Introduction: How to Turn a Coldheat Into a Useful Tool

Picture of How to Turn a Coldheat Into a Useful Tool

OH NO!!! You bought a Coldheat!!! Whatever shall you do with it? I know, you could turn it into something useful, like a flashlight! Here is a step by step way to turn your hunk of junk into a bright, working flashlight, which is perfect for your nightstand, and those mid-night trips to the lou.

Sorry for the grainy images, folks. My digital camera wasn't available, and all I had to take pictures was my video camera.

And, if you like my instructable, don't forget to rate it, and check out my other stuff.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

This project requires these materials:
- One Coldheat
- One Small Screwdriver (The small flathead on the Leatherman works well, but you would be better off with a more precise tool)
- One Soldering Iron
- One Mini Light Bulb with Socket (I used a 2.5 volt)
- Some Solder
- Wire Stripper (optional)

Step 2: Open Your Coldheat

Picture of Open Your Coldheat

In order to get inside of the coldheat, you probably want to open it up. Remove the battery casing, then remove the screw that is inside the battery holster, and remove the top (blue thing on top). Then remove the five screws that hold the two parts of case together. You will want to save the screws for when you put it back together.

Step 3: Get Rid of the White Socket

Picture of Get Rid of the White Socket

You will need to start out by removing the black cylinder, setting it aside for later.

Remove the screws from the copper colored prongs, and pull off the white tip socket from the prongs, you need to keep only one prong, the one with two soldered wires attached to it. The other can be thrown away. You can throw the white socket away, you won't be needing it.

Step 4: Prepare Light Bulb

Picture of Prepare Light Bulb

Hot glue the light socket into the black cylinder, as shown in the picture.

To all the techies: Yes, I know that the power in the circuit is probably too much for the light bulb and the socket. But I am not worried about it. So far, the light bulb hasn't burnt out yet, but if you know what kind of components I should add, please feel free to Personal Message me, and I will edit this Instructable accordingly.

Step 5: Install Light Bulb

Picture of Install Light Bulb

Next you need to put in the light bulb. But before you do that, you need to trim down the remaining copper prong, so that the black cylinder can fit into place. Make sure that you leave the screwhole on the prong, so that you can screw it back into place.

Place the black cylinder back into place, and solder the wires for the light bulb as shown in the picture.

Step 6: Put It Back Together

Picture of Put It Back Together

Now you need to put your coldheat back together.

Replace the screws that held the prongs, that way they won't touch. Then, put the case back together, add batteries, and turn it on. Put the white semi-transparent tip cover on, so that the light doesn't hurt your eyes.


u2att (author)2012-02-09

You need to clean the tip occasionally. Use a small piece of 220 grit automotive sand paper between the tips. I have been using the same tip quite frequently
for 2 years. No problems.

R4Man18 (author)2009-03-08

I love my cold heat. Totally repaired my tv remote today with it. Great tool for cheap stuff.

mando_jtt (author)2008-03-18

Wow! A LOT of negative energy in here. Coldheat is NOT hard to use, not is it evil, and I KNOW evil, trust me. It sounds like the major problem is user malfunction... and/or not knowing how to read instructions. I have used Coldheat very successfully for over a year and a half now, and only had to change batteries once. I think its all about understanding the way electricity and conductive heat works. I urge everyone to NOT give up on the device, just try a different meathod of using it.

snowpenguin (author)mando_jtt2009-03-03

No... It does suck. The tip melts into little pieces after using it for ten minutes. If you actually manage to get the solder between the two broken prongs, it takes a while to melt. The package even says "This soldering tip is fragile. Please do not press hard." You must be one of a lucky few whose ColdHeat actually works.

bustedit (author)2008-08-25

how IRONic that you need another soldering iron to turn another into something else... well, not really ironic, but silly?

fredricksburgthethird (author)2008-03-18

mine works well, you just need to replace batteries semi-often.

hivoltage (author)2007-12-01

Good God those things terrible. I bought one at Radioshack a while back. It did not work at all. plus i paid like twenty dollars for it at radioshack. then the tip broke. i have a little butane powered one now for when i need it to be portable.

