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USB-C PD for TS100 soldering iron, DPS5005 lab power supply & power drill

August 6, 2020

This post describes some simple mods that add USB-C PD to typical workshop devices


Until recently the typical round DC jacks were the de facto standard for supplying DC power to devices. USB replaced some of these connectors for low power applications but for everything above 1A you typically had to use DC jacks.

While DC jacks are simple and easy to use, they are also quite cumbersome. You have several different diameters of the jacks, even different diameters of the inner pins, different polarities and different voltages. This means that you typically have a bunch of power supplies and you have to check carefully before each use that you connect the right supply to your device. The chances of frying devices is not insignificant.

Luckily, some years ago USB PD was standardized. This seems to be the first time that you have access to an almost universal DC power standard that eliminates all the problems of the DC jacks. There is just one connector type, no risk of wrong polarity, the device requests the voltage it needs and almost all power sources are compatible with multiple voltages. So it offers you a true plug-and-play experience and allows you to reduce your stack of power supplies to just one.

Requesting a specific voltage from a USB PD supply

USB PD uses the USB control channel to allow a device to request a specific voltage. While this might sound complicated at first, it is really easy to use in practice. What makes it easy is that you can buy modules that do the communication for you:

https://i2.wp.com/www.alexwhittemore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/BI07138A1.jpg?ssl=1
ZYPDS module

Above you see the ZYPDS module which I used. It is cheap and very small. You can use jumpers set it to 9V, 12V, 15V or 20V.

TS100 soldering iron

In my TS100 soldering iron I replaced the DC jack with a 20V ZYPDS module (props to https://hohlerde.org/rauch/blog/2019-10-27-TS100-USB-C/ ). At 3A this gives you a theoretical maximum of 60W, which is quite powerful for such a small iron. It heats up insanely fast and can solder even very heavy gauge wire:

TS100 with USB PD

DPS5005 lab power supply

In case of the DPS5005 I also used the same 20V ZYPDS module, allowing me to realize a power supply with almost 60W of power:

Luckily, the standard housing already has a hole for micro USB that can also be used for USB-C. I designed a simple 3D printable part that can be screwed into the housing and holds the ZYPDS nicely at the back of the unit:

The OpenSCAD source code for the part can be found here:

$fn = 64;


SCREW_D = 3;
SCREW_Z = 10;
SCREW_SPACING_X = 13;
SCREW_POS_Y = 4; //distance to outer wall

BLOCK_X = 20;
BLOCK_Y = 10;
BLOCK_Z = 15;


USB_X = 9.4;
USB_Z = 3.6;
USB_DEPTH_Y = 6.1;
USB_POS_Z = 9.4; //from bottom of housing to bottom of usb plug

PCB_X = 10.8;
PCB_Z = 2.4;
PCB_POS_Z = USB_POS_Z-1; //from bottom of housing to bottom of pcb

difference() {
translate([-BLOCK_X/2,0,0])cube([BLOCK_X, BLOCK_Y, BLOCK_Z]);

    //screws bottom
    translate([SCREW_SPACING_X/2,SCREW_POS_Y,-0.1])cylinder(d=SCREW_D, h=SCREW_Z+0.1);
    translate([-SCREW_SPACING_X/2,SCREW_POS_Y,-0.1])cylinder(d=SCREW_D, h=SCREW_Z+0.1);
    
    translate([-USB_X/2,-50+USB_DEPTH_Y,USB_POS_Z])cube([USB_X, 50, USB_Z]);
    
    translate([-PCB_X/2,-50/2,PCB_POS_Z])cube([PCB_X, 50, PCB_Z]);
    
    translate([0,0.5,0.5])rotate([45,0,0])translate([-50,-100,-50])cube([100,100,100]);
}

Power drill

Lastly, I converted my power drill to USB PD. It works great (see it in action in the video above) but the torque is of course not very high at 3A. But for my purposes it is enough.

Power source

Some final notes on the power source. You can of course use your typical USB C laptop chargers. As said above, it is nice to have just a single power supply for all your needs. But the real benefit of USB PD in my opinion is if you use it with a power bank. This way you can have your portable soldering iron, lab power supply, etc. all powered by the same power bank. No more messing around with thick mains cables. And no more frustration from separate batteries for each device that are either empty or damaged. You just take care of the single power bank and that’s it.

The power bank I am using is the RAVPower PD 60W (Amazon affiliate link):

RAVPower PD 60W Powerbank USB C Power Delivery 20000mAh: Amazon.de ...

Conclusion

Transforming my devices to USB PD makes my life easier. Less power supplies, less batteries, less cables I have to worry about. No doubt I will continue in the future to upgrade other devices to USB PD.

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One Comment
  1. Ricochet permalink

    Such a great idea. Miniware states about PD2.0 and QC 3.0 in their user manual… But why? Does the DC connector accept PD too?

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