Author Options:

How do i tin my soldering iron and question? Answered

ok so i just got a soldering iron from radioshack. its is adjustable from 20 to 50 watts. I also have leadfree solder from radioshack. so without tinning or cleaning of any sort (im new to this) i made a couple connections. (8? not at the same time) And so i looked up how to solder cause knew how to do it but i wanted to be more informed. So i learn you have to tin the tip, i go to attepmt to do it and my solder was "beading" or "balling" away from the iron and it started to turn the tip black and i attempted to rub the black of with a sponge but nothing. so what do i do? I also may have accidentally tinned it the first time because i know i accidentally touched the iron with the solder and now there is a spot that is shiny and soldering is easier when i do it with that part. DId i accidentally tin it or is it something else?


ok so i have tried your methods, but to no avail. what should i do now? new solder? New tip?

Is the iron on its hottest setting ? Lead free solder is much harder to use than tin/lead.

Get some real plumbers flux from the local DIY store and try wiping the iron on a pad coated with that.


does the flux have lead in it? cause my dad wont let me get anything with lead in it. Also if i comes to having to get a new tip, does it make a difference if i get the pencil style tip or the chisel type tip? or is it just preference?

Flux doesn't have lead in it, and no-one died from using lead solders - more people will die when planes fall out of the sky, because their electronics were made with lead-free solder than have ever died from the effects of lead solder.

Personally, I always prefer a chisel tip, unless I am working with very fine surface mount stuff.


Great link
Note: I am ONLY advocating plumber's flux for cleaning his recalcitrant tip !!!

Basically, if you can avoid lead-free, I would do, if you want decent joints with consumer grade tools.


Rub VERY gently on some wire wool.