? about Soldering Iron Tip Care

  1. I have a Weller WTCP station (antique) that I just bought new tips for. I read in some tip reviews that the new "lead-free" technology has ruined the lifespan of tips. Does anyone have any tricks or hints to lengthen the lifespan of these new tips? Any process that can improve the tip? Any tricks you do to keep them functional longer (beyond turning the iron off).
  2. jcsd
  3. Baluncore

    Baluncore 3,235
    Science Advisor

    Use the lowest temperature tip that will fully melt the solder.

    Wipe the tip on a soft sponge to remove excess solder. I wet the sponge with 50% glycol coolant which is hygroscopic, so it is always available and does not dry out. Low water content in the sponge preserves the temperature of the tip while wiping.

    A soft sponge will not damage the tip. Stainless steel wool works OK with bare copper tips, but it will remove the protective plating and destroy a WTCP tip.

    You can often use the old 60:40, Pb-Sn eutectic solder, preferably with a tad of Cu to preserve the tip.
    ROHS Pb free solder is not required for prototyping, critical process control or data communication equipment.

    WTCP tips are available at reasonable prices, don't pay the RRP, you can often do better. Keep a few in stock. They work well, so what if they wear out, they easily pay their way.
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