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Extending Soldering Tip Life

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by D from BC, Dec 20, 2006.

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  1. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    I'm currently using rosin core solder and sometimes I use no clean
    flux and water soluble flux..

    I wonder if I could add sometime to that damp sponge on the solder
    station to help with tip life..
    Maybe neutralize the flux with some household item?.
    Maybe add machine dish washer soap? NaOH, NaH3?

    No I haven't been using my solder tip to melt open power adapters

  2. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Don't know what you are doing but my tips live almost forever. AFAIK
    lead-free solder can ruin them faster.

    So you only used it to light cigarettes then :)
  3. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Buy an Ersa soldering iron and tips. The tips usually last longer than
    the iron.
  4. Jon

    Jon Guest

    Sal Ammoniac is Ammonium Cloride (NH4Cl). Rubbing a hot tip on a block
    of Sal Ammoniac is a very efective way of cleaning the tip. You can
    also dissolve a few tablespoons in a cup of water, and quickly immerse
    and remove the tip from the solution. If you do this slowly, it
    doesn't work. You might try absorbing some of the solution into your
    cleaning sponge. I haven't tried this, so I don't know if it works or
    not. Sheet metal workers and stained glass artisans have been using
    this stuff for years. The fumes are obnoxious, but not extremly toxic.
  5. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    Buy an Ersa soldering iron and tips. The tips usually last
    longer than
    the iron.

    Reply to [email protected] (punt=.)
    Bedrijven en winkels vindt U op

    Ooops typo in my original post..."add something to the sponge.."
    (I can multitask if I can blend everything... :)

    I'm using a Cooper/Weller long conical tip from Digikey in a
    temp station set at the lowest practical temperature. Lately,
    this past year...I've killed 3 tips...The plating on the tip
    goes and a ridge forms. So...I'm suspicious.. I've only made
    about 10 PCB's this year.

    I'll check out Ersa..Thanks..
  6. Guest

    Hakko is also nice. Inexpensive but perform very well. Tons of tips
    available. I have two stations, this helps a lot since you don't stress
    out one iron with all the work, esp heating up large mass.
    I find Weller to be "eh", I don't like the system for the tips, looks
    like there can't be too much heat transferred from the heater.
    No-clean is damaging to the tips, a black substance forms on the tips
    that's hard to get rid of and seems to be harmful.
    Use brass wool "sponge" instead of cellulose.
  7. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Now I just wish Ersa was available in the US. That's what I had in
    Europe a lot, now it's all Weller. The big Bertha is still an Ersa and
    needs 230V. Almost big enough to do a plumbing job.

    Anyhow, even though I use Kester No-Clean the tips remain in good shape.
    Of course, I don't let the iron idle through a lunch hour and stuff like
  8. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    (D from BC) wrote in
    molten solder leaches metal away from the iron tip,that's what causes the
    tip to degrade,not the flux.
  9. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    (D from BC) wrote in
    molten solder leaches metal away from the iron tip,that's what
    causes the
    tip to degrade,not the flux.

    Jim Yanik
    Thanks Jim
    Lost my soldering manual long ago..Probably had a list of proper
    Guess I shouldn't leave a hot iron on with a big blob of solder
    on the tip and go on vacation.. :)
  10. Boris Mohar

    Boris Mohar Guest

    I have been searching for a while for a decent recipe for iron plating
    soldering iron tips. I have a large collection of eroded Metcal tips. These
    are quite expensive and would be worth cleaning and re plating them in one


    Boris Mohar

    Got Knock? - see:
    Viatrack Printed Circuit Designs (among other things)

    void _-void-_ in the obvious place
  11. mmm last ersa I had the iron lasted a week.... :)
    But that was long ago.
    Indeed I suspec ttips is big bussiness, many 'long life' tips start corroding
    rather fast at the not prepared end it seems.
    Yes I use them to weld plastics too ;-)
  12. Arlet

    Arlet Guest

    I have a Weller station and tips. Current tip has been in there for
    about 2 years now, and still looks fine. It's on for 10-20 hours a week
    at 350 deg C. I don't bother turning it off when I expect to be using
    it again, so on some days it stays on all the time. Sometimes I forget
    to turn it off, and it even stays on all night. The first time that
    happened, I noticed the tip had actually cleaned itself.

    Occasionally I even use it to melt plastic or to fix hot-melt glue. I
    just wipe the tip off as best as I can, and leave it on for a few hours
    to clean itself. I have no special cleaners, and use regular tap water
    on the sponge.
  13. Use "Savbit" solder, it is already saturated with copper and doesn't
    cause nearly as much erosion. With Weller TCP iron-plated bits and
    Savbit solder, I was getting over 200 days' use from each bit a few
    years ago when I was soldering for several hours a day.
  14. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Thats what I suspected: Weller makes you pay for their tips until you
    stop soldering.
  15. I have this one, it is great, switches off automatically, was only 65 Euro,
    and now is it its fifth year? Not sure.
    Still OK after >3 years....
    Very nice thing, very good temp control, had to modify the stand so it
    would not slide.
    I threw the Weller out, this is much better value for money.
  16. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Over night? I wouldn't do that.

    While you mentioned tap water: In the US that is often heavily
    chlorinated. In our area the chlorine content can be higher than the
    pool water. So I use filtered water for the iron sponge.
  17. Arlet

    Arlet Guest

    I don't do that on purpose, but it has happened two or three times.
    However, it is sometimes on continuously during the day. I know it's
    not recommended, but after 2 years, the tip is still shiny and has good
    wettability. In fact, when I turn it off right after using it, it will
    start to accumulate black crud that is hard to remove later. When I
    leave it on, it apparently burns off all the crud.
    I live in the Netherlands, and our tap water isn't chlorinated, or at
    least not to a level where you can detect it.
  18. GregS

    GregS Guest

    I don't ever recall seeing an iron clean itself. If left on and above 600
    drgrees, I see my tips get black and form a very hard layer.
    I have a solder sucker iron that stays on about 800, and is terrible
    to clean. I usually use a brass sink cleaner or a watered sponge.

  19. [...]
    It doesn't need to be - it's already been filtered through three
  20. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Sorry, I just don't believe this. Every Weller magnastat soldering
    iron I've used needed its tip replaced on a regular interval. After a
    while the tip just won't wet properly at some locations and this gets
    worse over time. If you use a big tip on big joints, this isn't a
    problem because in most cases you can find a spot that will wet.
    However when you use a very fine tip to solder 0.5mm SMT devices
    you'll find the tip will go bad (become useless) very quickly! This is
    why I throw out the Weller soldering stations whenever I can.
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