Instructables

Why's my iron not heating properly?

I have a 25w soldering iron(made in India) which i bought online 3 months back. 2 months it worked fine but now it is not heating the solder properly and making very bad connections. Can anyone suggest me a solution? 

Is the tip clean ? Does it look shiny metal colour or black ?
Ankan Nayak (author)  steveastrouk1 year ago
Tip is black due to the usage of 2months but I clean it always with steel wool before using it.
There's your problem, it should never be "black"
It shouldn't EVER need cleaning with steel wool ! It should be wiped gently on a damp cloth when hot, every few joints.
> It should never be black
True. Very true.

> It shouldn't EVER need cleaning with steel wool ! It should be wiped gently on a damp cloth when hot, every few joints.
Errr, while the damp cloth/wet sponge method worked for decades (and still works and is used) it has the down side of cooling the tip very much. Some modern hand soldering tools have a piece of metal wool (instead of the sponge) to clean the tip.

Of course, you don't grind down the tip, you just slightly wipe off the oxides on top of the molten lead ever few joints.

Ankan: Never clean / grind your tip when it's cold. (Never)

Use high quality electronic lead with internal flux/resin core. Never, and I mean NEVER! use flux for soft welding (plumbing, glass works etc) on an electronic welding tip! Don't overheat your iron. 350°C is more that enough unless you weld high current connections (i.e. thick connectors).

Try to revive your iron, by heating it up, put the good lead on it and try to make it stick, you may even use some heat resistant ceramics to hold the tip in the molten lead and let the flux do its work. Every some seconds, clean the tip (steel wool or wet sponge/cloth). Just wipe, don't grind! After some time, the solder should start to stick to the tip, giving it the silvery shine again. Make sure you clean the tip when you pause working and especially when you let it cool down.
The secret is to keep the cloth you wipe barely moist, not really "wet"