Soldering Iron Tip Care Guide:
How to Clean and Care Soldering Iron Tip?
The most critical component of any soldering iron is its tip. Therefore, our team has some tips and techniques on how to clean the soldering iron tip. The tip’s function is to transfer heat, which is often achieved electrically, bypassing an electric current (cord or battery). In contrast, Cordless or gas soldering tip heated by combustion of butane or propane gas.
If it cannot perform its function of effective heat transfer to the connection point and melt the solder, then the soldering iron itself will be unreliable. Poor tip maintenance is one of the main causes of soldering problems.
Soldering tips wear thin over time and in time need replacing; you can extend your soldering tips life by taking steps to care, save you money, and improve the results of your soldering work.
Steps for maintaining and clean your Soldering Iron Tips
Properly follow these steps for maintaining and clean your Soldering Iron Tips.
Keeping the temperature of your soldering iron tips as reliable and as close to ideal as possible will help extend their life.
Excess heat damage the soldering iron tip, and heat travels along with the leads and damage the components.
- lead-based solder: 600°-650°F (316°-343°C)
- lead-free solder: 650°-700°F (343°-371°C)
- Avoid using a temperature that is higher than you need.
- Turn off the unit or reduce the temperature when you do not use a soldering iron for a long period.
One of the best protective steps you can take to take care of your soldering iron tips is to Use High-Quality solder.
Low-quality solder contains impurities. During soldering, which may build up on the tip, block heat transfer and making soldering hard or impossible.
- Shiny Appearance (Lead Solder)
- Melts easily at the required temperature
- Matte Appearance (high quality lead-free)
Solders are different types, and they act differently, so it’s essential to check the quality before using it in soldering.
Soldering iron tips are mostly made up of Copper. When they come in contact with oxygen, they form a layer of copper oxides.
Oxides layer hinder the heat transfer, and solder no longer wets the tips.
Flux (Paste) dissolves these oxides and then easily evaporates due to the low boiling point, which prevents oxides layer formation on the tip.
There are different categories of fluxes. These are; Rosin and Rosin Substitutes, Water Soluble, and No-Clean.
Avoid dipping your soldering iron tips at a higher temperature into flux to clean them because some flux may damage them.
After soldering immediately remove excess flux residue on the circuit board and tip as the substance is corrosive
A clean tip is bright and shiny. For proper functioning and to extend their life proper cleaning is required Before, During, and After use.
Before Use: Use alcohol and clean clothing to remove grease, corrosion, and oxidation from the surface to be soldered and from the tip.
During Use: Use fluxes, Sponge(less), and metal wool to remove small amounts of contaminants from your soldering iron tips during soldering circuit board or any other components.
After Use: Use stainless steel wool, flux, and thick clothe to clean the tip. In the case of the tip, oxidation flushes it several times with flux(rosin activated, flux corded )and then covers the tip with a thick layer (coating) of solder to prevent oxidation.
Tinning is the protective layer (coating) that prevents the tip from oxidation. For tinning, a tip follows these steps.
- Clean the tip
- Apply fresh solder to the tip
- Complete coating of the tip
- Resultant shiny tip
You should tin your soldering tips before and after each soldering project. In order to care for and extend tip life.
Some time you store the tip without tinning. After some time it will appear dark and becomes oxidized and you may not able to use it.
To fix this problem and to re-use or re-wet a tip you can use a tip activator. To reactive, the tips follow these steps.
- Dip the tip in the activator substances and move it around to remove oxides.
- Use steel wool to remove extra contamination from the tip.
- Tin the tip immediately.
- Then clean it.
- Re tin it.
If the tip is clean then now you should be able to use the soldering tip otherwise repeat the process to clean it.
Properly storing tips for a long time without any damage. Follow the following preventive steps.
- Clean the tip
- Tin them ( Coating )
- Store them in a sealed container( Glass/Plastic ).
How to Clean Soldering Iron Tip?
Most of the soldering iron tips are constructed of copper and iron plating. The copper is a conductor that allows a tip of the iron to get hot to conduct heat and melt the soldering compound.
The soldering iron tip needs proper care and cleaning to increase its lifetime and keep it functioning for a long time as possible. One of the major failures is when the tip oxidized, causing it to rust, and rust will create a barrier between the soldering tip and the item being soldered, and a result will be the failure to complete the task.
For taking care and clean the best soldering iron tip, I will show you the most simple and easy method. For cleaning, you will be needing.
To clean, tin, and maintain Soldering Iron Tips follow the above steps: