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 Post subject: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Fri 29, 2019 12:31 am 
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Location: Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.
A couple of weeks ago my Weller WTCP soldering iron quit working. A quick check with an ohmmeter showed no continuity between any two pins on the three pin plug. So, the heater failed, right?

I took the handpiece apart and there was no continuity between the heater wires, confirming a heater failure. But, I also noticed that the cord to the base unit had three wires. I checked continuity of the wires and found that the green wire was open. (I had always assumed, incorrectly, that the iron tip was ungrounded.) A number of years ago a cat had chewed on the middle of the cord so I assumed that that was where the break was; if so, I would simply splice it.

So, I used my trusty Eico 950B to try to confirm that the break was at the chewed section. The null was broad and not very deep so I couldn’t accurately find the defect, but it was good enough to locate the break somewhere else, nearer the iron.

Then I tried my signal generator and a small portable radio and found that the break was within a few inches of the iron, where the cord bent while the iron was in the holder. So I figured that I would just cut off a few inches (the cord is plenty long) and rewire it. So I cut the cord and stripped the outer jacket. Guess what? The cord used rubber insulated wire and the insulation was rotten and falling off! I stripped back another inch of jacket and found the same thing. So the cord needed to be replaced too. (The wires inside the iron looked fine; it was only the wire inside the outer jacket that was rotten.)

I checked the web site of my local parts house and it listed the heater but not the cord. The web site of the dealer listed in the right column here gave the same result. Now I had to find a substitute cord.

The cord is attached to the iron with a plastic strain relief that can be released with a small screwdriver. I removed this as a size reference and took it to the local store. They had the heater and a new barrel nut (since the size changed even though it uses the same tips) but not the cord. So we headed into the back room in search of something that would fit. We found some two conductor microphone cable that was the right diameter and very flexible. Unfortunately, there was no label on the spool and no markings on the cable so I can’t tell you what it is.

The three pin plug can be disassembled by spreading the black plastic latches until it can be slid back over the cord. Then the plug itself can be pried out of the white rubber housing with a small screwdriver using a technique similar to removing a bicycle tire from the rim. The old cord is easily unsoldered and the old solder can be removed with a solder sucker, shaking the plug, and then drilling out the pins with an appropriate drill bit in a pin vise. At the other end the cord is disconnected by removing the wire nuts.

The two wires in the new cable are readily soldered into the pins but the shield (it is a microphone cable after all) was too stiff to permit reassembling the connector. So I cut the shield short and spliced on a short piece of green 24 AWG stranded wire (because I have a lot of that size). Heat shrink tubing was used to be sure everything was insulated.

The original cord had a crimped-on strain relief that I couldn’t duplicate. I tried wire ties but they were too big. I ended up putting on enough heat shrink tubing to make it jam in the housing. Then I reassembled the connector.

At the other end, I slipped the handle over the cord and put the plastic strain relief around it and tried to close it. But I broke it, perhaps by using a pliers that was too wide and pressed on the wrong part. I found that tying a knot in the cable allowed it to be jammed into the handle so that it couldn’t be pushed, pulled, or twisted. Unfortunately, that happened too far up in the handle and there wasn’t enough room for the other components. So it was back to multiple layers of heat shrink tubing which allowed it to jam at the far end of the handle.

Again, the shield was too thick so I used the 24 AWG wire again along with heat shrink for insulation of the splice. To save space, I did away with the wire nuts and soldered the connections in pig-tail splices. I insulated these with heat shrink and pinched the open ends shut while they were hot to prevent anything from getting in there. With some effort I got it all to go back together.

The heating element is a plug-in type so that was easy. And I again have a working soldering iron.

So that is the whole story in gory detail to help anyone else who may have the same problems.

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Fri 29, 2019 2:10 am 
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Location: Albuquerque, NM 87123
I had heard the Mueller report was long.....


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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Fri 29, 2019 2:21 am 
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Location: Norfolk, VA
The cable carries only 24V at about 2A, so no need for any high voltage or specialty cable. My replacement cable came from a chunk of power cable for a commercial vacuum cleaner. Round, two conductor, and flexible as ever. I still have 16 feet of it left. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Fri 29, 2019 2:53 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4522
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
Hi Jim (or any others with similar issues),

Don't mess around with trying to cobble together parts for repair of your Weller WTCP. You need to contact Bruce Sander at EAE Sales https://www.eaesales.com/ (He is an advertiser here in the ARF; you can simply click on his box in the right-hand column of this page).

Not only does Bruce have all the cables, parts, etc. to properly repair your Weller WTCP, he can also offer much useful advice on repairing these Wellers. Bruce is a retired USAF Senior Master Sgt. who saw service in Vietnam. He has extensive experience and many certifications in soldering from the USAF, far too numerous to mention here. In addition, he is a great guy to deal with. Anyone would do well by contacting Bruce for advice.

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Last edited by Poston Drake on Mar Fri 29, 2019 3:10 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Fri 29, 2019 2:54 am 
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Joined: Aug Fri 12, 2016 1:49 am
Posts: 747
Location: Houston, TX
Bruce sometimes has things in stock that don't show up on his site. My old cord had the disintegrating rubber insulation as well.
I bought 2 of these cords from him not long ago. Details on the different cords: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=260592&hilit=weller&start=21


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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Fri 29, 2019 4:36 am 
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Location: Powell River BC Canada
Johnnysan wrote:
I had heard the Mueller report was long.....


