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  • cold heat soldering tool

    Played with it for awhile. It works, has some characteristics to get used to. It's a resistance soldering tool, so it relies on conduction through the joint to make the heat. The tip is basically carbon rods closely spaced to be able to bridge a wire or pc trace to get the conductive path established. In that regard, the tip itself doesn't have to get hot to melt the solder, but I believe the carbon does heat and aid the soldering process to some extent.

    It works best with small junctions, and as you can imagine from such a tool, there isn't a glut of power available to heat something of any considerable mass. It would be hard pressed to solder an 18 ga wire crimped around a terminal, for instance. But for mounting parts to a pc board, it seems to work fine. Solder doesn't blob up on the tip, which seems to stay clean.

    Proper soldering involves watching and making sure the solder flows on the pc trace and the wire being connected to it. Traditional wisdom says to heat the joint and let the joint melt the solder. In this case, the tool operates more readily when solder is first melted at the tip, so you do have to watch what's going on with the joint. Without that little dab of solder first, you have to manipulate the tool until you get a good conduction between the electrodes. A red led lights to show when this has happened, so at least you know when there's heating going on. Sometimes this 'manipulating' will cause you to use extra pressure on the tip, and there's a warning about that in the instructions.

    I've been learning how to solder for decades now, so it came easily for me to use this soldering tool. It basically comes down to knowing when you've got enough heat pervading the entire junction. This tool doesn't apply heat to the junction, it makes the junction heat itself, using the solder as an aid to do that. The main limiting factor is the size of the junction. For normal components, great. For ic pins, great- with one warning. Because there's voltage across the two electrodes, you could conceivable apply that voltage across two ic pins, and some electronic parts will definitely be damaged by that. In general use, you'll always have to have that foremost in mind, since it's unlikely you'll know when it might be 'safe' to accidently apply that voltage across two pins. This thing applies the full battery voltage to those pins, so with fresh alkalines, you have over six volts there. It's safe to say that you'll be able to destroy gate protection diodes, semiconductor junctions, and input circuitry with this soldering tool. You could pop an led in no time this way, same for a transistor junction. This is going to be my major issue, and I'm declining to recommend this tool for this reason alone. To be safe, any user will have to either heat just the trace, and let the solder flow from the trace to the wire, or just the wire, allowing solder to flow onto the trace. Even then there's no guarantee that you haven't damaged something. If one part of the tip touches the wire, and the other touches the trace, you could have a conduction path through the trace to another pin, and damage could be caused instantly. What a heartbreak this could be for someone trying to get their own circuit working, or even trying to repair a circuit, not knowing if you're causing other damage.

    Damn! This is not the glowing report I would have liked to deliver. This was a gift, and now I don't want to use it. She who bought it for me will want to know how it is- do I tell her it's basically good for destroying components? Anybody else own one of these? I'd like to have some feedback.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  • #2
    I bought one and was forced to take it back. I am no soldering or electrical expert, but I have soldered small wires on circuit boards through careful application of heat with a small iron. I thought that this would be just the ticket for the occasional small joint so I wouldn't have to get out the iron and wait for it to heat up. In my experience with it, they should call it "No Heat" because I could barely get it to melt the solder. I don't even think I had one successful joint with it. I found it easier to just be careful with the iron than try to become an expert with that piece of crap. So I took it back to Radioshack and told them why. Also, I had never considered the point you made about it damaging components because of the way it works, good observation on your part.
    Jonathan P.

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    • #3
      Darryl, I just bought one in a package deal of 2 25 watt irons, solder, head magnifier, and the Cold Heat. The guy said in his ad said that he couldn't get the C Heat to work, so for 15.00 I just had to Acquire it! He's right, it won't work. Put in new batteries, but the red LED doesn't even come on. I kinda look at it as a project to fix one of these days, maybe someone has a schematic for this MIRACLE TOOL! I can't really say if it's good or not; looks easy on TV though!

      ------------------
      Dave da Slave

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      • #4
        darryl, not everything deserves a glowing report. I think you made a fair and honest review which saves me money and time - for which, I thank you.

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        • #5
          I got one and melted the White plastic that holds the Tip in.I was tinning wires.

          ------------------
          The tame Wolf !

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          • #6
            IT SUCKS! got one on sale at Harbor Frieght. It wouldn't heat even with 3 changes of batteries. Also the tip chipped and that was that went to RS bought a new tip for around $10.00 for a $14.95 tool planning on putting it on my sale table at names this coming year. Your report is right on. all TV hype.

