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Advice on Weller soldering iron tips etc.

crustysolder

New Member
Hi,

I have an old Weller soldering iron which seems to have eaten the tip (as if it's melted), I suspect something may have expired as I'm sure these irons usually click when in use, but I don't recall feeling or hearing this for a while.

I don't know much about the model, just that it says WTCP50 on the front of the main unit. I normally use a chisel tip as I mainly do just regular soldering (normal components, wiring, etc) and find it supplies the best heat for this purpose, however I have no idea if it's running at the optimum temperature for this kind of work, I acquired the iron second hand.

I'm thinking I probably need to consider replacing the piece that holds the tip on as well as a new tip (the tip has a number stamped on the side - 651 - and a 6 on the end), in case something like a thermostat has failed (I don't actually know how this iron regulates temperature).

When looking at replacement tips I've seen a lot of the newer style which look like a fat biro, with what looks like a rubber grip very close to the tip, this style may help me a lot as my hands tend to shake a bit when trying to concentrate on holding the iron steady! Would I need a new setup for that or can one be fitted to this iron? Is there any other information required in order to find the correct parts I need? Thanks very much!
 
The Wellers that click have an interesting temperature regulation system. There is magnet in the shaft, and when that is attracted to a ferrous metal, the iron turns on.

On the back of the bit is short cylinder of a metal that becomes less magnetic at the desired tip temperature. I think that's called the "Curie Temperature". When the cylinder is non-magnetic, the magnet is no longer attracted and the switch turns off.

The magnet is attached to a metal rod and the switch itself is in the handle.

I think that they should not heat up at all if the bit is missing. You may be able to get the magnet to attract a bit of steel to test the switch.
 
Thank you for your advice, it's very useful. Looking at that iron you linked, there are so many tips showing for it I'm really not sure which I need for my purposes, some of them look exactly the same, and I can't see any references to the 651 or 6 that's stamped on my old tip.

What would be the optimum temperature for general component soldering (LEDs, wires, headers, etc), at the moment I'm mainly doing hobby stuff with Arduino and 1/10 radio control vehicles, it's unlikely I'll do any surface mount but presumably I'd need a different setup for that anyway, or a special tip at least.

The old tip has a short cylinder on the end (that's what has the 6 stamped on it), but it doesn't appear to be magnetic at all.
 
The click-click sounds of an old Weller soldering iron is the temperature control relay turning on and off. Since yours gets too hot and does not click then the relay is on all the time. Maybe it is physically stuck in corrosion or the wiring and you can fix it.
"6" is a tip that works at 600 degrees F. I use a tip that is "7" which is 700 degrees F.
 
Soldering is a lot like broiling steaks - "The higher the heat, the rarer the meat". If the temp is too low, you'll heat the entire component by the time your solder gets to melting temp. A hotter iron lets you quickly melt the solder (like searing only the surface of a rare steak) and you're done before the whole component gets hot. 700° works well for both 60/40 and all tin solder.
Use the skinniest 800°F tip if you're soldering very small components (under 0603) with 1/32" or finer solder - but if you're asking, that's likely beyond your current skills. Stick with the 700°F tip and life will be good. I like the cone tips (fine and extra fine) for everything but some people like the screwdriver tips. Just buy some extra parts to practice, keep your tip clean by swiping across a damp sponge every time ups pick up your iron and all will be good.
 
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Most very cheap soldering irons get way too hot which incinerates the flux so it does not clean the solder joint properly.
The very cheap soldering irons are too hot because their cheapo heater cools down too quickly.
A good soldering iron has temperature control so that it is always at the correct temperature, never too hot and never too cool.
 
Hi,

I have an old Weller soldering iron which seems to have eaten the tip (as if it's melted), I suspect something may have expired as I'm sure these irons usually click when in use, but I don't recall feeling or hearing this for a while.

I don't know much about the model, just that it says WTCP50 on the front of the main unit. I normally use a chisel tip as I mainly do just regular soldering (normal components, wiring, etc) and find it supplies the best heat for this purpose, however I have no idea if it's running at the optimum temperature for this kind of work, I acquired the iron second hand.

I'm thinking I probably need to consider replacing the piece that holds the tip on as well as a new tip (the tip has a number stamped on the side - 651 - and a 6 on the end), in case something like a thermostat has failed (I don't actually know how this iron regulates temperature).

When looking at replacement tips I've seen a lot of the newer style which look like a fat biro, with what looks like a rubber grip very close to the tip, this style may help me a lot as my hands tend to shake a bit when trying to concentrate on holding the iron steady! Would I need a new setup for that or can one be fitted to this iron how to play toca boca? Is there any other information required in order to find the correct parts I need? Thanks very much!
Hello, Wonder if one of you know how to remove a sort of grayish layer from the surface of my Weller W61 solder iron tip? What happens is this: When I first use the tip it looks as if the solder makes a layer on the tip's surface - the tip is has a shiny solder looking surface - but after a rather short while it is as if this layer disappears and instead the surface now gets a grayish/brown appearance and the tip no longer transfers heat as efficiently to the components I'm soldering ... Apart from this phenomenon the tip doesn't look old and I guess I may have used it altogether about 40 hours. Any hints on what can be done is appreciated ;-)
 
Hello, Wonder if one of you know how to remove a sort of grayish layer from the surface of my Weller W61 solder iron tip? What happens is this: When I first use the tip it looks as if the solder makes a layer on the tip's surface - the tip is has a shiny solder looking surface - but after a rather short while it is as if this layer disappears and instead the surface now gets a grayish/brown appearance and the tip no longer transfers heat as efficiently to the components I'm soldering ... Apart from this phenomenon the tip doesn't look old and I guess I may have used it altogether about 40 hours. Any hints on what can be done is appreciated ;-)
You should tin the tip regularly, and clean it (on a damp sponge), to keep it nice and shiny - also, assuming it's an iron plated bit, you should initially tin it as the bit first ever warms up, if you didn't do that it's already far too late.

As always, I'd recommend Antex irons and bits, excellent equipment that I've used for decades - and it's VERY, VERY rare to ever need to change a bit. My main bit at home is 40+ years old, and my one at work I've been using for six years now, and it wasn't new when I started.
 
I have a similar question - is it alright if I continue this thread? My Weller soldering iron has to be about 50 years old and it was built in Australia. It has a TC201 iron and it seems that the heating element might have failed. It has worked perfectly for the last 20 years or so, and suddenly won't heat up (won't click either). The power supply is still working and I still have 24-26 volts at the plug leading into the iron. I haven't yet checked that the element itself is intact.

What I have noticed is that replacement elements for this particular iron might not exist anymore. Is that correct? I can't find one in stock. Several available elements look like they might fit, but I can't be sure and they're not cheap enough for me to gamble on one, unless someone here can tell me they should fit. Do I have options? I'd really like to keep using this iron rather than throwing it all away.
 
Yes that's a good point. I haven't checked it properly yet. I can't make it heat up at present so I'm not sure if the thermostat works, but I'll disconnect the element and see if it has resistance. If not, then it's probably busted I guess. But if it seems OK then maybe the thermostat is the issue.
 

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