Otter-Iron: Power Your Soldering Iron over USB-C PD

Otter-Iron: Power Your Soldering Iron over USB-C PD

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Okay, you’ve probably seen 20 different TS-100 hacks, for example, this, this and this but this improvement by Jan Henrik is on another level. For a soldering iron, the TS-100 seems to work quite well and its popularity, having only debuted 3 years ago, speaks volumes of this. It is relatively inexpensive, comes with temperature control, light-weight and portable, but a somewhat noticeable shortcoming is its inability to deliver as much power as most regular irons in the market, and while another version with higher power delivery, the TS-80 exists, it comes at a way higher price.

To improve this, Jan Henrik, developed an entirely new drop-in replacement PCB that converts the TS-100 into a USB-C PD powered soldering iron, making it absolutely awesome for soldering on the go, since you could power the iron from a normal USB-C PD power bank and also attain higher power since the USB-C PD is capped at 100W, which is 5 times the regular product!

Jan calls this upgrade the “Otter Iron” as he notes in a tweet, where he shared details of the project along with the cost slash features which puts his PCB + the TS-100 case + the TS-100 tip + some other parts combined, at a price cheaper than the original TS-100.

According to Jan, a bulk of the tasks around the project has been done, with the firmware all sorted, along with the GUI and temperature regulator. His demonstrations of the Iron handling a desoldering task with ease shows the functionalities are good, and its replicability has been confirmed by a few individuals who reported successfully building their own version of the Otter-Iron.

Demo

The project as most of Jan’s projects is properly documented on his Github page with some of the few remaining tasks highlighted. Some of the tasks include:

  • Current measurement
  • Better Fonts/UI for Display
  • PD-Profile cycling
  • Adding a barrel jack
  • Adding a grounding solution

The Project is already receiving contribution from several hobbyists like Timon who has already recreated the fuse holder for the TS-100, which was the only part missing from Jan’s PCB.

One caution so far is an earthing problem with USB-C’s when used with an ungrounded laptop adaptor. So it’s much safer to use a three-pronged charger or separate hooking to ground.

Regardless, this is great work from Jan Henrik. You can follow his progress and get the project files on the project’s Github page.

About Emmanuel Odunlade
Email : emmaodunlade@gmail.com Website :

Hardware Design Engineer | #IoT Consultant |All things #ML | Entrepreneur | Serial Writer | Passionate about Innovation and technology as tools for solving problems in developing countries. Spare time is spent around writing and advocacy for the growth of the Maker/DIY Culture in Africa.

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