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All I have on hand is a 40W tip and a Weller WES51 (50W). I plan to work for about 8 hours. Can I do any major damage to the iron or the work?

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    \$\begingroup\$ keep the temp at 80%? \$\endgroup\$ – kenny May 9 '12 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ so that's safe? what happens if I exceed? \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Stavitsky May 9 '12 at 20:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @kenny, the problem with keeping the temperature at 80% is that full power is still used to reach that 80%. The PID loop inside this iron may be tuned for a 50W tip and the use of a 40W tip will result in (a) immediate failure or (b) no negative results. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Hirzel May 9 '12 at 20:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Alex: There is no such thing as a "50 W" tip for this iron. Tips for a WES51 are just a hunk of metal. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 9 '12 at 20:40
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What you are asking makes no sense. We have several Weller WES51 around here, so I am quite familiar with them. The tips don't have a power rating. The difference between the tips is the shape. For example, the ETP tip is good for most general work, and is listed as being ".8mm conical". The ETT tip is ".61mm conical" and comes to a slightly finer point.

These tips are just metal. The heater and temperature feedback are in the iron. All the tips have the same mechanical interface on the iron side. There is no such thing as a "40 W" tip.

If the tip you have fits mechanically into the PES51 iron, then I'd say give it a try. As long as the fit is good, the iron should regulate the temperature well enough. Also, wattage of a temperature controlled iron only tells you the maximum it is capable of, which should be rather more than you actually use on average so that the temperature controller has some extra to work with.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Olin Many thanks for your reply, however I am afraid that it is not I who says that this is a 40w tip but the manufacturer (S*$t Shack). From your argument I would imagine that they refer to their own various irons in this fashion. In this case I am okay regardless. I suspected this to be the case but the labeled rating threw me off. Thanks again \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Stavitsky May 9 '12 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Joe: No, you're probably not OK. The tips for the WES51 soldering station are intended to work with the PES51 iron, which has the heater and temp sensor. Tips rated for a certain wattage are probably more than just "dumb" metal, and are unlikely to have the correct mechanical interface required to work with the PES51. Unless the tip is specified to work with a PES51, it's probably a bad idea. I don't know if the PES51 can overheat and burn out without thermally conductive metal in the right place. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 9 '12 at 20:37
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Ratings are typically lower than capabilities by a margin of safety. For this reason alone I would say using the tip should be fine. The only way to know for sure is to contact Weller.

As for whether you can damage the iron or the work--I would expect the iron to survive fine, and damage to the work depends on your soldering skills. I can't imagine any more possibility for error than poking at your device with a multi-hundred-degree tool for 8 hours, though. =]

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suspect the only answer you'll get from Weller is to always you their parts and only those parts intended for that iron. I doubt they are going to help you with third party tips. I certainly wouldn't blame them if they didn't. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 9 '12 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree but my statement is still true. This simply implies we'll never know for sure. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Hirzel May 9 '12 at 20:28

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