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Solder Iron 
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:01 am
Posts: 3
Post Solder Iron
Hello,

I am COMPLETELY new to soldering and I just recently got a soldering kit for christmas.

It is a Maplin kit: [LINK REMOVED BY ADMIN]

I think the soldering iron is 30W.

I've done a little project with it and I was able to make it - it wasn't perfect though! HA

Anyway, when I used the soldering Iron again I noticed that the solder wasn't going on as easily and was instead balling up. Nor was the solder melting quick enough even after holding the Iron to the part for quite a long time in soldering iron terms.

I did tin the soldering iron the first time I used it.

I have done a bit of reading and it seems like the tip of the iron has oxidised?

Why has this happened exactly?

For future reference - in between soldering bits on a project do I just leave the iron on and in its holder until I am ready to use it again. Some articles were saying that you should switch it off - but obviously in between soldering bits on a project you may only need to put it down for 30 secs or so?

Maybe I left it too long in between soldering bits on the project and thats why its oxidised? Do you always need to tin the tip in between using it?

Just need some clarification...

Also - is this soldering iron not the best and should I possibly look for another one? I am just a beginner though, not sure what I should do. Not sure if I have messed the iron I have already up!

Thanks

Christina


Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:33 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:15 pm
Posts: 627
Post Re: Solder Iron
Quote:
I have done a bit of reading and it seems like the tip of the iron has oxidised?

Why has this happened exactly?


The most common cause is the soldering iron getting too hot for the solder but that said I wouldn't expect a 30W iron to be a problem. I don't see any temperature control on that iron but if it is adjustable you want the temperature to be around 350oC.

It is however normal to have to clean the tip from time to time. Especially before and after the iron is used as this is when the temperature of the iron is most likely to spike. A damp sponge is the most common way but there are other methods such as tip cleaners or abrasive cleaning pads.

Also, I cant tell if the solder supplied in the kit is lead free or not. I tend to find the lead free stuff is not as tolerant of high temperatures or re-heating. The solder should also have flux in it. Don't buy solder that doesn't contain flux, its normally used for plumbing and is no good for soldering components.


Quote:
For future reference - in between soldering bits on a project do I just leave the iron on and in its holder until I am ready to use it again. Some articles were saying that you should switch it off - but obviously in between soldering bits on a project you may only need to put it down for 30 secs or so?


For short intervals, especially when its only a few minutes, I would leave it on. You'd probably cause more wear and tear buy constantly switching it on and off.


Quote:
Do you always need to tin the tip in between using it?


I'd recommend doing it when you first turn the iron on.

Quote:
Also - is this soldering iron not the best and should I possibly look for another one? I am just a beginner though, not sure what I should do. Not sure if I have messed the iron I have already up!


If you plan to use it a lot it's worth getting a temperature controlled iron. If you're just doing the odd bit of soldering then a simple iron will be fine. I doubt very much that you have damaged the one you have (assuming the iron works well in the first place). You probably just need to clean the tip with something slightly abrasive. If you'd rather not have to buy one of the things mentioned above, and you don't care too mush about prematurely wearing out the tip, you can try GENTLY scraping off the oxidisation with the edge of a knife or some fine sandpaper.

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Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:45 am
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