# Brand new Weller brand soldering iron tip turns black, what could it be?

#### 8BitSpirit

Joined Jan 20, 2016
9
I'm new to soldering and when I bought a cheap 5 dollar iron on ebay I quickly realized all irons are not created equally. I shelled out 45 bucks on Amazon for a Weller soldering station. I was impressed with the performance at first and found myself soldering like a pro but quickly (in the first use) I noticed that the tip only holds a tin shiny for the first 4 or 5 minutes (or less) after which the tip turns dull/green/black/grey burnt uglyness.

I clean the tip on a wet sponge and again I tin the tip. Both the solder an the tip become burnt even quicker. It always seems like the sponge makes it worse.. The only way to make another good solder is to turn off the iron, let it cool, and start over. Then the cycle repeats! It's really P$#22ing me off to be honest because I can't figure out what I'm doing differently than everyone else. I've watched the tutorials, I shelled out the cash for a good iron, it's brand new, WHAT IS THE DEAL!? -I bought a copper sponge, that only seemed to make it worse. -I reduced the heat and the tip still burns the solder immediately. -I bought 2 types of solder, makes no difference. -I'm not using flux (because it hasn't arrived in the mail yet) so I'm sure that isn't an issue. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thank you! #### SLK001 Joined Nov 29, 2011 1,548 What types of solder are you using? Make SURE that you only use ROSIN CORE. Your iron should be set to approx 700°F. Your sponge should be DAMP, not WET. Sometimes I have to use a brass brush to clean the black crap off my tip. It is usually after I do something like melt away plastic, or dig out some potting material. Maybe your tip just needs to be cleaned with a brush. Some amount of discoloration is expected if the iron sits at temp for a while. A quick swipe on you sponge should remove this ugliness and produce a shiny tip once again. #### Lestraveled Joined May 19, 2014 1,946 Yea, it sounds it is your solder and lack of flux. +1 on the rosin core solder, I prefer 60/40, lead/tin, (kester #44). The lead free stuff is crap, oh, I mean, difficult for a beginner to use. Describe the solder you have. Thread Starter #### 8BitSpirit Joined Jan 20, 2016 9 I'm using alphafry 60/40 rosin core, as suggested to me. I also have Rosin Core, Lead Free, Silver Bearing solder by Benzomatic. I prefer the alphafry because it is just slightly softer. As for the brass brush, I have one here and I'm going to give that a try because I just realized that it's brass not copper that I should be using to clean the tip. Although this issue has been happening since before I started using the copper sponge... smh Do you think the type of water on the wet sponge matters? I use tap water, but someone said distilled water is a must... any truth? #### Lestraveled Joined May 19, 2014 1,946 The Alpha Fry 60/40 is good solder. It should not cause what you describe. Did you buy your station new or used? What model Weller is it?? #### SLK001 Joined Nov 29, 2011 1,548 ...Although this issue has been happening since before I started using the copper sponge... smh Do you think the type of water on the wet sponge matters? I use tap water, but someone said distilled water is a must... any truth? What is a "copper sponge"? My sponge is a natural sponge that I moisten with tap water. I have never used anything but tap water! I HATE the lead-free solder. #### crutschow Joined Mar 14, 2008 26,436 A dampened cellulose sponge is all you should need to clean the solder tip and then add just enough solder to tin the tip. All tips will get discolored in time when hot. They need to be cleaned and tinned before every solder joint. That's what they did for NASA class soldering where I used to work #### ISB123 Joined May 21, 2014 1,236 What is a "copper sponge"? My sponge is a natural sponge that I moisten with tap water. I have never used anything but tap water! I HATE the lead-free solder. Any metal sponge will work to clean the tip. #### crutschow Joined Mar 14, 2008 26,436 Any metal sponge will work to clean the tip. Such a metal sponge will scrape off any protective coating that may be on the tip to prevent erosion of the tip by the solder. I would not recommend using one. #### ISB123 Joined May 21, 2014 1,236 Such a metal sponge will scrape off any protective coating that may be on the tip to prevent erosion of the tip by the solder. I would not recommend using one. I use steel wool to clean the tip never noticed any damage. #### Colin55 Joined Aug 27, 2015 519 This station is a poor design. It does not control the temperature. 700 degrees F is far too hot. I don't go above 340 degree C. Get a$12 temperature controlled iron from eBay and use a metal sponge.

MOD NOTE: Edited to eliminate the profanity.

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#### Lestraveled

Joined May 19, 2014
1,946
This station is a poor design. It does not control the temperature.
700 degrees F is far too hot.
I don't go above 340 degree C.

#### Lestraveled

Joined May 19, 2014
1,946
You may not have eutectic solder. It makes a HUGE difference.
The TS said he is using Alpha Fry 60/40 rosin core solder. Alpha Metals is a world class manufacturer of solder.