My coffee. keyboard.

:D

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de
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Amateur Radio Literacy Club. May we help you read better.
Steve Dow
ve7aso@rac.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Fri 29, 2019 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
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Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
[quote]I had heard the Mueller report was long...../quote]
well yea but .... has anyone ever posted a 300 page thread here?? :-D

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 6:30 am 
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Greetings to Barry and the Forum:
Quote:
well yea but .... has anyone ever posted a 300 page thread here??



Is that a challenge? :D

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 6:33 am 
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Location: Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.
Quote:
Don't mess around with trying to cobble together parts for repair of your Weller WTCP. You need to contact Bruce Sander at EAE Sales https://www.eaesales.com/ (He is an advertiser here in the ARF; you can simply click on his box in the right-hand column of this page).

I checked his web site and didn't find a cord. And on second thought, if I did find a real Weller cord somewhere, how would I know that it didn't have the same insulation as the one I replaced? The new cord I used has PVC insulation so it should last longer than me.

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Jim Mueller


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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 7:05 am 
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Joined: Sep Thu 23, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 11699
Location: Powell River BC Canada
I also own a WTCP and for years have gotten into habit of feeling the barrel
after switching in on for heat, and if cold, torquing the connector plug,
which seemed to fire it up.

About 2 years ago, in a collection, I got another WTCP hand piece and cord
that seems better.

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 7:50 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4522
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
Jim Mueller wrote:
Quote:
Don't mess around with trying to cobble together parts for repair of your Weller WTCP. You need to contact Bruce Sander at EAE Sales https://www.eaesales.com/ (He is an advertiser here in the ARF; you can simply click on his box in the right-hand column of this page).

I checked his web site and didn't find a cord. And on second thought, if I did find a real Weller cord somewhere, how would I know that it didn't have the same insulation as the one I replaced? The new cord I used has PVC insulation so it should last longer than me.

Jim,
Bruce Sander has the cords, or at least he did the last time I dealt with him. These are current-production Weller replacement cords, not NOS. As mentioned previously in this thread, Bruce stocks many parts and supplies not illustrated on his website; it is best to contact him personally via email.

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Mar Sat 30, 2019 6:15 pm 
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EAE Sales has 2 of the Weller TC212 Cord Assemblies in stock for the EC201 handpiece for the WTCP Series Weller Stations. They are $12.50 each plus actual postage. One is the older white cord and one is the newer black cord. Sorry they weren't listed on the website. Send me an email with your full name/address/etc and I can get one out to you. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Apr Mon 01, 2019 1:50 am 
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Location: Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.
bjsandysan wrote:
EAE Sales has 2 of the Weller TC212 Cord Assemblies in stock for the EC201 handpiece for the WTCP Series Weller Stations. They are $12.50 each plus actual postage. One is the older white cord and one is the newer black cord. Sorry they weren't listed on the website. Send me an email with your full name/address/etc and I can get one out to you. Thanks.

Thanks, but now that I have the iron repaired with a cord that is better than original, I really don't have any motivation to take it apart again.

But, thanks again.

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Apr Mon 01, 2019 3:00 pm 
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Location: Burbank, CA and Thailand
I own several of these and as they age, have had to repair each of them many times. The most common problems I've run into is bad thermostats and broken wires in the iron cords. The breaks are usually near the soldering iron holder strain relief.

I've had pretty good luck finding spare parts on ebay, but good to know about EAE.

Sometimes when the thermostats fail the heater gets stuck on, which will destroy a tip pretty quickly. So when servicing these I use a current meter on the AC cord to monitor thermostat action. If upon power up I don't see current drop a few minutes I turn the thing off and re-check everything. This has saved me a lot of grief (and tips).

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Apr Tue 02, 2019 4:22 am 
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Location: Charleston, W.Va.
My experience with the Weller WTCP seems to be entirely different from what others have mentioned above. Over the long term I have found it to be the most reliable soldering station I have ever owned. And with a good assortment of tips (both in size and temeperature) I find it to be very versatile and covers every need in my small radio repair business. I first purchased a used one many years ago. Aside from replacing the handset cord (supplied to me by Bruce Sander at EAE Sales) it has been in continuous usage and has given me no problems at all for nearly 20 years.

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 Post subject: Re: Weller WTCP rotten rubber insulated wire
PostPosted: Apr Tue 02, 2019 4:51 am 
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Poston Drake wrote:
My experience with the Weller WTCP seems to be entirely different from what others have mentioned above. Over the long term I have found it to be the most reliable soldering station I have ever owned. And with a good assortment of tips (both in size and temeperature) I find it to be very versatile and covers every need in my small radio repair business. I first purchased a used one many years ago. Aside from replacing the handset cord (supplied to me by Bruce Sander at EAE Sales) it has been in continuous usage and has given me no problems at all for nearly 20 years.

I didn't mean to imply that these were unreliable. I don't remember when I got mine but it was probably more than 20 years ago. This is the first problem I have had with it.

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