Tip Maintenance

  • Unique Hakko products you didn't know you needed.

    Hakko is well known for soldering stations and tips, but their product line is wider and more innovative than you may realize.

    Here are some Hakko products that you may not be aware of.

     

     

     

    Hakko FS100-01 Tip Rejuvenating / Cleaning Chemical Paste

    Hakko FS100-01 Tip Rejuvenating / Cleaning Chemical Paste

    "Tip tinner" paste is vital to maintaining soldering and desoldering tip life. Hakko's FS100-01 is an affordable way to keep your tips in great shape. Make sure to check out the included video on extending tip life with this amazing paste.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Hakko FT-710 Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner

     Hakko FT-710 Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner

    Speaking of tip maintenance, the new Hakko FT-710 tip cleaner unit is the perfect companion to your Hakko tip tinner paste. This unit is easy to use and features metal brushes that scrub your soldering tips with amazing success. Keeping tips clean makes them last substantially longer, which translates into big savings for you over time. Plus, it looks cool!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Hakko 394-01 Vacuum Pick-up Tool Complete with Batteries

    Hakko 394-01 Vacuum Pick-up Tool Complete with Batteries

    Hakko makes this handy battery operated vacuum unit for picking up small components. Whether you are a seasoned industry vet, or a part-time hobbyist, this little unit will come in handy while performing assemblies and repairs.

    Check back with us frequently for more updates on unique new Hakko products!

  • Take Care of Your Solder Tips when Lead-Free Soldering

    Lead FreeIn the mid-2000s, many electronics manufacturers were in a panic. The European Union had mandated that most electronic products be manufactured with lead-free solder by July 1, 2006, in large part because of concern about the effect of lead in discarded printed circuit boards (PCB) on the environment. This meant that anyone who wanted to do business in the EU had to "get the lead out."

    But what can be used instead of standard tin-lead solder, which was cheap and worked well? And what are the considerations to equipment lead-free solder presents?

    One of the most widely used lead-free solders has become SAC305 tin-silver-copper (Sn-Ag-Cu), in large part because of its reduced melting point. In general, however, lead-free solders are not as reliable for mission-critical applications such as military and aerospace. And one problem that's been reported with largely tin-based solders is the formation of tin "whiskers," which can cause shorts in electronics equipment.

    The generally higher melting temperatures of lead-free solders can cause soldering tip defects and premature wear when hand soldering. This, in turn, can lead to surface contamination and nonwettability. Using Sn-Ag-Cu solder, for example, can erode the iron plating on a solder tip four to five times faster than when using traditional tin-lead solder.

    To ensure longer life of your soldering tip when hand soldering, proper care of the tip is required. Tip temperature plays a big role in durability. Using a lower temperature, when possible, can mean increased solder tip longevity. Temperature modulation tools (Auto Turn Off) within the soldering station can help you keep the heat off as much as possible.

    It's also important to clean your solder tip regularly, especially when using rosin-based flux, which is highly corrosive. Cleaning should be done with a wet sponge or brass wire sponge to remove as much flux and oxides as possible after soldering.  If conventional cleaning methods do not work, consider using a tip polisher like the Hakko FT700.  ThinkingEngineer

  • Soldering: Tips, Tricks, Techniques & Tools To Make Life Easier - Part 2: Techniques

    03-03-2012-09

    Working in the electronics industry means you'll have to solder something at one point in time or another. If you work on car stereos, televisions, home electronics such as DVD players, computers, or even do cell phone repair, the odds are you'll have to learn to solder. Whether you're rebuilding an old radio for a hobby, repair the battery leads on a handheld radio or replace the power supply in a television, knowing how to solder, even knowing just a few basic techniques means you'll be able to take care of the job.

    Here are some techniques you'll appreciate knowing whether you're a novice with an iron or an old hand:

    - Use a HOT iron. Having a soldering station such as an Weller Digital Soldering Station or a Hakko Dual Port Station lets you know when you're iron is at the right temperature. Trying to use an iron that's too cool is the perfect way to make a real mess.

    - When working with virtually anything, tin your leads. This especially applies to stranded wire since strands can come loose and make a bad connection to another part. Tinning leads on capacitors, resistors, transistors and even chips means they'll make a fast connection when placed.

    - Clip your leads to the right length before soldering. Most leads on caps and resistors are much longer than necessary and clipping them to the right length before soldering makes a much neater, more stable connection. Also, a long lead can reach something metal like a case and create a shorted connection.

    - Use enough solder (but not too much!) If you've not used enough solder, a component may look like it has a good connection but it's actually a cold connection that can cost you hours of troubleshooting time. Too much solder can create jumped connections between components, can actually create a cold solder because it cools before it flows and (simply for aesthetics) looks unprofessional.

    - Keep your soldering iron tip clean. After virtually every connection you solder, wipe the tip on a wet sponge pad or brass wire sponge to remove flux and excess solder.

