Jump to content

Entry for July 2020's Guitar Of The Month is open - ENTER HERE!

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

jmrentis

Cold Heat

Recommended Posts

I keep seeing these infomercials about this products called Cold Heat. Its a soldering Iron and it is cold to the touch until its pressed against the solder and just a second or two after you stop its cold again, you would actually have to TRY to burn yourself and even then it would be hard. To me it sounds like a great idea, but I'm sure there is some downsides to it. Also it's portable, no wires just runs on 4AA batteries, sound like heaven for installing pickups, no wires to get in the way and you could just set it your shirt pocket if you wanted to during installation.

Anyways sounds good to me and it isn't expensive or anything, one bad thing is that probably you can't replace tips, but I could be wrong, still it would have to be the same exact tip that came with it, unless they came out with other varieties.

So let me know what you guys think of this, would it be worthy of guitar electonics? Or even just day to day jobs? Any cons that you can come up with? I've been seeing it now for a long time and haven't put much thought into it, so time to see what the boys at PG think! Thanks Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually got one at Radio Shack, but the tip was broken. So I did some online checking, decided I wouldn't be happy, and returned it.

What people are saying is, it has lots of drawbacks:

1) Because it uses a high current arc to generate heat, it shouldn't be used with ICs or other electrically sensitive devices.

2) Because you need to have contact with both halves of the tip, it's not so good on non-flat things (like wires). Many people have trouble getting the items hot.

3) It seems that you are to use the solder as the connection point between the tip halves, which will melt the solder well - but that's poor technique. You're supposed to heat the items to be soldered and touch the solder to THAT to melt it, so it flows well and you don't get a blob or a cold joint. BTW, you can replace the tips, and you can get differnt sizes, but they're $10 each.

I can say that the size is a bit unwieldy as well. I was disappointed, but I'll stick with my trusty weller for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also bought one thinking it would be great for guitar work. It is terrible. It doesn't get hot enough and it is very hard to get the tip to make contact right. Save yourself some money and buy a regular soldering iron. Just my 2 cents worth.

Chris :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NEVER TRY TO DESOLDER WITH IT. I Broke the tip on accident by doing that. Its fun, but follow the manuel. Luckily my broken tip was able to be files easily and work just as good as new. A Cold Heat is good for small projets, but aint a welder soldering iron. Its ok for guitar projects i guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, I already have a soldering iron but I thought it might be better to work with, so I am glad I asked as I was nervous that there would be problems with it. Too Bad, it really seemed like a good idea, maybe one day they can improve it with a better version that would minimize the drawbacks.

Again thanks for the heads up! Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I broke one of the tips on mine as well. At first I had some reservations and little success at soldering with the unit. I found that it works best with fresh batteries (of course) and the fact that its cordless makes it much safer and easier to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have one and I actually love it. It definitely takes some getting used to. You can't use it like a regular soldering iron. I probably do 80% of my soldering with it now. My workspace is tight and it is a pain to have an iron laying out. It does work, but it is not for everything, and there is a learning curve.

George

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine got one. The free wire stripper it came with is great! That alone was almost worth it. His tip broke too. It seems that's the real scam, making money on tips.

It only "replaces" a real iron if you're in a pinch. I'd re-do any temporary cold heat joint once I got back to the shop. But for an "in the field" emergency repair its a great tool to add to the survival kit.

BTW the reason it doesn't get hot in the commercial is because they are on and off quickly. If you stay on a surface long enough, the heat from the surface flows back and heats the tip. So you can't always go around touching the tip haphazardly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In a pinch I use a Butane powered Iron. you can get them for around $12 - $16 and the get plenty hot for Guitar work

They are also fun to play with.

Oh, did I just say that? Better break out the rubber sheets tonight...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Kevan, I don't know why I didn't think to search first, almost everything I have ever needed answered has already been covered in one thread or another.

Anyways, Kevan how are your feeling toward this tool now, it seems that this latest thread some do not think of it as a good product, where as most of the posts in the other thread were positive. I must admit I really like it in theory, and I would probably have little problems with it as I have said in another post I am very gentle with my tools and similar things. I think that has mostly to do with my budget for the past 8 or 9 years has been squeezed with rent and bills and medical and so on. So I might end up trying one, I would still always have my regular back up with me for desoldering and major jobs.

I still would like to hear some more opinions from everyone and thanks again Kevan for the link, the more opinions the better. Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cold Heat is cool, but I still keep my bigboy soldering iron around. Why? Well, for large pools of solder (like those found on trem claws), the Cold Heat just doesn't have enough juice to get them liquid.

For small soldering jobs, like very fine wires (i.e. piezo leads), and attaching pickup wires to selector switches (i.e. the Ibanez OTAX switch), the Cold Heat is great. No more burned fingertips! WooHoo! The cordless aspect is VERY, VERY cool.

The tips DO break, but....they can be filed back into shape. Just be real careful when you do that, or they'll just crumble further.

