No, not because stalwart British comedienne June Whitefield has died (she looked a bit like my mum) but because after 27 years hard use, the element in my Weller TCP soldering iron has failed. At first it seemed that both the magnastat switch and element had failed o/c but common sense in fault finding said that if the switch had failed o/c it was highly unlikely the element would be o/c as well. If the switch was failed closed then the element could overheat and fail. But both open? Better positioning of a tip by the switch confirmed its operation.
I was somewhat confused trying to figure out which spare parts where still available and which new spares would fit my old iron, a common complaint from many people trying to figure out Weller’s desperately confusing numbering system. Anyway after 45mins looking and head scratching, I’ve ordered a new element and new barrel. But what a time for these things to fail when the whole of the UK except retail stores have closed for Christmas and New Year. And as there are few high street shoppers about the retails stores that haven’t gone bust may as well not open!
Anyway, Weller irons have a reputation for longevity. I’ve gone through several bits and sponges in the 27years I’ve used this but that’s all. But if the elements are going to start failing after only 27 years, then their reputation is going to suffer !