Soldering

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by zorpholex, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. zorpholex

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    11
    0
    Every time i solder the solder sometimes wont melt right away and then if i move it around or press hard it works better.

    Is this because the tip is not hot enough, bad soldering iron or do i just need a new tip for it??
     
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,421
    3,357
    Over time, the soldering tip develops a layer of oxide that is a poor conductor of heat.
    Every once in a while you have to clean and tin the soldering tip.
     
  3. Audioguru

    New Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    9,411
    896
    My NAME BRAND (Weller) soldering iron is about 48 years old. Its temperature is controlled so it never gets too hot like most el cheapo ones. Its tip lasts "forever" even if it sits heated day after day for years.

    Because its tip is never too hot it does not corrode like el cheapo ones.

    An el cheapo soldering iron gets too hot and corrodes the tip so it will not solder anything.

    Why do people buy cheap junk??
     
  4. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,257
    6,757
    Just a passing comment...a very rare event...I had a Weller soldering tip go bad because it had a tiny defect in the cladding. Solder got inside it and dissolved all the copper. It became hollow and thus failed. It only lasted 20 years.
     
  5. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    2,428
    1,328
    @Audioguru: Even the cheapest irons can be made to work, provided you know how to solder properly. I got along well several years with a $7 15W pencil-type iron from RadioShack, never had a problem.

    The most common problem I see among beginner solderers is that they don't know to tin the tip of the iron. I can't even tell you how many soldering problems have been solved by teaching the user how to do this.

    @zorpholex, I'm guessing your iron's tip has burnt up because you don't tin the tip before each use. "Tinning" is done by applying a small amount of solder as the iron is heating up directly to the tip, which creates a thin coating over it. By doing this, it makes it more difficult for the tip to burn up (which is probably your problem--the tip is burned), and it also helps with better heat transfer from the iron to the component lead and board. My personal recommendation: Buy a new tip, first. Nothing can really be done to clean a burnt tip without risking damage. Then, when you're first heating up the iron, apply the solder to the tip and hold it there until the iron gets hot enough to melt it. Once it melts, you should get an even coat around the tip. If you don't, apply the solder to the empty parts. Then wipe on a wet sponge (the ones made for soldering) or poke it into a brass or steel wire cleaner (designed for soldering applications) to remove the excess solder. You should be set to go after that, provided you tin the tip before each use, and during it if the tip looks like it's getting bare.

    Hope this helps.
    Regards,
    Matt
     
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  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    7,386
    1,605
    I think I use far more solder on my tip then I do in my circuits. Each and every time before I use the iron I tin the tip (add solder) making sure it covers right up to the tip I use very small tips that are fragile and tend to burn fast), and if I see any "crud"on the tip I will wire in a very damp sponge to clean it, reapply solder, and only when it is bright and shiny to the tip do I use it.

    Frequently there is a large load of solder on the tip, so I smack the side of the iron to my holder to flick off the excess.

    When heating the parts I apply a bit of solder where the tip meets the part, let that flow, then apply more solder to the part itself away from the tip. You need a little solder between the tip and the part to get a heat transfer. Once all the solder is well flowed I remove the tip.
     
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  7. zorpholex

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    11
    0
    Thanks i am sure this was my problem, the tip is black i never "tin" the tip and its also very cheap soldering iron. Luckily i have a secondary tip that came with it!
     
  8. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,257
    6,757
    This time, treat it well so it can have a good, long life.
     
    DerStrom8 likes this.
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