Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Fixing an Antex soldering iron
One such tool is my soldering iron. It’s an Antex 25W model which I have customised (“pimped” for the MTV generation) with a 8ft long power lead. This allows its use on the layout whilst plugged in to a 4-way block on the floor. It’s amazing how much difference this makes when you struggle to re-solder a switch blade to a tiebar in front of a crowd impatient to see trains run again. No need to find a way to get the socket on to the layout or supporting it as it dangles in mid-air !
However, nothing lasts forever and my iron packed up. But as I can’t bear to throw things away when they can be fixed I ordered a replacement element for 12 quid from Squires and carefully disassembled the iron to replace it.
Really all I have left of the iron I once bought after this is a handle and couple of screws but it’s still cheaper than buying a new one and so much more environmentally friendly.
A second iron is required for the fix as you have to unsolder the wires from the old element and solder the new one in. A matter of minutes work but a show stopper if you are fixing the only soldering device you have.
After carefully putting everything back together a quick test showed all was well and the tool can return to the exhibition box to resume its travels around the country. Soldering irons are pretty simple tools – just an element in the end of a lead really. There are only two screws to undo to release the lead and three soldered connections. It just goes to show, the simplest ideas are the best.