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Heat gun mod question Answered

I am not an electrician but I like to tinker. I am just getting started with DIY type electronics kits and I have decent soldering skills. I cant say I am an expert at reading prints, but I can usually build a simple schmatic. I wish to disassemble a heat gun for parts and add in a potentiometer to vary the heat, another potentiometer to control the airflow, and a digital temperature probe with temp display. I am attempting to build a heat generating device with precise control of the temperature and airflow. I dont really want to spend $150 on a fancy LED digital display heat gun with variable heat dial, so this is my next option and potentially a heck of a lot more fun. Initially I just want to get the variable heat and airflow control(potentiometers) hooked up, and if it will be easy enough I can later install the temp display. I could always just use a cheap "laser" temp probe to check the temp and ensure it is fairly stable. The heat gun I am looking at is a piece of junk and it only has 2 temp settings. How easy is it to install a potentiometer for varying the heat and one for the airflow? I assume I can just install the one for heat control inline after the circuit that sets the maximum heat level and dial in the temp I want. As for the airflow control I assume I could do the same thing, but instead put it before the power lead feeding the fan. I am not an electrical engineer so I want to make sure this will work first before I fry my cheapo $20 heat gun. Would it be bettter to just gut the entire thing and work with the naked parts and install my own circuit to control and display the temp or could I keep the basic unit intact and mod from there? Any ideas, or a basic schematic that would satisfy this requirement would be greatly appreciated.


. What are you doing with the heat gun? . If you're just using it for shrink tubing a-s's light dimmer should work. Make sure the dimmer is rated for at least as many watts as the heating element(s). You may need a second dimmer for the fan. . Potentiometers are not the best option for controlling high current. . If you require much accuracy, you will need a controller with feedback loop (thermocouple).

Thanks for the info guys, I have been advised a restaraunt dimmer with a 1500w rating (and a heatsink) should suffice for this "quick and dirty" prototype.

Alex's comment is a good one -- a light dimmer would be a good quick-and-dirty solution. Just remove the three-position switch (I'm assuming off-lo-hi) and put the dimmer in its place.