How to Increase the Wattage of a Soldering Iron

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How to Use a Soldering Iron

Soldering irons are essential hand tools when it comes to soldering, and there are numerous options for the market. One of the most distinguishing elements about soldering irons in addition to shape and size is wattage. Deciding the ideal soldering iron depending on its wattage will depend on the soldering tasks you intend to carry out.

Many soldering irons have a wattage that lies between 20 to 60 Watts. Soldering iron with enough watts is ideal as it produces enough heat for you to carry out most of your soldering tasks. Usually, soldering irons with a greater wattage of between 40 to 60 are preferred as they generate a higher amount of heat to the solder joint.

But what can you do if you want to increase your soldering iron’s wattage and aren’t looking to buy a new model? If you’ve got such a query in mind, here’s a guide on the steps to increase the wattage on a soldering iron.

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Why Is A Higher Wattage Important?

It’s no doubt that the wattage of your soldering rod is crucial as this has a direct impact on how useful this tool is. With the wattage rating of standard soldering irons averaging between 15 to 25, but this isn’t enough when carrying out more intense duties.

Therefore, you should opt for a soldering rod with greater wattage as they can capably produce more power. This means you won’t experience any difficulty when carrying out heavy-duty projects, unlike the low-wattage soldering irons.

However, you shouldn’t confuse a higher wattage with greater heat. It instead means that the soldering iron can generate greater power since it stores greater power on the reserve. This means such a soldering iron with higher wattage can be used for an extended duration than that of low wattage.

Is Wattage and Temperature of Soldering Iron The Same? 

No, the temperature and wattage of soldering iron are two distinct features integrated into different models. The temperature of the soldering iron is the specific temperatures that a soldering iron can reach, with many models having three basic temperature designs. These different designs include:

  • No temperature control designs that are ideal only for household soldering tasks and the cheapest and easiest to use.
  • Temperature controlled soldering irons that enables you to ensure the tip of your soldering iron maintains a suitable temperature. However, these models tend to be more expensive.
  • Soldering stations that usually comprise of a benchtop control unit and a soldering iron that’s explicitly designed for this unit. It’s the most expensive and offers you great features such as adjustable soldering iron temperature digital temperature readouts and many others. 

Steps To Increase A Soldering Iron’s Wattage 

Step 1: Adjust The Power Using A Dimmer

Getting a dimmer is the first thing you should do when looking to increase the wattage of your soldering iron. Using the dimmer, you’ll be able to change your soldering iron’s power depending on your preference.

A reliable dimmer you can get is the UMS 6600S Dimmer Switch which, as stated in the instructions can support a maximum of 600W. This is great since if you have a soldering iron of 20W, you can increase this to a higher desired levels, let’s say 50W. Consequently, you’ll be able to capably carry out projects that require your soldering iron to generate greater power.

In addition to getting the dimmer, you should also consider getting protection for the wiring. All this you can find from the nearby electrical store.

Step 2: Make A Tiny U-Shape On the Box

On the box you’ve purchased, make a tiny U-shape clearance where the in and out wire pass. You can either use a drill or cutter to do this, but it’s crucial to be extremely cautious regardless of the tool you opt to use.

Step 3: Wire The Soldering Iron and The Dimmer

You should now wire the dimmer and the soldering iron. While doing this, make sure to follow the instructions stated on the Wiring Guidelines, and if you aren’t very proficient with this, it’s advisable to hire a professional electrician. Make sure to also replace the lamps in the dimmer with the soldering iron.

Step 4: Complete The Process

Once you’ve put all the connections in place, your soldering iron is ready for use. You can now start carrying out projects that require more power without having to worry about the performance of your soldering iron.

Safety Precautions To Observe When Handling Your Soldering Iron 

Like with any mechanical or electrical tool, you need to maintain excellent care when using the soldering iron or else risk getting involved in an accident.

The reason for this is the tips of soldering irons usually get extremely hot, and this may cause a fatality if not dealt with care. Here are some of the safety tips you should observe when using your adjusting your soldering iron to produce more watts.

  • Make sure to always work in an area that is well-ventilated and on a clean surface.
  • Never touch the tip of your soldering iron as it gets too hot, and this may cause you serious injury if it gets into contact with your body.
  • Ensure to use the soldering iron far away from any explosive or flammable materials.
  • Never dip the tip of your soldering iron into cold water or any other liquid in an attempt to get it to cool faster.
  • You should never place your soldering iron on the same spot for an extended duration or else risk burning up the circuit board or other sensitive parts.
  • Make sure to unplug the soldering iron each time you’re done using it as this helps avoid the tip from burning up and get oxidized.

Conclusion 

Have you been thinking of ways to increase the wattage of your soldering iron? If so, reading through this article has provided you with an insight into the steps to follow when looking to increase the watts produced by your soldering iron.

With more wattage, you’ll be able to carry out heavy-duty tasks with ease capably. Therefore, this means your soldering iron becomes a lot more practical and useful, meaning you experience less strain when using it and increased productivity.

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