I will be discussing how the choose the correct tip for the project that you are soldering. There are many different tips by many different manufactureres, some are even patented by certain manufacturers such as the z wave tip by Pace. I will be using my home setup as reference.

Guidelines for choosing a tip

Choose a tip compatible with you iron

Determine the style of tip, some tips work better than others I explain a bit more below

Determine the correct size tip, too small and heat will not be transfered well too large and you could over hang the pad and damage the board.

Tips that I use

I am not a fan of conical tips especially for beginners. Most people, when learning to solder, think that applying pressure will help the solder flow and end up damaging the board. Also any tip with a point will have a shorter life due to the amount of metal at the tip, the sharper the point the shorter the lifespan.

I prefer chisel tips, the one pictured is over 3years old. I like them especially for surface mount applicationss. The idea is to have the tip be 60% the width of the pad, this will allow the soldering process to take place as quickly as possible with the least amount of thermal stress on the compoent. Chisel tips are thicker at the tip which will store more heat. I have differnt sized chisel tips for different applications

Chisel tips are ideal for:
Through hole
Surface mount
desoldering w/ solder braid

I also use a "Hoof" tip or gullwing tip. I use this for drag soldering multi lead SMT IC packages. Drag soldering is a thing of beauty. You can solder a 120 pin flat pack in minutes. This technique can be tricky because you need to have the right amount of solder applied to the tip or you will bridge the leads. I also use this tip for "blue wiring" circuits using small gauge wire.

Hoof Tips are ideal for:
Drag soldering
soldering small gauge wires

As I stated there are many styles and sizes of tips these are just a few that I use. I will conclude this instrucable with a few tips.
Always treat tips as thought they are hot, even if you know that it isn't

Do not use excessive preassure when soldering , you can damage your tip and your project.

when you are finished soldering apply a thin layer of solder to the tip, this will help prevent oxidation

Never use the tip as a pry bar or screwdriver

Use the lowest temperature possible, this will prevent premature wear tot he tip and damage to the components

Always use a tip appropriate for the application, you can use the advice in bold as a guideline.

Turn the system off when not in use, if you aren't going to be usin the iron in the next 10 minutes turn the station off.

Keep your tip clean, I wipe my tip on a damp sponge after every solder joint is completed.

I hope that you found this informative. If you should have any questions feel free to ask.

<p>My Weller 921X (obsolete, I think) needs a new tip. No info on the iron as to its model, and I am having a hard time finding any information on the 921X Any ideas? Tip #? Iron #</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Dave</p>
Where's a good place to go and get different soldering tips? For a soldering station what is a good model to get? I just have a butane soldering iron and I think a low wattage radioshack one.
I generally use Hakko products, they produce a quality line of solder/rework stations at a good price. Pair that with the great customer service they offer. However for large volume production/rework I have used Metcal/Pace. <br> <br> That being said, if you want to spring for a Hakko system search amazon for the FX888D it will run you around $90.00 <br> <br>If you want to get something a bit cheaper I bought the Xtronics 4000 series it comes with a lamp, all be it very cheap, and a variety of tips. I have been using it for over a year without issue. It is based off of the Hakko 936 unit you see above. <br> <br> Hope that helps if you should need anything else just let me know.
Nice writeup. I think the most common mistake people make is using the wrong size tip for the job. Soldering large wires? That tiny tip isn't going to get enough heat into it!!! I was as guilty as anyone of this at one point.
yes soldering is quite easy when you have the right equipment.
I can solder with a pair of pliers holding a rusty nail over a candle. It is all in the wrist!
I prefer this method, surprisingly rusty nails tin very well. ;0)
isn't a hoof tip just a round chissel tip? if not then i don't know what one of them is
a hoof tip has a flat angled side like a hoof. this way you can apply solder and run it across leads and drag solder. see picture 3 above, it has solder on it so you can't see how flat it is.
Thanks I figured that, but is the chissel tip then just an angled square tip?
a chisel is more rounded than square, imagine a conical tip then imagine slicing an angle off two sides from the tip, see image number 2 above
ok now i fully understand. Thanks<br>
I have a few questions. How come you cannot figure out how to use conical soldering iron tips? I mean if you knew then you'd know they have their uses. Maybe you just don't do the kinds of things conical tips work well with. What with all your high falutin surface mount soldering you're doing there. Well la de da!<br> <br> Why do you want to solder cold? I was trained by professionals to work hot, and fast. Oh yeah, I had to do plenty of surface mount then too. Enough so I tend not to do it anymore for just myself now. No real reason to you know? Man I hated doing those surface mount transistors. You know, the side with the 2 pads on it? Phew, skip that noise! But when you solder for other folks then you have to solder what they want you to.<br> <br> Why do you wipe your tip off after you solder? Wouldn't it make more sense to wipe it off before you solder? I happen to know it does, but I'm curious about your explanation.<br> <br> I have a Weller station, you can idle those things forever. I use mine as a space heater in the winter. Heck, when I bench soldered for a living we'd flip them on in the morning, then turn them off, maybe, before we left at night. I guess that Hacko thing you have isn't as good. What does your Hacko soldering iron do so bad if you idle it for more than 10 minutes?<br> <br> Maybe you should circular file your Hacko and pick up a Weller? Oh, and don't get one with one of those stupid knobs on it. Get an iron that just runs at the right temperature. All a knob is going to do for you is have a bunch of incorrect settings. Only one temperature is right. That of course is the right temperature, all the rest are wrong.<br> <br> I'm starting to think you're one of those subjective people types. You know what they say opinions are like though don't you? Everyone has one! Thing is I don't want to see what most folks have though. If I did I'd spend my time in the monkey house at the zoo ...
Was using a butane iron with a wrecked tip for small gauge wires (repairing a damaged speedlite) and it was hell, not being able to pick up the solder easily made the work really tricky...

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