Early Prototypes

A project log for TS100 Flex-C-Friend

An Open Source external module for powering a stock TS100 Soldering Iron using USB C Power Delivery

Brian LoughBrian Lough 06/04/2020 at 12:190 Comments

Although this concept had already been successfully done by several people before me, I wanted to prototype a solution to prove out

  1. That the TS100 worked as expected using USB-C
  2. That it was enjoyable to work with the Iron

I made a couple of early prototypes of boards I called the "Flexi Friend", which was basically an Female XT60 connector and either a screw terminal or a barrel jack connecting it.

I made these boards to ensure I had a good footprint for the XT60 connector but also because they are potentially useful products on their own. As mentioned in the description, I am making use of an existing cable for connecting the TS100 to XT60 connectors to add a guaranteed piece of flexible cable to your power solution. This is something I have been using with my TS100 almost since I bought it, except the power was being provided by a regular 19v laptop style power supply.

I also was wondering using these "Flexi Friends" together with existing USB-C power sink modules such as the one pictured above, would be a more economically viable product, as let's face it, this product is a very very niche thing!

You could take the existing PD adapter I'm using and plug it directly into the TS100, but the weight of the adapter and the inflexibility of the cables don't make it very pleasant.

I have been using the cable above to power my TS100 from USB-C for the last 3 months or so and I'm loving it! So much so that when I moved house, I didn't even bother unpacking the regular PSU I had for the TS100. I even have a power bank capable of delivering 60W so I can battery power my TS100 now too.

I decided to go ahead and make a PCB with the PD sink IC on to reduce the amount of adapters you need to connect in chain to power the iron. I'll cover my attempts at this in a future update!