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How know if solder iron has good quality tip?

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
About 50 years ago, driving with the Ungar representative to or from the WESCON exhibit in San Francisco. He told me that tips wear out quickly if they are cleaned too often. Since then, I keep my tips tinned I rarely rub them to anything to clean off the dross. I also have a triac dimmer circuit so I can have the iron idle at a lower temperature. The lower idle temperature ican be lower by using a soldering tip with a heat reservoirs.
View attachment 138278
50 years ago it might have been 'reasonable' advice - but now simply ensure you use iron plated tips, just clean with a damp sponge, and set your temperature controlled soldering iron to a sensible temperature - although the iron temperature doesn't really matter much, as it's controlled anyway.

'Back in the day' with plain copper tips, and non-temperature controlled soldering irons, in a working environment you'd get through multiple tips per year, and had to continually file the tip to make it last that long. A common modification was to add a microswitch and half wave rectifier to the soldering iron stand, so when the iron was in it's stand the rectifier was in-circuit (reducing it's power), and was shorted out by the switch when you picked the iron up.

As a long term Antex soldering iron user, bit's last for decades - and it's rare to ever have to replace one.
 

Dick Cappels

Active Member
Believe it or not 50 years ago plated tips were used, alongside bare copper tips. The discussion was with respect to operators who spent their whole day soldering parts into PC boards. A lot of companies didn't have wave solder then and building in-house seemed to make economic sense.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Believe it or not 50 years ago plated tips were used, alongside bare copper tips. The discussion was with respect to operators who spent their whole day soldering parts into PC boards. A lot of companies didn't have wave solder then and building in-house seemed to make economic sense.
They were still fairly uncommon 50 years ago, and as for wave flow machines they don't work unless you have PCB's :D, and 50 years ago PCB's weren't anywhere near as common as today.

Imagine trying to wave solder a hand wired metal chassis and tag strip (or even no tag strip) valve TV :D
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
For a soldering gun, the tip must be made of high-quality pure tin.
I have no idea where you got that (and the rest of the info) from, but is is total nonsense...

Tin melts at ~232'C

Soldering irons typically run somewhere in the 300 - 400'C range.

My iron-plated Antex bits last years at typically 350'C.

(Bits need tinning; they are not made of Tin).
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I have no idea where you got that (and the rest of the info) from, but is is total nonsense...

Tin melts at ~232'C

Soldering irons typically run somewhere in the 300 - 400'C range.

My iron-plated Antex bits last years at typically 350'C.

(Bits need tinning; they are not made of Tin).
Sorry RJ, but you have just been replying to a a spammer (Now deleted).

JimB
 

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