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Author Topic: Fixing up a solder iron  (Read 572 times)
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Northern California (by San Francisco)
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I've returned to electronics as a hobby after a break of 10 years or so. My soldering iron is a bit the worse for wear. The tip has some black spots on it that keep it from holding solder on those spots when I try to tin the iron before soldering. Those spots also will not transfer heat to the wires I want to solder. I have to find a clean spot on the tip to get the job done.

I'd like to clean up the tip. I tried some fine-grain sandpaper, and that took a lot of it off. But some black spots remain. Should I use a knife to scrape them off? Use some coarser sandpaper? Or just give up and buy a new tip?

Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions from their more extensive experience.

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The Netherlands
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Just get a new tip. They are not expensive, and even if you manage to get the tip cleaned up you'll still have a tip that isn't 100% anymore.
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Agreed, get a new tip.

Hakko has some nice technical notes on taking care of your tip:

http://www.hakkousa.com/doc_library.asp?DocType=Tech+Note&offset=20

It's tech notes TN00000025 through TN00000027.

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Northern California (by San Francisco)
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Makes sense. Thanks for the tips.
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The Netherlands
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When you get a new one, get two of them. That way you'll have a spare when you screw one up. You'll see that you kill it when you really want to finish that one circuit and all stores are closed smiley
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You should also get a variety of sizes and types of tips, so you can change them round when you solder different things. I would buy a large chisel tip, a smaller chisel tip and a pointy tip. This allows you to solder in small spaces, join thick wires and have a spare tip for playing around with.

Onions.
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North Yorkshire, UK
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You should also get a variety of sizes and types of tips, so you can change them round when you solder different things. I would buy a large chisel tip, a smaller chisel tip and a pointy tip. This allows you to solder in small spaces, join thick wires and have a spare tip for playing around with.
I'd say that's a bit un-necessary - Maybe 2 tips. I've managed with a 2-3mm chisel tip for about a year and I solder everything with it - you just need practice and some good solder.
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Most important - keep the new tip clean all the time.

It will give it a much longer life, and make your soldering better.
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I get by with a chisel tip and a small pointy one, mostly I just use the small pointy one since I hardly ever solder large surfaces.
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