20 Replies Latest reply on Apr 22, 2020 1:14 AM by ipv1

    Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers

    ipv1

      Hi all,

       

      I brought my Weller WT1 station from India(220V) over to Canada(110V) and was wondering if one of the online available Voltage Converters would be a good idea?

      https://instapark.com/products/itu-1000-series-heavy-duty-ac-110-220v-step-up-down-voltage-transformer-converter-with-us…

       

      The station is 80Watts and I am eyeing a 1000W transformer. So my question?

      a. Get the transformer or ?

      b. Pay for a new station.(I am considering the Hakko FX888D which I think is a better bet than the Weller WE1010. I know the tenma is a good buy as well but I plan to do some SMD stuff while I am on (forced) leave).

       

      Also if anyone has a pointer to a replacement transformer for the WT1, I'd take that as well.

       

      Thanks y'all.

        • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
          jw0752

          Hi Inderpreet

           

          Since the soldering station isn't that high of a wattage you might find that a small 115V to 220V isolation transformer is all you need. You could even do what you need with an auto transformer with a 110 tapped 220 winding. Though this would not isolate that isn't too important in this application. If you were in the US I would send you one but the rates to Canada from here would probably make it $ impractical. Check out the local electrical contractor to see if they have a used transformer with a sufficient VA to do the job.

           

          John

          6 of 6 people found this helpful
            • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
              ipv1

              That is great advice and I checked local listings. Turns out the transformers are pretty expensive themselves here. https://www.digikey.ca/product-detail/en/triad-magnetics/N-150MG/237-1848-ND/4915262

              The one I listed above is on Amazon delivered for $90 or so.

              What would be the recommended VA for a soldering station though?

                • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                  jw0752

                  I think you will be better served finding something used that you can use. There is a device called a power conditioner made by PowerVar that is actually a 120 volt to 120 volt isolation transformer for use with home computer systems. By finding one of these used in a computer repair shop or even at an electronics recycling center you can easily make a 120 volt to 240 volt auto transformer that would be more than sufficient for a solder station. If you can find one of these:

                   

                  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Powervar-2-0-Power-Conditioner-Model-ABC202-11/153768462764?hash=item23cd5089ac:g:VyYAAOSwncJd~Amd

                   

                  You can modify it  to be an auto transformer that would provide the power conversion you need.

                   

                  You can roughly calculate your minimum power need by multiplying the current draw of the solder station by the 220 Volts it is designed to use.  You will be looking for a Powervar that can handle at least this level of power. I am sure that three-phase if he is available could let us know if my advice is in the ball park with respect to the power and VA of the transformer that will be required. The solder station should be primarily resistive in its loading. The Powervar in the above EBay listing looks like it can handle 240 Watts. There may be other sources of similar transformers if you look around. Perhaps one of the guys in Canada would have a suggestion.

                   

                  John

                  5 of 5 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                      ipv1

                      jw0752  wrote:

                       

                      I think you will be better served finding something used that you can use.

                       

                      Made me smile

                      jw0752  wrote:

                       

                      I think you will be better served finding something used that you can use. There is a device called a power conditioner made by PowerVar that is actually a 120 volt to 120 volt isolation transformer for use with home computer systems. By finding one of these used in a computer repair shop or even at an electronics recycling center you can easily make a 120 volt to 240 volt auto transformer that would be more than sufficient for a solder station. If you can find one of these:

                       

                      https://www.ebay.com/itm/Powervar-2-0-Power-Conditioner-Model-ABC202-11/153768462764?hash=item23cd5089ac:g:VyYAAOSwncJd~Amd

                       

                      You can modify it  to be an auto transformer that would provide the power conversion you need.

                       

                      You can roughly calculate your minimum power need by multiplying the current draw of the solder station by the 220 Volts it is designed to use.  You will be looking for a Powervar that can handle at least this level of power. I am sure that three-phase  if he is available could let us know if my advice is in the ball park with respect to the power and VA of the transformer that will be required. The solder station should be primarily resistive in its loading. The Powervar in the above EBay listing looks like it can handle 240 Watts. There may be other sources of similar transformers if you look around. Perhaps one of the guys in Canada would have a suggestion.

