Iron Tip

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Frequently Asked Questions...

Is solder not melting because my tip is oxidized?

I'm trying to solder some components, but my solder tip is heavily oxidized. I'm trying to melt solder on a point but I can't get it to melt. Could this be because it is oxidized? I tried tinning the iron but that was to no avail.


Best Answer...

Answer:

If you succeeded in tinning your iron, then you melted some solder. If you couldn't tin the iron, either the iron is defective or your "solder" is the wrong type for electronics work, or not solder at all.

The other possibility is you are trying to unsolder something that is physically too big for the heat capacity of your iron, for example large solder tags and thick wires for carrying large mains currents are hard to solder with a 20 or 25W iron and a small solder tip meant for work on printed circuit boards.

"Professional" irons are often quite high power (60 or 100 watts) and are thermostatically controlled, so they heat up quickly but don't overheat when used for fine work, and have enough heat capacity for soldering big joints when you need it.

If the tip (bit) is removable and heavily oxidized or corroded all over, possibly it is not maknig proper contact with the body of the iron and not heating up. In that case, just buy another tip.

The best way to keep the tip clean after you have tinned it is cut a small rectangular chunk out a sponge (and ordinary plastic bathroom sponge), say 2 inches square by 1/2 inch thick. Soak it in water, then wipe the hot iron on it. This "steam cleaning" will get rid of any oxide. Get the habit of wiping the iron tip on the sponge every time you use it. A proper soldering iron stand will probably have a tray to hold the piece of sponge, to stop your workbench getting wet.

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Iron Tip

See More About:    Iron Tips        
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