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What Should You Do If Your Soldering Iron Isn’t Heating?

What Should You Do If Your Soldering Iron Isn’t Heating?

If your soldering iron stops heating or just isn’t getting hot enough, it can be a result of a few different things.  It could be that your iron needs a new part or might even just be an electrical issue. 

Depending on the soldering iron that you’re using, there are a few things to look out for to determine whether you need to simply replace the iron or a part.

Below are a few reasons why your soldering iron isn’t heating up and how to fix it:

You need a new heating element

The most common reason that your soldering iron isn’t heating correctly is that you need to replace the heating element.  The heating elements in your soldering iron are made of resistance wires that wind around the metal spool.  If the heating element fails, the iron can’t produce heat and you therefore won’t be able to solder.

If this is the case with your soldering iron, check to see if your iron has replaceable elements.  If so, check with your supplier to see if they have the right heating element for your specific iron.

If you are using a less expensive soldering iron and it stops heating, you will most likely need to replace the entire iron since is unlikely to have a replacement part.

The electrical outlet is broken

If the electrical circuit isn’t working, then the soldering iron won’t work properly.  If there is a break in the electrical cord or connection, your soldering iron won’t produce heat.  This could result in either a bad or faulty connection or the heating element fails.

To see if this is the issue, make sure that your soldering iron’s plug outlet is working.  If the outlet is fine and you can’t see any wires that are disconnected, then you will need to replace the heating element. 

Conversely, if the electrical outlet is faulty, then you need to fix or use another outlet.  If the new outlet works and your iron heats up, then this would be the cause of the iron failure.

There is an air cavity inside the iron barrel

If the tip of the iron is pulled out so that it has a longer than necessary reach, it can leave an air cavity inside the iron.  This, in turns, would cause a poor heat transfer and could even overheat the iron to the point where it stops working.

The tips are damaged or oxidized

Your soldering iron might stop transferring heat correctly because the tip is damaged or oxidized.  If the tip has a crack or hole on the plating, then the tip won’t heat up all the way and will need to be replaced.

However, if the tip is still generating some heat and is just dirty, the tip should be cleaned and re-tinned.  You will need to remove the contaminants so that the soldering iron can properly generate heat.  A proper cleaning might just be the fix and your soldering iron will start to heat properly.

You should also look inside the iron barrel to see if there is any kind of visible damage or that the tip simply needs to be replaced. 

Your soldering iron should always heat up quickly.  However, if it doesn’t heat up properly or isn’t providing a successful soldering process, then something is wrong and needs to be evaluated.


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