>Does anyone know how many amps are required for a 100 watt soldering iron?
>Alternatively, how many 100 watt irons (running at full heat) will a 20 amp
>circuit support? I teach a beginner's class, and it seems that my student's
>irons cannot heat up enough when we solder steel.
Assuming your wiring is not dropping the voltage too much, then you probably
have about 115 volts available. 20 amps times 115 volts is 2300 watts, so
theoretically you could have 23 irons running on the circuit. However, if you
have them plugged into a series of extension cords or power strips, the latter
in particular having 16 gauge wire that is only rated for 15 amps (in short
cords), you may be pulling down the voltage (and heating up the wire) if
several extensions feed into one. If the main wiring is 12 gauge, but 14 gauge
was used on the table outlets, that will also drop the voltage somewhat.
On the other hand, what kind of steel are you soldering? I would expect any
reasonable chunk of steel (say 1/8" x 1/2" angle or bigger) to be beyond the
range of a 100 watt iron. If you are doing thin sheet, it might be reasonable.
Do you have success soldering the same steel when you use an iron working
alone with no other irons on?
Mike Firth, Hot Bits furnace glassblowing newsletter
Home Page: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/MikeFirth