September 18, 2021

Pyrography Pen Not Heating Up | Troubleshooting + Video

When the pyrography pen is not heating up, the tips are not getting enough heat. I know how frustrating that can be. Longer tips need more heat than shorter ones. You need to adjust the heat depending on the pen tip. 

A pyrography pen has fragile pointed tips that are fragile. Make sure that you keep your pen with caps on in an upright position in a container. Keeping them in drawers or toolboxes damages them. A burr forms on the cutting edge of the pen, and that snags the wood when burning. 

The brands use different gauge cords that allow the burning machine to get hotter. Be careful because if it gets too hot, it bends or breaks. The pen can split. Allow the pyrography pen to rest after a while. Let’s look at other things to consider when your wood burning pen 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 in the power supply and be ready to switch off just 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 has to be long enough to allow you 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 damages on the power cord and make sure 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, make sure 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 that has certain amps. The pyrography pen uses an inverter that connects to a battery. The battery is 12 volt, and it 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. 

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

Running your pyrography pen from a torch or lantern battery, you will not succeed. Your pen runs for a few minutes to finish. If you want to calculate how long the battery lasts, multiply the voltage by amp-hours so that you 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 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 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 to technique so that 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 it, and that 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 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 has to 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 that they do not touch. Use a test meter if you have to check for low ohms 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. A loose solder joint located where the terminal struts are joined to copper is the fault. Replace the handle with a heat shrink tubing. The heating element comes inside the pen-like structure then makes up the pyrography pen. 

Your hand is protected by the thick pen so that you do not get burnt. The heating element allows you to screw in multiple soldering tips. Each tip burns wood differently. When you are having problems soldering iron, you need to 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. If the circuit breaks, the electricity does not work. Check electrical connections as you uninstall the soldering iron. 

Clean out the burn chamber

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

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 have to be clean on the legs of the wire. The legs should be free from tar—clean surfaces by rubbing with fine sand. 

David D. Hughes
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