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How to clean iron tip? Lots of crud

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by NuLED, Jul 12, 2013.

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  1. NuLED

    NuLED

    294
    0
    Jan 7, 2012
    Guys, how do I clean the crud off my el-cheapo iron tip?

    The solder is not even sticking to any part of the tip, only a little bit sticks on the side at all so I can't even tin it.

    Do I file it? Use sandpaper? Make an ultrasonic cleaner (how?).
     

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  2. eKretz

    eKretz

    251
    27
    Apr 8, 2013
    Oh wow, how'd you do that? Take a flat blade screwdriver and scrape it clean. Try not to use anything abrasive or you could remove the iron plating. After scraping heat it up and poke it into a brass or copper wool pad. If you don't have one you can use steel wool but only with a cold iron. Hot irons can ignite the trace lubricant on steel wools. After this heat it up and wipe it on a wet sponge and go for the tin. You could also precede the tinning with a quick dip into flux if you have any. That should do the trick pretty well.
     
  3. NuLED

    NuLED

    294
    0
    Jan 7, 2012
    ok thanks; I don't know how I did it. This is my first iron, 30W radio shack deal. I still haven't used my other good iron for anything. Haha.
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,496
    2,837
    Jan 21, 2010
    Do you have a proper soldering iron sponge or one of the brass swarf pads? (and do you use them?)

    The last image looks like the tip has never been wiped, but the problem may be more than that.

    If it looks like this *after* you've used the correct cleaning devices, then you have problems (yes, you use them while the iron is hot - obvious to me, but maybe not obvious)
     
  5. NuLED

    NuLED

    294
    0
    Jan 7, 2012
    Ah yeah, never wiped it. I do have one of those spongie things (LOL) so I guess I will use it from now on.
     
  6. NuLED

    NuLED

    294
    0
    Jan 7, 2012
    Do you reckon I should heat it up and then try to wipe it first?

    (The sponge is soaked with water, yes?)
     
  7. eKretz

    eKretz

    251
    27
    Apr 8, 2013
    You're probably going to need to scrape it now that it's so far gone. Scrape it then hit it with the sponge, like I said in the first response, if you don't have any metal wool scrubbers. You should be giving it a quick wipe on either the damp sponge or a metal wool pad between every joint, or every few if you're moving quick, for the most part. If you're going to leave the iron sit for a while with the heat on, make sure to add a good blob of solder to the tip so it is protected. This way the oxidation takes place on the solder's outside surface rather than the tip, and it's easy to wipe right off.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  8. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,496
    2,837
    Jan 21, 2010
    Sponge should be slightly wet. Wet it then squeeze out most of the water.
     
  9. NuLED

    NuLED

    294
    0
    Jan 7, 2012
    ok thanks guys; will update how it went.
     
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