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Old 31st October 2007, 03:06 PM   #1
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Default soldering problems

I have just bought a set of new bits for my small antex(18w) iron. The bit I wanted was the small pointed one, of which there were 2 in the packet of 3.

to the post......I was soldering for about 1 hour with great results on a quite fiddly board and stopped to make a cup of tea. When I returned the whole tip piece had turned blue and I couldn't re-tin the bit. I turned the iron off and cleaned the bit with some flux and tried again. I could tin the bit to within about 1/16 inch of the tip but I couldn't tin the tip(obviously the part of the bit I wanted to solder with).

Anybody got any suggestions...I have tried sanding the tip but it doesn't help. In the old days bits used to be made of copper and it was possible to file or sand to re-tin...it doesn't work with these antex bits.

Regards

Ed
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Old 31st October 2007, 03:42 PM   #2
AndrewT is online now AndrewT  Scotland
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Hi,
if the bit is nickel or iron plated then don't file or sand it.
The copper dissolves in the solder and erodes away.
If there is even a small hole in the plating, the copper on the inside will gradually get eaten away.

Slight discolouration usually wipes off on a damp sponge. I think the steam has something to do with this.
Similarly the black/brown crud left from overheated flux sponges off when the iron is back up to operating temperature.

As for your blue colour, I'm stumped.
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Old 31st October 2007, 05:27 PM   #3
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Thanks Andrew

I've been on to Antex and it seems its a common problem with the new lead-free solder which requires the new tip coating.....

It seems I can either buy the proprietary cleaning/tinning compound or emery/file back to the copper....but apparently once back to the copper the tips dont last long with the new solder.

progress??? who knows

Regards

Ed
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Old 31st October 2007, 05:35 PM   #4
AndrewT is online now AndrewT  Scotland
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Don't buy lead free.
Stay with 63/37 and stock up while still available.
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Old 29th November 2007, 11:18 PM   #5
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Lead free solder eats soldering iron tips for breakfast!

We replace tips weekly due to lead free soldering.
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