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We’ve written about a couple of electric cordless soldering irons, but if you look through the comments you’ll quickly notice that our readers almost universally prefer butane-power when it comes to portable soldering.  A number of them recommended Weller’s units (like the P2C pictured above).

The P2C reaches solder-melting heat in under a minute, and is adjustable between (the equivalent of) 25 and 75 watts of heat.  It can reach temperatures of up to 850 degrees C.

The replaceable internal butane bottle provides up to an hour of continuous use, and a safety engages when you place the cap on, shutting off gas flow.

The P2C ships with a 2.4-mm double flat tip, and streets for around $40.  If that’s not exactly what you’re looking for, though, Weller makes a number of other units with varying capabilities.

 

 

4 Responses to Finds: Weller’s Portasol Line

  1. Myself says:

    When you say replaceable butane bottle, don’t you mean refillable butane reservoir? From the descriptions I was able to track down, it looks like this unit sports a refilling nozzle like all the others, and will work with any common butane can. I’m sure someone will eventually come out with a cartridge-based iron (like Paslode’s “fuel cell” fastener tools) as a way to give away the proverbial razors but sell the blades, but for the moment, we’re still on the sensible, standardized, economical refill system.

    One nonobvious perk of butane irons over their plug-in electric counterparts is that they’re adjustable very quickly. It’s not as good as the closed-loop temperature control you’d get from a professional soldering station, but if you know the signs of a too-hot or too-cold iron, a quickly adjustable butane unit is the next best thing.

    Don’t count on the cap-mounted igniter to be good for much, by the way. Until the catalyst grid comes up to temperature, the butane flame has to burn outside the iron’s head, where it’s vulnerable to any passing hint of breeze. Without a lighter-style shroud around the base of the flame, it’s remarkably hard to light in “real-world” situations. Flick your Bic instead! Turn on the Weller’s gas, then just heat the catalyst grid directly with a regular lighter flame until it “catches”.

  2. kai says:

    These things are great – I’ve got an old one that looks pretty much like the one in the picture and they use a catalytic element so there’s no actual flame to burn the gas, it reacts over a catalyst and generates heat.

    Mine came with a hot-knife attachment, a hot-air attachment (pretty weak, but no weaker than you’d expect for such a device) a nice needle-thin blowtorch and, of course, the soldering iron tip…

    I really like them because they heat up quite quickly, they’re very portable, there are no cords to get in the way and you have a fair amount of control over the temperature of the tip. They also run pretty well off a refill of butane, and take the same butane refills that cigarette lighters take.

    The only thing you gotta watch out for is the exhaust port on the tips, where you initially light them – even though there’s no flame as such, there’s a fair bit of very hot air coming out, so you gotta be careful which way it faces when you put it down.

  3. Daniel Rutter says:

    The cheaper spark-light Portasols are great for occasional use – they can bounce around in a toolbox for years and still work perfectly.

    For more frequent use and/or heavy jobs, there’s the big SuperPro and the more elegant Pro Piezo, both of which I talk about in my old review here:
    http://www.dansdata.com/portasol.htm

  4. Al Hollaway says:

    I’ve use these things for better than 20 years. They are the greatest portable soldering tool I’ve ever encountered. I’ve lost them, had them stolen, but never had one fail. Can’t beat ’em. I’ve got 2 in use right now.

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