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Taking care of your solder station

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Jotto, Dec 7, 2012.

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  1. Jotto

    Jotto

    120
    0
    Aug 24, 2012
    When you reach the end of the day, what to you do to insure you soldering iron is taken care of?

    Most people don't know that they should leave a ball of solder on the tip of the iron. When you start to lose the tin on the tip, Radio Shack sells a item that is great to retinning your soldering iron.

    My tips last at least a couple of years before I replace them. The only tips I replace more are the ones for desoldering. Radio Shack also sells one that is cheap, but you will go through tips. I used this unit for many years before I finally decided to spend the money on a good Pace unit.

    Hot air units are very nice now, but the tips will kill you. Unless you can get a knockoff of them from China. If you decide to go hot air, get a old board to play with, some tweezers for holding items in place for rework or removal.
     
  2. GreenGiant

    GreenGiant

    842
    6
    Feb 9, 2012
    I have always had Weller Solder stations, I find that the tips last a good long time, I don't usually leave a "ball of solder" at the end but I make sure to leave a coating on the tip when I shut it off.

    I have also found that if you have a large tip you can sand it down when it starts deteriorating, this prolongs the life of the tip but for precise soldering you would want a nice clean tip. I have a few tips that I have used for a good 5 years that are considerably smaller than when they first were bought, I use them for small projects where I am just soldering wires together, or using a perfboard, when I need to remove parts, or I'm doing a repair I will generally use a clean tip.

    Good advice Jotto
     
  3. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,816
    517
    Jan 15, 2010
    I use GreenGiant's method.
    Just remember to re-tin the tip after you sand it down.
     
  4. Steve Johnson

    Steve Johnson

    19
    0
    Feb 10, 2012
    Never had luck sanding down a tip. I find even light sanding just ruins them. I use this stuff:
    [​IMG]
    Weller sells the same type of cleaner. I do recommend getting one of those little brass wool cleaning balls. I find they work much better than a sponge.

    Here's a short video:
     
  5. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,816
    517
    Jan 15, 2010
    Alright. Soldering Iron Tip 101:
    1) Get the tip clean whatever your preferred method is. Which will apparently be
    the unpreferred method of others.
    2) Use the sal ammoniac if you can find it in today's environmentally questionable
    society. I saved my block from the 1970's and use it like Steve Johnson does.
    3) Retin the tip with solder.

    I'll mention, my company won't let us use the sal ammoniac. They buy this stuff in a
    small tin called:
    'I. C. Tip Tinner Lead Free R&R Lotion"
    So apparently there are premixed tip tinner compounds.
    My experience is, unless you clean that tip well, none of the above is going to stick to it.
    Good Luck
     
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,489
    2,830
    Jan 21, 2010
    The biggest thing I do is ensure that it is turned off.

    What I hate is returning to the shed after a couple of days to be greeted by a few glowing lights from soldering irons.

    The rework station is less of an issue because of the airflow noise. Perhaps it makes me less sensitive to the other soldering irons :(
     
  7. Steve Johnson

    Steve Johnson

    19
    0
    Feb 10, 2012
    I eliminated that problem. As I walk out I hit the kill switch. Everything is off and I can sleep at night knowing it.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,489
    2,830
    Jan 21, 2010
    Probably a good idea (and for other reasons too).

    I am wary of powering down the rework station without allowing it to cool, but since it makes a noise (as I've said) it's not going to happen by accident.

    My computer already powers down all of its peripherals when it shuts down.

    I wish my bench was as tidy as yours.
     
  9. gcb

    gcb

    32
    0
    Mar 26, 2012
    heh. i have the poor mans version of this. i have to move all my tools from a closet to the spare bathroom to do any work and when i'm done i have to disconnect everything and move back to the closet...

    ok, now i'm depressed.
     
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