    - Use a board cleaner such as Tech-Spray degreasers and flux removers before and after a soldering job. Having a clean board makes for better connections and after you're through, cleaning off the excess flux makes for a neater appearance and could prevent shorted connections.

    - If you're working with a board with any low voltage chips on it, you'll want to make sure you're using either an ESD mat or pad or have a grounded wrist strap in place. Not only is it frustrating enough to solder in several chips but they're almost impossible to find if one gets damaged from electro-static discharge.

    One way to get better at soldering is to practice. That may sound like one of those trite sayings, but it is definitely true. Take time on an old board to remove and replace components so you can get the feel of how things should go. If you haven't soldered in a while, also sit down with an old board and practice a bit to get your technique back.

    ThinkingEngineer

  • Soldering: Tips, Tricks, Techniques & Tools To Make Life Easier - Part 1:Tools

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    As with any job, having the right tools, including the know-how to use them and to take advantage of things you may not consider to be tools for the job certainly makes life easier. Also, learning the tips, tricks and techniques to not only do the job right but to do it in ways that are faster and easier is well worth the effort you'll make to figure them out. With soldering, there are tools you'll need, tools you'll want and tips and tricks that not only make life easier but will help you do your job faster.

    In this first article, we'll go over the tools you'll want to have on hand:

    - First, you'll want a very good temperature controlled soldering iron. For instance, a Hakko ESD-Safe Dual port station with at least one iron is a good choice. If you fix electronics for a living, this will be your bread and butter so don't skimp.

    - Another tool you'll want to have is a desoldering pump. Desoldering wick is fine but can be tricky to use. A desoldering pump makes life much easier when it comes to parts removal and cleaning up messes.

    - You'll also want to have crimpers, cutters, wire strippers, screwdrivers (both flat and Phillips as well as Torx), pliers, knives for opening cases, removing main boards, etc.

    - One set of tools you'll definitely appreciate is a set of flat heat resistant plastic or ceramic flat blades, These are good when you need to apply a little bit of torque when desoldering components such as blown resistors or capacitors. Slim, thin blades like these are also great for leveraging chips such as 74LS series which can be stubborn to remove.

    - If you work on a lot of high tech gear, one indispensable item will be ESD pads, mats such as a 3M Static Dissipative workstation mat and wrist straps. ESD stands for Electro-Static Discharge which is the electro-static buildup on your body and on surfaces. A low voltage electronic device such as a microprocessor can be easily damaged by ESD and having a strap on your wrist to ground or grounded pads will help prevent this. It may be a bit of a hassle but having one can save a $300 processor from getting smoked.

    - Another tool that's great to have is what's known as a set of "helping hands". This is a board holding vice with an adjustable set of arms on the ends on a heavy base that's designed to hold up a board so you can have your hands free to control the solder and your iron.

    There are several other things you'll want to have such as a sponge pad station or brass wire sponge to keep your iron's tip clean, plenty of solder such as Kester Rosin-Core or Kester Lead-Free, desoldering wick, solder flux and cleaners such as degreasers and flux removal chemicals. This gives you a quick overview of some tools you'll need and some you'll definitely want when it comes to working on electronics on a daily basis, or if you just work on electronics as a hobby.

    ThinkingEngineer

  • Hand Soldering Tips That Make Sense

    Whether you're a hobbyist playing with electronics projects for fun or a professional who does repairs every day, you know that hand soldering is a skill that takes time, effort and consistency to master. From the simplest repair such as fixing the lead on a nine-volt battery connector to replacing chips in a circuit board, there is a technique and style that makes life a lot easier. Here are some tips that work consistently and will make sure your connections are solid so your project or repair will be perfect.

    1. Use the right tool for the job. You don't use a cannon to kill a mosquito so having an iron with the right tip makes a huge difference.

    2. Using a temperature controlled iron such as one from Hakko means you'll have consistent beads every time.

    3. Keep It Clean! Before you start, use a cleaning spray on the board to remove dirt and gunk with TechSpray or an equivilant. After every bead (or every couple of beads), wipe the tip on a wet sponge or solder tip cleaning wire sponge.

    4. Don't "cook" your connection. Overheating can damage the circuit board or your components and sensitive chips can be expensive to replace.

    5. If you aren't comfortable soldering chips, use a socket and always work with electrostatic discharging mats or straps like those from Desco in place.

    6. Use quality solder such as Kester lead free solders for solid connections and safe soldering.

    7. "Tin" your wires. Not only does this make soldering a much faster process but it provides a much more consistent connection.

    If you don't solder every day, when you sit down to do some, work with a junk board and components to revive your skills. Much like riding a bicycle, after a few efforts, you'll be as sharp as you ever were. Also make sure you have good ventilation so the fumes from the soldering process disperse. These are just a few tips that anyone who hand solders can use and even the pros need to be reminded of on occasion!

