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Old 12th February 2011, 11:11 PM   #1
jazko is offline jazko  United Kingdom
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Location: Manchester
Default Soldering iron - tip is melting

I recently bought a Weller SP-25L soldering iron. At first solder did not want to stick to the iron's tip. Later everything was fine until at one point, the iron's tip started to melt when I was soldering.

It is supposed to look like this:
http://www.thanettoolsupplies.co.uk/...l/WELSP25L.jpg

But it is like this:
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i1...DSC01557-1.jpg

Difference ?

Any clues how to fix this problem. Is the iron's temperature too high?
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Old 12th February 2011, 11:28 PM   #2
AEIOU is offline AEIOU  United States
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Buy a new tip.
You are supposed to "tin" the tip before the first use and every time there after.
Also make sure you never ever clean the tip with anything abrasive, do not even use a file. New tips are plated (electroplated) and if you break through the plating you ruin the tip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazko View Post
I recently bought a Weller SP-25L soldering iron. At first solder did not want to stick to the iron's tip. Later everything was fine until at one point, the iron's tip started to melt when I was soldering.

It is supposed to look like this:
http://www.thanettoolsupplies.co.uk/...l/WELSP25L.jpg

But it is like this:
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i1...DSC01557-1.jpg

Difference ?

Any clues how to fix this problem. Is the iron's temperature too high?

Last edited by AEIOU; 12th February 2011 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 12th February 2011, 11:39 PM   #3
jazko is offline jazko  United Kingdom
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I did try to tin the tip in first place, but it would not stick. And no, I don't use anything to try and clear the tip, except a wet sponge.
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Old 12th February 2011, 11:44 PM   #4
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Looks like "normal" tip erosion. Lead free solder will accelerate it. You really shouldn't have too much trouble with a 25 Watt iron getting too hot, but it's best to unplug it during breaks to limit unnecessary wear.
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Old 12th February 2011, 11:47 PM   #5
AEIOU is offline AEIOU  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazko View Post
I did try to tin the tip in first place, but it would not stick. And no, I don't use anything to try and clear the tip, except a wet sponge.
Once again, tin your tip before each and every use.
Once again, tin your tip before each and every use.
Once again, tin your tip before each and every use.

If you couldn't get it to tin, you waited too long or didn't have enough flux inside your solder. If you use the correct method and appropriate solder, the tip WILL tin.
Regardless of whatever, when you go and get a new tip make sure you tin it first. Plug in the iron and try to tin it before the tip is even hot and keep trying to tin it as the soldering iron begins to reach temperature. At some point the solder will begin to melt, that is when you try and go at it with a much haste as possible. You need to drown the tip in flux and melting solder.

A wet sponge works for cleaning the tip, but sometimes that will cool the tip maybe even too much. I actually prefer to wipe my tips on a dry paper towel.
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Last edited by AEIOU; 12th February 2011 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 12th February 2011, 11:53 PM   #6
jazko is offline jazko  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AEIOU View Post
Once again, tin your tip before each and every use.
Once again, tin your tip before each and every use.
Once again, tin your tip before each and every use.

If you couldn't get it to tin, you waited too long or didn't have enough flux inside your solder. If you use the correct method and appropriate solder, the tip WILL tin.
Regardless of whatever, when you go and get a new tip make sure you tin it first. Plug in the iron and try to tin it before the tip is even hot and keep trying to tin it as the soldering iron begins to reach temperature. At some point the solder will begin to melt, that is when you try and go at it with a much haste as possible. You need to drown the tip in flux and melting solder.

A wet sponge work for cleaning the tip, but sometimes that will cool the tip maybe even too much. I actually prefer to wipe my tips on a dry paper towel.
Of course I tin the tip before every use. I think the problem was waiting too long the first time.

Thank you.
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Old 13th February 2011, 12:41 AM   #7
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Hello,
I bought a used Weller at a yard sale and used it extensively then the tip rapidly began to crumble. It looked like something was eating it, not just the very tip. The chisel tip remained in good shape it was the sides that were eroding. The thin electroplating wearing through sounds plausible.
I installed a new tip. The new tip did not seem to like the tin/lead flux core solder I use at first, it did not wet well even though is looked bright and clean. Perhaps the new tip was tinned with another dissimilar material. This was my fix. Dip the hot tip into an old school tin of flux a few times and then in a rub it around in puddle of flux on a piece of wood add some solder in the process.
Same story with a new Hako 936 a couple of weeks ago.
DT
All just for fun!
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Old 13th February 2011, 02:00 AM   #8
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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happened to me too
thought I could use a second iron and bought a cheap one
it made only a couple of solderings, and was history
junk stuff, worthless
Weller ?
though mine was not, it looked exactly like yours
complete iron cost about 3 euro


make your own tip
copper, brass, whatever
much better
doesnt last long either
but at least you can reshape the tip

for quality work
buy quality iron with quality long life tip
and use only quality solder
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Old 13th February 2011, 03:14 AM   #9
Lerg is offline Lerg  Canada
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Wow, that doesn't look good at all. I know that you can erode the tip through a lack of maintenance, but that looks extreme. Especially if that was over a short period of time.

I am just glad that my shiny fx-951 doesn't have that issue. Maybe you got a counterfeit iron.
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Old 13th February 2011, 03:23 AM   #10
imix500 is offline imix500  United States
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I have one of those irons. I bought it when all my tools were stolen and I needed an iron that day. Now I keep it as a 4th string option, though I haven't used it in 5 years.
What you are experiencing is exactly what I found. It's a cheap iron with a cheap tip. Probably about all you'll get from an iron available at the Home Depot.
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