Wednesday 13 December 2023



I've fancied a portable soldering iron for ages and I almost bought a gas-powered one from Aldi at one point, but the quality didn't impress me and without quality, there's probably little reliability too. And so I looked elsewhere.

You can actually buy rechargeable irons but because soldering is something you only do occasionally I can guarantee that whenever I wanted to use it, it would be low on charge. I wanted something that I could use with my STORM2 Power Bank, which is always kept fully charged and ready for action (because it's now my power-source for all my QRP outings).

I didn't want to spend a fortune, but neither did I want to buy some junk, so after looking around, I decided on the Kaiweets KETS02 which is a compact 65W USB-Powered iron capable of reaching working temperature in just 8 seconds!!

The whole package cost me £45 with delivery and it comes with a nicely flexible, long USB-C lead. It can be operated at a number of voltages ranging from 9 to 20V, producing a range of powers from 13W to 65W.

The tip is quite small which is perfect for most of the stuff that I work with (small surface mounted pcb components) but I wondered how it would cope with chunky connectors such as PL-259s, so I made up a patch lead to try it. I was worried that the surface area of such a small tip would not transfer enough heat through, but it worked out fine. I did have to use the 65W setting but nevertheless, it worked without any problem at all, producing a good, strong joint.

Craft hobbyists might be interested to know that the KETS02 can also be used for leather and wood working, etc. There's a range of special tips available.

So I'm really happy with this tool and my 240V soldering station will no longer need to be dragged outside on an extension lead. The only issue that one could consider a negative is that the tips are obviously unique to this iron and you'd be advised to buy a spare or two. Having said that, I've got soldering irons that are many years old with the the original tip that's still in good condition (because I look after them).

73, Tom, M7MCQ.

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