like buying a new one.

    1. AFAIK the battery has the circuitry to monitor and balance the battery, the strange thing is that the circuitry for cutting off the battery power is in the tool itself. So basically the battery tells the tool “I’m empty” and the tool stops taking power.
      No an ideal setup as trying to use that battery with an adapter for other tools or trying to take power directly from it, won’t respond to the “I’m empty” command from the battery.
      Ryobi on the other hand, have both circuits in the battery.

    2. I believe that there is cutoff circuitry, its just in the tool instead of the battery and the cell balancing circuitry is in the charger (at least as far as the latest “20V” batteries and the brushless tool models are concerned). I see the logic of the approach, and it makes sense in a way, but it makes the use of Dewalt batteries with 3rd party tools kind of risky.

      I suspect that shorter battery life may have more to do with frequent “topping off” of batteries before they are more fully discharged. Who wants to have a tool die in use… go ahead and swap batteries early and drop it on the charger. A combination of the worst possible conditions ofr battery life: more frequent recharging of battery packs that aren’t sufficiently discharged. All you need is for one cell to drop out of spec and the charger will refuse to charge.

      I recently ended up getting into the Dewalt 20V ecosystem. I’d avoided any significant battery-based tooling for years knowing that once I got into a battery system I’d be committed. If I had it to do again, I might have gone with cheaper tools (probably Ryobi) since I’m not a professional… I’ve really over-spent on tools/batteries that I just use occasionally. I’m not saying Ryobi tools aren’t up to constant use (I really have no idea about the ruggedness of the Dewalt tools either). After reading about the “activation” process that was supposed to be in some of the Ryobi tools, I dropped them from consideration which was probably a mistake.

      I bought one of those cheap clip-on inverters that takes the Dewalt batteries. It will drain the battery to the point that it will not recharge without being boosted to get the cell voltages up to the minimum level acceptable to the charger. Using it involved making sure to keep checking the battery voltage monitor and swapping out after hitting the single-LED status. On the other hand, in a pinch it lets me suck all the available juice out of the battery, which can be a useful trade off. I also have a Ryobi hand vacuum and a cheap Dewalt-to-ONE adapter. Same problem. I found what claims to couple of Dewalt-style battery cutoff circuit chips on Ebay, and I hope to try integrating one into the ONE adapter.

  4. I’m going to do something similar. I have a pinecil soldering iron (which is truly amazing!). I just received USB-C ports I can use, which I’ll hook up to parkside 20v batteries for powertools. I’ll be making a big stand though, with all the tips I have, rolls of different tapes, different solders, a fan, snips, pliers etc. That way, I can take it anywhere if I need to solder. Mostly working on bikes though, creating wiring looms. Much easier to be able to take it with you.

  5. I use those cheap chinese USB soldering pens that requires 2A with an external battery.

    Now that we have better USB-C batteries and that those pens are getting better, I need top upgrade my setup.

  6. FYI – Dewalt made one tool that could use both 18 volt and 20 volt batteries- a worklight or something.
    The dual battery receptacle is available as a replacement part – part number N404474 – if you want the option of using either voltage battery in your project

  7. DeWalt makes a usb-c adapter for their batteries. Combine that with a usb-c capable soldering iron like the Pinecil and you have a pretty good portable setup. It’s a little more expensive and you don’t get the nice parts holder but it’s a more plug-and-play solution for someone looking for that. You also get the confidence of the battery protection being built by the same manufacturer as the battery. Oh and DeWalt’s adapter can pull double duty as a battery charger as well.


  8. Nice hack if it’s a hack for the purpose of being a hack. I’m not sold on this form factor as an actual tool though.

    A while back I watched a teardown video of Ryobi’s version of this. I was disappointed to see that it was a mostly empty shell with no real temperature regulation.

    So I started thinking about looking for a used or clearance Ryobi soldering station just to use for it’s shell and battery connector. A store display module with no actual components would have been perfect! I just wanted to gut it and swap in the internals of one of those nice open source regulated soldering irons that are out there. That plus whatever modifications are necessary to get those guts working off an 18V battery pack.

    But then I thought a bit harder about it. Cordless soldering irons that are just the pencil are very handy to carry around and work on things in otherwise less convenient places and positions. When you can bring the project to the bench a regulated soldering station is hard to beat.

    But what is the advantage of a soldering station, where the pencil is attached to a box being battery powered? Like a plug-in station it is still tethered to box that is inconvenient to use away from the bench. But it also has a battery that needs to be charged and eventually will wear out. If you are going to have a box, might as well use wall power.

    That’s just my opinion though. If someone else finds that a battery powered soldering station really is a good fit for them I would love to hear where and on what they use it!

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