Soldering iron tips, why plated?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by 2E0ILY, May 2, 2012.

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  1. 2E0ILY

    2E0ILY Guest

    Most tips I see these days seem to be plated material, that flakes off after a while, sometimes after quite a short while. They are also quite expensive from the likes of Pace and Weller, although here in the UK the service from Pace is truly excellent. Way back when I used to have soldering irons with plain, solid copper tips, and never saw any plated ones. I have a machine shop and it would be trivial to turn some copper rod into tips for my irons and file or even machine them to different forms. What are the pros and cons of plated tips versus plain solid copper ones? Thanks.
     
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Copper oxidizes immediately when exposed to air, and oxidizes faster and badly when exposed to flux and other cleaning agents. A good plating should protect it. If yours is flaking off after a short while, sounds like the plating wasn't so great.

    My plated tips here last several years of use a few times a week.
     
  3. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Iron plated tips don't corrode. I have used one in my 40W pencil for many years and it looks new. Just don't file one, not needed and it may remove the plating.

    I don't know if any tips are solid iron. Even the plated ones will be attracted to a strong magnet.

    I would not buy any other kind.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
  4. GM3ZMA

    GM3ZMA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The copper is also slightly soluble in the solder so that after a while, there are pits in the tip where the copper has been dissolved away.

    Many years ago there was a grade of solder called Savbit (just googled it, looks like it is still available), this contained a small (1%) amount of copper which would prevent the tip from dissolving away.

    The plated tips have a coating of iron I believe, iron is not soluble in solder and so the tip stays intact.

    If your tips have the plating flaking off, there is something very wrong.
    Either,
    the tips are cheap junk
    the iron is running far too hot
    you are using an inappropriate grade of solder
    you are using an inappropriate grade of flux
    you are doing something to physically damage the coating on the tip.

    Jim GM3ZMA
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  5. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here are the Educational materials ....
    Common errors: Temperature too high; Tip size/mass too small for work; Wrong solder; Not cleaning tips when work finished.

    Better Soldering (text) - Weller
    http://www.elexp.com/t_solder.htm

    Better Soldering (brochure)
    http://www.astro.umd.edu/~harris/docs/WellerSoldering.pdf

    Soldering Tips & Lifetime Issues “Coping with Lead-Free”
    Weller University
    http://www.digikey.com/Web Export/S...operWU_ModuleI_Tips&LeadFree.pdf?redirected=1

    Soldering Tip Care and Use
    Weller Soldering
    http://www.digikey.com/Web Export/S..._72/PDF/Cooper_TipCareAndUse.pdf?redirected=1
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  6. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Since we are on the subject, does anyone know why there is an L in soder?

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
  7. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the King James Version, the L is left out.

    Isaiah 41:7
    So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
     
  8. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I never know if I should believe you or not, but it soundeth goode.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Comes from Latin "solidare" or "to make solid."

    Not to be confused with the game loners play.
     
  10. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like your explaination better.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
  11. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The things I missed out on because I didn't attend a private school and was forced to learn Latin.
     
  12. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    You mean as in "wainey weedy leaky"?

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
  13. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I didn't, either.

    My mother took 8 years of Latin, which qualified her for two things:

    -Run for Pope

    -Do crossword puzzles.

    She did great crossword puzzles.
     
  14. M1CYI

    M1CYI Ham Member QRZ Page

    when i need a new tip for my iron i use a copper nail just cut it down to the same lengh as the old one but my iron has a screw in it and its very easy to change my tips , the copper nails work great
     
  15. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I took Latin for two years but never could figure out how to multiply two numbers. What a waste!

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
  16. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Many people abuse their tips by not making sure that there is always solder on the tip.
    Tinning the tip after use is as important as Tinning before use.

    What is really fun is Glass Soldering.
     
  17. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm confused.............:confused:

    Must have made for an interesting childhood. :)
     
  18. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I wasn't. Tom was referring to veni vidi vici (Latin for "I came, I saw, I conquered"). That's what I say when I show up at Field Day.
     
  19. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know it can be done, but how do you do it?

    Last summer at a yard sale a lady almost gave me a new pound roll of solder. Said she wanted it for glass work
    but due to the flux it was no good for her purpose. I didn't argue.

    I have some hydrofluoric acid, does that help? Oh wait, I think the bottom just fell out of the glass bottle.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
  20. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Right. I'm saving that line for Vanna.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
     
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