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Weller Tips ...

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Arfa Daily, Oct 23, 2008.

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  1. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    Just following on from the thread of a few weeks ago, where we were
    discussing how Weller tips don't seem to last like they used, and then the
    reference to lead-free solder 'leaching' iron from the tip plating, that I
    found on the Cooper website.

    A few weeks back - no more than 4 - I fitted a new 700 degree pointed tip to
    my TCP series Magnastat bench workhorse iron. It's on for about 12 hours a
    day, and the Magnastat works correctly. About a week ago, I noticed that the
    tip was already 'waisting' about 2mm up from the point, and today, the
    pointy bit just fell off, leaving a ragged eaten-away stump. During the
    three weeks that it seemed to survive unscathed, the soldering done with it
    was predominantly normal 60/40 leaded, using the same solder that I always
    have for more years than I care to remember. In amongst that work period, I
    guess I used it for lead-free soldering perhaps four or five times - maybe
    20 - 30 joints total.

    So what is going on here ? Have Weller changed the plating of their tips in
    some way ? Are we actually seeing this iron plating 'leaching' effect that
    they mention on the website, in play ? Or is it that the fluxes in lead-fee
    solder are so aggressive to try to make the useless stuff stick to other
    metals, that the iron plating doesn't stand a chance ? If it is the leaching
    effect, or even flux attack, then it's pretty drastic, if it can wreck a tip
    with that few joints ...

    Whatever it is, three to four weeks for a tip, instead of the previous three
    to four months, at least, seems pretty poor performance for what has always
    been accepted as a good quality 'professional' general bench iron.

    Arfa
     
  2. N_Cook

    N_Cook Guest


    It certainly makes a big difference only switching on the iron prior to use
    and switching off again afterwards.
    Perhaps a halfway house add-on would make sense for those that leave the
    iron on all the time. A subcircuit, that a trembler in the handle sets/
    resets, after dropping to half / 3/4 ? power (voltage) heating of the
    element in idle mode. Whatever setting means the magnastat never cuts out so
    temperature only reaches 400F or so.
     
  3. Baron

    Baron Guest

    I have to agree with you ! I've taken to turning mine off when I don't
    need it for a little while. Another thing I did with a corroded tip
    was to drill a 1mm hole and insert a half inch (15mm) of copper wire.
    It doesn't last much longer than the original did but you can just snip
    off the end and carry on
     
  4. N_Cook

    N_Cook Guest

    I will try a diode in the supply line to see whether a Weller 7 tip ever
    gets to magnastat temp and thermocouple measure the temp it does reach.
    Then just a small trembler, relay, timer etc. You could even kick the
    workbench just prior to picking up the iron
     
  5. Baron

    Baron Guest

    I recall seeing an article somewhere, where a diode with a microswitch
    across it was used on the cradle. Lifting the iron allowed the
    microswitch to short out the diode.

    In a similar vein, I have a hot melt glue gun with a two heat switch on
    it. Marked "Full & Half" heat. All that does is short out a diode in
    series with the element. It certainly stops it dribbling when
    on "Half" heat.
     
  6. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest


    I think I might try doing something with a diode, because it's a right pain
    having to turn off and on all the time in a busy workshop. I want to just be
    able to reach for the iron and it to be there, in my hand, ready and willing
    to melt solder for me. A while back, I replaced my Weller DS900 desoldering
    station with a functionally similar Pace model. I used to leave the Weller
    on pretty much all the time, and tips lasted several months. They could be
    bought one at a time for about seven quid. The Pace tips, even though they
    call them long life "Endura", don't last a third as long, if left running,
    and although only about the same price as the Wellers, can only be bought
    five at a time, and I really baulk at shelling out 35 quid, just to have one
    to put in, and four sitting in the drawer ... It also bothers me that
    turning an iron on and off all the time, is going to be more stressful for
    the element, and at 90 quid a pop, you don't wanna be changing the Pace one
    too often :-\

    Arfa
     
  7. Ross Herbert

    Ross Herbert Guest

    :Just following on from the thread of a few weeks ago, where we were
    :discussing how Weller tips don't seem to last like they used, and then the
    :reference to lead-free solder 'leaching' iron from the tip plating, that I
    :found on the Cooper website.
    :
    :A few weeks back - no more than 4 - I fitted a new 700 degree pointed tip to
    :my TCP series Magnastat bench workhorse iron. It's on for about 12 hours a
    :day, and the Magnastat works correctly. About a week ago, I noticed that the
    :tip was already 'waisting' about 2mm up from the point, and today, the
    :pointy bit just fell off, leaving a ragged eaten-away stump. During the
    :three weeks that it seemed to survive unscathed, the soldering done with it
    :was predominantly normal 60/40 leaded, using the same solder that I always
    :have for more years than I care to remember. In amongst that work period, I
    :guess I used it for lead-free soldering perhaps four or five times - maybe
    :20 - 30 joints total.
    :
    :So what is going on here ? Have Weller changed the plating of their tips in
    :some way ? Are we actually seeing this iron plating 'leaching' effect that
    :they mention on the website, in play ? Or is it that the fluxes in lead-fee
    :solder are so aggressive to try to make the useless stuff stick to other
    :metals, that the iron plating doesn't stand a chance ? If it is the leaching
    :effect, or even flux attack, then it's pretty drastic, if it can wreck a tip
    :with that few joints ...
    :
    :Whatever it is, three to four weeks for a tip, instead of the previous three
    :to four months, at least, seems pretty poor performance for what has always
    :been accepted as a good quality 'professional' general bench iron.
    :
    :Arfa
    :


    I have my suspicions that Cooper no longer control the manufacture of their tips
    but use Vanier as their tip manufacturer.
    http://www.vaniersoldertips.com/
    I remember when Vanier first made Weller Magnastat tips back in the 80's (I
    think it was) because I tried one. It wasn't a patch on the original Weller tip
    and lasted only about 20% as long before it was eroded. Many complaints went
    back to Weller and they apparently found some original tips because they seemed
    to improve again - at least for a while.

