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My soldering iron tip keeps corroding.

I recently bought a new soldering iron and it works great.
The only problem is: The tip keeps corroding down!
It won't solder properly and it's a bit frustrating.
What can i do to stop this?

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eric m3 years ago
brass brush, not sandpaper

try soaking tip in vinegar
rickharris6 years ago
If I understand your problem:-

If the tip is copper then I am afraid the flux in the solder will cause it to blacken and be eaten away. The is especially true if you leave the iron on all the time.

A quick stroke or two with a file or sand paper should clean it for re-tinning.

IF the tip is iron coated (a grey looking tip) it should remain fairly clean although a coating of burned flux may coat the tip if the iron is on but not used for a while - The solution here is a WET sponge or pad of kitchen paper to wipe the tip on before re-tinning it.

The cold wet pad will wipe off the blackened flux very effectively.

framistan6 years ago
One of the MAIN things that causes irons to loose their "tinning" is the iron sitting for long periods plugged in... and not being used. To solve this problem is really easy. Just get a 2 hour timer mechanism from the hardware store. build it into an electrical box. Mount the box on your workbench and use it for your solder iron. Now... it will shut off after 2 hours of use, and you must re-activate the 2 hour timer to continue soldering. This is only mildly irritating and you will also lengthen the life of the iron and eliminate a possible FIRE- hazard of leaving your solder iron powered on for DAYS or WEEKS without you knowing you left it on. I built a couple 2-hour timers for FREE by just using an old coffee pot that has the automatic SHUT OFF after coffee is on for 2 hours. It is perfect for the job. I just disconnected the old heating element and substituted an ac outlet for my SOLDER IRON to plug into. HERES the 2nd thing you need to do to help keep that iron tip shiny and silvery. Just get yourself a 12 ounce plastic soda- bottle and drill a hole in the lid. Now fill it up with water. KEEP THIS near your solder area. Spray some water on your SPONGE (that square yellow DRY thing that came with your solder station) .. every once in a while... give that iron a wipe on the WET SPONGE. It really helps if you do that. Don't tell me you dont have a sponge nearby... or you dont have a water bottle!!! Almost nobody does this.... but the professionals do. So dont make excuses about not having a WET SPONGE to wipe the iron on and... just get one. A twelve ounce water bottle will last you 6 months or a year of use without having to refill it. HERES the 3rd thing that will help... Go to radio shack and get a little tin of SOLDER IRON TIP CLEANER. it is in a little tin cup that is only about 3 bucks. It will last you for YEARS... so dont be CHEAP. It really helps. To use it you just put the iron tip in the chemical goop. Use this method ONLY if the wet sponge doesn't do the trick. 4th tip... LIGHTLY scrape off the blackened area and IMMEDIATELY tin the tip and wipe in the sponge. SCRAPE the tip is a last resort. If you take care of the tip as described above... then this will not be necessary.
Cheap tips have very poor iron plating. Decent tips don't. What ever you do don't sandpaper the tip of an iron to clean it. I don't think tinning prevents corrosion - corrosion is caused BY the solder, but a clean tinned tip will solder much better.
Jorsher6 years ago
Keep the tip "tinned" during use and afterwards. This keeps a thin layer of solder on the tip which helps prevent corrosion and gives better heat transfer. All you have to do is cover the tip in solder and clean off the flux. Frequent heat changes and not tinning it will cause corrosion.