385Views6Replies

Author Options:

What am i doing wrong with soldering? Answered

So im still pretty new to electronics and obviously my projects involve soldering.  But here's my problem, i go through tips too often. i dont use my soldering iron too much but my tips still oxidize all the time.  I tin the tips when i use them but they still get oxidized.  Although my iron is from radioshack, (i know not a quality iron) could that be the problem? or that my solder is lead-free? If anyone could tell me why my tips still get oxidized all the time that would be great, thanks in advance.

6 Replies

user
framistan (author)2012-07-10

My boss recently bought us some radioshack cheap irons. YES they have cheap tips that last a couple weeks, then start to look like a charcoal. Whenever ours gets bad like that, i just use a grinding-wheel to sharpen the tip and re-tin the tip immediately. Some tips are made of "nickel" or other silvery metal and they last longer. For the occasional hobbyist these irons are ok but for constant usage it is worth the money to buy a better quality iron.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

user
caarntedd (author)2012-07-09

I just happened to look at the main instructables page, (Click on the robot logo at the top of this page) and there is an instructable on choosing the correct tip for your soldering needs in the technology section. When I opened the instructable up,there were many related soldering iron instructables down the right hand side of the page (similar to those on the right of this page). You should find something that can help you somewhere in here. :)

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

user
steveastrouk (author)2012-07-09

WIPE the tip GENTLY on damp foam - NOT wet, just damp, and it cleans the tip.

Switch off when not in use - baking the tips is another reason they get burned.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

user
Jack A Lopez (author)2012-07-09

Reducing the temperature of the soldering iron will help to keep the tips from disappearing so quickly.  I think the usual way (and also the way I do it)  to reduce the temperature of a cheap soldering iron is to run the power to it through a triac-type lamp dimmer, using a setup like shown here:
https://www.instructables.com/id/10ish_DIY_Variable_Temp_Soldering_Iron_Controller/
and here:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Recycling-your-old-dimmer-switch-as-a-variable-tem/

Another approach is to find a cheap way to make replacement tips.  I claim that replacement soldering iron tips can be made from 6 AWG solid copper wire, as shown in this 'ible:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Soldering-iron-tips-from-6-AWG-copper-wire/

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

user
frollard (author)2012-07-09

Once the outer layer of your tip is 'dissolved' (which it will, the tin solder literally dissolves it) - it gets to the copper core which quickly disappears, this is normal. Cheaper tips will disappear more quickly.

Keep your tip clean, and at the lowest reasonable temperature to get the job done. Hotter = faster destruction.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

user
canucksgirl (author)frollard2012-07-09

+1

The solder may also be a factor... They don't have a "standard" mix as to their ingredients and can vary from one company to another... They are also said by many health experts to be worse for you than the traditional solder...

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer