How to Replace a Soldering Iron Heating Element

Today on the bench I’m going to show you how to replace the heating element in a B003A soldering iron. It’s a fairly simple process but the catch 22 is that you’ll need a second iron to perform this repair. If you’ve got a rework station like the Aoyue 968A+ you may be able to use the heat gun but I just used a basic iron here. These steps will apply to most irons with solder elements so let’s get started.  

TESTING YOUR IRON

The first thing you’ll want to do is test your iron, and verify it is defective.

The two main issues you’ll run into are that the iron is not heating to the correct temp or not heating at all. First make sure the soldering iron is properly connected to the receptacle on the station and locked down.

968 display
Aoyue 968A+ display – Soldering iron not heating up

As you can see the iron is not heating up, we have a constant temperature reading of 79°C on the display. This problem could be caused by a broken element or sensor. Some other common scenarios you’ll see are error messages across the display such as error 1 / error 2 or heating up to max temp regardless of your setting. Always refer to the instruction manual of you equipment for the exact error message meanings.

DISASSEMBLY – We will start by disassembling the iron.

    1. Loosen the retaining nut and slide off the heat shield
    1. Remove the  tip and tip platform (metal flanged piece)
    1. Loosen and remove the plastic nut / For Type #2 handles like the B016 loosen and remove the handle grip
    1. For those with a smoke absorber –  Remove at least 2 clips to free up the cord
  1. Finally grab the bottom of the cord and push up on the handle to reveal the PCB board (TADA!)

REPLACEMENT – Before removing anything:

    1. Make sure to take note of the wiring connections on the PCB (I recommend taking a few pictures)
    1. De-solder the wires and remove the heating element
    1. Once removed we can install the new heating element, in this case an AOC009.

      Please refer to our Heating Element Compatibility Chart for the correct part number 

    1. Lace the new element through the spring and push down until it is touching the PCB “goalpost”
  1. Solder the wired connections, preferably with lead free solder because this is what was originally used in manufacturing.

Note: Don’t be discouraged if your solder joints look less than perfect. The solder doesn’t always stick perfectly to these pads so in this case it is okay to have a solder blob as long as the connections are good.

REASSEMBLY – Finally we are ready to re-assemble and test the iron

    1. Grab the cord and pull the board back in place, make sure to align the PCB with the slots in handle)
    1. Slide down the plastic nut and tighten everything in place
    1. Insert the tip platform into the plastic nut, flange side up and slide the tip over the heating element, it should rest on the flange
    1. Slide the heat shield and nut back over and tighten down (Use pliers to ensure a tight fit)
  1. If applicable re-clip the smoke absorber line to the handle

RE-TEST – Last but not least, test your iron to ensure it is now heating properly!

Display showing correct temperature setting.

Well there you have it, this iron is working good as new. If you have any comments or questions please leave them below and as always check out our YouTube channel for more soldering tips and tricks. Happy soldering!

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