I scored a Weller 8200 soldering gun at an estate sale one street over from me for a few dollars. They didn’t know what they had. I got it home and it didn’t work–it wouldn’t heat up–so maybe they knew exactly what they had. Lucky for me, it’s easy to learn how to repair a Weller soldering gun yourself.
Make sure the tip isn’t broken, then loosen the two nuts that hold the tip to the gun, then tighten the two nuts back down tightly. This breaks away oxidation and provides a good mechanical and electrical connection required to conduct heat.
The secret tool these guns come with is a mini open-ended wrench. The size is either 3/8″ or 5/16″, depending on factors I might know if I’d had a manual to read. The wrench fits two nuts that hold the soldering tip in place. If these nuts are the least bit loose, the gun doesn’t work at full power. In some cases it might not heat up at all.
The fix is grab a wrench of the right size. Loosen those nuts to break up any corrosion that has formed on them. Then tighten them down like you’re trying to beat King Kong in a nut-tightening contest. Loosening and then tightening again is essential. You can do a better job with a household wrench than you will with the thin Weller wrench anyway. Also, don’t worry about having to loosen the nuts again. The temperature changes from using the gun will cause them to loosen back up by the time you have to do this again.
Testing your newly fixed Weller soldering gun
After I did the loosen-then-tighten trick, I plugged the gun in. I pulled the trigger, heard a hum and felt the gun vibrate a bit–all good signs. I then stuck the tip in my soldering tip cleaner/tinner–wonderful stuff and well worth ordering online, if not taking a road trip to the nearest surviving Radio Shack. Lo and behold, the gun worked. Then, with my shiny clean tip, I grabbed a loose piece of electric train track and a scrap of wire and was able to solder with it.
Speaking of Radio Shack, their replacement tip for the Weller 8200 is better than the ones sold in hardware stores if you need one.
So, don’t be afraid to try to fix your own Weller soldering gun, or to buy a used one off Ebay, or look for one at an estate sale. I see at least one Weller soldering gun at an estate sale every weekend I go out. From what I understand, the old ones are better than the brand-new ones. That means fixing an old one is worth doing. You’ll find it’s easy to learn how to repair a Weller soldering gun just like I did.