I think the most important thing to remember is that the Cold Heat works differently than what we're all used to when it comes to soldering technique. You have to learn a new technique when using it. It's not bad; it's just a slight learning curve.

In more than a year with a couple of ColdHeat irons, I'm pretty content with mine. I'm on my 2nd one now. (I gave one to Cradle Of Filth's tech as a present after watching him struggle with connection after connection and cord after cord with an ancient butane torch that he had to refill every 2 minutes).

Franks suggestion of having one as an emergency iron is a good idea.

Just remember: It's a $20 soldering iron. While it's cool (no pun intended), it's not really made for heavy duty jobs.

With any luck, they'll come out with a Super Cold Heat that *can* do larger wires and pools of solder. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

(After re-reading the entire thread, it seems that folks before me have pretty much posted exactly what I did. Boy...now I feel silly. Redundancy....ugh....sorry)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With any luck, they'll come out with a Super Cold Heat that *can* do larger wires and pools of solder. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

(After re-reading the entire thread, it seems that folks before me have pretty much posted exactly what I did. Boy...now I feel silly. Redundancy....ugh....sorry)

No worries, I saw that you had the coldheat last year so I know that you have a longer exposure probably than some of the posters although I can't say that for sure. It comes with that wire snip which for $20 is worth it even if the coldheat isn't that great. But it sounds like it is fine for small jobs, and like you said the wireless feature is huge along with the less heat. So I will probably snap one up. I have used wire snips like that before, one of my old roomates used to work at a stereo installation store, he had a few of those and I used them often and I thought they were great, a big help. So now it sounds like a good idea to grab one, with that and my normal iron I should be ready for anything.

And I hope they come out with a Super Cold Heat like you said, because with all the features of the original, a bigger one with maybe a better quality tip, might be enough to use without having to have a backup. Maybe it could work with a rechargable battery so you could save money on buying a bunch of them. Thanks for the info. Thanks everyone for the info it's been a big help! Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you like those wire strippers, you'll dig these too:

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshowdetl.c...=51&rak=360-627

Same idea, but more adjustable. I have a set of both and use them 99% of the time.

BTW- If you call the Cold Heat 800 number to order, don't freak out. The ordering process via phone is completely automatic. It's frightening at first, but....people are pretty used to me talking to myself.

:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats cool I don't think I have seen them adjustable or I guess I might have never noticed but I'm sure that would come in handy when working with small thin wire as you don't want to just end up cutting it all down. Man those things really do make such a difference in job time, especially when having to do a lot of wires like car stereos, putting in plugs to attach factory wiring to aftermarket decks and even for installing all new electronics on guitars.

I have yet to do anything too complicated as far as guitar electronics, but I know some of you really know how to get the most out of your pickups, pots, switches,preamps, and even leds. I have only done two humbucker passive systems with 3/5 switching. Easy stuff. My current build will be simple as well, not because I am unable to do more complicated systems, but the theme itself is simplicity, looks wise.

Thanks again Kevan, I don't have an easy stripper(LOL) right now, just one that has all the different sizes in holes down the tool and you have to match the gauge to the wire to get a good clean cut. The snips you mentioned always make me laugh when I see them, they remind me of a dinosaur, even when I use them, I guess I should warn you I am a little crazy. Well thanks for the help and if you should get the chance to talk to yourself tell him that I said whats up and let me know how he's doing. Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i bought one from radio shack and hated it. maybe its because i tried to build a pedal with it among other things but i dont know. i used it for about 10 minutes and got frustrated so i put everything down and called it a day. it sure isnt an instant heat like they advertise, even soldering 2 resistor leads together takes quite a while to heat up. when the thing finally crapped out on me a few weeks later i returned it and put the money towards a digital station from circuit specialists. heats to full temp in about 35 seconds, adjustable from 200-400 celsius, fine tip. it does everything i need and more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished wiring my tele with the Cold Heat. I even generated enough heat to get my grounds to stick to the vol pot casing. Heres the secret, the unit SUCKS BATTERIES DRY. Get some rechargeables and a battery charger, otherwise things can get expensive and the unit's soldering efficiency becomes very poor when the batteries are only half drained.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 for the cold heat, 50 for the digital station. you can get stations of the same quality but without the digital readout starting at 30.

check them out at http://www.web-tronics.com/

Thanks for the link I will look into it. I still would like to get a cold heat, as someone here said, even just for emergency backup, it would be better than nothing. Problems is I saw one at Costco and right near it they had a 15 piece diamond file set, it had everything including rasps, and I need a few of those along with a bunch other files, I will be set once I buy it, and it was definately a costco price. I wouldn't expect it to be the best set but it actually looked really good, so I will buy this next because I'm about to rough cut my neck laminate and will need the files long before any electronics, plus I have a soldering iron, even though it's old it still can give you some solid blisters.

Thanks again I will check out what you mentioned, I should replace my iron soon anyways. Later. Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...