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The cheap soldering irons have all stopped working #253
Some of the cheap, Silverline soldering irons that we originally got a couple of years ago to do a soldering workshop have stopped heating up.
Although I haven't systematically been through the all the irons, I couldn't find one of the blue Silverline irons that would heat up so I did a quick disassembly check on one to see if there was any obvious problems.
Both the diac and triac both looked fine (though it's all 240V inside, so I haven't done any power-on testing
As the elements are not easily replaceable, we have a few options.
As we don't need the large number of irons for anything in the diary, I'd suggest not replacing the dead ones, but to look at if we should add a better iron (I have a temperature controlled Hakko 888D on the way for fine soldering work to try). Discuss.
Does anyone have more familiarity with the Weller temperature controlled tips to be able to choose replacements?
As of yesterday none of the soldering irons are working. The temp-controlled Maplin one was working some of the day, but wasn't later on, and then when I tried switching to the Weller that wasn't getting up to temperature enough for lead-free solder (I didn't try the leaded). I tried new tips on both, without any improvement :-/
I've ordered a nice expensive Thermaltronics one for myself which will be arriving tomorrow, and don't mind it going into long-term loan to DoES, but I'd want us to still have some cheap(er) ones for general use and the Thermaltronics one for experienced users.
@DefProc Searching for the wand code on Farnell should show up the tips for it. In the past we've had http://uk.farnell.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=15001&langId=44&urlRequestType=Base&partNumber=416496&storeId=10151 in it. At present it's got a PT-08 1/32"x0.8mm long conical tip in it, which I'll have bought from Farnell, but doesn't seem to be listed any more (and the link above is the only one I can find in my past orders right now)
@DoESsean has just ordered:
so we get a replacement TCP wand (with the 3-way Bulgin type plug), which should let us fix the current broken one, and therefore give us a replacement.
As the current one has a PT tip in it, having the barrel assembly will allow us to use the current tip, and the two new tips can go in either — and the newer LT tips (where the magnestat temperature controller is a separate piece) seem to be about the same price as the PT tips that are both tip and temp controller combined, so there seemed like no benefit to switching to LTs.
The new wand includes the LT adaptor and the correct sleeve, ro that will already be available for the future.
I'd expect this TCP iron to become DoES's staple soldering iron, because the fixed temperature tip will save any problems of users adjusting soldering iron temperature unnecessarily.
The new TCP wand is fitted amd working. It has a 2.4mm roind sloped tip running at 370°C, so it should be ideal as the main workshop iron.
The old one can be taken apart and checked for it's fault. Based on the long heatup time it had before failure (compared to the new one) I suspect a heating element failure.