Although an iron is not the most expensive household appliance, if it breaks down, you can avoid immediately running to the store for a new one. First, we will try to repair the equipment ourselves. If the iron does not work, you can always try to repair it with your own hands – this is how you can start a career as a home electrician. A simple scheme, a minimum of elements.
Types of irons and their device
If we talk about electric irons, they are of three types:
- Normal, without steaming. Recently, they have been unpopular, but they are the cheapest and most compact, and can be purchased as a “derivative” option. For trips, business trips, etc.
- With steamer. There is a built-in water tank inside, the sole has numerous small holes. The container is located above the heating element of the iron. During operation, water in small portions (the amount depends on the steaming mode set) is supplied to the heating element, where it turns into steam and exits through the holes in the platform.
- Irons with a steam generator (ironing system, steam station). These models have a large capacity for water, which has its own heating element built into it. The container is connected to the iron by a steam pipe and an electric cord. The water in the container turns into steam, it is fed into the sole under a certain pressure through the steam pipe, and exits through the holes.
The most common irons with steamers, it is their repair that we will consider further. First, you should familiarize yourself with the structure of the equipment. So repairing the iron with your own hands will be easier. Knowing the composition of the device and the purpose of its parts, you can name the possible causes of problems.
Generally speaking, each iron consists of a body, a handle, a temperature regulator and a soleplate with holes through which steam is supplied to the ironing area. To support the steaming mode, a water container is built into the body of the iron, and there are also steaming intensity regulators.
The device of the steaming system
Modern electric irons of this type have several steaming modes. To understand how everything works, you need to consider how it is all arranged. After all, it is often necessary to repair the iron with your own hands not because the iron does not heat up, but because there is no steam. And here it is important to understand what exactly is the matter.
Modern models have three steaming modes that have individual buttons. Each button activates its own pump, which, depending on the settings, delivers the required amount of water. There are the following modes and pumps:
- Soft (normal) steaming with steam intensity regulator. Set the regulator to the desired position (usually modes 4-5) and steam is supplied continuously (until the water runs out) at certain intervals.
- Steam blow. A sharp one-time release of steam that occurs when the corresponding button is pressed.
- Drip irrigation. A small portion of water is sprayed from a small nozzle located in front of the handle when a button is pressed.
Simpler models (of the previous generation) usually have a sprinkler and a steaming mode. Their structure is somewhat different. The first difference is that the sole heating regulator is moved to the handle (however, not always), the steam regulator is also located on the handle, but it is made in the form of a rotary disc.
The spray button, in such models of irons, is located between the temperature and steam controls.
Electrical diagram of the iron
Do-it-yourself iron repair is impossible without an electrical circuit. As you can see, the basic scheme of an electric iron is not much different from the scheme of a kettle or boiler. The main differences are in the form of heating elements and other additional devices.
There are only a few elements in the scheme: a connecting block, a heating element, a thermostat and a thermal protector. Thermal protection can be different. In the simplest case, this is a fuse. In more complex models, this is a shutdown device in case of overheating. Since there are not many elements of the scheme, repairing the iron with your own hands is not the most difficult task.
How to disassemble an iron
If the iron does not work, the first thing to do is to disassemble it. It is not as simple as it seems – there are too many models, each of which can have its own “chips”. Moreover, different models of the same manufacturer can be understood differently. Nevertheless, there are general principles and rules:
- Remove the back cover of the handle. This allows access to the terminal block. In case of some damage (problems with the cord or failure of the heating element), this is enough and there is no need to disassemble the iron further.
- After removing the back cover, in most models you can immediately remove the handle. It can be attached to the body in the most unexpected places, so carefully examine all the details.
- Remove the buttons for the supply of steam, steam blow, sprinkler, thermostat. Often they can be removed simply by pulling upwards. Some are equipped with latches that need to be hooked with something thin – a regular small screwdriver will do, you can try using a nail file, a strip of plastic (you can cut it from an old unnecessary plastic card).
- Remove all the screws you see. In many models of irons, the handle consists of two parts. The upper one can be held on one or two screws and latches. There is a possible option without a screw at all – only on the latches. By removing this part, you gain access to the other screws that hold the case.
