Well, had an epic fail with the soldering iron. However, we are nearly there. I braved the element and tried the Weller soldering pencil, and nothing happened. I found that somewhere in my travels, the heating element had decided to go open circuit. I disassembled, and found a horror story in there - clearly why the beast was on eBay in the first place.
Don't you just love it when people
advertise things as 'sold as seen', but fail to mention when questioned
something like 'it caught fire a while ago, took the controller PCB out
and got extremely hot in places it's not meant to'.
well, the controller is good, the display works, even the PID seems to
function, and the temperature sensing is fine. I checked on eBay, and
couldn't get close to affording a new Weller handle - but I found a
Hakko, which is quite close. And then I found that the clones have been
cloned, and there are even cheaper alternatives to Hakko - and the blogs
seem to say that they are pretty much just as good as the Hakko clone
of the Weller .. so one is on order. It's coming from China so I need to
be patient for a few weeks.
So, needing to fix
something, my attention turned to Domia's ByeBye Standby controllers.
Now I have a lot of them in the home - mostly to control things where
the socket is out of reach, or hidden or something. I have a ceiling fan
and light - and I wanted to remote control it, so there's a Domia
controller for that. My entire stack of test equipment all turns on with
one controller. Much of the lounge lighting is on controllers - it is
very convenient to press one button to turn on all of the side lights.
Anyhoo, over the last couple of years they started failing. They turn on
for a while, then click off again. I have now had six fail in this way,
all in different load environments. Sometimes they recover for a while,
but they start to fail again.
I took one apart, and had a
prod around. Then I came across a polyester capacitor across the load
side .. 220nF. Only rated at 275v though, a bit tender for 230v AC. My lovely LCR meter said its value was a mere 59nF ..
So I changed it (have a couple of suitable replacements in stick). Well, blow me down, it works.
I thought this is too good to be true, so I will try another one. It works as well.
Two for two ..
one; I am a little low on 220nF, have a 22nF one instead (it can't be
doing much more than contact bounce suppression, can it?) - but it doesn't work. Ah, wait a minute - of course, it is dropping the mains voltage. That's why the value is so critical - when the capacitance went low with ageing and a bit of overvoltage, the power supply was soft, so turning the relay on would cause the power to dip, letting the relay go again.
So, off to Maplins. Oh, perhaps not, they are getting a little low on
anything that is even vaguely off-track. Still, it is now added to my
next order. In case you want to see what one looks like, here are some I
removed earlier ..