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At first I thought this was just a gimmick to sell naughty devices on eBay, disguised as being an electronic tool. But in reality, it works really well for the suggested application.
The idea is that a heater in a ceramic cup evaporates solid rosin, as used in solder flux, and allows you to deposit a layer of condensed droplets onto a faulty circuit board. This creates a white layer over the surface that re-melts when heated by a faulty component.
The white powdery coating is actually a layer of tiny rosin spheres that act a bit like reflective paint to create the white colour. When it melts with heat it converts back to liquid and exposes the hot component.
The search keywords for this device are:-
rosin atomizing pen
Target price around 12 ยฃ$โ‚ฌ.
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This is an interesting little gadget. Let me show you it when you look at it, you'll think. Well, that's a drug taking device and, technically speaking, i suppose it is, but it's found a new and interesting use for electronic stuff and the reason i've got this here is because it's closely related to the soldering iron that uses vapor-producing devices, the battery packs for them To actually power a soldering iron heater, this is a rosin atomizer. I suppose it's got other uses initially.

When i saw this, i thought they're just finding ways of you know, selling these under a different description to circumvent certain areas of the market, but in reality it works really well. So here's the idea, if you have a circuit board with surface mount components on it, that something is short-circuited and it's very hard locating the component, that is overheating, usually a capacitor um or sometimes the chip itself. What you do is you get a bit of pine rosin, the standard stuff, that's used in soda flux and you put it into this unit and when you put it in well, i don't know if this is loaded up already: let's, let's unlock it. For a start, you'll notice, i chose classic pink for this channel.

The pink is not anything other than just the fact. It's quite funny to get things in pink from china, particularly dangerous items. So now they uh i've put far too much in here. Haven't i, but let me zoom down this, but actually you know what i can do better than this.

I've made a little test setup and i'm just going to show you how this works, so i'm going to zoom down in this, hopefully not losing too much resolution process. I'm going to hold the button in this and after a while you'll see that it starts putting out a cloud of vapor, the vapor is vaporized flux, which is forming a nice white coating on all the components. Can you see that it's just basically deposited uh vapor? That has recondensed into lots of crystals of the resin and top of the surface. Most of the videos.

I've seen show up being used with uh this in place, but i'm not sure that's really ideal i'd kind of prefer it. I've tried it and i prefer on its own, but having said that with in windy conditions, you might want to do something like this, so the cloud comes out without the ambient ventilation disturbing it. Now before i uh. Oh, no, no tell you what no i'll show you the listing for this first and then we'll get a good close-up in this and i'll show you it working.

So it's described on ebay as a rosin atomizing pen for mobile phone maintenance, tester pcb short circuit detector. It's not that expensive. It came in at just over 10 pounds in the uk and there's lots of them on ebay. I just chose this one because well it just looked quite stylish and it was pink, which is the symbolic color of danger right.

Tell you what i'm going to uh change the setup, so you can get really close to this and we can actually watch it in operation. One moment please, okay, here is the test setup. We have. I have a 1k resistor, a 10k resistor and a 100 ohm resistor and one of those is about to start overheating.

Let's see what happens now, that's very vivid, isn't it it's basically re-melting the flux and the component. That is faulty the one that is getting hot announces itself by going jet black. Isn't that neat? In the case the capacitor would go clear, but you can see a very distinct change, so a pretty neat gadget. So that is an unusual.

It's an unexpected application, but it works really well uh. I would guess that, since this is just a standard end component, that it might actually go on to other devices as well, but ultimately it's designed for this classic uh base, and this one has the micro usb charger built in. But you could use it on existing devices. It means that you're getting close to the point that uh a mini electronic tool kit could be built with the solder hand, tip and the rosin atomizer, and just one common battery pack.

That could also use for your other devices. So the thing comes in this neat little pouch and it also comes a little rosin scoop thing and it comes with a charging lead and a cleaning brush i'd guess. Ultimately, everything in the packet is what you'd get for its other use. It's herbaceous, uh atomization use, so it comes a little cleaning brush and it comes with the charging lead.

But as i say, i found uh, i found the best results for me were basically just actually use it without any of the paraphernalia that came with it and actually just uh. Is this still awake? Yes, it is, and actually just basically holding it down like this and putting your deposit of stuff onto the circuit board. It's quite neat the way it flows out very, very novel. Oh, it's also atomizing lots of rosin into the air, but there we go an unusual application for a drug device that has actually found a useful electronic application.

17 thoughts on “Novel rosin vapour short circuit finder”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars c muller says:

    Unfortunately this may not work that well in a real situation with a dead short. Because P=R.I^2 that is very small if R is almost zero.
    Do the same experience with damaged components or with a very thin wire between the 2 tracks…

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Justin Thomas says:

    Looks more like a drug atomizer, easier than a spoon and lighter. But this is a nice application as well.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tey Treet says:

    Someone finds this and they are going to think it's a crystal meth pipe. Even the rosin looks like drugs.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Hagen P says:

    Next up: miniaturized combined SMD repair kit – soldering iron, rosin vaporizer, just a hot air gun missing…

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Voice of the Clan says:

    Makes me wonder how many idiots vaped the resin and screwed up their lungs ????

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Peter Stimpel says:

    You say there is no need to burn my fingers by trying all components for overheating? Take my money …

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Echo the Husky says:

    That's such a cool idea! Though the last short circuit SMD component I was looking for was easy to find as it glowed orange when the fuse was bypassed… Those multilayer ceramic caps seem to like going S/C.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Nanoqx says:

    Damn cheapskates! Just buy a $$$ Flir camera. ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ
    All the Best, Chuck. ๐Ÿคฃ

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars BRUXXUS says:

    How strange…. but also very clever! I can totally see these becoming even more versatile for all sorts of electronics. Standardized connector means a lot of interesting things could be made to use these battery packs!

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Chris W says:

    Be careful about breathing rosin fumes. I never used to worry about them and developed a type of COPD after 30 years of electronic repair. I can't say for certain that they are related, but I never smoked.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Steve Perry says:

    These units normaly come with solid blocks of Rosin, heating the tool provided will let you scoop out a lump to use.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Deux says:

    I wonder how easy (or not) it is to clean up a board once this rosin vapor has been applied on it ? Did you test that Clive ?

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Cameradoctor says:

    Pauses video to check out Ali Express ๐Ÿ˜‰ …………….

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars elvishfiend says:

    I guess you could put the board inside a plastic lunch container and just "fog" it with the vaporised rosin, that'll contain it better and probably give better coverage over a board.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gregory Thomas says:

    They are getting pretty clever at things like this…I can remember when the local convenience stores had those tiny glass tubes holding tiny flowers…which were just crack pipes.
    At least these are actually useful ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Richard Turton says:

    If the component overheats enough, with the aid of the flux, it will desolder itself from the circuit board.

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars CreativeJamiePlays says:

    Isn't it the flux that is dangerous in solder? Or is this not the dangerous part of flux

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