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Soldering tips are delicate and prone to cracks, especially if you are applying excessive pressure on the surface. Inexperienced operators are known to press the tip hard on the joint surface when applying solder, causing cracks.
Cracks also develop as a result of dropping the iron on a hard surface. The cracks cause the tips to deform and bend, making the plating layers to exfoliate. Also, the surface of the tip becomes exposed to oxygen, moisture, and tin, which accelerates oxidation and erosion.
Most lead-free soldering applications need high processing temperatures, which expose the tip to high temperatures. Wiping the hot tip with a wet cleaning sponge creates shock which may cause cracks to develop on the plating layer.
Soldering tips may wear out prematurely, especially if you don’t know how to use it properly. Experienced operators are also likely to experience wear and tear too. The plating layer wears out, exposing the copper core leading to corrosion.
Soldering tips corrode when exposed to oxygen, excessive heat, flux residues, among other external factors. Operators using flux are likely to cause the tip to erode rapidly.
It is the most common indication of a worn-out tip or one that needs fixing. De-wetting occurs as a result of:
Keep away any conductive materials from the working surface. Then, unplug the soldering iron from the power source to begin working on it.
Inspect the tip and detach it from the iron using a screwdriver. Check if the cracked surface extends beyond the neckline, or it is located on the neckline. If the latter, you need to replace it with a new one.
Start by sanding the cracked surface to restore its shape. It also minimizes exposure beyond the surface of the tip. Then, tilt the tip and align it to the pointed part to restore its shape. Use set screws to re-assemble the iron. Fit the tip back to the heater assembly once you have achieved the desired shape.
Plug it into the power outlet and wait for it to heat up. Once heated, dip the tip into the Plato Tip Tin TT-95. Roll it to treat the exposed copper surface and ensure the entire surface is reconditioned. It also ensures that the inner copper core remains isolated when soldering lead is applied during soldering projects.
Fine tips are ideal for soldering delicate surfaces and not heavy-duty soldering jobs. Broad tips are suitable for any given job. Experts advise using chisel-shaped tips and not conical-shaped tips. Also, when soldering lead on Gull Wing or J Led components use the GW tips along with liquid flux.
Use the appropriate support for the iron and inspect it to ensure it does not have worn out or damaged funnel. If you fail to do this, the iron may bang against the funnel spring.
Tinning not only reduces oxidation, but it also increased the surface area over which heat is transferred. It also eliminates the need to press the tip hard on the surface.
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