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Soldering Issues

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by ScottW, Jun 7, 2011.

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  1. ScottW


    Jun 6, 2011
    I know this is a lame question but I'm at wits end. I bought a cheap soldering gun but can't tin the tip. The 60/40 rosin core solder just drips right off. The gun is rated at 150w and heats up to 230c. I even made a tip from a copper welding rod with the same results.
    Any positive comments will be greatly appreciated.
  2. Resqueline


    Jul 31, 2009
    Did you wait until the tips got to full temperature before you applied the solder?
    If so you'll need to remove the oxide layer that has formed, and then apply solder as the tip heats up.
  3. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    I keep a block of Sal Ammoniac (Ammonium Chloride), to re-tin my soldering iron tips.
    But I've seen small (cheap) containers of roughly equivalent stuff made specifically
    for re-tinning of the tips. Check around. Anybody who does a lot of soldering is
    familiar with your problem, and they make chemicals to solve it.
  4. kwoolsey94


    Feb 14, 2011
    All these tips are good suggestions. I recommend the same as Resquline. That always seems to make my tin apply smother and make sure once the tip starts to lose its tin or corrode then re apply or get a new tip.
  5. ScottW


    Jun 6, 2011
    I heated the tip up for about 5 minutes watching it change color before attempting to tin it. Afterwards, I allowed it to cool down before hitting it with a abrasive pad. Finally after getting frustrated, I took it to a belt sander.
    I'll give it another try before heading to Fry's for a tinning aid.
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    In the dark ages when I used a soldering iron with a solid copper tip, I would file the tip whilst it was hot and apply the solder directly to the bright surface.

    Make sure your solder has a flux core.
  7. daddles


    Jun 10, 2011
    +1. And make sure the tip is hot enough to melt the solder readily. I've never seen this fail, even on big soldering irons tinsmiths use. Make sure there's no grease or oil on the solder, soldering iron, or file. A good cleaner is dishwashing soap in hot water with a stiff brush. For the file, dry it in a towel immediately and blow dry to avoid rust. If you rust your files, they can be cleaned by electrolytic cleaning.

    Oh, you can also try some acid flux solder to get things to tin. Now, before someone rushes in screaming that you can't use acid fluxes around electronics, that's true -- because you'd worry later about corrosion from small remnants of acid that didn't get cleaned off. But here, we're talking about a tip that will be easy to clean off when it's cold. Scrub it with a stiff brush with some soap and hot water and it should be fine.
  8. Resqueline


    Jul 31, 2009
    Yes, that's the wrong order, as suspected.
    The best way to "break in" a new tip is to wrap it with a piece of solder before applying power.
    Then immediately follow up with more tin as needed to fill in the untinned gaps when the first tin starts to melt.
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