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Can a soldering iron "burn down"

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  • Can a soldering iron "burn down"

    Stupid idiot me just realized that I left my soldering iron plugged in all night. Amazingly enough it's not really hot as I tough it would be. (No, I did't touch it, my kitten did. J/K).

    Is it possible that something inside the iron "burned out" causing it to stop from getting hotter? Or does it have a sort of limit when it stops warming up?

    Thank you and please excuse my ignorance in this subject.

    edit: Sorry, I forgot to mention it is a very common 30W soldering iron.

  • #2
    they will only get so hot. Its not really a limiting switch, its just that the heating element (especially on a 30W) can only reach a certain temperature.

    Your Iron should be fine, but dont do that again!
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    • #3
      some of the higher quality soldering stations, with their own base unit, etc.... often take it o the next level with a temp control and a propper thermostat system.....
      Project - GAME OVER :(

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      • #4
        Actually I'm noticing the same thing with my cheap-*** Rat shack iron =(

        It used to be able to solder just fine, but now it has to completely warm up inbetween each contact. Perhaps cheap ones -do- wear out?

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        • #5
          I'd imagine that the cheap ones could easily burn out. The element will reach a certain temp and stay there, but over a long time it could melt itself, or cause some other weird harm...
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          • #6
            Even $400 weller's die after alot of use. But you can just replace the heating element. even some cheapos are replacable
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            • #7
              I bought a soldering iron a few months ago just because it was cheap... I have never had an expensive one, I don't see any real advantages between a 200buck iron and a 5buck iron..
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              • #8
                There are major advantages between the two. The expensive one will last longer, heat up MUCH faster, have adjustable controls, and probably a wide tip selection. It will also have things like overheat protection. When you get into complicated soldering (ie. surface mount), the expensive one is a must have. Also, there are the less obvious things, such as a more comfortable grip, better cords, etc.
                Player: Pentium 166MMX, Amptron 598LMR MB w/onboard Sound, Video, LAN, 10.2 Gig Fujitsu Laptop HD, Arise 865 DC-DC Converter, Lexan Case, Custom Software w/Voice Interface, MS Access Based Playlists
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                • #9
                  Believe me -- soldering irons can easily burn down. Don't leave 'em on too long, at least not the cheap ones.

                  I managed to forget that my iron was plugged in.. it was on for 6 hours while not in use.. (may it rest in peace in soldering iron heaven)
                  SOON THERE.

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                  • #10
                    Thats a pretty dodgy iron to die in just 6 hours.. :P
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                    • #11
                      I have no experience or expertise on the subject, but I think that the irons probably 'burn out' for the same reasons as Light Bulbs do.

                      Ie. Oxidation on the heating element, which reduces its CSA --> Increases its resistance --> increases the temperature--> speeds up the oxidation -->-->--> you get the idea.
                      One big vicious circle.

                      Possibly (more like defiantly) the more expensive irons use higher quality materials. As opposed to the cheep ones that are made from ... I dunno, Fuse wire??
                      It all looks a bit complicated to me

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