Soldering iron problem

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Andy W
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Soldering iron problem

Postby Andy W » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:28 pm

I've just fitted a new tip to my Antex 25w iron. My usual way of working is to slice up small amounts of solder and lift them on the end of the iron. I know this technique is frowned up in some quarters - but it works and allows me to hold the item receiving solder with hand 2. However, my new tip won't pick up solder - it just beads and gets repelled.

Do I need to prepare the end in some way? I've fluxed it with no success. I was tempted to give it a once over with some fine wet and dry - but I fear this might ruin it.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks

Andy
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Russ Elliott
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Russ Elliott » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:48 pm

It's unusual to get that behaviour with a new tip. I'd try a bit of wiping with a glass-fibre brush, to see whether that makes a difference.

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Mike Garwood
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Mike Garwood » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:29 pm

Hi
If that doesn't work you might want to try some sort of a tip tinner. But see if you can coat with ordinary tinmans solder first.

regards

Mike

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Andy W
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Andy W » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:38 pm

Mike, that might be the problem - I tried to tin it using LRM 145 without success. I'll try and dig out an alternative. Thanks.

Andy
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grovenor-2685
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:00 pm

it sounds to me as if the tip may be getting a bit to hot before you apply the solder to it. I think the best way to tin a new tip is to use rosin cored solder (multicore) and keep trying as the iron heats up so you will start melting the flux as soon as its hot enough followed by the solder.
For keeping it tinned and in good shape the tip tinner mentioned by Mike is really helpful.
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Alan Turner
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Alan Turner » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:17 pm

Just to note theses are Lead-free formulations.

Alan

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David Thorpe
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby David Thorpe » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:08 pm

I had awful problems tinning both my Antex irons. Eventually I gave up and now use (successfully) an Aoyue 937+ soldering station which has never given me any such problems. Nor, for that matter, did the irons I used before I got the Antex ones.

DT

Philip Hall
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Philip Hall » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:53 pm

When I moved to an Antex Iron after many years of using SRB irons I found I just didn't get on with the iron plated bits. I had similar difficulties trying to tin them, and also the tips do not have clean sharp edges as they are dipped in the plating which gives a rounded edge. I like to pick up a tiny amount of solder on the sharp edge which helps to avoid cleaning up. In the end I had a friend turn up some pure copper bits to the Antex shape (my iron is the 660TC soldering station), slit them with a hacksaw and filed the tip to the spade shape, slipped the clip on and away I went. I keep the bit at about 275 -300 degrees and it doesn't get too burnt or tarnished (although I acknowledge a plated bit is better in this regard) and I have my preferred sharp edge to get into nooks and crannies with.

Now I realise this option is not for everyone as turning copper is no fun; I was lucky to have a friend who builds G1 live steam so he had the right supplies and the machinery, but if you can find someone who can turn some bits for you this may be an answer to a problem.

Philip

Terry Bendall
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:28 am

It is possible that some problems are caused by using lead free solder which melts at a higer temperature that solder that contains lead. (about 217 degrees C). Quite a lot of soldering irons will not get to this temperature. I bought some lead free solder a couple of years ago which would not work at all with my soldering iron so now only use solder containing lead. All Components usually have it either by mail order or at shows and I now have four 250 gram reels in stock to keep me going. The electronics industry is moving towards using lead free solder because of the problems when re-cycling electronic goods that use solder containing lead. How much longer solder with lead in it will be around is another matter. If you want to use lead free solder make sure that you have a soldering iron that will get to the temperature needed.

Terry Bendall

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David Thorpe
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby David Thorpe » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:27 am

I don't think that the propblems I had with my two Antex irons were anything to do with the solder - I've always used leaded and, indeed, used the same solder with the Antexes as I used with both my previous iron and the present one. The same would apply to the bits; my current iron uses plated bits and I've had no real problems with them. Most people swear by Antex (that's why I bought them) so I'm still at a loss to understand the problems I've had with them.

DT

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Tim V
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Tim V » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:50 pm

I used to have a lot of problems with "pirate" Antex bits, try and get hold of proper spares - usually in the green pockets. I found they work better.

I wouldn't recommend a 25w iron for normal work, preferring my 40w TCS iron.
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David Thorpe
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby David Thorpe » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:19 pm

The only bits I've used with the Antex are those that were on the irons when I bought them, so no question of any pirated ones! I do agree, however, that at 18w and 25w neither are probably up to the job in any event - I'm much happier with the Aoyue's 35w.

DT

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Andy W
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Andy W » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:14 am

Thanks for all your tips and suggestions. I think I've solved the problem. I cleaned the tips with a Scotchbrite type kitchen scourer pad before plugging in. Then as the iron heated up (as Keith suggested) I applied Powerflow flux to it - I couldn't track any Tip Tinner down in time. The tip oxidises as the iron heats up if it isn't fluxed. Then I applied the solder and it stuck.

It worked better on the "official" Antex replacement tips than the "freelance" ones I had. I know Powerflux is vicious stuff - but better to have an iron that works and shorten its life than put it in the bin. I think one problem was the Phosflux 12 I was using wan't strong enough.

I'll try and track down some Tip Tinner this weekend.

I'm surprised some think 25w isn't powerful enough. I've built many kits, and find in 4mm I can spot solder and run seams with ease. It also means the heat stays reasonably localised when adding "extras".

Having said that I'm tempted by the Aoyue 937+ soldering station!

So hopefully I'm back in business. Thanks again.

Andy
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David Thorpe
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby David Thorpe » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:09 am

I was always a bit worried about taking anything as fierce as a kitchen scourer (I assume you're referring to the metal ones!) to the tips. However, having read your posts, I shall now try exactly the same technique to my Antex irons and see if that solves the problems.

One of the things I like about the Aoyue 937 is the wide variety of tips available at very reasonable cost.

DT

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Andy W
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Andy W » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:27 am

DT,

No! Not the metal type! I was referring to the dark green fibrous type that often has a thicker sponge backing. I think you're right that the metal might be too severe.

Andy
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

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David Thorpe
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby David Thorpe » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:09 pm

Ooops! Thanks, Andy, fortunately I hadn't started! Mind you, if it doesn't work I just might go for the metal variety..... :)

DT

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David Thorpe
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby David Thorpe » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:56 am

Well, it worked, Andy. I followed your method and the iron duly tinned and I completed some soldering with it. I have to say that in use I don't like it as much as the trusty Aoyue, but at least I've got a reserve. Thanks for your help.

DT

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Andy W
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Andy W » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:46 pm

Glad to hear it DT, but there's no need to thank me. It's the collective wisdom of this board that, once again, has helped solve the problem. Long may it flourish.

Andy
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

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Andy W
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Re: Soldering iron problem

Postby Andy W » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:16 pm

Having solved my tinning problem, last night my iron decided to pack up altogether. Fortunately the local City Radio Store was open today - otherwise I might have had to watch Christmas television!!!!! The web is a wonderful thing - but thank heavens for the few local stores that are still open.
Make Worcestershire great again.
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