Soldering Tip Problem

Thread Starter

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
821
Hi guys,

I got this nice new soldering iron a few weeks ago. Now, i have noticed that the tip has complety retreated and is nothing but a stump. WHAT IS GOING ON? is it the lead free flux included solder? Is it the heat (395)? im scared, that has never happened to me before.

Here is a link of the soldering iron:
http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/bq/nav.jsp?action=detail&fh_secondid=9284803&fh_view_size=10&fh_location=//catalog01/en_GB&fh_search=Soldering+iron&fh_eds=ß&fh_refview=search&ts=1260638300171&isSearch=true

Please help me guys!
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,201
Did you leave it plugged in the whole week?

I haven't used that particular iron, but I've used various Weller irons for many years. Yours seems like an inexpensive model that does not have temperature control. If you leave such irons sitting for awhile unused yet plugged in, you will definitely see tip erosion.

The cure is to prepare everything for soldering, and plug the iron in right before you're ready to solder. Then solder everything at once, and unplug the iron as soon as you're done.
 

Thread Starter

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
821
i do leave it in sometimes for about 10 minutes, thanks for that :)

right, im going to get some more tips anyway
 

BMorse

Joined Sep 26, 2009
2,675
also keep the tip clean and tinned, if you do not wipe the flux off (Keep your sponge damp, but not soaking wet, and periodically wipe the tip off while soldering), it will erode your tip pretty quick along with leaving it constantly on...
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,201
BMorse brought up a good point - I keep a small damp sponge on my soldering station. If the sponge is too wet, it will cool the iron excessively, and you'll have to wait for it to heat back up.

A iron with a clean and tinned tip will make very nice solder connections (if your work is clean, that is). If your tip is getting dirty and/or malformed to the point where a damp sponge won't clean it up, you can use a smooth file or wet/dry sandpaper to more or less restore its' shape; and then you need to re-tin it immediately.

It is far better if you don't let it get into bad shape to begin with; however even good and well-maintained tips don't last forever.
 

bluebrakes

Joined Oct 17, 2009
245
i seem to remember i was given this exact or very similar iron myself and found the tip seemed to erode away unexpectedly.

i think i ended up passing it on to someone else. LOL

i've had my antex iron for over 12 years and i'm only on my second tip.
it's a...
Antex CS18
18 Watt soldering iron

I can't rate it highly enough. Although 12 years ago it was around £35 not £17.
 

Audioguru

Joined Dec 20, 2007
11,251
I have never tried lead-free solder for electronics, only for plumbing with a propane torch. I hear that it is difficult to use and requires a high temperature.
 

Thread Starter

Robin Mitchell

Joined Oct 25, 2009
821
difficult to use?

By god, all i have to do is tin my soldering iron with it and then it melts almost instantly..in fact, it does. No problems here ;)

I Like it because of the fact that it has no lead. But how can i tin my soldering iron without getting flux on because my solder wire has flux included?
 

rjenkins

Joined Nov 6, 2005
1,015
Plain copper dissolves in molten solder - that is why many iron tips have hard-plated coatings over the copper core (such as the Antex ones mentioned above).

You can get some solders which already contain a trace of copper to slow this down, eg. Multicore 'Savbit'.

The presence of flux from normal cored solder won't affect how fast it errodes.
 

BMorse

Joined Sep 26, 2009
2,675
But how can i tin my soldering iron without getting flux on because my solder wire has flux included?
just keep applying a good coat of solder on it and wipe it off with the damp sponge and repeat process until the tip is nicely coated.... it should look as if you just dipped it in silver...
 

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,815
Hi guys,

I got this nice new soldering iron a few weeks ago. Now, i have noticed that the tip has complety retreated and is nothing but a stump. WHAT IS GOING ON? is it the lead free flux included solder? Is it the heat (395)? im scared, that has never happened to me before.
It was in the pool. :)
 

t06afre

Joined May 11, 2009
5,936
Another problem with many solder cheap solder iron is that the tip have some plating that due to some reaction. Will make them quite hoopless to work with. Then this happened the, the plating on the tip must be removed so the copper becomes visible.
But do NOT do this if you have a profesional solder iron
 
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