Learning to solder was a life-changing experience for me, but it can seem daunting. You aren’t just screwing and unscrewing parts — you are melting hot metal with a scorching tip. While that seems like something out of reach for most people, I am here to assure you that it’s never been easier to do, and that’s in part thanks to the Pinecil.
The Pinecil by Pine64 (makers of single-board computers and affordable Linux laptops) is an efficient, nimble soldering iron that runs on an open-source firmware called IronOS by Ralim. It has a bright little OLED screen, easy-to-understand controls, a 32-bit RISC-V SOC, and can be powered by either a DC adapter or a USB-C charger. Hell, you can even run it on a battery bank, and I definitely have done that multiple times. And to top it all off, the Pinecil costs roughly $25 (plus shipping, which shakes out to about $40, plus whatever other goodies you want to order). IronOS also runs on several similar inexpensive soldering irons, like these popular ones from MiniWare.