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Author Topic: Cold Heat soldering irons - do they work?  (Read 3402 times)

Lazarus Long

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Cold Heat soldering irons - do they work?
« on: March 15, 2009, 10:14:50 am »

Has anyone tried one of the portable, AA-battery-powered Cold Heat soldering irons?

I did, and wasn't impressed. I'm proficient with a regular, old-fashioned soldering iron, and either the Cold Heat iron requires a totally different technique, or it's a worthless rip off.

I had minor difficulties with the first few connections I soldered with it, which I attributed to the learning curve. I got it to work OK for a couple of dozen joints after that, although it was never as fast and easy as a regular iron. And then it all went downhill. It was always a little difficult to close the circuit for long enough to generate the required heat on smaller components, but after a while, the continuity light would come on, but the components just wouldn't get hot enough to melt solder. If it just needed new batteries, all I can say is that it guzzled them in a big hurry. I switched back over to a regular iron, and haven't gotten over my annoyance enough to try to troubleshoot the Cold Heat iron yet.

A couple of other engineers have told me they had similar experiences. But I'm still not convinced that we old-school guys have mastered the requisite technique.
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Mr. Dare

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Re: Cold Heat soldering irons - do they work?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2009, 10:47:35 am »

   I haven't tried the cold heat stuff yet, I am thinking that flashlight batteries just don't contain enough energy to do any significant amount of soldering. (actually I am a little surprised it works at all)  My preference for a cordless iron is Butane. Snap-On Tools has a really sweet set that contained the torch part and several tips. Can't remember how much it was, I'm wanting to say it was like 65 bucks, a LOT of money at any rate compared to 10 or 12 bucks for a regular soldering iron. The upside for me was that the damn thing actually works. It works as well as any wall plug soldering pen and is reasonably efficient with the Butane. It was a lot of money, but I can solder wire any time any where.  :mellow:
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Lazarus Long

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Re: Cold Heat soldering irons - do they work?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2009, 11:17:37 am »

My dad had one of those - it might even be lying around his garage somewhere still. I can't recall if I ever used it. It was compact, for sure. It would generate some fumes, I imagine, but probably nothing worse than the solder smoke you get with an electric iron.

At Amazon, the Cold Heat iron has about 68 reviews, the lion's share of which are extremely negative.
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Mr. Dare

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Re: Cold Heat soldering irons - do they work?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2009, 11:28:12 am »

   I never really noticed any fumes from mine, but I was working either out doors or in auto repair shops where one additional smell would simply go un noticed. If I have a wall outlet  handy I just use my plug in's most of the time.
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Apple

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Re: Cold Heat soldering irons - do they work?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2009, 12:43:43 pm »

I have no direct experience with these irons, but I think that any battery powered soldering iron, no matter whether "cold" or hot, would quickly chew through its batteries. A dozen joints might be all you can expect from one set of batteries. I suggest rechargeables, not only because changing batteries every 12 joints gets expensive fast, but rechargeables have lower internal resistance, which may improve performance.

If not, well, it might be useful for something else, like... errr... uhmmm...
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EwB

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Re: Cold Heat soldering irons - do they work?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2009, 09:57:42 pm »

I have worn out two of the catalytic butane irons, they are great for general work.
But if you do any SMT or sensitive work a AC powered temp controlled soldering station is the best.

EwB
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Re: Cold Heat soldering irons - do they work?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2009, 09:07:34 am »

Direct experience with these myself, save you money.  I once had my NASA soldering certificate and spent some time on Micro/mini repair (r&r of chips and such).   This iron just does not work very well, it might allow you to solder one or 2 wires together to get the car running again along a road somewhere, but as a real tool it is a failure.

It can tin wire and get things hot enough to solder wires together, but not with any kind of consistent repeatability. I would vote for an electrical/ butane solution. Maybe have a real large inverter with a small generator handy and use a soldering gun........
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