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How Often Should You Re-Tin Your Soldering Tips?

How Often Should You Re-Tin Your Soldering Tips?

It is important to take care of the soldering tips for the longevity of the tips and iron.  By properly maintaining the soldering tips, it can help flow the solder more readily and make your job easier and more successful.

Tinning Your Soldering Tips

One of the most critical aspects to care for and achieve a successful connection of your solder joints is to tin the soldering tips.  Tinning your soldering tips regularly is imperative to be able solder properly.

Tinning the tips is merely covering the tip of the iron with a layer of solder.  Soldering tips are made of solid copper with a thin layer of nickel chrome plating. Once the plating develops a crack or hole, the tip will quickly disintegrate.  Tinning the tip will help prevent corrosion and oxidation as well as allow the solder to melt and flow more smoothly. 

How To Tin Your Tips

To tin your tips, first heat up the soldering iron to the proper operating temperature for your particular solder or project. Then wipe the tip on a slightly damp sponge or dry brass wool to clean it. Next you want to apply a small bead of solder to the tip (the copper part).  Then wipe any extra solder onto a damp sponge. 

Just a small amount of solder should stay on the tip to give it a shiny appearance. The actual tip of the soldering iron, the part that is plated with nickel, is the only part that should be shiny.

How Often Should You Tin Your Tips?

You should tin your tips before and after your soldering session and every few minutes during soldering.  Keep your tips tinned regularly, from the first time you use it until the time you dispose of it.  Again, this can help for not only the connection but for the longevity of the tips and the soldering iron.

Lead-free soldering wears your soldering tips out two to three times the rate of lead-bearing solders.  Be sure to re-tin more often when using lead-free solders.

After you finish your project and before turning the iron off, wipe it clean, then re-tin before storing it. 

By keeping up with the maintenance and regularly re-tinning the tips, the soldering tips should last longer and perform better.

If you have any questions about your soldering tips or how of to re-tin them, feel free to contact our technical support staff.  They will be happy to assist you!