September 18, 2021

Pyrography Pen Not Heating Up | Troubleshooting + Video

I know how frustrating this can be. If the pyrography pen is not heating up, the tips do not get enough heat. More extended tips need more heat than shorter tips. You need to adjust the heat depending on the tip of the pen.

A pyrography pen has fragile tips. If you shop them in drawers or toolboxes, they will be damaged. A burr will form on the cutting edge of the pencil and get caught in the wood during firing. Be sure to store your pen upright in a container with the cap on.

Brands use cords of different thicknesses that allow the wood burning machine to get hotter. Be careful because it will bend or break if it gets too hot. The pen may splinter. Let the pyrography pen rest after a while. Let us look at some other things to consider if your wood burning pen is not heating up.

Check to make sure the power cord is connected correctly

The two wires that connect the pen to the power supply should be separated. Wrap a thread around the connection points and apply glue as you attach the two. Run a test before you start using the pen. Plug it into the power supply and be ready to switch it off in case of fire or overheating. 

When the needles turn red, start burning the wood. When connecting the power cord, follow the instructions from the manufacturer to avoid accidents. The power cord must be long enough to work safely and comfortably in your space. 

If short, use an extension cord long enough to reach the length you are looking for. Check for damages on the power cord and ensure it is not loose. It should not be twisted or stretched since that compromises power. 

Check the power supply

If there is no power, check if you have plugged it in and turned it on. On a Super Pro II Unit, ensure the front panel switch is to the side you are using. Check the line voltage to your unit and the speed at which you are burning. 

What makes the pyrography is a pen and power supply. If a Pyrography pen is heavy-duty, it requires a special cord with certain amps. The pyrography pen uses an inverter that connects to a battery. The battery is 12 volts and converts the power to mains voltage electricity. 

It comes with a 13amp socket. Although a small inverter with fifty Watts is enough, a smaller one will not give enough power to the pen. It works with a car battery, but car batteries are not for deep discharge. 

Leisure batteries give better service to the pyrography pen. They do not spill, and they are reliable. However, they come at a price. A flat battery does not give power to the pen, but if it is 40amp, you use it continuously for hours. 

Running your pyrography pen from a torch or lantern battery, you will not succeed. Your pen runs for a few minutes to finish. To calculate how long the battery lasts, multiply the voltage by amp-hours to get watt-hours. Divide by 24 to get hours of use. 

If you connect a 12volt car battery to the pen, it burns out. The maximum power for the pyrography pen is 2 volts at eight amps. When plugging in your machine, follow the instructions from the manufacturer. Twisting and pulling the cable where it enters the handle breaks the copper strands of wire inside the plastic insulation. That produces an intermittent power cut. 

Cut off the black plastic handle, cut the cable shorter and make the connection. If there is no output from the power unit and you can see a red light, check the fuse, mains cable, and mains socket at the rear of the box. If it is there, the switch and wiring are inside. 

If there is no output from the power unit, measure the voltage at the two 4mm red output sockets with the power unit switched on. No power output means a fault inside the box. 

Check the temperature settings

A woodburning pen that does not have a temperature control feature is difficult to work with. Resort technique so you use the right temperature for a specific task. Burn slowly for a darker burn and quickly for a light burn. Heat controls allow you to keel at a comfortable speed that gives you any burn you want. 

The temperature controls are not equal. There are controls with a dial placed on the cord. Your elbow is constantly rubbing, which means it turns the heat down. You end up having your elbow turning the heat down. 

Your pen fails to burn. You can buy a temperature regulator, but it is not affordable. Using a lubricant helps the pyrography pen glide easier. The type of wood determines the temperature setting to use. 

A higher number is for hardwood and a lower for softwood. Make sure you use wood for burning. The temperature setting depends on the line voltage. Each time you adjust the heat, test the pen on a piece of wood to see the results. 

Check the connection

The connection process evolves around fitting the nibs. Sometimes the burning machine comes with a set of nibs that you have to get used to fitting and changing. Always start by turning off the burning machine when you are about to work on the connection. 

Each nib must fit securely onto the burning machine for a good connection. Poor connection affects consistency. As a result, the pen becomes less effective. The nibs should not be in contact with any item when turning on the machine. 

If there is no separate switch to be turned on, be careful. The wrong electrical connection causes the pen not to heat up. If you have an extra pen, test it. If it works, the problem is the first pen, not the control box. 

There should be a gap between the two terminal arms and screws, so they do not touch. Use a test meter to check for a low ohm reading at the two red plugs. When the terminal screws are stiff, you cannot tighten the clamp properly. There is no electrical connection.

Check the heating element

When the handle heats up more than usual, there is a problem. The fault is a loose solder joint where the terminal struts are joined to copper. Replace the handle with heat shrink tubing. The heating element comes inside the pen-like structure and then makes up the pyrography pen. 

The thick pen protects your hand, so you do not get burnt. The heating element allows you to screw in multiple soldering tips. Each tip burns wood differently. When you have problems soldering the iron, you must replace the heating element. 

The heating element comes with a resistance wire around a metal spool. It builds oxides that accumulate on the shank’s surface. When it falls, the soldering iron no longer makes heat. If it still produces heat, it is the tip. Keep the pen tip clean and tinned. 

The soldering iron needs a replacement of the pen tip. Failure to remove the oxides and transfer heat from the element to the tip attracts a replacement. Check electrical connections as you uninstall the soldering iron. If the circuit breaks, the electricity does not work. 

Inspecting a pyrography pen heating element

Clean out the burn chamber

Carbon builds up when you don’t clean the tips or the pen. Use Colwood’s honing paper to clean the burning tip as you rub gently. The process reduces the temperature of the tip. You have to increase the temperature setting on your unit. 

However, you do not have to switch the temperature setting all the way up as you burn the carbon. Higher temperatures make the tips wear out quickly. Turn off the unit before you change the temperature settings so that you do not damage the unit. 

Do not leave the unit turned on when not in use. Keep the handpiece cool by using proper heat. The struts’ surfaces must be clean on the legs of the wire. The legs should be free from tar—clean surfaces by rubbing them with fine sand. 

David D. Hughes

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