Soldering Irons

Hi guys, having a moment lol.

Should soldering iron tips just come to a point or should they have a flat on them for best results?

I remember soldering as a child and it being pretty bang on, and remember it being with tips with flats on that my dad used to have for work.

These days they all seem to be the point type like this:

Please help

Andy

To be honest it is a mix between personal preference and what your trying to do. For obvious reasons you would prefer a fine tip when soldering SMD parts. On the other hand I prefer using a flat slightly larger tip when desoldering an IC and also set the temp of my station to the max for a long IC. They sell sets on eBay containing 5 different tips for a fair price, maybe you should consider one of those, to both find your favorite tip and also have some different ones on hand should you need them. My soldering station came with several good quality tips and I still haven't had the need to replace them.

Sincerely yours,

Mike

Should soldering iron tips just come to a point or should they have a flat on them for best results?

I suspect that that is one of those questions with no right answer. Boils down to use case and personal preference. 85% of my soldering is PC board work with a round tip. The other 15% is soldering brass sheet and tube, I like a chisel tip for that.

Even for surface mount you may prefer a flat surface to facilitate drag soldering. If you need to solder a piece of magnet wire on a fine pitch pin that seems like a point would be the thing to have. I think in general you get more surface contact with flat so it transfers heat better.

And whatever you do, don’t use leadfree solder. It is crap, and your soldering will look like it’s been done by a 4 year old. You will get blobs hanging on your components wires and the point where you have retracted your tip will have a sharp pointy bit of solder hanging on the wire. It looks bad, and it also makes for bad electrical conductivity. I’m sure others will agree with me.

Mike

Definitely a small flat is good - much more effective thermal transfer. Never try to create one with
a file, soldering-iron tips are made of copper which is dissolved rather rapidly in solder. There is a
thin layer of iron plating on the tip to protect it, once that's pierced the thing will decay like a bad
tooth...

I used to use lead solder in the old days, these days I use leadfree because I have no desire to poison
myself any more. Proper lead-free solder is totally fine to work with (its an alloy of tin copper and silver).
The silver-free version of lead-free (just copper and tin) is hopeless, I agree, its not a eutectic so it goes horribly pasty and cannot be reworked at all.

Eutectics are alloys that melt/freeze uniformly without going through a mushy/pasty phase, this is
essential to good hand-soldering. This is also why 63/37 lead solder is better than 60/40 (NASA only uses
63/37, for instance).

andyb6:
Hi guys, having a moment lol.

Should soldering iron tips just come to a point or should they have a flat on them for best results?

I remember soldering as a child and it being pretty bang on, and remember it being with tips with flats on that my dad used to have for work.

These days they all seem to be the point type like this:

https://hobbyking.com/en_us/medium-fine-soldering-iron-tip-1pcs-bag.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAv_HSBRCkARIsAGaSsrC374eaBsbGZOR2yx2mUskcQGMMUXTwcUiVrcTZ2yhKUNs7KfSc16kaAjX6EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&___store=en_us

Please help

Andy

When I started soldering it was valve/tube sockets with large 1 to 2 watt resistors and can capacitors.
Needed a lot of heat to solder or un-solder.
then it was perf board with wire wrap pins. Soldered with components to the little notch in the wire wrap pin.
That was insane. I remember be asked to "fix" boards with were all yellow insulated wire wrap wire.

This is more about personnel preference.
I look more for a comfortable iron for hold during hours of soldering.
Concerning tips, I look for changeable tips.
I have pin-point tips, chisel tips, forked tips, knife tips, a bar tip
Which tip I use depends on what I am working on.
The small pin-point tip is good for fixing "tombstones", Surface mount devices which stand up on one end during their time in the oven.

the bar tip i use when removing headers or sockets from PCB.
heats the 8 to 16 pins at the same time so the socket or header may be removed with less thermal stress.

I use to have socket tips, they would heat both rows of the socket pins at the same time, somehow they were lost in all the moves over the years.

I guess I go for comfort first. If an iron has all the greatest tips but is not comfortable I would probably not use it. Next would be temperature control. I like to be able to dial in a temperature.

The next feature would be does the soldering station have a vacuum line for sucking melted solder away.
A easy to use solder sucker is a must.

Thank you so much guys! Been to mums today and collected my soldering station (was playing with gas soldering irons earlier.)

Also I've just looked at the solder I was using. Composition sn(Tin) 99.3% Cu 0.7%

I have a few other rolls of solder here, so will give them a blast :slight_smile:

I'll keep you updated. Many thanks once again!

Andy

Right that is the pin headers soldered onto the EF02037.

I found a smaller tip (flat on both sides) and some old solder which worked well. As Mike said above, it doesn't look like it was done by a 4 year old now :slight_smile:

Happy days, now just to work out how to connect the EF02037 to the UNO & run the LCD at the same time

Many thanks guys

Andy