A soldering iron is a tool that is used to heat up soldering wire to solder electrical connections together. A soldering iron is plugged into the mains, it then operates by heating up the element inside the metal tip and it can reach temperatures of up to 260 C or more depending on how many watts it is. If you your soldering iron is not working and the metal tip is not melting solder wire, its probably the fuse inside the plug that is burnt out. The fuse can burn out if there is a short circuit and it will break the circuit preventing the soldering iron to work. Remember to replace the fuse with a fuse with the exact amount of amps (usually 3 Amps) because it is not safe using a fuse with a different amp rating.