bleachworthy (author)hivoltage2007-12-02

they fail to advertise how they work, I found out the hard way, with a lithium-ion battery explosion. there is high current between both sides of the tip, and both sides must touch the metal, in order to heat, but in order to do that, you have to use excessive force to make contact, breaking the tip. I returned mine and went for a good old electric pencil iron.

so, what you're saying is they're acting like an electrode fed stick welder, with the ground and tip combined?

more like an electrode fed suck welder

Gjdj3 (author)nitemaree2008-03-03

Very true.

yeah. pass a huge current between two tips jumpered across by solder. an interesting question: seeing as the coldheat does not heat up, does that make all connections cold joints?

bleachworthy (author)tech-king2007-12-02

no, the joint still has to heat up, for the solder to stick. and yes, it's somewhat like an arc welder, but it lacks the voltage to make an arc.

tech-king (author)bleachworthy2007-12-03

so its a failure as a soldering iron and as a welding torch. seems to make a good flashlight though.

bleachworthy (author)tech-king2007-12-03

yes, total failure as a soldering tool, but I'm quite impressed by the brightness it produces.

Doctor What (author)hivoltage2007-12-02

I paid 20 dollars at thinkgeek, plus like eight dollars shipping.

Gjdj3 (author)2008-03-03

Just curious... is it still working? I've had some friends who said theres worked well and others who... well, read the comments here!

Gjdj3 (author)2008-03-03

OH NO!!! YOU GOT A COLDHEAT!!!!!!!!!!! A truly terrified response, completely fitting to the truly terrifying situation that your money has been spent (destroyed) on what may be the worst thing...ever!

gnasty gnork (author)2008-02-16

i had a cold heat about a year ago. it broke 3 weeks after i got it. cold heat for soldering = BAD

locofocos (author)2007-12-08

Actually, yeah, it is.... It would melt the solder half the time if you could somehow manage to actually get the solder to bridge the gap between the to prongs. Once I actually got it on, it turned red slowly, not even melting. I got solder from radioshack that had a low melting point than how hot the iron supposedly got. So, I just went out to the workshop in the backyard and found a real soldering iron XD

Yerboogieman (author)2007-12-08

i liked the design like a pencil, to keep it a little more stable but otherwise great instructable, lmao....i've had the same soldering iron (not a coldheat) FOREVER, Literally

trailleadr (author)2007-12-06

shamefully, I must admit I got one, but I think the cost was offset enough by the fact that it was bundled with a pair of wire strippers, and a spool of rosin core solder. Maybe there's hope for my coldheat after all. Nice write up

Doctor What (author)trailleadr2007-12-06

mine didn't come with a spool of rosin core solder, so I had to use what I had. I actually have the recommended size/type of solder, and it still didn't work to satisfaction.

joe57005 (author)2007-12-04

i got one a long time ago, and melted it the first day! i don't know how, but i managed to get the idiot at rat-shak to give me a refund. i used the money to buy a real soldering iron. as cool as it is to turn one into a flashlight , i'm glad i got the refund.

alexanderm (author)2007-12-03

yes it is. ColdHeat is the worst invention i've ever been duped into spending my hard-earned money on. Serves me right for listening to hype, i guess. i like the stun gun idea... maybe we should all convert our toy soldering guns into stun guns, and wait en mass outside the ColdHeat corporate offices.

unjust (author)2007-12-03

long story short, it seems you weren't able to sort out how to use it. personally, it's nto a replacement for a high end iron, but if i need to touch up one connection, or work on heat sensetive components i reach for it and it hasn't failed me yet. the tips are fragile, but are easily retouched or shaped. no, it's not an adjustable benchtop station, and it's not supposed to be, but breaking a workable tool seems wasteful to me, especially if you're' just giving it functionality it comes with.

tech-king (author)2007-12-03

you know what's really funny about coldheat? as you probably know, its not ic safe. it probably would fry any chip it was near. but in CSI MIAMI, they always use it, and it take 2 seconds to make the connection.

