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Tetris for TS100 soldering iron (github.com)
246 points by cft on Sept 5, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments

For what it's worth, I somewhat hesitantly bought one of these soldering irons a few months ago off Ali Express. After having used it a lot since then I can now highly recommend it as a fantastic bit of kit - I've almost become emotionally attached to the thing! It heats up quickly, holds a consistent temperature, solders very well, plus has lots of features and configuration options. For example it can be set to cool down to different temperatures depending on how long it had been stationary (thanks to its build in accelerometer). The open source firmware is the icing on the cake.

I use it for a field soldering iron when I am out flying my quadcopters, I have build an XT60 connector for it, so that I can attach my XT60 Lipo batteries to it and do emergency soldering.

It is actually my favorite soldering iron, and I do most of my soldering with it now because it is so small and convenient.

Just ordered one last week - looking forward to it. By now I know that even if it would suck at soldering I could still play Tetris on it, so it's a win in any situation!

+1 from me too- it's really nice soldering iron for the price.

I really don't understand how that can actually be a good iron in any way, shape or form. I've been doing hobby and production soldering for about 25 years.

What you need is an iron that will stay at 700oF whatever you throw at it tip or workpiece related. That means power, lots of it. That doesn't come from USB.

Considering my current iron is a 50W Weller TCP, that can switch between soldering 0805 packages immediately followed by large tag terminal capacitors and ground planes without have to do anything, change any settings etc. You don't even have to change tip with the chisel.

Soldering irons also take a heavy battering when you use them as well. The above Weller is 20 years old and looks and works good as new. I really can't see that working for very long.

I just don't understand why the product exists really. If I was in the market you can pick up a whole Weller TCP station for less cash second hand. This is just a flashy toy.

> That doesn't come from USB.

No, it comes from the 12-24V power supply you plug into the back of it. It's a ~65W iron.

No apologies for sounding snotty here. You don't know what it is, haven't seen one, haven't used one but you're already ready to crap all over it. Try one. It's full of silly novelties that I'm sure you'll hate but it doesn't take much to improve the usability of a dumb thermocontrolled soldering station and I —along with much of the internet— believe the TS100 does enough to be better. It's also dirt cheap to buy and run.

Fair point about the power. Retracted.

Reading reviews, the handle is slippery, a lot of them arrive with defective temperature control, the tip isn't grounded with Y2 leakage from mains on it.

Its still junk.

I've had no issue with temperature or the handling. It's near-impossible for either of us to quantitatively assess how frequent these issues are so I won't dispute whether or not you've seen a "lot" of complaints.

The power supply is junk. A nasty, unearthed, noisy switch-mode PSU, like every other low-output, low-cost PSU out there. There is a grounding pin on the iron itself but it's not ideal to rely on.

But many remedies do exist. I suspect you have a grounded, linear bench power supply right next to your existing soldering station. That'll do. Even a cheap earthed PSU would do better. And many people use battery packs to great effect.

i use mine the field to perform repairs on my racing drone. it is 100x's better than any normal soldering iron in this situation because i can 1) fit it in my bag at about the size of a pencil 2) power it off an existing lipo i already have with me.

the best camera is the one that you have with you. same goes for irons. how this dweeb can rate something as junk without having ever used it is beyond me. i've been pleasantly surprised at how capable it is ever since purchase.

It's not an USB iron, but powered by a separate power jack, anywhere between 12-24V; at 24V it maxes out around 65W.

As the heater block is integrated to the tip itself, you get better thermal characteristics (quicker heatup / less thermal runaway). Search youtube for comparisons to Weller/Hakko irons, there are a few.

Probably better than the cheap Radio Shack iron I've used to do all my projects.

Oh man, life got significantly better for me when I threw that one out and bought a Hakko with temperature control. I didn't realize just how much of the difficulty I was having with soldering was from using a junky iron.

I think it's worth the price for even light users. Infrequent use means they're not getting very much practice to know what to expect with a cheapo iron and how to make do with it.

I started to get flummoxed by some of the projects I was doing and find them impossible but I had no idea the type of iron I was using was junk at the time. lol

Each time you lose the game the soldering iron tip temperature increases by 10 degrees.


There's a predecessor to this: The Painstation.


James Bond - Never say never again - Missile Command (1983)


You can play the pain station at the video game museum in Berlin. It's a strange experience, but a lot of fun!

Surprised there is no 'don't burn yourself' disclaimer

No worries, I'm sure that come with the box.

> "immersive gaming experience."

I wonder what happens if you purposely lose a thousand times. :)

I was curious if there were a cap on the temperature but the code does not actually seem to be doing something to the temperature after losing. I did not dig into the code too much but I suspect that the thing is either not implemented or that it heats over time regardless of you losing.

Love this sort of thing.

I did a Tetris game for a led-matrix clock I got from Banggood: https://github.com/hollobon/jy-mcu-3208-tetris

> STM32F103T8U6 (ARM Cortex M3, clock frequency 72 MHz)

That's one powerful chip for a soldering iron.

How do you think they get it to warm up so fast?

Needed for those smooth animations in the UI. Yes, animations.

Seriously, this iron got style.

Back in my day we did animations in 8 MHz and we liked it!

That makes the tetris port less impressive, where's the Gameboy Advance emulator?

Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if someone can pull this off–to me it looks plenty powerful enough for it.

Time for Doom on the soldering iron then?

It has a Slow Down and Almost Catch Fire instruction.

Next up... can anyone get DooM running on this thing? If you can get the end of it to light up like a Tesla coil to play the chip music, I'll give you extra bonus points. :-P

The question we should be asking as more ubiquitous devices are built with comparatively large amounts of computational power is not what will run tetris, but what won't run tetris?

Tetris is a good start, but someone needs to port Doom to it next.

Very cool :) Is the STM32F103T8U6 chip, also regulating the temperature of the iron via a PID algorithm or.., or is that handled elsewhere?


Looks like the PID algorithm, is here:



While I greatly approve of this implementation, I'd also like to see doom tried out, or maybe hatris(1) for faster warmup times :)

1) https://qntm.org/files/hatetris/hatetris.html

Can you hold it at the tip and does it increase temperature with increasing number of lines?

But will it run Doom?

For a moment I misread the title as "Tetris for the TIS-100 soldering iron", and had a very rube-goldberg vision indeed.

I wonder when they will release Skyrim for the TS100

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