Author Topic: Cleaning soldering tips  (Read 848 times)

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Offline ergya

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Cleaning soldering tips
« on: September 21, 2018, 10:30:48 pm »
Hi Everyone, I am new to this forum and I am also a beginner at EE related things. Did not find a sticky topic for soldering questions hope new topic is ok.

I have a new soldering iron, used it only 2-3 times and my tips just look really terrible:





At the moment I only have sponge, tried to clean with the sponge but no success. Are my tips ruined or this is normal and can be cleaned? If so, how?
 

Offline Eka

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Re: Cleaning soldering tips
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2018, 10:52:49 pm »
They can be saved. They just need some tinning.
 
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Offline Electro Detective

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Re: Cleaning soldering tips
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2018, 10:59:53 pm »
If you're lucky the tip may be ok and just covered with ugly gunk,

it happened to me too when I first began soldering    |O

There are some great videos on Youtube on saving, cleaning and maintaining soldering irons   :clap:

and pretty certain a couple of posts here pointing to those videos

 
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Offline JustMeHere

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Re: Cleaning soldering tips
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2018, 11:10:55 pm »
 
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Offline Brumby

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Re: Cleaning soldering tips
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2018, 04:41:53 am »
The first two show a glob of solder that would be better removed and the third one seems to have a small glob as well.  All of them appear to have burned flux residue.

This is nothing to be too concerned about, but cleaning them off will make future soldering easier.

I would suggest getting something like a metal scourer like this:

The holder at left is just to keep it in one place.

Heat up each iron in turn and jab the tip into the metal "wool" several times, with a bit of twisting (just wrist movement) and you should see a lot of that crud get removed.  I would then tin each tip with fresh solder and then do the jabbing exercise again to leave a thin coating of solder on the tip and little or no flux.  Then set it aside to cool, ready for the future.

The metal wool idea is good in that it will scrape down the sides of the tip, but with not a lot of force as it will "give".  This allows the excess molten solder to be removed with minimal damaging force, which is why you will need to jab several times.

One of the biggest advantages, though, is that the metal wool does not cause the massive thermal stress you get when using a wet sponge which can damage tips.  It also means that the tip doesn't cool down after a cleaning pass during soldering.
 
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Offline Brumby

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Re: Cleaning soldering tips
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2018, 04:43:17 am »
I find this works very good.  Just stab the tip in. 

As analternate, the green synthetic scrubbers work too.

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/american-hakko-products,-inc/599B-02/1691-1006-ND/6228762?WT.srch=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwrZLdBRCmARIsAFBZllGtn_W047bfbtszuk1Nm577WE_bo0Y0a7ap9RjoJyXu9dxXPLdCs6gaAggYEALw_wcB

Ah... Yes.

(Sorry, the Digikey site was "under maintenance" when I posted my reply.)
 

Offline lordvader88

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Re: Cleaning soldering tips
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2018, 08:47:06 am »
I left the iron on for hours by mistake once, and it's just a cheap tip and the shinny outer layer was already toast (beginner mis-use). So I sanded it with sandpaper (yes because it was already no good). And then heated it up in a puddle of flux and tinned it. And it still works ok. The exposed metal now is not a nice one, and it oxidizes quick, but it would do if I lost all other tips.

On my big Weller I use a piece of 14AWG copper, 1 of these days I should buy a proper tip for it, but I rarely use it.
 

Offline ergya

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Re: Cleaning soldering tips
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 07:47:16 pm »
Hi everyone, thanks for all the help, I got a metal scourer as suggested, these are the results:




This is an entry level Weller 40W iron with 2 tips. With all the residue on the tips it was not really "working", had difficulties melting the solder, hope this will be better after removing the residue. Also bought some thin Sn60Pb40 solder instead of the one was included (Sn99Cu1) in the box.
 

Offline maginnovision

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Re: Cleaning soldering tips
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 08:01:18 pm »
Hakko also sells a tinning paste which can be used periodically to help keep your tips in good shape.
 


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