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Soldering - bad tip care or soldering iron?
Soldering - bad tip care or soldering iron?
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:39 AM   #11
infinia is offline infinia  United States
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Tip contamination can be a problem esp. when it doesn't respond at all to the usual wipe and go methods. Dip the offending tip in an old plumbers flux tin all is good again. IMO The worst kind of tip abuse comes from melting other things esp plastics. oh yeah old flux = acid based. ie chemistry
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:52 AM   #12
nigelwright7557 is offline nigelwright7557  United Kingdom
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I have had soldering stations before but I tended to run them too hot and the tips didn't last long.
So I just bought a cheapie Antex 30w from Maplin and that has done me well for years now. Tips last about 6 months.
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:56 AM   #13
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Yes, that tip is oxidized, plus temperature is too high, which oxidizes it even more.
Agree with acid plumbers flux cleaning it, since its way more active, but it must be wiped away with a wet sponge or cloth since its damaging to electronic components and immediately tinned with safe solder.

And as mentioned above best tip temperature is "just above solder melting point" since its the least aggressive to tip.

I also use a gas heated iron sometimes but only for, say, outdoor jobs, such as on the roof soldering some antenna connectors, etc. ; definitely not for regular building or repairing stuff and even less for SMT parts.
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:57 AM   #14
horst303 is offline horst303  Australia
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What PRR said, smd with a gas soldering iron? That's like doing keyhole surgery with a butter knife.

But you can rejuvenate a tip very successfully with 'tip refresher'
tip refresher - Google Search

And doing anything smd without liquid flux is very hard, which is why your solder isnt flowing on the board, and just because the joint is lead free, doesn't mean it's going to be easier with lead free solder.
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:02 AM   #15
stratus46 is offline stratus46  United States
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" Soldering - bad tip care or soldering iron?" Both and the wrong tool entirely.

Basically you have no temperature control I.E. it does not hold the temperature
steady at the tip and that is VERY important. The tip should NEVER glow.
The minimum grade of soldering tool I would put up with is a Weller Magnastat and
I have 2 of them though I rarely use them anymore. People I respect have good
things to say about Hakko irons. Personally I use a Metcal iron. I've been soldering
for over 50 years and would not trade it for anything though what I've read about
SBC tools, they may be as good. I've steered quite a few folks to Metcal and not a
one has bad things to say.

G
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:44 AM   #16
rayma is offline rayma  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratus46 View Post
" Soldering - bad tip care or soldering iron?" Both and the wrong tool entirely.
Definitely, get a real soldering iron.
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:53 AM   #17
nigelwright7557 is offline nigelwright7557  United Kingdom
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My son uses a gas powered soldering iron but he is a car mechanic where the vehicle can be no where near a mains outlet.
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Old 21st October 2018, 03:38 AM   #18
infinia is offline infinia  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelwright7557 View Post
My son uses a gas powered soldering iron but he is a car mechanic where the vehicle can be no where near a mains outlet.
you should hook him up with a small 12VDC inverter. A >200 watt (VA/) should run any modern temp. controlled iron.
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Old 21st October 2018, 05:01 AM   #19
tomchr is offline tomchr  Canada
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...or an extension cord.

For OP: The tip of a soldering iron should never turn red. That's **WAY** too hot. For leaded solder you're looking for about 380 C (700 F). If you're using lead-free solder, you'll need to bump up the temperature to more like 430 C (800 F).

It sounds like the reason your soldering iron won't tin is that you've run it way too hot and oxidized the tip. You may be able to recover it with a tip tinner (available from Digikey/Mouser/et al.) but more than likely you're going to have to replace it.

As others have pointed out already: Scrap the gas powered iron and get a proper soldering station instead – especially if you want to solder SMD. I love my METCAL MX-500, but it's probably a bit on the expensive side for the casual user. The Weller WES51 is a good one. Hakko makes one that's supposedly good as well, though I have no personal experience with it.

Also make sure you use solder that's fit for the job. You can read my thoughts on that here: Choosing solder: A guide for hobbyists and pros alike.

Tom
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Old 21st October 2018, 05:09 AM   #20
nigelwright7557 is offline nigelwright7557  United Kingdom
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[QUOTE=tomchr;5578683. I love my METCAL MX-500, but it's probably a bit on the expensive side for the casual user. The Weller WES51 is a good one. Hakko makes one that's supposedly good as well, though I have no personal experience with it.
Tom[/QUOTE]

I bought two Maplin solder stations and neither lasted more than a week !
I then opted for a cheap 12 Antex 30 watt iron and that has been great.
Tips last about 6 months and it hasn't let me down in about 5 years.
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