Recently my old soldering gun spoiled. I open the casing and try to repair, but I think the problem is the heating element, which is not repairable. So, its time to get a new soldering tools. After some research, I bought an Antex branded 25W soldering iron, at price of RM70. Initially, I am thinking of getting a 18W or 16W Antex, but what they have there at that time is 25W, and I simply take it.

After I power it up and do some testing, I found out that the 25W is a bit over heat compare to my old soldering gun. I am a bit regret about choosing 25W, but I don’t think I can return it back because I already power it up and the colour changes of the heated tip is very obvious. So, I decide to add a dimmer to the soldering iron to make it adjustable.

Step 1: Using a Dimmer to Adjust the Power

To enable the adjustable power for soldering iron or soldering gun, you will need a dimmer (any home lighting dimmer will do). For me, I get an UMS 6600S Dimmer Switch from an electrical store. The wiring instruction do state that the max power supported by the dimmer is 600W, so, my 25W shouldn’t be a problem for the dimmer.

Also, you will need a box for the dimmer as a protection to the wiring. You can this kind of box (I am not sure what it is called) in a normal electrical store.
<p>If you use the double / twin gang box then just hook your ground to the regular socket / outlet ground and dont forget the dimmer often needs one to but don't just use bare single earth use an insulated cable.</p>
<p>Made a few of these over the years. Both for 240V UK and here now in Canada for 110V. I usually get a double box and mount a socket (outlet) on one half and the dimmer on the other half. Advantage is you can use it for other electrical devices too as there is no need to take off the plug. Have used them for fixed speed dremel type drills or where I needed a hair dryer to operate a lot cooler than the simple two setting switch allows. Also occasionally used them to lower input voltages on adaptors to lower the output voltage but that can be a bit hit and miss depending on the internal construction of the power supply. Just about to build another and have the parts but figured I would see what was on here in case there were any new ideas.</p><p>I find that the controllers here for 110V have a drop off / stall point so that I often need to be at least quarter turn before I get any action. Also watch out for the newer ones as they are often electronic and don't always work well. Older style like this instructable are the best with simple rotary controls.</p>
<p>i plan on making this but where dose the earth wire go dose it just go directly in to the soldering iron like the neutral or do you have to mount it anywhere different.</p><p>Thanks </p>
well as an improvement the dimmer can be calibrated to show settings for 16w, 18W and 25 watts ;-)
I plan on doing this soon. How can I figure the different watt settings to properly label the box?
It might be easier, and better, to calibrate, and label, dimmer with the temperature. I saw some digital thermometer for soldering irons that measure the temp of the tip by placing the tip on the sensor pad. They were about $15.00US. But you can get an adjustable soldering iron for less than that (don't know about the quality), not a soldering station, just a soldering iron with a temp adjustment knob on the side of it
<p><strong>Labelling for temperature</strong> is a useful suggestion but a dedicated <em>digital thermometer for soldering irons</em> sounds preposterous. Any good infrared thermometer will measure up to 500&deg; C&mdash;just remember to aim it at the tip.</p>
Its a good idea, I never think of that before. Thanks.

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