How do I make a soldering iron last long?

Thread Starter

abraar_sameer

Joined May 29, 2017
32
I have one of these dirt cheap soldering irons:

But I've noticed that over time the heater body gets kind of rusty(not the tip). How do I prevent it? Is there any way to keep it shiny?
 

absf

Joined Dec 29, 2010
1,942
Even the expensive soldering stations like Weller and Hakko get darken after long usage. But as long as the heating elements dont get broken and the tips stay shinny. They normally can last for years.

I have bought cheap "Made in China" soldering irons that only last for 1 week after used for 2-3 times. So you get what you paid for..;):D

To use your S.I. to last long, treat it gently. Use sponge soaked in water to wipe the tip clean regularly. Apply soldering flux to the tip often to prevent it from oxidization. Never try to file the tip when it gets darken.

Allen
 
Last edited:

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
5,899
Also, do not wipe the tip unless it is absolutely necessary. A long time ago the Ungar representative told me that wiping tips is the major cause of them wearing out prematurely. The soldering iron on my bench has been in use for over a year and I may have wiped the tip two or three times. I understand this issue is controversial and am only offering my observations.

And...to extend the life of your heating element and tip, drop the power to the tip. I run mine through a traic lamp dimmer circuit and keep it just hot enough to perform quick soldering jobs. Irons with a large thermal mass near the tip (like the one in the photo) allow the iron to "rest" at lower temperatures and still be useful without additional warm-up.

upload_2017-11-20_14-12-26.png

With some irons inserting a diode (1N4007, etc.) in series with the power drops the power sufficiently to extend the life of the iron and tip but keeps it warm enough to do some work.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
6,988
I have one of these dirt cheap soldering irons:

But I've noticed that over time the heater body gets kind of rusty(not the tip). How do I prevent it? Is there any way to keep it shiny?
If you are meaning the "barrel" of the iron, it has no effect on the iron. It gets rusty due to the fact that it was plated just to entice you to buy it. It wasn't made to stay that way, like the 'chrome' on your car.
 

Ylli

Joined Nov 13, 2015
777
This may sound crazy, but... oil it. (The barrel, not the tip) Wipe it with a lightly oiled rag when it is cold. When it heats up, the oil will burn and form a protective coating. Similar to the bluing on a gun barrel or the seasoning of a cast iron fry pan.
 
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