# Soldering Tip turning black, what to do?

#### Joern

Joined Jul 10, 2013
2
Hi guys,
recently I got me a very decent soldering station, the JBC AD2700. It's an awesome work tool. My only woe is that the tip is turning black, apparently from the solder flux. Here is a close-up of the tip:

It's not hindering the soldering process as the solder sticks to the tip perfectly. The flux only burns on the special "non-sticky" upper part of the tip.

I've tried cleaning it with a wet sponge during soldering work with no real effect as it is pretty resilient and cleaning the curved top is quite troublesome. Should I be worried? I'm afraid the continuously burning flux will be overly corrosive to the tip. I'm using Sn60 Pb39 Cu1 Stannol solder with F-SW26 for through-hole and SMD components.

Do you have any advice or recommendations?

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,076
Ignore it. Soldering irons always get ugly. No problem.

Joined Jul 18, 2013
19,057
Tips usually start to erode over time, but what I do if the wet sponge doesn't do the trick, is use the non-metallic type of scouring pad and give it a quick flash on the hot tip.
Max.

#### Potato Pudding

Joined Jun 11, 2010
684
Eventually you just replace the tip.

Too vigorously trying to clean your tip can easily do more damage and and accelerate the erosion.

Best thing is to make certain that you have an automatic iron that will heat up fast and shut off when you set it down so that it doesn't burn itself away.

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,076

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,076
I suggest you ask JBC about the damage that will happen if the chrome layer isn't kept nice and shiny.

Joined Jul 18, 2013
19,057
I suggest you ask JBC about the damage that will happen if the chrome layer isn't kept nice and shiny.
You will get 'Black Marks' for poor housekeeping!!
Max.

#12

#### ian field

Joined Oct 27, 2012
6,543
Ignore it. Soldering irons always get ugly. No problem.
The black residue is slightly corrosive at the working temperature, but replacing a worn tip before *TOO* long can prevent it seizing on so the element gets destroyed removing the tip.

For those who are really bothered by the burnt residue stain - chances are you'll do more damage removing it than leaving it be.

One of the best abrasives is the Sandflex diamond particles in a rubber polishing block (expensive!) you should use the finest grit, and very gently - if you break through the iron clad, as someone else pointed out; the copper core will dissolve in a week!

Joined Jul 18, 2013
19,057
BTW, Those are the ones I alluded to in post #3.
Max.

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,076
replacing a worn tip before *TOO* long can prevent it seizing on so the element gets destroyed removing the tip.
I have taken up using anti-seize compound from my automotive kit to avoid having to beat the tip off with a hammer and vise-grips.

#### THE_RB

Joined Feb 11, 2008
5,430
Stop rubbing it on a wet sponge, and get a good system like rubbing it on a large solder blob.

You won't get the thermal shock of the wet sponge, nor the increased oxidation from constant bombardment with 300'C steam.

Also rubbing on a solder blob "burnishes" (polishes, makes shiny) the tip so it solders better, transfers heat better and gets a better tinning when fresh solder is applied.

Wet sponges have been banned in my workshop since the 1980's.

#### snowdrifter

Joined Aug 13, 2013
43
Clean the tip and tin it with some solder. Should help with that.

Mine turns black if I have the temp cranked way up

#### JBC Tools

Joined Jan 28, 2013
2
Dear Joern,

According to the picture, the tip is tinned and does not suffer the "black tip" problem. The residue on the chrome layer should not damage the tip because it comes from the flux, as already mentioned. Furthermore, the datasheet for the solder wire says that this residue is not corrosive. So, do not worry.

One way to reduce this quantity of residue would be:
1. Reduce to the minimum the working temperature (when lead, this temperature may be lower than 350 °C).
2. Use a flux that generates less solid waste. Consult with your flux supplier.

Hope this helps.

You can find more information about soldering tip care on our website www.jbctools.com or by contacting us at: jbctools@jbctools.com.

Best regards,
Technical Support
JBC Soldering S.L.

#### PackratKing

Joined Jul 13, 2008
843
Keep one of those el cheapo chinese " dollarstore " brass or stainless bristle brushes on your bench, and use as necesary to remove black scale left back from flux.
I helps to tin a new tip as far up as heat allows, and keep it brushed off...

Last, don't allow your iron to idle all day, waiting to make a few connections...
If you must leave it idle, rig a holder of an old large hollow ceramic power resistor to stand your iron in... it bleeds off excess heat, and allows your iron to recover working temp quickly.

#### THE_RB

Joined Feb 11, 2008
5,430
To JBC Tools; Thank you! It's wonderful for the soldering iron manufacturer to make an appearance with the official info.

I checked your website for your tech info on "increasing tip life" and noticed you are still using wet sponges, although you specify that they are to be kept slightly damp (not saturated) and use only de-ionised water.

My experiences with apprentices in the workshow etc is that they make sponges WET and with little care, and de-ionised water sounds like another thing the guys won't bother to get right.

Is there a particular reason for staying with damp sponges rather than some of the newer tech metallic cleaners?

#### ian field

Joined Oct 27, 2012
6,543
Keep one of those el cheapo chinese " dollarstore " brass or stainless bristle brushes on your bench, and use as necesary to remove black scale left back from flux.
I helps to tin a new tip as far up as heat allows, and keep it brushed off...

Last, don't allow your iron to idle all day, waiting to make a few connections...
If you must leave it idle, rig a holder of an old large hollow ceramic power resistor to stand your iron in... it bleeds off excess heat, and allows your iron to recover working temp quickly.
Most (non-temperature controlled) are regulated by the resistance wire tempco' - sinking the heat in standby makes the element draw more current and shortens its life.

An old trick of the trade; is to put a diode in series with the iron to clip the alternate half cycles of the AC, a shorting switch in parallel with the diode brings the iron back up to full power.

Don't try this with irons that have a transformer base station (except on the secondary) or irons with built in triac control.

#### Metalmann

Joined Dec 8, 2012
692
Most (non-temperature controlled) are regulated by the resistance wire tempco' - sinking the heat in standby makes the element draw more current and shortens its life.

An old trick of the trade; is to put a diode in series with the iron to clip the alternate half cycles of the AC, a shorting switch in parallel with the diode brings the iron back up to full power.

Don't try this with irons that have a transformer base station (except on the secondary) or irons with built in triac control.

That sounds like something to try, have a sketch handy for us picture thinkers?