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Joined: May 2002
Posts: 23
AC Offline OP
I have a very big, heavy, electric soldering iron that is used mainly to solder sheet metal. It connects to 110V with a two wire cord but has no switch or regulator. It is either plugged in or it isn't.

Adding some kind of switch would not be a big deal, but I would like some kind of device that would allow me to regulate the heat. Does anyone know if that is possible and what kind of device would be used?


Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 59
There is a stand which holds the iron while not in use and has an adjustable thermostat
so that you can maintain whatever heat you desire. Any industrial supply house should have these.


Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
An ordinary incandescent dimmer should work fine, as a soldering iron is a resistive load. Maybe build a device something like this one:

, but I would suggest a proper enclosure, not a plastic outlet box.

I use a variac to control my big iron, but I already had one on my workbench for other things.

[This message has been edited by NJwirenut (edited 06-11-2004).]

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
It doesn't give us much fine adjustment as a variac, but one trick I've used in the past is to make up a stand/switch box with the hot line run through a suitable diode.

A switch in parallel with that diode then allows you to run the iron on full power when using it continuously and reduce the power when it is being used only occasionally.

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
Rigging up a microswitch on the stand to insert the diode when the iron is idling in the holder will greatly prolong the life of the copper tip, by preventing the tinning from burning up.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
Depending on iron wattage, a pendant-style "corded" lamp dimmer may do, although they are not very rugged in a shop setting.

Lutron and Leviton should make 'em. SwillMart had Leviton 200-watt dimmers for ~$9.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
... If you're doing light soldering,;..electronics,and such, Weller has a self-regulating,thermostatic soldering station for under $150.00...I used to use this type..

[This message has been edited by Attic Rat (edited 06-13-2004).]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 23
AC Offline OP
I don't know anything about diodes. I'll try the incandencent dimmer thing. This is my third attempt to reply. Hope it goes though.


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