SIMPLE SOLDERING IRON TEMPERATURE REGULATOR

T.K. HAREENDRAN

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Soldering irons are available in different wattage and usually run at 230V AC mains. However, these have no temperature control. Low-voltage soldering irons (e.g., 12V) generally form part of a soldering station and are designed to be used with a temperature controller. A proper temperature-controlled soldering iron or station is expensive. Here is a simple circuit that provides manual control of the temperature of an ordinary 12V AC soldering iron.

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The circuit consists of power switch S1, TRIAC1, DIAC1, potentiometer VR1, resistors R1 to R3, capacitors C1 and C2, and step-down transformer X1. Adjusting the resistance of VR1 changes the charging rate of C1 to regulate the conduction angle of TRIAC1, and hence the output power (heat) of the low-voltage soldering iron connected to X1. The red LED (LED1) indicates the power status.

Assemble the circuit on a general-purpose PCB and enclose in a suitable plastic box. Since the front end of the circuit is directly connected to 230V AC mains supply, never attempt to operate the circuit without the cabinet. Use a heavy-duty potentiometer with plastic shaft and a knob for temperature control.


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