    I noted that the Vanier tips looked just "too bright" and shiny compared to the
    original Weller which looked quite dull. I suspect because of the better
    quality plating materials used by Weller.

    Luckily, I still have a few of the old originals left in stock.
     
  8. N_Cook

    N_Cook Guest

    I measured 550F putting a diode in line with a 700F iron. I would put the
    circuit in a box with a socket and small piece of plugged cord, in line,
    near the transformer so can be removed easily. And a trembler sensitive
    enough to sense the bench being kicked.
    Not that I will be making such a unit as I switch off my iron and have
    dozens of tips left over from a batch bought 20 years ago. Tap wood, both
    switch and element have survived about 20 years together in this same iron,
    repeatedly switched on and off. Had to replace the mains switch once though.
     
  9. Phil

    Phil Guest

    We used to use a *lot* of these in the mid 1980s, bulk computer repair
    (VIC-20s and C64s!). Some tips seemed to last forever, some only a
    matter of days, all of them Weller.
    Phil.
     
  10. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    There used to be a superior 'second source' of Weller tips but I can no longer
    remember the name or even know if they're still in business.

    Sounds like not enough iron plating on the tip to me.

    Graham
     
  11. hr(bob)

    hr(bob) Guest

    For someone on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean, can you convert
    quid to Euros or USDollars??
     
  12. N_Cook

    N_Cook Guest

    For someone on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean, can you convert
    quid to Euros or USDollars??



    One quid is a quid but many quid are squid or even a pony or a monkey.
    But if you're boracic then they tend to become spondulics.

    I hope thats cleared up any misunderstanding.
     
  13. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    For someone on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean, can you convert
    quid to Euros or USDollars??

    "Quid" is the slang term for a GB pound - a bit like 'buck' is slang for a
    US dollar. As to the value. Well, unfortunately for me and my family, who
    jump on an iron bird headed for your neck of the woods on Monday, the pound
    is now very weak against your dollar. My daughter bought some dollars
    yesterday, and got just $1.49 for each pound. She watched it drop by 4 cents
    from $1.53, as she stood in the line to make the deal. My other daughter
    bought some when she visited at the end of July, and got $1.96 for every
    pound. So around 20% has been wiped off the value in the last few weeks. So
    at the moment, a seven quid tip is about 10 bucks or so in your wonga.

    I haven't the faintest idea what that is in euros. We don't use them in the
    UK, and most of us have no desire to, either.

    Arfa
     
  14. Ross Herbert

    Ross Herbert Guest

    On Fri, 24 Oct 2008 20:36:48 -0700 (PDT), "hr(bob) "

    :
    :For someone on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean, can you convert
    :quid to Euros or USDollars??


    Currently a "quid" (ie. UK Pound) is worth about US$1.59 and a Euro is roughly
    US$1.27.

    This on-line currency converter is quite useful to have on your desktop...
    http://www.xe.com/ucc/
     
  15. Ross Herbert

    Ross Herbert Guest

    :
    :"Quid" is the slang term for a GB pound - a bit like 'buck' is slang for a
    :US dollar. As to the value. Well, unfortunately for me and my family, who
    :jump on an iron bird headed for your neck of the woods on Monday, the pound
    :is now very weak against your dollar. My daughter bought some dollars
    :yesterday, and got just $1.49 for each pound. She watched it drop by 4 cents
    :from $1.53, as she stood in the line to make the deal. My other daughter
    :bought some when she visited at the end of July, and got $1.96 for every
    :pound. So around 20% has been wiped off the value in the last few weeks. So
    :at the moment, a seven quid tip is about 10 bucks or so in your wonga.


    Despite the woes being experienced in the UK and the falling value of the UKP
    against the US$, a 20% fall is not too bad by Aussie standards.

    Only about 7 weeks ago our little Aussie dollar was almost on parity with the
    US$ at US$0.97. Today it is about US$0.61, or a fall of around 27%. For a
    country which is expected to ride out the devastation better than most other
    Western nations, that is a pretty severe drop in value. It makes you wonder -
    what with all the bailouts and failing companies, banks etc in the US,- just how
    the US dollar remains so strong, and other currencies are falling against it.
    After all, didn't the US start the decline of the economy by their scandalous
    lending practices anyway?
     
  16. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    I dunno where they're giving out that much on the USD for UKP, Ross -
    nowhere here, that's for sure ! They have a neat little trick here where
    they drop the value by an eye-watering amount on Friday evening until Monday
    morning, whilst the money markets are basically closed for the weekend. That
    was the point at which it dropped from $1.53 to $1.49 as my daughter stood
    there, listening to the cashier talking to her son on her cell phone. When
    she objected to this, after the cashier had cleared the call, she finally
    managed to persuade some of the transaction out of her at a 'concessionary'
    rate of $1.50.

    Had it have been me, I think I would have been kicking up a much bigger
    stink than that ...

    See y'all when I get back :)

    Arfa
     
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