Monday, September 26, 2011

52 year old Weller Soldering Gun still working

My kids know this story.  When I was 12 my mother bought me my hearts desire...a brand new Weller Soldering gun.  By the age of 12 I had already been repairing radios, stereos and TV's.  I had a dream to build a Heathkit Ham Radio, but never got the money.

I used this Weller Soldering gun thousands of times over the years.  Although I have replaced the tip, I have never had to repair the gun.  Yesterday I attempted to use this gun because I needed to cut some 12mm nylon line.  Originally Weller did not make a line cutting tip for my gun...but in later years added a line cutting tip (apparently Weller knew I was sailing at this point).  

The gun  would not would not come on.  I used to be able to hear the transformer's hum when I pulled the trigger...these days I have to hold the gun near my ear to hear the hum.  The hum has either lessened or my hearing in the last few years has "lessened."  I pulled the trigger and held it near my ear...nothing.  Then the ultimate test---I wet my finger and touched the tip...nothing, nada.  Judy knows this soldering gun as "the soldering gun my mother bought me when I was 12."  So, I said, "Judy, you know the soldering gun my mother bought when I was 12?"  Judy: "Yes, I know it well!".  I said, "it has quit...I am not going to work on it now, but I will fix it tomorrow.  Judy: "Yeah, sure!"

Well, today is tomorrow and I took "the soldering gun my mother bought me when I was 12" apart and discovered the problem.  A broken wire!  This wire needed to be partially replaced and soldered into place for a permanent repair.  I know what you are thinking...Nope, you are wrong!  About two years ago while shopping in a Singapore electronics store with me, Judy said, "you know that soldering gun your mother bought you when you were 12?"  I said, "er, yes."  Judy said, "that thing is over 50 years old and will surely soon should buy something just in case."  I hated to admit that "the soldering gun my mother bought me when I was 12" would ever fail, but agreed and for $4.00 bought a cheap soldering iron which was made in China.  When I asked the guy if he sold additional tips for when the original tip wears out, he laughed at did Judy.  He dug around and found another slightly used tip and gave it to me, NO CHARGE!

So, armed with my soldering iron that Judy made me buy when I was 62, I repaired "the soldering gun my mother bought me when I was 12."

The soldering gun my mother bought me when I was 12
Note the line-cutting tip

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