Soldering station broken. Worth having it fixed? Should I buy a new/better one?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by amundsen, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. amundsen

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 27, 2015

    I have a Velleman VTSS20 soldering station (48W/150° to 450° C). It costed something like 80€. It broke yesterday after three years of use. Suddently the temperature indicator (LEDs) displayed the minimal possible temperature and the temperature dropped. I switched the unit off. Later I wanted to switch it on again but all the LEDs were off. So I checked the fuse but it was OK.

    I have asked the maker for a schematics but I am not sure to get it at all. Anyway as I have no other soldering station, I'll probably have to make it fixed by another person or through the reseller.

    The question is: is it worth having it fixed, or it or should I rather buy a new one? What's your experience with this model or brand and with other ones?

    The point is I am more an hobbyist than a professional, I do not use my station everyday, but I need a reliable unit whatsoever. Moreover, I need it within a week or two. I don't know how long it will take if I want to have it fixed by Velleman. Any idea?

    Thank you in advance.
  2. MrAl

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 17, 2014

    Soldering stations can be purchased a lot cheaper these days so probably buying a new one would be better than getting the old one fixed, unless you can fix it yourself and then that is probably cheaper.
    If you could take some pictures of the inside we can take a look and see how difficult it might be to repair it.
    Also, it could be as simple as the iron handle itself that went bad not the control unit.

    If you need an iron right away you could pick up a cheap one and use that until you get the good one fixed.

    BTW if you buy a new station you can get a hot air tool with it for doing SMD packages or other.
  3. recklessrog

    Active Member

    May 23, 2013
    The iron is used by several different soldering stations and is available as a replacement cheaply on amazon etc. (just type replacement 24 V 48 W soldering iron) It contains a thermistor and a heating element and if either fail will cause the controller to act strangely. unplug the iron from the controller and measure resistance between the pins between pins 1 and 4 you should have approx 3 to 5 ohms, and between 2 and 3 about 2 ohms measured cold.
    Some come with a round plug but it is easy to fit your original.
    amundsen likes this.
  4. amundsen

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 27, 2015
    Is it normal that there's even not a single LED lit on the temperature display when the unit is switched on?
  5. amundsen

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 27, 2015
    My bad. I had pushed the fuse too far when I had checked it. Now the unit is clearly on with one LED lit. So as recklessrog suggested it is probably the iron itself which is broken (the display flickers steadily when there's no iron plugged). I would like to measure the resistance as suggested before looking for a replacement iron, however the connector has 5 pins and not 4 (actually it's a good old DIN connector).
  6. dannyf

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2015
    Depends on your skills and financial resources. First of all, they tend to be pretty inexpensive, especially those soldering handles with built-in temp control.

    2ndly, they are fairly simple. I have made quite a few with just a mcu + mosfet + laptop power supply and they worked quite well. Fully analog solution is also possible as well. If you are handy that's another way to go.
  7. amundsen

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 27, 2015
    I have finally ordered a replacement iron for my station. Thank you everyone.
  8. takao21203

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 28, 2012
    I had this problem recently needed to do a job for customer so I bought a new one

    85 euro only one useful tip.

    Still have the transformer/pcb, maybe I get iron for it since I have spare tips which were expensive.
  9. amundsen

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 27, 2015
    I think one can buy tips from other manufacturers (fixpoint fom instance) as this Velleman station seem to be a clone of some other devices (Solomon?). However the connector might be different on models from other brands.

    Besides the official Velleman iron, I have ordered a 3€ iron from eBay. It has a different connector but I think I could recycle the defective iron's connector.
  10. amundsen

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 27, 2015
    Finally I bought a new Hakko station. The choice of tips is much broader. I am very happy with it.
  11. markzz

    New Member

    May 25, 2016
    Its good you bought a new soldering station.

    I will just add this. I am trying to score a Power Fist iron from Princess Auto which is 5W to 60W adjustable iron for $9.99 CAD on sale. Normally its $23. Princess Auto is like your Harbor Freight in the USA. Not sure of an equivelant in the UK/Europe. Only problem is they got fat tips.

    Those Hakko's are nice.