                       

                      John

                      Going out is not possible so I will keep the ebay listing as a reference. Lemme see if I can talk to the neighbors to see if they have something like that.

                      • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                        three-phase

                        Yes, if you can measure the current into the base station, you can multiply it by the voltage to get the VA. If you cannot do that, I would just divide the 80W by 0.85 (assumed power factor) to get a VA of 95VA. Any converter above that rating should then be able to power it.

                         

                        As pointed out some of them can be quite ropey, so I would personally go for a reputable brand name.

                         

                        As the others have suggested you might also be able to open it up and reconfigure the input winding of the transformer for 120V operation.

                         

                        The only thing to bear in mind is that Canada will be at 60Hz where as the unit was probably designed for 50Hz. The change is small and also the voltage is being dropped, and you would expect Weller to be of good quality build, so it may not be an issue. Just make the base station doesn't heat up or become noisier.

                         

                        Kind regards

                        4 of 4 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                    jw0752

                    I have one more thing you can do if you haven't already. Take a look at the transformer in the solder station. Manufacturers commonly use transformers that can be wired for 110 or 220 volts as this doesn't affect cost much and it saves having to stock an extra stock keeping unit. Perhaps all you have to do is rewire your present unit.

                     

                    John

                    5 of 5 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                      dougw

                      You can get a 200W "travel transformer" for $20.

                      5 of 5 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                        jw0752

                        Hi Inderpreet,

                         

                        For the fun of it I took a toroidal transformer that I had on the shelf with (2) 110 volt primaries and hooked it up as I mentioned before. Here it is with a 110 volt 1.2 Amp input and driving (2) 110 volt 0.59 Amp 75 watt bulbs hooked in series for a 220 volt load. I have just ignored the secondary windings. It has been running on the bench for about 30 minutes and the transformer is yet to even get warm.

                         

                         

                        On the other hand if you can get a 200 Watt travel transformer for $20 that might be the best way to go. I suspect that the ones you can get in Canada will be designed to plug into 220 volts and then deliver the 110 volts needed for the Canadian appliance. You will have to hack the unit and turn things around so that you use the secondary as the primary so that you can convert the 110V mains to the 220 you need for the solder station.

                         

                        John

                        3 of 3 people found this helpful
                        • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                          Gordon Margulieux

                          Have you opened the WT1 case to see how it is wired?  Maybe internally there is a jump or simple component change that can convert to 110V.  Can you ask Welder's customer service people?

                           

                          Gordon

                          2 of 2 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                            shabaz

                            Hi Inderpreet,

                             

                            I have this one, it's pretty awful:

                            Image source: google images)

                            it is 100VA, and is for the reverse requirement, i.e. for connecting to 240V to testing things that need 120V. I do not use it any more and have since purchased a transformer to build my own. I bought this one from an electrical store that closed down a few years ago.

                            This one buzzes quite badly (and buzzing gets worse with certain loads or over time I think - not used it in ages) to the point that I could not use it for extended time - really loud : (

                            So maybe you might want to try a couple, to find one that isn't noisy.

                            Also, worth double-checking any user manual for the one you choose, my one has this, whereas soldering irons may be used all day:

                            However, I now have a second reason not to use this device, thanks to your question. I went online to find info on it, and found this recall notice:

                            https://www.uk-afi.org/product-recall/2003-02-26/mw2p100-minwa-desktop-voltage-converter-stock-code-rs59p

                             

                            So, it will be going in the bin.

                             

                            EDIT: Out of curiosity in case it became apparent what the failure mode could be:

                             

                            Nothing much in it, if there is a fuse then it's a thermal one.

                            The transformer has had very little engineering, the enamelled wire is also directly inside the heat-resistant white sleeving, instead of terminating at the transformer to plastic insulated wire.

                             

                            Perhaps the failure mode is through overheating (only very small vents in the top of the enclosure, or vibration plus the heat doing bad things to the enamel over time. It buzzes so much, that vibration must be having an effect..