Whaleman (author)2007-12-01

I do believe I own the exact same wire stripper! I use it for a lot of stuff, but sometimes I will use a different wire stripper/clipper if I will be doing a lot of cutting.

Fletcher (author)Whaleman2007-12-02

I had the same stripper, purchased from Harbor Freight on-the-cheap. Not real consistent and the adjuster didn't seem to do much good. Broke recently (I'm sure I got my $6 worth out of it); would recommend the double clamping stripper Radio Shack sells for around $16. BIG improvement, great clean strip every time.

Whaleman (author)Fletcher2007-12-02

Hmm, I do have a double clamping one (that is the one where you squeeze it and the two clamps come down and back, stripping the wires, right?). I thought that is what that one was, as they look exactly the same.

Fletcher (author)Whaleman2007-12-02

The one I'm talking about is branded as Kronus:
Works beautifully and I've read elsewhere that it's exactly the same stripper Mac Tools sells under their brand name (and for much more.) If you do a lot of electronics projects work, it's well worth the $16.99.

Whaleman (author)Fletcher2007-12-02

Hmm, mine looks more like the one Ethan has. But it works fine, other than the fact that you can only strip so much wire.

Doctor What (author)Whaleman2007-12-02

The wire stripper came with the coldheat. About the only good thing. It doesn't work great, but it beats using my teeth.

Whaleman (author)Doctor What2007-12-02

I don't use my teeth. If I really have to strip wires without a wire stripper, I open some scissors all the way and put the wire in the nook between the blades, as close to my hands as possible.

LinuxH4x0r (author)2007-12-01

No leds? Are they really that bad?

Flea (author)LinuxH4x0r2007-12-01

Yes it really is that bad. My power switch died because it ran too hot because it took too long to get the solder to melt. Regular soldering gun works much much better.
It uses 4 batteries = 6V. You can change the voltage with resistors if you want to use LED's instead of a bulb.

Erik Lindemann (author)Flea2007-12-02

The part that holds the soldering tip on mine melted because I ran it for too long. The piece of crap should figure out how to melt solder.

zachninme (author)LinuxH4x0r2007-12-01

They have an LED -- but he's making fun of the fact its impossible to solder with, so he just turned into a light.

Doctor What (author)zachninme2007-12-02


pyro13 (author)2007-12-02

what is a coldheat anyway?

Doctor What (author)pyro132007-12-02

A coldheat is the devil reincarnate. It is a "soldering iron" supposedly, and it melts the solder by sending a lot of current through the solder, therefore not requiring the heat that regular soldering irons use. So it is supposed to be safer. But the problem is that it is almost impossible to get solder to melt, and the learning curve is too steep for the average solder-er. Basically it's a piece of crap in a pretty (but deceptive) packaging.

pyro13 (author)Doctor What2007-12-02

hm, how much does it cost? I just thought, that could make a pretty powerful stun gun right?

Doctor What (author)pyro132007-12-02

The coldheat costs about 20 bucks. Here's one on the internets.

L33tNooB (author)2007-12-02

Hmmm. I've never broken any tips, the directions tell you not to push very hard. I find it works about half the time. If I'm doing more than a small job, I'll use a real soldering iron.

Doctor What (author)L33tNooB2007-12-02

Yeah, my tips didn't break, but I (when i bought it) was under the impression that it was a soldering iron, not an occasional light soldering device. If you get what I mean.

zuixro (author)2007-12-02

Yes it is.

Whaleman (author)2007-12-01

I have been waiting for this ever since that topic that you posted saying this sucked! I think my dad has one. He never uses it. I don't think he likes it.

Whaleman (author)Whaleman2007-12-01

Hmmm, I think I see an alternative to the stun-gun.....

tech-king (author)Whaleman2007-12-02

that is an interesting idea. but i bet getting good contact on you aggressors flesh would be a pain (it is with solder).

Whaleman (author)tech-king2007-12-02

No, I mean the light. On a dark night in an "unsafe" neighborhood, a bright shining light will stun someone for a few seconds, long enough to run away and call the cops.

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