At the fpv-community.de Forum I read about a DIY Weller station designed by Martin Kumm. Basically an Arduino shield to drive a Weller soldering tip. As there is not much to it, the board simply contains an precision OpAmp, a power MOSFET, 2 buttons for adjusting the temperature and a display to show the current values. This design looks like a good starting point for my own advanced project. As I have lately discovered a 1,8 inch SPI TFT at banggood.com for an amazing price ( ~ 4.60 $ / 3,70 €), I started using them regularly in my projects. So I surely wanted to use it with this soldering station as well.
The hardware design was rather hobbyish and needed to be tuned to provide the security not to kill your soldering tip while starting up or in case of a software/hardware fail. The bigger changes I made to the original design were the nice color Display, a poti instead of the buttons (I think it’s easier to adjust) and a standby mode.
The standby mode will decrease the temperature to a 170°C value when the soldering tip is in the holder. This works simply by having a pullup resistor connected to the metal holder pipe which is connected to a digital input. The soldering tip itself is connected to ground potential and will put the digital input to ground level as well when placed in holding position. For reheating the station only takes about 3 seconds which is fast enough in most cases.
The station in the picture above is the result of a long prototyping period together with Albert – a friend of mine from university – who owns a 3d printer and wanted to have a station as well. As we started with the development of the station some friends asked us if they can by a station from us. So we decided to ask around if anyone is interested in buying this station as a DIY kit. After a short time we had 10 stations to build and a lot of money to spend on the parts.
Long story short, we thought we could make some money with this stations but in the end it turned out to be a lot of work and no money to make. But still a nice feeling developing a product and seeing someone buying and even better actually using it. 🙂
Apart from that we didn’t get much out of it, so we stopped selling this stations and closed this chapter. But still we gained a bit of experience in selling stuff and started to get that kind of startup feeling.
You cand find a video of the station in action at Alberts Blog.
If someone is interested in the actual schematics and code. Link below:
By the way the PCBs are ordered at DirtyPCBs.com for just 14 USD worldwide shipping included.