                            4 of 4 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                              kmikemoo

                              ipv1  Looking at the parts breakout (as best I can) of the WT1 to WT1H, it looks like they have separate internal transformers.  You will probably be best served with an actual transformer like what jw0752 or dougw have recommended.  The circuitry in your soldering station will appreciate the sinusoidal mains input much more than the replicated sine wave of some smaller converters.  You're only driving 80 watts but there is most likely PWM action for controlling the temperature.  This will produce harmonics, heating in the transformer core  - so go with the 200w transformer.  I used to remember the math, but not at the moment.

                              2 of 2 people found this helpful
                              • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                                ipv1

                                Hi all and thanks for the inputs. Let me share some stuff.

                                1. A picture of the existing transformer insider the WT1 is given below. No center taps so won't be doing much there.

                                2. External transformers with 110v and 220V is the answer BUT I have not been able to find one that will do the job for less than $50ish.

                                3. I found a travel transformer and I am not sure about Ebay. The travel transformers everyone linked above seem to be something with not-so-great reviews. The Simran Brand is available on Amazon.ca but its not certified for use anywhere as far as I understand.

                                 

                                Now considering everything, I am looking at getting one of those travel transformers anyway but the question is for what wattage. For an 80 Watt unit, a 300Watt unit seems just enough overkill though there is a 1000watt unit as well for twice the price. If I can scavange a 115V/230V transformer from someplace near me, that would be my first choice.

                                 

                                 

                                Now three-phase jw0752, would https://www.newark.com/triad-magnetics/vps24-5400/power-transformer/dp/79K1712?st=115V%20230V%20transformer  work with what you proposed? Its the cheapest 130VA transformer on newark.

                                 

                                For some reason, the images dissipated for me.

                                Thanks again everyone for the inputs.

                                3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                  • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                                    shabaz

                                    Hi Inderpreet,

                                     

                                    Are you planning on using that as an autotransformer and ignore the secondary side? It won't work as a normal (pri/sec) transformer mode, the secondary is 2 x 12V on the one that you've linked. It's not designed for autotransformer use, but I don't know the implications of that, if it were forced into that role.

                                    I think you might end up spending more, this one is likely more suited in the normal pri/sec role and is a better transformer anyway (fancy toroid : ) 1182K1171182K117

                                    It's not a bad thing having this more flexible transformer, it could come in handy for future use too (perhaps even just for isolation to the same voltage).

                                    Also, another thing to bear in mind (because I went through this too when I purchased my transformer to step-down from 240V) is that realistically you're going to end up spending a fair amount more than the cost of the transformer, since you need to factor in an enclosure (often easily a similar price to the transformer once you pick something that won't melt and tough enough to support the transformer weight), IEC socket with fuse and mains output socket. You might have some of that stuff lying around anyway so that saves costs.

                                    Also, it gets a little complicated with cases of course, since if it has metal exposed then that needs earthing, and if it is plastic then ways are needed not to expose metal bolts holding the heavy transformer and so on. If it comes to it and you need tips, I have some, but you might be ok depending on what you decide to go for.

                                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                                      three-phase

                                      Yes, to me it looks like the transformer you have linked to would be a suitable replacement for the internal one. As a double check, I would be inclined to measure the current from the 24V and 12V outputs of the existing unit, to be sure of the loading. I presume this can be done safely as the connections for mains looks exposed.

                                       

                                      I did however just look up the manufacturer's part number 0058748030 which rates it at 80VA - although I am not sure how it then goes on to rate the unit as 95W.

                                       

                                      https://www.matedex.be/en/products/prod-4366/weller-transformer-230-12-24v-80va.html

                                       

                                      If the unit can be made to fit mechanically within the existing case, then I see no issues. Also bear in mind, if the transformer is much bigger than the existing, it may restrict the cooling vents in the case.

                                       

                                      Kind regards.

                                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                        • Re: Using Soldering Station on Voltage Transformers
                                          ipv1

                                          IF i get the replacement transformer(I just requested project14 cart spend on a bunch of stuff like soldering flux, microcontrollers and what not),I would be doing a new housing for the station. I would be replacing the blue top with something that also accommodates the iron stand such that it is a single piece. With the lockdown, I don;t have access to a 3D printer for now BUT I will still design it bit by bit till my OCD is satisfied.

                                           

                                          Thanks and I will keep you posted.

                                          2 of 2 people found this helpful