Why did my soldering iron explode?
March 11, 2010
I just replaced the tip of my TC201 iron (on a WTCPS soldering station), with a new PTA8 tip, and went downstairs to get some coffee. *BANG* I ran upstairs to see what had happened and found my soldering iron laying across the workbench a half meter away from the soldering station (not on the stand), and frantic investigation located the PTA8 tip near the station (it bounced off the stand) and the copper insert (the heat-conducting element) a quarter meter away from the soldering station.
So why did my soldering iron's tip explosively separate? What the heck?
The PTA8 soldering tip is now in two pieces instead of one.
Extra Details: The 800 degree tips have been burning out every 12-18 working hours (estimated), which makes me think that perhaps the (temperature-controlled) iron is running too hot. The 700 degree tips last longer but still deteriorate. I wouldn't know the expected life since I've been working as a hobbyist for about 9 months now. Tip life might also be short for this reason (http://www.inlandcraft.com/uguides/tipcare.htm):
- Keeping the tip clean is important but constantly wiping it on a wet sponge can cause early tip failure. Excessive wiping causes the tip temperature to drastically rise and fall and the different metal layers in the tip to repeatedly expand and contract. This cycling leads to metal fatigue and ultimately tip collapse. The more frequently you wipe the tip, the more you stress it.
Pictures: Burnt tips