Anyone who works with soldering irons and tips should understand how to properly care for them, as replacement costs for these pieces of equipment are a sometimes significant yet unnecessary expense for businesses. At Kimco Distributing, we have compiled a list of best practices regarding soldering iron and tip care that many businesses in the electronics repair industry follow. Taking these steps can improve soldering irons’ and tips’ life spans, thereby reducing replacement expenses and the frustration that arises when a tool breaks.
Preparing to Solder
Select a high-quality solder
Impurities in solder will build up on the soldering tip and reduce the tips’ heat transfer efficiency.
Keep the tip clean
The iron’s tip should be cleaned periodically throughout the soldering process, to ensure maximum heat transfer and prolong the tip’s life. This is easily done by occasionally wiping the tip on a wet sponge or using a metal mesh pad.
Do not clean the tip too often
While the tip should stay shiny, it should not be cleaned too frequently. Excessive cleaning will cause a dramatic increase in the tip’s temperature. The various metals in the tip will expand at different rates if the temperature rises too quickly.
Do not use flux as a cleaner
Flux is corrosive and should not be used as a tip cleaner.
Flush the tip with solder
After soldering, the soldering tip should be flushed and re-tinned. An easy way to do this is clean the tip, fill it with solder and wipe it clean again.
Loosen the tip from the iron
Immediately after soldering, the screw or nut holding the tip should be loosened. This will prevent it from seizing up, which can damage the soldering iron.
Following these tips (no pun intended) will keep your soldering irons and tips from Kimco Distributing in excellent condition. There is no reason not to implement these best practices into the soldering process.