When I ordered the tiny USB soldering iron, I decided a proper iron upgrade would be a good idea. Looking around for something that didn’t require AC mains power turned up the TS100, a Chinese design, that unusually is actually very good! Above is the handle itself, with it’s small OLED display & two operation buttons.
This iron is controlled by a STM32 ARM microcontroller, the firmware & schematics are completely open-source.
The bottom end of the iron has the main DC input jack, designed with laptop chargers in mind (DC input range from 10v-24v). Above that is the micro USB port for programming.
The iron tips slot into the other end, many different tip types & shapes are available. The one supplied was the simple conical tip.
Plugging the iron into some power gets a standby screen – it doesn’t just start heating immediately, for safety.
The left hand button starts the heater, which on a 24v input voltage gets to operating temperature well within 10 seconds.
The right hand screen icon changes when the temperature has stabilized. The control PCB has an integrated accelerometer, leaving the iron hot for a few minutes triggers a timeout & it powers down. Once picked up again, the heater instantly restarts.
The operating temperature is adjustable with the pair of buttons, from 100°C to 400°C.
Here’s a selection of bits for the iron. The design is very similar to the Hakko T15 series of irons, but these are a much shorter version. Like the Hakko versions, the actual tips aren’t replaceable, once the bit burns out, the entire assembly is replaced.
Here’s the iron fully assembled. The entire device is about the same length as just the heating element from a Hakko T15!