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my soldering iron isnt working properly! PLZ HELP ? Answered

I have just brought a brand new soldering iron. I just plugged it in and kept it aside for a minute (so that it becomes hot ). after a minute or so Inoticed my iron's color gradually became darker (from silver to black). Its a brand new product and now it is not getting hot faster.please help


i had this problem with a soldering iron once, id suggest buying a pot of tip cleaner. it usually comes as a yellowy resiny block in a tin you just turn on your iron and wipe it on so it coats the tip, then wipe it off on a wet sponge and it should be clean again. always tin your soldering iron before you use it to stop this happening. it wont look brand new because the heat changes the colour of the metal naturally to a more coppery or grey colour, so if this is the case its perfectly normal.

I was taught that when you get a new tip you should wrap it with a spiral of new rosin core solder before turning it on.  Then you let it melt and it will create a nice shiny tip...when you turn it off be sure to add a bunch of solder effectively covering the tip before turning it off, the solder on the tip prevents corrosion damage to the tip.

I have always used this method and I have tips that are many years old (10+) but I also do not use my iron for anything but soldering (its amazing what people use these for...melting plastic etc.).

Upkeep on your tools and proper use will make them last many years.  I have a Weller station which is 15+ years old and a Hakko 936 that I bought about 2 years ago.  Both of which I had no tip issues with.

 As a licensed welder I have learned that copper will alloy with the tin when heated( more when flux is used).
As an electronics hobbist (36 years) and Tech.advisor for several companies;I personally have observed that the best care for a tip is,NO abrasives or acids.As for the discolorisation,try rubbing alcohol 70%<.All it might be is packing oils burning off.
I hope this helps.

Get a razor blade and scrape the crud off of the tip...It shuld do the trick..

If it has a copper tip the sand it down and tin it with fresh solder. It won't ruin it in fact you may have to do this regularly depending on how often you leave the iron on and not in use. If it started as a silvery bit all over ( a iron bit) then get it hot and wipe it on a WET sponge - very wet. This should clean it well enough to put fresh solder onto it. As an electronics teacher we have 40+ soldering irons in the labs of both types.

This is plain wrong. A soldering iron tip is plated with iron, because solder will only very slowly dissolve iron, and you can preserve the profile of the tip and get good heat transfer. Break the iron layer, and the tip disintegrates very rapidly, especially at the higher temperatures that lead -replacement solders need. The best way to shift the oxide is with a brass bristled wire brush - a few seconds of vigourous brushing shifts the oxide and you can re-tin the tip - it helps to dip the tip in some plumbers flux at this point, but a bit of patience with multi-core and you get the same result. DON'T use a "very wet" sponge, use a just barely wet one - rapid chilling will ruin the element in short order, and the additional friction from a drier sponge helps break down oxide.

Absolutely right! Having worked for a soldering iron manufacturer I know a thing or two about how tips are made and how to take care of the equipment. Unless one has a very old soldering iron, chances are your copper tip has an iron layer and a chrome layer on the top part. Why? Simple, copper is an excellent conductor of heat but tin dissolves copper. When this happens at a high temperature, the copper dissolution rate accelerates in a logarithmic manner, shortening your tip life considerably. That is why copper tips are iron plated (generally 100 to 200 microns depending on manufacturer and tip geometry). The main function of the iron layer is to protect the copper from being in contact with tin. While this will reduce thermal efficiency, a balance is gained by providing longer life to your tip. Therefore, never, ever sand a tip unless its a pure copper tip with no platting. The best method is patience and the use of multi-core solder that contains flux. If in a hurry, go with the brass brush. As for the chrome layer, it is placed on areas where we don't need any solder as chrome will "repel" tin and not allow to adhere to it. After all, we certainly don't want solder all over a tip, we want it at the very end.

Thank you ! Sanding tips is a great way to destroy them.

my tip is razor sharp, if it isn't then I sand it sharper, in 5 years when my tip in sanded to nothing, i'll buy another iron for $12. I have never had any problems with this.

yep, and thats even a good price for a new iron at radioshack prices

maybe its a faulty product, take it back to where you bought it from and get a refund or replacement.

there are many ways to make your soldering iron work, first of all, if the tip of the iron is dirty or covered with some kind of metal like lead, clean it with a dry sponge while its heating, or you can unscrew your soldering iron and check out the connection inside it and make sure everything is alright. If none of them are working. Your gonna have to buy a new one. Oh as a matter of fact, maybe, the edge of the tip of the iron could be working to melt. Hope this helps. good luck


9 years ago

If you're talking about the body of the iron, it's normal. It's just heat discoloration. If the tip, that's normal too, but you need to make sure you're applying solder right away to keep it off.

I usually just sand off the oxide coating, and then re-tin the tip with fresh solder.

Regarding the legend of the special tip "coating" that others have warned you not to sand away, let me humbly tell you the story of copper soldering iron tips that come with no factory coating, because they're homemade!

(a shameless plug for one of my own instructables)

I think soldering iron tips being slowly consumed by the heat they live and work in is just a sad fact of life.

Sand the tip. Re-tin it. This is the way.

i always used a damp sponge with a green scouring pad bonded to it to clean it and re-tin before using. tin transfers heat real good.

it's normal for the discoloration to happen as heat oxidizes metal if it seems it's not getting hot as fast as it used to the contact is probably loose use a wrench to tighten it. tinning isn't that important as long as the joint is held still in cooling it wont turn into cold solder when these get assembled some parts only get hand tightened they are good irons but not as versital as the pencil type.

when my tip gets dirty i just sand it to a sharp point with sandpaper and tin it...

still works for me... just keep sanding it if anything goes wrong.

depends on the brand and type it always works for me too and now me 1inch tip is now a 1cm. tip!


9 years ago

There might be a thin layer of plastic on the iron, like mine. The exact same thing happened to mine, but I recognised the smell so I sanded the tip with some sandpaper (after cooling it first. I'm not stuipid!).

Just a quick question, did you tin the tip first time you switched it on? Turning a brand new soldering iron on without tinning the tip will effectively kill it. Basically the bare metal is heating up, increasing the speed of the oxidisation process.

What you have there is a solid thick oxide layer that will act as an insulator and slow the heat transfer process. What you need is to clean the tip and keep it tinned with a bit of solder every time you finish using it. There are small tins of compressed solder powder that you can get with flux mixed in that act as tip cleaners and tinners in one. Massively handy and invaluable in any solderer's tool kit. Take a look around your local electronics store to find one.

Here's an example from Maplin in the UK: http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?moduleno=3929

Hope that helps.

it may just have been "breaking in" since it was new but it may be burning out because one of mine did that and it just stopped working!!! it may just have been a dodgy product so mabye you could send it back to the store you got it from? or mabye check the fuse in the plug!!! cm