Portable Soldering

Published on: 02:22AM Jul 28, 2016

A customer commented the other day about a butane-powered soldering tool I used to repair some wires. I've had an Ultratorch soldering iron for more than 10 years, and it has completely replaced the traditional 115-volt soldering gun I used to use. In fact, I don't even remember where my soldering gun is--and I don't care.

The convenience of being able to solder wires miles from an electrical outlet, even in a strong wind, makes the Ultratorch well worth the $140 it cost. It's shaped like a humongous cigar, so you can hold it like a pencil for precision work, or like a hammer for ham-handed repairs. It has a self-ignitor that ignites a butane flame that heats the base of the soldering tip as quickly as a conventional soldering gun. For working in the wind, or when soldering large connectors, it's easy to increase the flame to create more heat in the soldering tip.

There are several kinds of butane-fueled soldering tools on the market. I can't vouch for the others, but the Ultratorch I've used and abused for more than a decade was money well spent.

In fact, the Ultratorch has saved me money over the years. Power extension cords often "wander" in the dealership shop. They all look alike, so it was hard to prove which power cords were mine until I got in the habit of using the soldering tip to engrave/melt my name in the hard plastic connector housings on both ends of all my power cords.  I've noticed that those branded cords don't wander away as often as they used to, and if they do it's easy to prove ownership.