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Old 20th Nov 2018, 6:34 pm   #1
Skywave
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Angry Heating element for Weller TCP-1

Today, the element on my Weller TCP-1 went O/C. So I had a look-around on the 'Net (usual places). I was shocked to discover the prices! Cheapest I could find was in the region of £40. Some prices were more than twice that! For what it is, how can those prices be justified?

Al.
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Old 20th Nov 2018, 7:14 pm   #2
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

RS list it for about £30 + VAT here :

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/solde...ories/0661986/

Which doesn't sound as excessive as some places. IIRC Weller changed the outside diameter of the element tube and you might need to replace the bit-retaining sleeve too.

Mine failed last year after about 25 years on my bench and over a million solder joints. I replaced it (got it from RS) and got a spare too. I then realised that if the replacements last as long I will not need to buy another. I'll be gone first.

Yes, it's expensive for what is is, but so are a lot of other things. Think of it more as what it costs to keep a very useful tool in working order and it doesn't sound so bad. As I said, my oriignal one lasted 25 years. So at the RS price just over £1 a year. I can live with that!
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Old 20th Nov 2018, 9:30 pm   #3
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

Hear! Hear!
My Weller TCP irons have kept going for most of my working life and I’d retire in two years if the old system was still working.
The price for replacement parts for Weller irons is peanuts. What’s not to like?
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Old 20th Nov 2018, 10:16 pm   #4
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Arrow Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by mole42uk View Post
The price for replacement parts for Weller irons is peanuts. What’s not to like?
"What's not to like?" How about the price of a replacement element!
"Peanuts', eh? Apart from the obvious 'what's cheap to one person isn't cheap to another', when you study what one of the elements consists of, its probable construction and the necessary profit margins involved, I cannot see how those prices can be justified. So it's probably all down to the 'time-honoured practice' of charging the highest price that the market will withstand.

Me, now? I'm resorting to my Metcal (up to now, kept in reserve for special jobs). A vastly superior iron to a Weller TCP and the elements are cheaper too!

Al.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 12:11 am   #5
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

Yeah, but you do go through a lot more elements per year with the Metcal.

They are good, though.

David
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 12:44 am   #6
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

David - that depends on how much you use your Metcal and how you look after it. I expect to use mine a lot less than you probably use yours.
In my case, typically it will be switched on for about 2 hours per day, 2 days of the week. Some weeks, it won't be used at all. If I will be doing something at the bench, but need to walk away for anything more that 10 minutes, I'll switch it off. And I'll never wipe the tip with a sponge that is very wet, (only damp), thus avoiding thermal shock to the element.

Al.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 1:00 am   #7
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

That's true. people at work keep leaving them on. Not only does it dramatically shorten the life of tips, it has killed several power units. So now I run twin Metcals, one in each hand for removing SMT parts and for things needng extra heat. Affordable only if you repair scrapped gear.

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Old 21st Nov 2018, 1:57 am   #8
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

Quote:
"What's not to like?" How about the price of a replacement element!
I'd never recommend throwing money at a dead TCP iron. The spares are too expensive. The general design is dated and poor and the soldering performance is awful by modern standards, especially if you ever want to use it for modern SMD stuff. Just chuck the remains in the bin and buy a more modern and more versatile replacement if you need a backup iron for the Metcal
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 7:23 am   #9
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

My TCPs used to be typically switched on for 8 hours a day and I don’t remember buying new elements. I think maybe I did need new ones but it can’t have been often. The switches used to fail but they can be fixed.
Of course, I have been just lucky. The spare element in my drawer is probably going to be needed tomorrow!
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Last edited by mole42uk; 21st Nov 2018 at 7:30 am.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 8:54 am   #10
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

It's well known that a spare in your drawer creates a Murphy field, greatly enhancing the longevity of an item in use while inducing feelings of "Well, I needn't have bothered buying that" in its owner.

Precisely contrary to Tinkerbell, the fairy in Peter Pan, Murphy fields exist only as long as humans do mot believe in them. The moment you believe in it, you start to rely on it, it vanishes and the part in use soon fails. Murphyons, the carrier particle of the Murphy field are all over the place, influencing things right left and centre. Their noise level is so high that no-one has achieved a certain detection of one in the wild. They're a bit like Neutrinos but far more obstreperous. Another problem is that everyone believes in the charged particles orbiting the big ring at CERN, and believes that their collisions will throw up all sorts of new particles. Consequently Murphyons refuse to show up.

Higgs had it easy.

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Old 21st Nov 2018, 12:23 pm   #11
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Question Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

David: your post - although I appreciate its embedded humour - it does provoke some deep & serious thinking: thank you. The 'Murphy Field': am I correct in thinking that that phenomenon is created by the belief that "if something can go wrong - it will"?

Al.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 12:36 pm   #12
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

It also involves the fact that "even if something can't go wrong, it will"........
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 12:43 pm   #13
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Arrow Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

David: your post #7.
Based on your various posts over the years on the Metcal, I get the impression that the Metcal power units you have used - and repaired - are the later models. I say that since mine is the STSS-PS2V-02 variant: physically, it bears little resemblance to later models. I have owned mine for many years and have never had it fail. I was motivated to buy this Metcal based on experience gained from where I used to work, many years ago. There were several technicians there who each had their own Metcal, which were switched on from 08:30 to 17:00, 5 days of the week. I never heard of any failures - and the need to replace the element were quite uncommon, too.

Al.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 1:10 pm   #14
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Arrow Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by G0HZU_JMR View Post
I'd never recommend throwing money at a dead TCP iron. The spares are too expensive. The general design is dated and poor . . .
Apart from everything else you've written in that post - which matches my experience - I don't know for sure just how old the basic design concept is. I first met Weller TCP irons in 1968 - and I'm sure that they had been around long before that.
The Quicko T12 iron looks promising: any experience of that soldering station?

Al.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 2:18 pm   #15
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

I believe that the W-TCP was first manufactured in 1967 although the magnastat patent was granted in 1960 so I think there may have been other magnastat models prior to the TCP (possibly the MCP where the magnet is part of the element casing rather than the tip).

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Old 21st Nov 2018, 2:28 pm   #16
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

My Metcals are the original type. Black finned metal power box with a square plastic top. Single switch on top, one or two LEDs, single F-type socket at rear.

Reliable enough until people leave them on 24/7

I have two Weller Magnastat mains soldering irons. 100W and 200W. Maybe the design of these predates the TCP1?

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Old 21st Nov 2018, 4:41 pm   #17
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Arrow Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
My Metcals are the original type. Black finned metal power box with a square plastic top. Single switch on top, one or two LEDs, single F-type socket at rear.
O.K. - Sounds like the same as mine; the metal power box is just that - a box with all sides flat. The later ones have curved surfaces, IIRC.

Quote:
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Reliable enough until people leave them on 24/7
Presumably, you're referring to your place of employment. "Left on 24/7": you mean that people don't switch them off at the end of the working day when they go home?

Al.
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Last edited by Skywave; 21st Nov 2018 at 4:49 pm. Reason: Add 2nd. quote & question arising.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 7:06 pm   #18
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

They just forget and go home. Not their electricity...

David
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 9:17 pm   #19
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Default Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

Just so. I ended my working days in an office environment and was often the last out, regularly turning many monitors off.
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 12:27 am   #20
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Question Re: Heating element for Weller TCP-1

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They just forget and go home. Not their electricity...
The English of that I understand, of course, but not that action - or rather lack of it. However, surely they have other items of equipment that need to be switched off, too?

Al.
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