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Soldering Iron Question... Solder won't stick! - Page 2

post #16 of 42

Brass bristled brush...

Please don't sand plated tips. This only serves to damage the plating, insuring that the tip will be completely useless. If you keep getting crud buildup, the best way to clean it without damaging the tip is a soft-bristled brass brush. Metcal and other manufacturers recommend this method for cleaning tips. You can also buy tip-cleaners, which work very well. The type I use is basically fine solder beads embedded in flux.

Wipe and tin the tip frequently during use. Always make sure the sponge is wet. A dry sponge will also damage the plating.
post #17 of 42
Ditto with what Beerguy says. Sanding the tips on one of these newer irons is exactly the wrong thing to do. Many of the best irons have an outstanding plating that prevents the oxidation that always happened with cheap irons. Hakko, IMHO, is particularly good at this. Their inexpensive DASH series of simple irons have tips that will not oxidixe. I think the only thing you could do to damage these things is to sand the tip! Same thing exists for the Hakko 936, perhaps the most popular soldering station in this community.

Besides the classic damp sponge, the newer brass wool tip cleaners work very well. I actually prefer the cheaper kind rather than the name brands - they make some effort to have a heavy base, so that it stays put when you jab your iron into the wool.
post #18 of 42
have you tried glue yet?
post #19 of 42
always wet your sponge. I have seen PhD students brushing iron tip against hard dried sponge, sigh...
post #20 of 42
jahjah, so are you saying that soldering is a lot like sex? you gotta take off all your clothes and make sure you're doing it right, otherwise you're just dry humping?
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by tangent View Post
Me, too. I've never used an abrasive on an iron tip.
Ditto. I'm still using the original tip that came with my Hakko 936-12 four years ago, and it still works great. I use it constantly, too.
post #22 of 42
Hmm. I have the same problem with my Hakko Dash 454 Tip I.

I dipped the tip in kester rosin paste flux. The flux mixture began to smoke so I figured it was working (2-3 seconds). I removed the tip and tried to wipe clean with my sponge. Didn't really work. The tip is still ghastly dark.

Is there another kind of flux? Is there a different technique to use with the flux?

I didn't mind having this tip MIA but I plan to do some smd work with the Alien DAC this weekend so it'd be nice to have it back.

Thanks a lot.

f/R
post #23 of 42
Frustration.

I was dipping the tip in the rosin and applying solder and wiping. After about 2-3 hours of doing that I had gotten 2/3 to 3/4 of the tip to be shiny silver.

Then I did what I think was the same thing and looked at the tip after wiping, and it was basically black again. Not as deep a black as when I first started, but dark enough to throw me into depression.

I think I'm going to ruin this tip's life by rubbing some 2000 grit sandpaper on this.

End Frustration.

Does anyone know where to buy hakko tips in NYC?
post #24 of 42
First of all you need to turn the temperature DOWN on your iron. 63/37 solder melts at 364F, so keeping your station close to 700 makes sense for maximum tip life. If your station cannot solder your application at this temperature you might want to consider a direct power system like the Metcal.
Next, cool the tip down and clean the tip with a soft brass brush, if you have flux charred onto the tip you could try some scotchbrite but start with the least aggressive you can find.
Once it is clean, wrap the tip in rosin core solder.
Power up the system and the flux will activate, and the solder will melt.
This coats the tip and re-tins it.
Now you can wipe the tip on your wet sponge and then retin it.
Re-tin before allowing the tip to sit idle, and for storage.
Turn off the station when you are not using it.
Happy Holidays.
post #25 of 42
Oh yea what wattage do you guys use for these diy thingamajigs and cables? I got the 15 watt radio hack one for like 7 bucks.. It has the same problems as described by the op, and I guess a beefier iron/station would be better than just buying tips all the time? What If I just got a 25 watt rat shack iron?
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by beerguy0 View Post
Please don't sand plated tips. This only serves to damage the plating, insuring that the tip will be completely useless.
...what?? Removing the plating doesn't make the tip completely useless. I mean sure, if you have a plated tip, it's a good idea to preserve the plating...but don't go throwing it away if it gets removed. It's still completely usable. It's just less convenient since you have to clean it more often.
post #27 of 42

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgtyapd View Post

First of all you need to turn the temperature DOWN on your iron. 63/37 solder melts at 364F, so keeping your station close to 700 makes sense for maximum tip life. If your station cannot solder your application at this temperature you might want to consider a direct power system like the Metcal.
Next, cool the tip down and clean the tip with a soft brass brush, if you have flux charred onto the tip you could try some scotchbrite but start with the least aggressive you can find.
Once it is clean, wrap the tip in rosin core solder.
Power up the system and the flux will activate, and the solder will melt.
This coats the tip and re-tins it.
Now you can wipe the tip on your wet sponge and then retin it.
Re-tin before allowing the tip to sit idle, and for storage.
Turn off the station when you are not using it.
Happy Holidays.


Excellent advice, I was having trouble getting my iron tip to tin, failing multiple times. It seems to be that my Maplin solder was rubbish (99.3 Sn, 0.7 Cu). I went out and got some rosin core and followed Sgtyapd's advice and now I  have a perfectly tinned tip! :)

 

First I used some 600 grade abrasive paper to VERY GENTLY remove the worst of the black, with the soldering iron completely cold.

Then I spent (about 5 - 10 mins) again carefully rubbing the tip on some wire wool, trying not to wear the tip, only remove the black.

I then cleaned the tip with a lint-free cloth and surgical spirit to make sure it was absolutely surgically clean!

I then wrapped the tip in rosin core solder and switched the iron on, ~350C, and waited for the solder to melt.

Once the solder had melted, it tined the tip nicely, I then wiped on a damp sponge and re-tined with rosin core solder.

Voila! Nicely tinned tip again :)

 

post #28 of 42

Brillo pad style tip cleaner, clean your tip between ever joint when making cables, every two or three joints when doing board work.  Dirty tips wont do you any good.

 

Wet sponges are ok, but they will reduce the life span of your tip.  It's like throwing cold water on a hot engine block...

post #29 of 42

Oh, and never let your tip get dry, when you go to put it back in the holder, put a bit of solder on the tip.  Be sure to clean the tip when you pull it out of the holder to use it again though....

post #30 of 42

get a brass wool cleaner, hakko sells them with a holder, forget the sponge, imo it realy is quite useless compared to the brass wool. if you jab the tip into the wool every 1-2 joints it keeps it really clean. use only as  much heat as is required and no more, always tin the tip before turning the iron off. never sand the tip unless you p[lan on getting a new one soon and you have totally screwed it up. i too am still using the same tips that came with the hakko 936, i have plenty more as well, but these things are near indestructible, with good quality solder, cardas flux and the brass wool cleaner there really should never be a time you have to use an abrasive.

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