cleaning soldering iron tip

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-23-13, 05:18 PM
sgull's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: AK
Posts: 2,529
cleaning soldering iron tip

Here's a picture of a few soldering irons I had laying around. Don't know much about soldering but I think these tips may need cleaning. I'm gonna attempt soldering an alligator clip onto a multimeter lead. Just heat up the iron then wipe it on a damp sponge to clean it?
thanks for any "tips", pun intended. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/b...psd611b7b1.jpg
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-23-13, 05:21 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,495
Yes.....wipe on a damp.....not wet sponge.
Immediately put fresh rosin core solder on tip to recoat it.
 
  #3  
Old 01-23-13, 05:26 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,287
I just use a dry shop rag to wipe mine. Then recoat with fresh solder.
 
  #4  
Old 01-23-13, 05:47 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,864
PJ has it right. Not always possible at a job...but thats the right way. 8 wks of soldering school for the Navy taught me that.

Oh...no cracks....it was one week of basic techniques then 6+ wks of miniature work on circuit boards.
 
  #5  
Old 01-23-13, 06:03 PM
sgull's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: AK
Posts: 2,529
Thanks. So what is the purpose of recoating immediatly with fresh solder? Then I just leave that coating of solder on the tip before doing the soldering?
 
  #6  
Old 01-23-13, 06:13 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
The solder is to keep the tip from corroding. I also found it to dissolve the tip.
 
  #7  
Old 01-23-13, 06:27 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,495
The layer of freah solder keeps the tip from oxidizing.

I do a LOT of soldering. I sometimes have several bench irons running at once. They are all variable heat setting type....set for the job. Heat kills the tips. I use all Weller soldering irons. It's also very important to not scratch the plating off the tip. Sanding a plated tip is disastrous for it.

Some of the inexpensive soldering irons use non plated tips and they get eaten fairly quickly.

A can of tip plating compound can be helpful too.
 
Attached Images  
  #8  
Old 01-23-13, 06:39 PM
sgull's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: AK
Posts: 2,529
If the tip was allowed to get oxidized, is the tip effectively ruined in that case? These irons I have happen to be Weller brand, probably relatively inexpensive models (I have no background info on them or their past use). Thanks again for the helpful replies.
 
  #9  
Old 01-23-13, 06:41 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,495
The tip cleaner I posted above will actually clean oxidized tips.
 
  #10  
Old 01-24-13, 07:04 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,864
The way we were taught was to be ready to solder, clean tip (w/o applying solder afterwards), solder the connection, apply solder to the tip til it almost starts to drip off, put it back in the holder. Repeat for next connection. If you have multiple connections ready to solder, you can just do them all at once w/no cleaning in between.

If possible surfaces to be joined should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol. Not rubbing alcohol, which may contain glycerin.
 
  #11  
Old 01-24-13, 07:40 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,495
That's correct.
Clean tip.....solder your connections and then apply fresh solder before putting iron back in stand.
 
  #12  
Old 01-25-13, 04:12 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Near Buffalo, NY
Posts: 4,239
I've had a Weller 25 watt iron with the same "Iron Clad" tip since 1981 or so. All I've ever done is clean it with a piece of damp sponge and re-tin it after cleaning. It gets used at least once a week on job sites.

BTW, carbon on a tip won't damage it but it does stop it from efficiently transferring heat.
 
  #13  
Old 01-25-13, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,188
Also a Navy 2M (miniature and microminiature) grad.

If a tip is severly oxidized or pitted it should be replaced. Most tips are iron clad copper and once the iron layer is compromised the tip will not transfer heat evenly. Never use an abrasive on the tip because it removes the iron cladding.
Also don't wipe the tip more than necessary. Repeated wiping when the tip is hot causes temperature variations that can cause the tip cladding to fail.

The most important thing is to tin the tip when you are done soldering. Don't put the iron away when the tip is covered with burnt flux and solder residue.
 
  #14  
Old 01-25-13, 07:51 AM
sgull's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: AK
Posts: 2,529
The tips on my irons don't necessarily look severely oxidized to me, nor pitted at all, but there is perhaps an amount of carbon buildup on them that could be preventing efficient heat transfer (not sure how dark/black the tip area should appear before you can tell if it's too "carboned up"). Is there a way to tell whether the iron ladding has been compromised and if so whether it might be time to just replace the tip(s) if that's the case? Is there a proper method to clean a tip of carbon if an abrasive should never be used?
 
  #15  
Old 01-25-13, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,188
There shouldn't be any blackened crud on the part of the tip used to apply heat. It should be bright and shiny. A damp sponge will probably get the black crap off but you can also get a mesh type cleaner that is less likely to lower the tip temperature.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'