The process of disassembling the iron does not require the use of force. If it “doesn’t go”, you need to carefully look at what and where it is holding. And you should not take it apart right away to the end – it is not always necessary.
We check the easiest way
Often the iron does not work due to problems with the cord. During operation, it often bends, the insulation is damaged in places of bending, sparks may even appear. Therefore, the first step in self-repairing an iron is to inspect and tune the cord. You will need a multimeter to make a call.
Checking the power cord
Sometimes, to make sure that the problem is with the cord, you can plug the iron into the network. If everything is in order, the indicator lamp lights up. Usually, this is a green LED. Therefore, it burns constantly or goes out periodically, and we will monitor the condition of the cord. We twist and bend it, paying attention to the condition of the signal light. If it blinks, then the network cord is really to blame. It is better to replace it, but if you wish, you can find the problem place (often it is visually easy to determine) and correct the situation.
If these are problems with insulation, and the conductor itself is intact, the malfunction is eliminated using insulating tape. If the wires are damaged, they are cut, connected in a new way with the help of soldering, the place of connection is isolated. This repair is a temporary measure, as the problems will soon reappear – not far from the restored site. Therefore, it is better to replace the cord.
Terminals and contacts
If there is no external damage to the cord, and it does not work, you will have to disassemble the iron.
At the first stage, there are usually no difficulties – there is one bolt at the back. Unscrew it, remove the cover.
A terminal block is hidden under the back cover, to which the wires from the thermostat and heating element fit, and the network cord is connected to the other. The terminal block may look different. Some manufacturers, such as Bosch, have it hidden under a plastic cover. The cover must be removed. How to approach it depends on the model. Sometimes it is quite simple to hook and pull, sometimes you have to remove some parts. It is important to reach contacts.
Often, the reason that the iron does not heat up is hidden not in the heater, but in the fact that the contacts are clogged or oxidized. Sometimes water gets on the contacts (capacity leaks), sometimes dust gets stuck there, sometimes the contact is simply weak. If there is one of these problems, fix it. Perhaps the repair of the iron with your own hands will end there.
If you are going to remove the wires from the contacts, take a picture of how it was done. There will be fewer problems during assembly. Human memory is an unreliable thing. The photo is much more reliable.
Checking the cord for the integrity of the wires
If the contacts are normal, clean, we ring the cord for the integrity of the wires. We take the tester/multimeter, put it in dialing mode. With one probe we touch the pin of the cord, with the other we “sort” the wires on the terminal block. If the wire is intact, one of the pairs should “ring” – you should hear a beep.
The cord of the iron is three-wire, two wires go to the pins of the cord, and the third one is green or yellow-green in color – grounding. On the fork of the iron is a metal plate. You should hear the multimeter “squeak” when you touch it and the green wire on the pad. If at least one wire “doesn’t ring”, change the cord.
Next, do-it-yourself repair of the iron – inspection of the temperature regulator. After detaching the plastic case from the sole of the iron, we gain access to it.
How does the temperature controller work? It consists of three main parts: a rod, contact plates attached to it, and a bimetallic plate. The bimetallic plate is heated by the sole of the iron. When the temperature rises, it heats up and bends. At a certain temperature, it is bent so much that it opens the contacts, turning off the power. When the iron cools down, it returns to its original state, the contacts close again, and the iron begins to heat up again.
First, you need to check whether the temperature regulator is working at all. Twist it from one extreme position to another. In one of the positions, a characteristic click should be heard, which is produced by the closing contacts. It is through them that power is supplied to the TEN iron. Having left the thermostat in this position, we will check the presence of electrical contact.
Two contacts depart from the temperature regulator (the wires that go to the heater are connected to them). We touch them with the probes of the multimeter (dialing mode). If there is a sound from the multimeter, everything is normal. But, putting the regulator in another extreme position, you should get a “break” – the contacts should open. In this case, this node works normally.
