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#136594 - 04/12/03 03:35 PM Soldering Iron Tips
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
I have a Weller Soldering Station at home here, for repairs and the odd "Foriegner" for friends.
But, I have noticed that the tip on it, is starting to get smaller and smaller.
I've had this unit for the last 7 years and the tip has been fine, up until a few months ago when I noticed this happening.
Could someone please explain why this is happening and especially why, after 7 years?.
I only use "Sav-Bit" 60/40 solder and keep the tip clean with the damp sponge, when I am using it.
It's like the tip has been dipped in some sort of Acid, it's just being eaten away, before my very eyes!.
This is very strange, any help on this one would be great!!

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 04-12-2003).]
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#136595 - 04/12/03 07:50 PM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
SvenNYC Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
The tips do eventually wear out...especially if you use it a lot.

Have you tried contacting Weller about it?

If you replace the tip, I've heard that you should turn the temperature down (you have one of the neat adjustable temp irons, I assume?)when you're not using the iron so that it doesn't damage it, if you decide to keep it warm for instant use on the bench.

Here is Weller's website. They are now a part of Cooper tools (the same people that bought out the venerable Eagle Electric ).
http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brands/weller/consumer_soldering.htm

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#136596 - 04/13/03 06:48 AM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
It could be that the outer cladding has finally worn away and that you're down to the base metal below it, which would then erode very quickly.

I replace the tips on a couple of my irons that are in frequent use every year or two.

On the temperature control issue, the fancy thermostatically regulated units are very nice, but for many years I had a very cheap and crude control consisting of wiring the hot supply line through a diode with a switch across it. When I wanted the iron to just "idle" for a while, flick the switch open and the power drops way down. It took only a few seconds to come back up to full temperature upon closing the switch again.

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#136597 - 04/13/03 03:33 PM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Thanks for the advice, guys.
Paul, I think you are right about that coating on the tip, thank God I purchased a reasonably well-known Brand, at least I can get spares.
That's a good idea, for that diode temperature controller, I used to have a cheap Soldering Iron(before I got the Weller)and it was hooked up to a Light Dimmer Unit.
It worked well, until the Element in the Iron burned out(no spares available, either!).
Such is life.
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#136598 - 04/14/03 03:55 PM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Sven,
Thanks a heap for that link, mate!.
Have contacted Weller, they've got the spares, all right.
Thank God for that, that Soldering Station cost an arm and a leg, when I purchased it from RS Components!.
It's an EC3001AESP, in case anyone is wondering what sort of station, I am on about.
So it looks like I will get a few more years use out of it yet, which is good, because I really like the iron on that station, it's nice and light.
Paul, what sort of Iron/Soldering Station do you use?
Anyone else care to join in?.
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#136599 - 04/14/03 04:54 PM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Trumpy,

It took me awhile to figure out that I was better off using the low wattage Iron that I had instead of the Weller Gun. That was after many blistered components.

Bill

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#136600 - 04/15/03 02:20 PM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Bill,
What wattage was the gun?.
I think we've all over-heated the odd component or two.
I was a real shocker at this when I first learnt how to solder, burnt components lying all around me!.
It got so bad the tracks would lift off of the PC board, too.
Wouldn't get away with that these days with really small components, over heat the board and 10-15 components come adrift (D**n
SMD devices).
_________________________
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#136601 - 04/15/03 10:29 PM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Trumpy,

I think the Gun is 100w does that sound right?
And I think the smaller pencil type I have is 25w.

Bill

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#136602 - 04/15/03 10:49 PM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
SvenNYC Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
Bill, yup...you DEFINITELY DON'T WANT to use that 100 watt sucker on electronic parts. You'll cook them. Literally!!!

I personally use Taiwanese-made Radio Shack-rebranded 30-watt and 40-watt pencil irons.

The 30 is good enough for most electronic work and the 40 is for more stubborn wires that need to be heated up a bit more. I'm looking for a 100-plus watt iron to use for soldering to radio chassis ... sometime in the near future.

I've had the 30-watt iron for about 6-7 years or so now....I'm on my fourth tip. I bought the 40 about three years ago.

The only problem with these cheepie irons is that if you leave them plugged in for a long time, the (bakelite handle on the old 30 and rubberized plastic on the 40) handle heats up...enough to be uncomfortable. That's when you know it's time to cut the power to the socket on the workbench and take a break.

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#136603 - 04/16/03 03:12 AM Re: Soldering Iron Tips
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
A 25 or 30W iron is generally about right for a lot of electronics work. I have a Weller unit with interchangeable tips which is my general "workhorse."

For the really sub-miniature stuff, I use a tiny 12W pencil iron, although I find these days that I need to pull over the illuminated magnifier to see what I'm doing!

Also in the tool box are an old 75W Solon iron with a tip about 5/16", which is good where a little more heat is needed, such as for chassis tags etc. on some older equipment.

Bill,
I have a Weller soldering gun as well, which comes in handy for the really big stuff. Mine's the 200W version, but I have to dig out a 120V transformer to use it, as it's a U.S. version.

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