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My 2000W heater started to produce electric arc noises for several seconds upon turning on. I opened it and found this had happened to the thermostat:

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My question is, should I sand the terminals and solder them together? Or sand the terminal on the thermostat and replace the one on the wire? Another option?

Or are none of the options safe and should I just get a new heater? (I don't think I will be able to find a fitting thermostat for replacement.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ In your bottom picture you will definitely have to cut that off, find out how far back along that wire it takes to find good quality wiring again (hopefully, not too far back), and crimp another onto the discovered good wire end. If the wire will then be too short, you'll have to consider more extreme options. At the top, you could see what steel wool might do -- first. But a small nail file could also be tried. That one you want to preserve, as fully replacing it will be far more difficult. But you need a clean connection there. It can't be 'dirty' like that. Not safe at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonk
    Sep 10, 2022 at 1:31

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The end goal would be to eliminate the resistance that caused the problem in the first place. YMMV (you should really get a new switch, but it's up to you).

A mild acid like vinegar and some brushing should get rid of the oxidation on the contact. Then rinse to remove all acidic residue. If you can't clean the contact it probably isn't worth saving and get a new switch

As for the terminal, you need a new one. Cut the wire and re-crimp a new terminal on the wire. If its a 2000W heater with 220V, you'll need a terminal that can handle ~10A, for 110V you'll need a terminal that can handle more than 17A. Make sure you match the width and also the wire gauge. Here is a good way to crimp

Also if the switch is shorting internally (meaning past the terminal) It looks like some of the heating could be past the terminal and arcing in the switch could be causing some of the wear, you may need a new switch

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