For the moment, let’s forget about the proliferating World Wide Web, fully automated digital editing, MPEG formats and all the other hot-button technologies that preoccupy our every waking moment. Let’s talk about a product that every contractor can use right now, possibly every day – the SolderBuddy from Tingler Innovations.
The SolderBuddy ($44) is simplicity itself: a block of milled red anodized aluminum, 4″ square and a 1/2″ deep, drilled to accept all popular connectors, including XLR, 1/4″ phone plug, 3.5mm and 5.5mm coaxial plugs for wallwart power supplies, mini and sub-mini mic and earphone plugs and .206 mil-spec patchbay connectors.
The 3.5mm hole also accepts the new Switchcraft mini stereo plug; the female XLR receptacle is milled to accept new-style Neutrik connectors; and the male XLR receptacle has an air-cooling channel that is said to reduce that burning sensation attributed to an occasional touch. Right in the middle of the SolderBuddy is a small well with a cap to hold extra screws or whatever else you want to stash in there.
The SolderBuddy simply and elegantly holds connectors firmly in place while one solders leads to them. Just insert the connector in the appropriate hole and it’s immobilized with pins accessible. It sure beats chasing a plug around on the work bench with the soldering gun, trying to pin it down and make a good solder joint at the same time.
I tested the SolderBuddy using all the applicable connectors. I’m glad to report that the connectors fit in their respective holes, which, by the way, are labeled with laser engraving. For added convenience, the XLR holes are also labeled with pin numbers. Guide pins ensure that XLR connectors will be properly oriented.
SolderBuddy weighs in at a hefty 12 oz. and is heavy enough to stay put without mounting, however, there are two through-holes for permanently mounting SolderBuddy to a work surface. Those holes also accept a stainless steel post with attached alligator clip for holding leads during assembly. It’s the little things that count and this alligator clip is indicative of the care and attention that has gone into the SolderBuddy’s design. Manufactured by the Mueller Electric Co., the clip opens wide, holds tight and appears durable enough for many years of use.
Every contractor I know has cobbled together something like this for their benches. Something that permits soldering without using teeth or burning fingers. Move on from the primitive prototype of the real deal. In it’s own way, the SolderBuddy is certainly sophisticated if not high tech.
Contact Tingler Innovations at 770-476-533.