Soldering Iron Tips and Tricks: Filament Replacement

Among the parts that you will most certainly have to replace within your iron’s life is the filament. We will discuss how to replace this on your own and how to tell if yours is faulty. Before carrying out any filament replacements, it’s important to determine your soldering iron wattage ( If it is 25 watts, make sure to purchase a filament of similar wattage. Mismatched wattage will certainly result in problems and will probably damage your iron.

The first step will be to remove the old filament from the soldering iron. This depends on the type of soldering iron you are using. However, most irons are the conventional twist to open type and thus rotating the handle anticlockwise should do the trick. Once again, removing the filament varies depending on the type of soldering iron. If yours is the common one, then the filament will be screwed using small screws. From there it is just a case of unscrewing the filament. Make sure to handle the screws with care for various reasons. First of all, the screws are exposed to high levels of heat and are therefore susceptible to rusting. This makes them brittle and mishandling may easily result in damaged screws.

Once you have removed the filament (assuming you had already confirmed it was the problem), replace it with the new filament by screwing it in place. Twist the handle back in place or the necessary step to fix your iron depending on which type you use. You should then test your soldering iron for workability. If indeed the filament was the problem, the iron should now work fine. If it wasn’t the problem, or if it wasn’t the only problem, you may have to troubleshoot your iron again to determine the problem.

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Soldering Iron Tips and Tricks: Refilling a Butane Torch

Butane soldering torches are among the widely used tools in soldering due to their high heat capability. The torches produce heat by burning fuel, in this case butane to provide a flame which is then used to solder. As the usage sounds, it is necessary to refill the fuel chamber with butane after a certain period of usage. The normal small-sized torches will last anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes on a single fill. However, larger industrial torches have the capability of more than an hour. Here I guide you through the steps of refilling a butane soldering torch.

Determine where the refill valve is located

This will vary greatly depending on the size, type and manufacturer of your soldering torch. For small and mid-sized torch, the fuel chamber is contained within a small canister that is part of the torch itself. In most cases, this will have the refill valve located along the underside of the canister implying that the torch can only be refilled when held upside down. For larger torches though, the canister is removable and only needs to be released from the torch via various mechanisms.

Establish the connection

Flammable materials are almost always sold in airtight containers that only operate under some pressure-related mechanisms. The butane you purchase comes in an airtight container that contains a nozzle at the top. This nozzle releases the gas once it’s exposed to pressure. Fit the nozzle into the canister’s valve.

Fill the canister

This is as simple as pressing the nozzle slightly. You should be able to hear a sound as the butane is transferred from the nozzle to the canister. The chamber is full once you start to experience some resistance in dispensing the gas. At this point, stop dispensing the gas and insert the butane canister into the torch (in the case of the removable one). You should also seal any openings that had been previously opened.

Soldering Iron Tips and Tricks: Repairing a Butane Torch

Like virtually any other soldering equipment out there, butane torches will at some point require troubleshooting and probably minor repairs. However, torches are more durable as compared to soldering irons to the lesser components within the tool. If your butane torch stops working, the most common causes and solutions would include:

Use of sub-standard butane

Check your torch’s user manual to establish if the manufacturer has suggested butane from a specific source. Depending on the make of your torch and the sensitivity of elements inside, use of the wrong fuel could be the single cause of a malfunctioned torch. If this happens to be the problem, stick to using the manufacturer-recommended fuel.

Non-optimal ignition

Soldering torches are becoming more advanced by the day as technology evolves. If your butane torch does not ignite, the problem probably lies in the delivery of fuel. The amount of butane may not be sufficient for ignition. To solve this, you should turn up the fuel delivery nozzle all the way up to ensure maximum delivery of fuel to the ignition system. You can then reverse this once the torch is ignited.

Clogged nozzle

Unlike other flammable gases, butane is considered a clean fuel in that it does not produce soot when it burns. This makes it suitable for use in soldering torches since an alternative fuel would cause a clogged nozzle all the time. However, torch nozzles still get clogged mostly by pieces of solder that get into the flame nozzle. This is relatively easy to deal with since it only involves extraction of the solder piece from the nozzle. This can be done using a variety of common household tools. Ensure the torch is nit ignited when unclogging the nozzle.