Defects in Soldering Irons: Faulty Soldering Iron Handle

Defects in Soldering Irons: Faulty Soldering Iron Handle

The soldering iron handle is the insulated part of the iron that you hold while working. This is usually made of materials such as rubber and plastic to avoid accidental contact with live wires. However, wrong use and maintenance of the soldering iron will often result in broken handles or cracked ones. This poses a danger of electric shock and exposure to heat. We analyze the possible causes of a broken soldering iron handle and ways of minimizing the effects of the same.

Leaving the Iron Unattended

This is especially true with older soldering iron models. These had no thermostat or any other means of regulating temperature. Once left unattended, these irons would continue to heat as long as the power supply was still on. This causes overheating of elements within the soldering iron and eventually reaches the handle. The material making up most soldering iron handles is usually one with relatively low melting points and exposure to such heat will cause instant melting of the handle. To avoid this, ensure that you do not leave your soldering iron unattended especially while plugged into a live power source.

Dropping and Banging

Similar to many other electrical appliances, soldering irons are susceptible to damage if dropped or banged against. This is especially true for soldering irons that use plastic or ceramic soldering iron handles – These can easily break or crack. If this happens, it will almost certainly expose you to live electric current and heat which may cause injury. It is important to always handle the iron with care and ensure the workspace is free of clutter that may cause accidental drops of the iron.

If your soldering iron has a faulty handle, have it replaced by a qualified electrician since it poses significant risk while working with.

Defects in Soldering Irons: Faulty Thermostat

Defects in Soldering Irons: Faulty Thermostat

The thermostat is the component inside a soldering iron that regulates the temperature that the heating element delivers to the tip. The thermostat operates by breaking flow of current once the tip reaches a certain set temperature and  reestablishing the flow once again when the heat goes below the desired level. A faulty thermostat will be manifested by temperatures exceeding those set by the user or failing to reach the threshold. In both cases, the thermostat has malfunctioned and will probably affect the outcome of your work.

Thermostats may become faulty as a result of a variety of reasons. However, extreme exposure to power, incorrect voltage and wattage are some of the common reasons. However, make sure that the solder is exposed to heat for the right amount of time before concluding that you have a faulty thermostat. Overheated joints often happen as a result of joints being overexposed to heat. However, if you ascertain that your iron’s thermostat is actually faulty, it may be time to consider a replacement or repair of the same.

Repairing a thermostat is not a straightforward task due to the mechanism involved. If you decide to attempt the repair, open up your soldering iron. This should be pretty easy but may vary depending on your specific type of soldering iron. Most irons use the conventional twist-to-open mechanism. Once opened, locate the thermostat and carry out the repair depending on your level of skills. However, the much easier option involves removing the thermostat and replacing it. You will most likely find one at your local hardware store. Once you’ve replaced it, test to ensure that it is working as expected. You should then avoid the mistakes that lead to faulty thermostats as mentioned earlier.

Defects in Soldering Irons: Faulty Power Cord

Defects in Soldering Irons: Faulty Power Cord

A faulty power cord will most likely be the problem if power is not being delivered to your soldering iron. This is observed when the iron is cold even when connected to a live power source and switched on. Power cords are in most cases damaged through incorrect removal of the soldering iron from the power source. This causes the wires inside to loosen or cut off thus interfering with the supply of power. The other common causes for faulty power cords include:

Tugging the cord

Once you are done using the soldering iron, it’s advised that you remove it from the socket by holding the part at the extreme end of the cord and not the cord itself. This is done to minimize the pressure applied on the wires within the cord.

Poor quality of soldering iron

If you purchased an extremely cheap and poor quality soldering iron, chances are that the cord is also of similar quality. If this is the case, the cord will at some point get damaged with or without tugging. To avoid this, carry out reasonable research into the brand of soldering iron you intend to buy to avoid future disappointment.

If your power cord is faulty, there are several ways to get around it. The easiest and quickest solution is to purchase another one and replace it. However, if this is not an option for you, then you can try to repair the cord. This involved cutting the cord open at the point where the wires have snapped and twisting them back together. It may not necessarily be as easy as it sounds but that is all there is. If done correctly, this minor repair should restore your soldering iron to good working condition.