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Burning a soldering iron

  1. Feb 22, 2012 #1
    Hi guys, I bought a soldering iron the other day and I was doing some soldering for quite a while (It was one maybe 10-15 mins) and then the metal before the tip started to turn black and smoke was coming out of it, Is there anyway to prevent this as lets face it, it's a lot less than ideal.
    The soldering iron I bought can be seen here:

    Click me

    please could you guys recomend a relatively good yet affordable one I could buy which would not do this.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2012 #2

    jim hardy

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  4. Feb 23, 2012 #3
  5. Feb 23, 2012 #4

    turbo

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    Get some paste flux and dress the tip with that before and during use. It makes a difference. It's kind of old-school, but flux is very important if you are soldering/unsoldering heavy joints. If you are going to do lots of lighter stuff, it's time to consider buying a Weller (or equivalent) with a rheostat to control the temperature.

    http://www.tequipment.net/WellerWLC200.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  6. Feb 23, 2012 #5

    jim hardy

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    the flux in solder turns black. Keep a wet sponge or cotton rag nearby and wipe the tip often.

    A new iron might smell for a while until the oils from mmanufacture are gone.

    Iron itself starts to blue around 600F i think.

    a cheap soldering iron is annoying. if you plan on a lot of work get a good one.
     
  7. Feb 23, 2012 #6

    dlgoff

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    Yep. Also, fluxing and tinning a new tip will make it last much longer and transfer heat much faster (which helps minimize component damage due to excessive heat).
     
  8. Feb 23, 2012 #7

    AlephZero

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    I'll put in a third recommendation for a Weller here. Being thermostatically controlled you can use a fairly beefy one (50 or 60W) perfectly well for electronics work with a small tip bit, and if you need to solder some 100 amp connecting wires it will handle that as well.

    Sure. I once left accidentally left mine switched on for 2 weeks when I went on vacation, and nothing bad happened to it.

    Weller aren't the cheapest irons available, but if you are seriously interested in electronics they are the sort of tool that you only buy once in your life and then just use it for the next 40 or 50 years. And its MUCH easier and quicker to do good work with them than with a cheap iron where you are constantly having to clean and tin the bit.
     
  9. Feb 23, 2012 #8

    DaveC426913

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    :bugeye: :eek: :bugeye: :eek: :bugeye: :eek: :bugeye: :eek: :bugeye: :eek:
     
  10. Feb 23, 2012 #9

    turbo

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    ^^^^^!

    Though if you buy a half-decent Weller station (not even high-end), that's a whole lot safer than leaving a cheap Radio-Shack iron plugged in all that time. You might not even burn your house down.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  11. Feb 23, 2012 #10

    AlephZero

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    Aside from the minor waste of energy, it was no more dangerous than leaving the freezer switched on IMO.

    They are the sort of irons that are left switched on for 8 hours every day of the week, in professional use - that's what they are designed for.
     
  12. Feb 23, 2012 #11

    turbo

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    Those are the well-designed Wellers (or equivalent), not the cheap pencil-irons. There really is a difference.
     
  13. Feb 23, 2012 #12

    jim hardy

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    a double outlet box with a lamp dimmer in one side and an outlet in other side makes a handy variable voltage for the less expensive irons.
    Split the hot side of outlet, one half full voltage for your work lamp and other half variable for your iron.
    Mount creatively on a board and you have a "Poor Man's High Class Soldering Station"...
    Maybe even add a magnifying glass on flex-gooseneck from a thrift-store lamp.


    But get a good iron. I like the Weller with replaceable tips or the one with screw-in elements equally well. One can accumulate an assortment of elements.

    Indeed that fifty watt monster is REAL handy for automotive work.
     
  14. Feb 23, 2012 #13

    DaveC426913

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    Nooo.

    1] A freezer left on has been set there with due consideration to being left unsupervised and safely operating in the absence of supervision (operate continuously with supervision what they're designed to do). A soldering iron accidentally left out and on is, by definition, not being properly supervised.
    2] A freezer is designed so that all harmful parts are protected from exposure. A freezer will only be dangerous if it is somehow actually faulty.
    3] A soldering iron heats and melts things (That's what they're designed to do, and they're not designed to do it unsupervised).
    4] Finally, a soldering iron in daily use for 8 hours is under proper supervision.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  15. Feb 28, 2012 #14
    All soldering tips turn black at the tip if they are burning a lot of flux, usually one can simply wipe it off with a wet sponge. Always try to keep a drop of tin at the tip. It is said that soldering irons turn bad faster if the raw tip is exposed. I hate Weller, even though everybody seem to love them. I find them clunky and ugly, but I don't know what other brands you can get in the states.
     
  16. Feb 28, 2012 #15

    turbo

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    I like Wellers. They are sturdy and simple. I have used mine to repair electronics with small leads, to rebuild tube-driven guitar amps, and to solder heavier stuff in home wiring projects. They might not be as sleek-looking as other soldering-stations, but they are functional and handy. I have a base-level Weller station. It features a rheostat to control tip temperature, a handy wire coil in which to store the iron (so you don't burn your house down) and a well under the coil with a sponge that you can use for tip-cleaning.
     
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