            ------------------
            Glen
            Been there, probally broke it doing that
            Glen
            Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
            I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
            All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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            • #7
              Can those of us who didn't get sucked into one of them stand up and take a bow

              When I look at this kind of stuff I do so with the knowledge that "you can't get out of something more than which you put in". So, if it's gonna melt solder and I can touch it with my fingers 1 second later it seems to me a lot of energy would be lost somewhere. The tip being as small as it has to be to operate on penlight cells it could only work on extremely light wire.

              My friend bought me a real nice soldering pen for Christmas 25 years ago. It is a joy to use. I just have to remember to plug it in before I start working on anything. No free lunch where energy is concerned!

              I was thinking of buying me one of those "Salad Shooters" but can't find them in the stores anymore. Any ideas?

              Darryl, nice report, you probably saved a lot of us some money. I'd tell your wife how it went. Better than her never seeing you use it. I like being able to tell my wife how well the tools work she buys me as it brightens her up and encourages her to "think tools" instead of "cloths" for gifts

              [This message has been edited by Your Old Dog (edited 12-27-2005).]
              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
              Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

              It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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              • #8
                My wife likes to do some jewelry work, and recently acquired one of the Cold Heat soldering devices. I was pretty skeptical when I first saw the thing, but I figured I'd give it a try. My skepticism was well founded, as it was pretty much useless. She returned it for a refund. She got to keep the free wire stripper that came with it though, and she gave it to me. I took it into my shop and gave it a try. It broke on the first wire I tried it on. I wonder if part the manufacturer's business plan is to rely on the consumer being too lazy to return these things?

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                • #9
                  wish I had read this thread before buying on as a gift. Oh well still got the receipt
                  Doug Arthurs
                  Kent bridge, Ontario
                  www.irontoart.com

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                  • #10
                    X39 you are right you win. Whe I was making and selling clown props and magic tricks mail order and the shows. my catalog had a refund coupon in it for the two bucks it cost in 15 years of offering it. only got 2 of them back. both from the same type of people, thinking they some how shafted me by bringing the back. I use to ask people why they didn't send them back with thier orders. Thier answer was well yopu have those easy magic trick printed on the back of the two dollar bill! I would ask them well They don't have copy machines in your neighborhood. They would look puzzled and then start laughing. I probally made more money off the catalog sales than the sales from the catalog. LOL

                    ------------------
                    Glen
                    Been there, probally broke it doing that
                    Glen
                    Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                    I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                    All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you, Thank you, Thank you:

                      I was just about ready to call up and buy one until I read this post. You saved me a lot of time and possibly grief. This is a good forum.

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                      • #12
                        You know, you could try some nicad batteries, they will put out a lot more amperage than alkaline will.

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                        • #13
                          Dang! And I got one of those for my brother. I'm glad he lives out of town.

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                          • #14
                            CCWKen, exactly, I'm glad I didn't give one as a gift because my buddies don't live far enough away that the payback wouldn't reach me.

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                            • #15
                              As far as using nicads, they will put out a lot more amperage, but this 'pen' has a limiting factor based on an internal resistor. This resistor drops enough voltage to light an led when current is flowing. I doubt an ordinary battery would work in this tool, but a nicad would be overkill, and would probably not work quite as well because the nicad doesn't produce as high a voltage as the alkalines. Of course, a few soldering operations and the alkaline's voltage is going to drop anyway. At any rate, the tool doesn't rate having nicads used in it.

                              This brings me back to the Wen cordless soldering tool. It used a normal tip, normal in the sense that it got hot and then you used it. That tool had two nicads, so the tip ran from about 2.7 volts. Because this cold heat tool has a pair of contacts at it's business end, a person could make up a tip that would run on say, 5 to 6 volts, and it could become a more normal soldering tool. But first you'd have to find a suitable tip material, then do the math and make up a suitable coil, embed it in the tip- oh, never mind, it's too much work to be worth it. You'd have to instal a microswitch in the thing also, then there's the internal mods- not worth it. At best it would make an ok led flashlight for those willing to make up a tip with either two or four led's in it. Change the label to read 'Cold Light'.

                              I made myself a resistance soldering tool many years ago, but it only put maybe half a volt at the tip. It was still a bit tricky to get the tips both contacting the junction so heating could take place, but it was safe to use. It actually had a trigger that would bring the tips together like a needle nose pliar, so you could pinch a junction with it. It worked well enough, but the pair of wires leading to it had to be heavy gauge, and it was awkward. I didn't use it for very long, and it really wasn't the thing for pc boards. Pretty hard to beat the temperature controlled tip ala Weller and others.

                              The fuel powered catalytic tip wasn't bad either, I think I still have that one. It went through a ton of splicing during the older days of C band satelite systems.

                              [This message has been edited by darryl (edited 12-27-2005).]
                              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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