Connect with us

Soldering iron trouble.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by 8bit, Feb 9, 2016.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. 8bit

    8bit

    97
    3
    Oct 30, 2013
    I have two, one of for a couple of years and the other for alot longer. I would say they have had alot of use but after leaving them to heat up for about 10 minutes I find the solder is not adhereing to the joint. It behaves like toffee and is quite sticky, not fluid. Are my irons not heating up enough?
     
  2. Colin Mitchell

    Colin Mitchell

    1,418
    314
    Aug 31, 2014
    You can buy a new iron with temperature that can be adjusted, for $12.00 on eBay.
     
  3. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

    1,476
    210
    Apr 14, 2013
    It could be due to aged and weak heating element of the solder iron OR really bad quality solder wire.

    Specially the solder wires that are without lead and flux are very had to use.
     
    8bit likes this.
  4. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

    2,078
    687
    Aug 11, 2014
    To me, the cardinal rule for soldering is keeping the tip clean. I wipe the tip frequently. Oxidation is the enemy.

    Might want to check that the tip is tight also. This will insure good heat transfer.
     
  5. 8bit

    8bit

    97
    3
    Oct 30, 2013
    Thanks for the replies.

    By keeping the tip clean you mean wiping it on a damp sponge? Will that not encourage rust? The solder wire is from Maplins. I had no idea there were different grades.
     
  6. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

    2,078
    687
    Aug 11, 2014
    Wipe it on a damp sponge or even a rag and then quickly touch a tiny bit of solder on the tip to coat it. You will see it nice and shiny at this point. That's how we like it.
    As far as water; The moisture will quickly evaporate with the hot tip, so rust isn't a concern.
    Besides, its likely made of plated copper, not steel.
     
    Martaine2005 and 8bit like this.
  7. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,689
    458
    Jan 15, 2010
    Tha fios agaibh is on-target here. The soldering tip is the critical item when soldering.
    Electronic supply stores in my area carry little round tins of 'tip tinner'. I've had a block of sal ammoniac that I've used for years.
    You have to clean the tip, I use emery cloth to get it completely clean, work the hot tip into my sal ammoniac block so THE WORKING TIP SECTION is completely covered, then touch solder
    to the tip, completely covering the working tip section with a layer of solder. Your problem is because the tip of your iron is fouled, the heat is not transferring from the tip to the solder.
    Keep the solder tip clean and you'll always get good heat transfer.
    This procedure is called 're-tinning' the tip.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
    Martaine2005 and 8bit like this.
  8. 8bit

    8bit

    97
    3
    Oct 30, 2013
    Thanks.

    I'll try and post a picture of my tip as to me, it looks okay.
     
  9. 8bit

    8bit

    97
    3
    Oct 30, 2013
    Here's a image of one of my tips.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. dorke

    dorke

    2,342
    665
    Jun 20, 2015
    Your tip looks fine.
    I think it must be that you are using poor quality solder.
    You can improve the bad solder using solder paste.
    But,
    I would recommend Kester brand,
    not cheap but worth every penny.
     
    8bit and Tha fios agaibh like this.
  11. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

    2,078
    687
    Aug 11, 2014
    The top looks good but that blue color at one end look odd. It suggests to me that the screw holding the tip is loose, or there is bad surface contact between the element and the tip.
    Try tightening that screw with pliers or channel-lock pliers. The reason I like pliers as opposed to a screw driver is because you can apply a lot more torque.
     
    8bit likes this.
  12. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

    2,078
    687
    Aug 11, 2014
    A common mistake in soldering is holding the solder on too long.
    Give the iron enough time to come up to temperature, then just tap the solder briefly on the component your soldering.
    When you hold the solder on too long, it acts like a heatsink drawing heat away from the iron. Might want to check the wattage of your iron to the melting point of your solder.
    Just my two cents.
    John.
     
    8bit likes this.
  13. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,689
    458
    Jan 15, 2010
    Again, good advice from Tha fios agaibh.
    I'd still re-tin the tip, but that's me. It should be bright and shiny. Make sure your tip is fully seated and tightened-down as Tha Fios Agaibh suggested.
    Is this a variable temperature iron, or just one temperature?
    Heating elements are either good or open-circuit and are bad, but if you have some kind of variable temperature iron, maybe your control circuitry has a problem.
     
  14. 8bit

    8bit

    97
    3
    Oct 30, 2013

    It's just a very basic, cheap one temp iron.
     
  15. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,689
    458
    Jan 15, 2010
    Well, if the advice above doesn't work, I'd replace the iron in its entirety.
     
  16. Sadlercomfort

    Sadlercomfort Ash

    424
    53
    Feb 9, 2013
    If that tip is really hot.. it wont help when trying to keep a wet tip, and will have a short window before the tip becomes dry after applying solder.

    It may help a lot if you wipe the tip on a damp sponge, seconds before soldering.
    Or, if you have a tub of tip cleaner.. wipe the tip on the sponge, then dip it into the tip cleaner/tinner before soldering.
     
    8bit likes this.
  17. Tha fios agaibh

    Tha fios agaibh

    2,078
    687
    Aug 11, 2014
    I also try and avoid having my iron plugged in when I'm not using it.
     
  18. 8bit

    8bit

    97
    3
    Oct 30, 2013
    Thanks all.
     
    Sadlercomfort likes this.
  19. HellasTechn

    HellasTechn

    1,476
    210
    Apr 14, 2013
    No problem !
     
  20. Externet

    Externet

    727
    152
    Aug 24, 2009
    I will add something unusual for all to know...

    :eek:"hot melt glue" is an excellent tip cleaner ! I found one type/formula of that glue that does not work, but most do a superb job.
    Found such by re-melting/removing adhered components with the hot iron.
     
    [email protected] and bushtech like this.
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day

-