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Thread: Soldering Gun Problems

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


    I must be living right! I rarely have call to use my Weller D 550; months go by between uses but it is always good to go right out of the box. Now that's I've bragged on it, the next time I use it it'll probably be deader than a tombstone!

  2. #32
    Join Date
    May 2002
    SE Texas


    Quote Originally Posted by Beazld View Post
    Make sure the nuts that hold the tip on are tight. I have had similar problems in the past and traced it to that.
    Absolutely! Those nuts that hold the wire tip in place MUST be very tight. You should distort the copper. If a replacement tip is old, clean it with a bit of extra fine sandpaper before installing it.

    I have a Weller gun that is at least 40 years old and it is still going strong, so they are not junk.

    Another common problem is erosion of the tips. The solder will dissolve the copper of the tips so they commonly become thinner with use, usually just behind the formed tip where the corners are sharpest. The cross sectional area of copper is reduced and the resistance goes up. This causes less current to flow and little or no heat. The only solution is to replace the tip. I gave up on the OEM tips and form my own from 12 gauge solid copper wire. It is dirt cheap, even essentially free if you do any electrical work, and the tips formed with only curves, no sharp corners, will generally outlast the OEM tips 3 to 1.
    Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 02-14-2013 at 09:15 PM.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Chilliwack, B.C.


    I wouldn't toss it- those guns have their place. The tips are copper, whether plated or not. 14 ga copper wire will work, but you won't get full power. You will still get soldering temperature- with 12 ga you will get full power. Things change as you lengthen or shorten the wire. A short piece of 14 ga will give you power, and a longer piece of 12 ga would lessen the power. A very short piece of heating element wire will get red hot. I guess you could use that to light a fire-

    You can form a tip into any shape that suits the job you need to get done. You can hammer the end of the loop to make a sort of blade, and you can wind a few turns to look like a spring- this is useful to demagnetize screwdrivers, etc. You can also use one of these guns as a resistance soldering tool. Each terminal gets a short piece of heavy gauge copper wire which is coned on the end, but there's no complete loop. The two ends are bent to be close together, and in use you make both tips touch the thing you are trying to solder. Most of the heat is generated in the join, so in the right applications it works well. You could hold the trigger on and the gun won't overheat until you touch the two tips and complete the circuit- then the gun is back in it's duty cycle mode. I think I recall the duty cycle being 20%- 1 minute on, 4 minutes off.

    As mentioned, these are very basic tools- a transformer with a 1 turn secondary. Barring bad switches, broken wires, and open windings, there's virtually nothing to go wrong. The tip connections would be the only snag in this. It's common to find that even with the screws tight, the connections aren't made well enough. You would do what you have to in order to get real metal to metal contact. Feels tight and looking good are no guarantees that the connections are actually secure, low resistance connections.

    By the way, if the gun is not drawing power on one of the switch positions, you won't be fixing it by messing with the tip. If the one position seems dead, there will be no heat whatsoever on the tip- and on the same hand if the tip does heat somewhat on what appears to be the dead switch position, then the transformer is good, and the problem would most likely then be with the tip connections.

    Final comment- a properly working gun will heat to soldering temperature in about 5 seconds. If it heats, but takes longer, then it's a tip connection problem.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Huntsville Ala


    Quote Originally Posted by mikem View Post
    The nuts are 3/8, I think, and I got one of those copper flare nut wrenches to tighten them with. It doesn't round the flats of the nuts as badly.

    I use copper wire in 12 or 14 gauge for a homemade tip in a pinch--it seems to heat quicker since the wire is smaller gauge than the regular tips. I even flatten the wire in the middle where I use it to solder!
    That was a splendid idea! I made up several tips of 12 ga copper wire, and they seem to work immensely better than the tip provided with the gun.

    I think my real problem though was, as most everyone mentioned, poor connections on the tip prongs. This model uses two setscrews to bear on the prongs, as opposed to nuts. Even with a flashlight and magnifying glass I could not determine exactly all the features of the screw heads, owing to the shine and glare. They have shallow slots for a flat screwdriver, but it was still hard to get a grip on them. Likewise with a philips head driver. I suspected they also accomodated square-drive bits, but couldn't find any to fit.
    After going to Lowes and getting some square-drive bits, I was then able to really crank down and get a tight connection. All is hunky-dory now.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Northern California


    I had to throw out my 100-140 watt Weller a few years ago. It never really worked. It wouldn't melt solder in any noticeable way.

    I replaced it with the large one, something like 200-300 Watts, IIRC. This one really works. I had a previous large one that lasted more than 40 years before it burned out.

    With Weller, bigger is better, I guess.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Gebze, Turkey


    I bought my weller soldering gun 25 years ago for electronics work. But soon realized that with the standart tips, it is running too hot. Burned out the solder and quickly corroded the tip. So I had thrown out the standart tips and was just bending tips from 2.5mm2 single piece copper wire.

    But for the last 10 years, I am using a SMD soldering station for electronics and the weller is only used when mobility is needed to do electric wiring stuff in my shop.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Another use for the Weller is to melt and repair plastic items, just run the power through a variac to adjust the temperature and your good to go. Makes a mess of the tip so have some spare.

    I have tools I don't know how to use!!

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