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Old 16th April 2009, 03:01 AM   #11
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i used to use PVC cable insulation to clean soldering iron tips, until i discovered that the elemental chlorine from the pvc got into the metal under the coating and destroyed the tip from the inside out. it really stripped the oxides off of the outside of the tip like nothing i've ever seen... just has that nasty hidden side-effect.......
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Old 16th April 2009, 06:33 AM   #12
es44 is offline es44  Denmark
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Tinitus, visit PC elektronik, and look for "vare nr. 51303199. I couldn't live without it.
Just don't put your nose too close to the smoke when you clean the tip
If i'm not much mistaken, we speak the same language daily

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Old 16th April 2009, 09:34 AM   #13
AuroraB is offline AuroraB  Norway
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Location: Norway, -north of the moral circle..
A lot of modern tips, like the one shown, are nickel plated.
DO NOT USE SANDPAPER for cleaning these.
A stiff brush,e.g brass - softer than the tip, a wet rag, used on a hot tip is usually all you need.
- And the Weller TTC1 tip/tinner cleaner is very good! It even has a small sticky pad to fix it to your solder stand.

The modern lead free solders and fluxes leaves a lot dirtier iron than the old stuff... ( secret : I hate it! )
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Old 16th April 2009, 11:16 AM   #14
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where i work i have a soldering iron that uses some kind of ceramic with a plated tip. i was surprised, but i replaced the tip a week ago, and i realized that the tip i had lasted over a year of constant use, and every once in a while, leaving the soldering station on overnight. the new lead-free solder is a real pain to work with, expecially when replacing SMT chips with a lot of pins. the high temps required to lift the old chip off the board sometimes lifts the glue holding the traces, especially on the usual "cracker board" material. the traces on G10 fiberglass boaeds are usually not a problem, but the cheap phenolic boards aew very difficult to work with desoldering tiny traces.
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Old 29th April 2009, 03:56 AM   #15
ke4mcl is offline ke4mcl  United States
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when faced with a similar problem i just lightly sanded the tip and immediately flowed rosin core solder on it. good to go.

when it gets covered in gunk i give it a quick wipe on a damp sponge and flow fresh solder on it.

i use radioshack irons myself as ive learned to solder with just about anything that will get hot enough. i wouldnt go sanding on any of those ceramic tips though!
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Old 29th April 2009, 11:26 AM   #16
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i recently had to ask the parts department where i work to order some of those ceramic tips. i asked for (and got, amazingly enough) a "screwdriver" tip, a pointed tip and a needle tip (for SOIC's). while i was waiting for those i had to replace my tip with a used one, which already had the "disease", but wasn't as bad as the one i already had. the new ones came in just in time, because the used replacement one had begun to collapse. i can't stress enough the warning about the tip coming in contact with chlorinated and fluorinated plastics. it really erodes the tip in a very short time. i have been using solder wick almost exclusively except in extreme cases where a solder sucker is the last resort, and it's slowed down the erosion process to next to nothing. when i use a solder sucker now, it's on the opposite side of the board to suck out plated through-holes. the other problem with tip erosion/ corrosion is the higher temps required for RoHS solder. if chlorination disease can be avoided, oxidation still can't, and the higher tip temps for this horrible mixture of metals will eat tips faster (as well as strip traces and pads off the board as fast as you can blink). there's nothing worse than to be removing an IC and have one or two pins stick because the best you can do is to get the solder melted to the consistency of wet cement. RoHS solder seems to have a tendency for the metals in it to separate, and when it does, you get chunks in the solder fillet that don't melt. what's worse is they seem to gather near the device pin.
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