A visual inspection will not hurt either – maybe they have burned, oxidized, weakened. If there is scale, dirt, rust, they can be cleaned. For this, you can use a strip of sandpaper with a very fine grain or a nail file. Do not rub hard – do not cut the contacts completely. When cleaning, try to bend the plates at least so as not to loosen the contact.
Sometimes the regulator turns hard. Grabbing it with pliers or pliers, rotate it back and forth until you achieve a smoother stroke. After that, you need to take a simple pencil and rub the node with graphite. It does not sinter at high temperatures and has good lubricating properties.
After all manipulations, check the presence of a contact in the “on” position of the thermostat. If everything is fine, you can try to connect the iron and check its performance. Perhaps the repair of the iron with your own hands is over. If not, let’s move on.
Thermal fuses are disposable and reusable. Disposable ones burn out when the critical temperature is exceeded. After that, the iron does not turn on and you can restore its functionality only by replacing the disposable fuse.
The reusable one is made on the basis of the same bimetallic plate and works the same. This unit increases the reliability of the iron – it prevents it from burning out if the thermostat suddenly does not work. Most often, the cause of a non-working iron is a blown fuse. This is about 50% of cases of failure of this device. This happens if both the thermostat and the reusable fuse have not turned off the iron.
You can get to the fuse only by completely removing the case. We find it, touch it with the probes of the multimeter on both sides. If there are no sounds, he is to blame. We solder the faulty one, put a similar one. You can put a “bug” instead of it – solder a piece of wire. But with another failure, the heating element will blow, not the fuse. Then the repair of the iron with your own hands will end with the purchase of a new one – the price of the sole can be compared with the cost of a new iron.
Problems with the soleplate of the iron (heater + water tank)
In many models of irons, the heating element together with the water tank is sealed in a single body. Problems with one of these parts lead to one thing – the purchase of a new iron. Replacing the sole is impractical, because this spare part costs a little less than a new iron. Even if you decide to change the sole, there is no guarantee that you will find the one you need – the market changes quickly, models are discontinued, spare parts for them are not produced. In general, if you have reached this stage in the independent repair of the iron, most likely you will go to the store to buy new equipment.
There is only a small percentage of cases where the sole can be restored if the contacts have oxidized so much that the contact is lost. We find these contacts, clean them well and crimp them. Next, we measure.
Set the multimeter to resistance measurement mode. In irons, heating elements usually have a resistance of 250 Ohms (for more details, look in the passport), so the measurement limit is 1000 Ohms. If the resistance is somewhere within these limits, everything is fine. If it shows “infinity” – the heating element has burned out. As already mentioned, replacement does not make sense, it is more practical to buy a new iron.
The same way out — going for a new iron — can be in a situation with a working heating element. This happens if the water tank is deformed. It can be torn or blown. In any case, the iron turns out to be inoperable, although the electrical part is “normal”. This damage – problems with the water tank – occurs when there is a lot of scale. It is easier to prevent than to eliminate. It is necessary to pour water with a small amount of salt into the iron. Yes, manufacturers write that you can pour water from the tap. But in this case, the iron will expire its warranty period, then you will have to buy a new one.
What to do if there is no steam
Steam does not usually come out if the holes in the sole are clogged with salts. This will not happen if you use distilled water (ideally), passed through filters or at least boiled.
Cleaning the iron from scale is easy.
- Take a metal or heat-resistant container in which you can put the iron on the bottom.
- Dilute citric acid (1 tablespoon per glass of water) or vinegar (1 glass per 1 liter) in water.
- Set the steam regulator to maximum.
- Place the iron in the container so that its rear part is slightly higher than the spout. You can use ordinary coins as a stand.
- Pour the prepared solution. The liquid should cover the platform by about 1-1.5 cm.
- Transfer the container with the iron to the stove, bring to a boil, turn off for 20-30 minutes, turn on again. Repeat such cycles 3-4 times.
After this procedure, all holes and the water tank will be cleaned. However, until all the sediment comes out, traces may remain on the linen for some time.
This is the end of the repair of the iron with your own hands. If it still does not work, carefully examine all the elements of the system again. There are not so many of them – a cord and a block, a thermostat, fuses, a heating element.