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Subject: RE: Solder Tips

From: "Tkacs, Ken" <Ken.Tkacs@...
Date: 1999-11-29

Wow, are you really going through tips that quickly?

I have an old Weller station (the model number escapes me... bought it in blue, sponge holder...). I bought about ten tips with that
station in '83. In all that time, I've probably used three of them, and I've
use that station for a lot of hours over the years. It blows my mind that
the tips are disintegrating on you so quickly.

Do you have the temperature cranked to the max a lot? Mine isn't a variable

Maybe it's technique? The way I was taught to work with a soldering iron is
that I never let it sit for more than a few seconds hot without tinning the
iron. I also tin it immediately after powering it off and 'store' it with a
blob of solder on the end. I was told that this extends tip life, but could
it be that drastic?

For instance, I will warm up the iron. When it's hot, I wipe the tip on the
∗slightly∗ damp sponge. Then I immediately put a small amount of solder on
the tip and holster the iron.

I'll stuff a bunch of parts into a board, then grab the iron, wipe the tip,
solder all the joints, wipe the tip, put another bead of solder on the end
and twirl the iron to make sure the tip is covered, and holster the iron

If I'm not going to use it for ten or fifteen minutes, I turn it off.

When working on MOTM kits, I use Paul's provided solder only for the PCB; I
have an oooold roll of cheapo solder that I use for tinning the tip. It just
sits next to the iron.

The tip I have in my iron now has been in there for... probably five years
of intermittent use. But just in the past few months I probably got 40 hours
of "on" time with that iron/tip and it's good as new.

The constant tinning makes sure that the tip isn't exposed to the air,
especially when hot, and most especially after wetting it on a sponge. After
all, rust is a chemical reaction that is accelerated by air, water, and