Soldering Tip Problems

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by mbird, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. mbird

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jan 29, 2009
    Hi --

    My Weller soldering tip wont hold solder anymore. It looks very damaged but I don't use it that often? Is it possible to repair this tip with Tip Activator? What causes this damage? How can I avoid it in the future?

    I use non-leaded solder most of the time. I try to keep the heat as low as possible. When finished I coat the tip with solder and let the solder harden on it then put it away like that for storage. I use a sponge and filtered water and wipe off during soldering.

    Thank you!

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    normal.. tip is junk.. get a new one..
    leadfree is rough on tips.. much more so than leaded solder.
    Its just normal..

    *filtered water = good (we use distilled only or the brassish brilo pad type devices that don't use water)
    *tip temp should be just hot enough to get the job done.. no more. (many just crank it up all the way = bad move)
    *iron should be turned off when not it use. (anytime its going to be sitting for 5-10 minutes or more..)

    tips just go bad.. They are constantly being eaten away.. Just life..
  3. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    I don't work at a desk so my soldering iron never sees a wetted sponge. I clean my tip with...solder. When I get it good and hot, I waste about 4" of solder, feeding it onto the tip from all sides, and then flicking away the excess; the solder with it's flux core chases away all the black nasties and leaves me with a clean tip. I make a big mess of solder on the floor wherever I am, but whatever. I haven't changed a tip in 2 years since I started doing it this way. I use my iron maybe once or twice per week.

    I don't know if there's anything to this; it's just a hairbrained hypothesis that I hold. I think that because I don't use a wetted sponge, my tip is exposed to less thermal shock so the exterior metal coating lasts longer. Also, there is less abrasion to it.
  4. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    I learned the hard way. Don't wipe the tip with anything abrasive.
  5. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    JohnInTX likes this.
  6. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    Thats why DI water is recommended.. and why many stations have moved to the brillo pad type of deal that doesn't require water.. Most were using "tap" water and it destroys the tips. The minerals,etc.. build up and eat away the tips..

    Also many of the newer stations have "smart stands" that turn off the heating element or reduce tip temp drastically to prolong tip life..
    I've removed the "keys" on our stations because the users would just crank it up to the max then complain when the tip was gone in a week/months time..
    We usually get a good couple months out of tips.. But thats being used full time 40 hrs a week..
  7. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    There are two reasons why lead free solder erodes tips fast; first, higher temperature than leaded alloys and second, much stronger fluxes.
  8. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    I've never seen a soldering tip that bad before!:eek:

    I use the wetted sponge method and have only ruined 2 tips in 35 years.
    Probably means I don't solder very often.:(
  9. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    I use the wet sponge method also and very rarely retire a tip used only with leaded alloy but I've seen lead free processes using high end Metcal stations and tips with strong fluxes destroy a tip in less than a month of production work.