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Old 01-13-2007, 12:07 AM   #1
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Default Solder iron maintenance

Thought I'd ask since I had to switch the tip in my iron last week.

What are some tips for maintaining an iron's tip? Are there any tricks that could prevent dead spots from forming? Thanks.
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Old 01-13-2007, 01:08 AM   #2
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When your leaving the iron on, and unused, leave solder on the tip. Before you turn it off, leave solder on the tip. Although when your going to use it, make sure you clean off that solder that has been on the tip for a while, because it has probably oxidized and it will give you a cold joint.
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Old 01-13-2007, 04:40 AM   #3
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Default Anti-seize compound

Always use anti-seize compound (available at any auto parts store) on the tip before you use it. It doesn't do much good to have an iron with a replaceable tip, if the old tip is rusted in place. If you have an adjustable base, turn down the iron when not in use. Thanks; Ernie P.
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:03 AM   #4
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I believe he means just to use the antisieze on the threads. To keep the tip in good shape the first time you use it tin it by coating the entire tip in solder. If you have some paste flux it is alot easier to get it all coated using that. Then for daily maintainence use a wet sponge ans whipe the tip off before and after you use it. if it beacoms crusty after a while use a file or sandpaper and clean it all up and re tin it. It'll last a long time this way.
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Old 01-15-2007, 11:42 AM   #5
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I highly sugest not using sand paper or any hard metal to scrape the tip. Use a brass wool, or something simular. The tip of a soldering iron is coated with high temp nickel. While this can be a hard coating, it is not impervious to damage. Pitting in the tip of an iron is caused by the coating having been removed, and the flux and other contaminents getting to the base metal and causing it to corrode. Coating the tip with fresh solder as the iron is cooling down will help protect the tip from damage that may be caused in transporting your tools to and from the track. Wiping the tip off between uses is good for removing impurities that may have gotten into the solder that is sitting on the tip of the iron.

Joel, if you need another weller tip, I may have another kicking around.
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:05 PM   #6
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If you can do most of your soldering chores at a maximum of 750 degrees, your tips will last longer also. The anti-seize will keep you from hammering the old tip out to replace it. Not fun.
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:41 PM   #7
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one of our locals found this info

http://www.inlandcraft.com/Uguides/tipfailure.htm
http://www.platoproducts.com/howtotin.htm
http://www.americanbeautytools.com/bulletins.php?cat=6
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:48 PM   #8
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Hey Tim,

Not that I need a new tip, I just thought I was taking care of the tip I had, but it was crap at the novak race and I was constantly reaching over Casey's pit for his iron. I'd like to keep this tip working for as long as I can. If it doesn't last, I may just get a Hakko, because they seem to last.

Edit: Theis, thanks for the links. I think one main thing I've been doing, said in all 3 links is wiping the tip on the sponge alot, and not leaving solder on the tip when Idle. I will try this from now on.

Last edited by JoelV; 01-15-2007 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:53 PM   #9
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Another way to make your iron last really long is to keep using Casey's, and leave yours at home.

FEED THE BEAR!
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Old 01-15-2007, 07:10 PM   #10
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I am the local that posted what theisgroup linked. I had the same problems as you mentioned with tips. I have found turning my iron down to the proper temp and not all the way up has helped some. I am not getting the dead spots yet (1 month old weller tip) but the tip is changing shape, and just today I noticed a cip was missing from the tip of the iron tip. I think I am headed in the same direction as you with the hakko. I had a circuitspecialists lookalike, but it never semed to work very well for me. Might have to lay down the bux for the good ol standby if I can't find a solution. A 5$ tip every 2 months isn't much $$ but it just doesn't seem right.
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