  • How To Take Care of a Soldering Iron and Soldering Tips.

     

    Hakko T15-BC15 Tip
    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.

    While Soldering

    • 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.

    After Soldering

    • 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.

  • Why does a Hakko Soldering tip last so long and work so well?

    At GoKimco.com, we carry a full line of Hakko soldering tips, which are considered some of the best in the industry. When it is time to replace a tip, many customers ask us why they should use a Hakko OEM soldering tip, rather than an after-market one. We recommend using Hakko-brand tips for two reasons: they offer better heat transfer and have a higher quality construction than non-OEM tips.

    Heat transfer in soldering is extremely important. Poor thermal conductivity impedes the ability to solder components, and can be a source of aggravation, and can reduce the quality of a project. Kimco Distributors carries Hakko replacement tips, because we believe in giving our customers the tools they need to succeed. If we had only inferior soldering tips that have lower heat transfer rates, our customers would be unable to consistently perform high quality work.

    Hakko soldering tips have thicker plating than most non-OEM tips. On average, we have found that Hakko desoldering nozzles are about twice as thick as other manufacturers. Hakko’s higher quality construction prolongs the life of the tip, without impeding its heat transfer. Even if Hakko tips and nozzles cost a little more than other options, they tend to last much longer. The investment in a quality tool is a wise decision, and translates into long-term savings.

    Customers who visit GoKimco.com in need of Hakko replacement tips have already recognized the importance of quality construction. They use a Hakko-brand soldering station, because they understand how well-made tools impact workflow and the end product’s construction. We recommend continuing to invest in high quality tips and using Hakko-manufactured replacement parts.

    Tip Finder

  • Save Money by maintaining your Soldering Tips

    How to save money by Caring for Tips

    Kimco carries solder tips that are among the highest quality soldering tips available. Many of these tips have been specifically designed for use in the electronics industry and will perform well for months or years, when cared for properly. Below are three ways companies can extend the lifespan of their soldering tips:

    1) Tip Tinning:

    Tinning is perhaps the most important aspect of soldering tip maintenance. Kimco’s soldering tips are built to resist oxidation, but it is impossible to keep metal from corroding over time; especially when the station is left on and the tip is hot - heat speeds up the oxidation buildup.

    Because of the precision electronic repair requires, soldering tips cannot have any oxidation on them. By constantly keeping a soldering tip coated in a thin layer of solder, workers can prevent the tip from corroding from oxidation. Tip tinning is simple and inexpensive way to save money and solder more cost effectively.

    2) Tip Cleaning:

    Even though corrosion renders a tip useless, these tips should be wiped off periodically with a solder tip cleaning sponge or the preferred method of using a brass sponge like the Hakko 599B-02 Replacement Solder Tip Cleaning Wire or Weller WDC2 Dry Tip Cleaning System. The wet sponge seems to be the most popular way, but one downside is the fact that the wet sponge cools off the tip causing the tip to go through a cooling and heating cycle that decrease the life of the tip. Furthermore, the wet sponges seem to redeposit contaiminents back onto the tips at a higher frequency than the soft metal wool ball sponges. Having said that, the sponges seem to be more effective approach to removing flux residues, rosin, solder and dust accumulate on the tip. A periodic wipe keeps a solder tip clean and free of debris.

    3) Solder Hand Piece Storage

    Kimco strongly recommends using a holder, which protects both the soldering equipment and employees. Holders reduce the risk of dropping a hot iron, which would likely damage the tip, the heating elements and could burn a person. The Weller WDH10 Soldering Iron Holder is an example of a holder, but this holder is only compatible with Weller soldering equipment. Most holders come with a sponge and can be positioned between 30° and 80°. For a specific solder iron holder that works with your soldering station, you can search for holders that Kimco Distributing carries or contact us and we'll send you the information you need.

    Dutifully paying attention to these three items will extend the life of the Weller tips sold by Kimco Distributing Corporation’s, thereby reducing company’s costs. No matter how dutifully workers look after their equipment, though, solder station tips will eventually need to be replaced. Companies should never try to sand or file down tips, as this will reduce the heat transfer abilities of the tip and make it uneven. When a tip cannot be cleaned with the metods stated above, it is time to order a replacement tip. Before you order a new tip, we recommend trying to recondition the tip using a Hakko FT700-05 Tip Polisher .

    Kimco Distributors carries a full line of replacement tips for when old ones need replacement.

    Brand of replacement soldering tips we carry:

    Edsyn
    Hakko
    Metcal
    OK International
    PACE
    Plato
    Weller

    We also strives to make our customers more productive and cost effective in their use of the tools we sell. If you have a topic or question concerning any of our tools, ask us. We have over 30 years experience working with these tools, so we might know a trick or two. Furthermore, if we don't know, we'll figure it out and let you know.

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