Solderdoodle USB rechargeable soldering iron brings open-source portability
By David Szondy
July 20, 2014
There’s nothing new about cordless soldering irons. Whether electric or butane, the days of being tied to a mains outlet to do a bit of soldering are long gone, but what about the techie on the go who doesn't want to be lumbered with chargers, batteries, and cans of gas? Solderdoodle is based on the idea that what works for smartphones and tablets works for soldering irons. The focus of a Kickstarter campaign, the partly 3D printed device can be charged using a standard USB cable.
The 7.4-in (18.8 cm) long Solderdoodle is built around a lithium lon battery that charges from any USB port, such as a laptop, mains adapter, USB battery, or USB solar charger, with a standard USB 2.0 type A connector. According to the developers, the device can charge in three hours and can operate “for hours” on a single charge. It uses a Maxim high-efficiency, high-power charge controller, and the soldering iron tip is standard and can be replaced from any off-the-shelf source.
The body of the Solderdoodle is 3D printed and as well as being brought to market through a Kickstarter campaign (if it’s successful), the device is open source and the plans are available on instructables.com. This is fortunate because the Solderdoodle has room for improvements, since it’s only capable of reaching 500º F (260º C) and therefore can’t handle non-leaded solder.
Solderdoodle was developed by Portland, Oregon-based start up Solarcycle and uses hardware from an unsuccessful solar USB charger previously created by the company. According to the developers, the Solderdoodle is still in the prototype stage with the production version still to come. Funds from the Kickstarter campaign running through August 1 will be dedicated to manufacturing the first batches of the devices.
“Solderdoodle is something the maker community has been looking for; a soldering iron that can be used far away from a wall socket in tight spaces with enough power to complete most Arduino type projects with leaded solder,” says Isaac Porras, creator of Solderdoodle.
Update 8 August: Solderdoodle's developer has informed us that he has cancelled this Kickstarter campaign and launched a brand new one for a Pro version Solderdoodle that's capable of going above 700º F (371º C) for at least an hour.