Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

essdee
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Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby essdee » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:21 pm

A puzzle here, and advice needed please, from those who use a tip-cleaning and tinning paste with their soldering iron.

I am not a beginner, but increasingly feeling like one just now. For decades I have successfully soldered, but recently I am getting some rather odd behaviour from my armoury. I have used an Antex 50w temperature controlled soldering station for ten years, in association with a small tin of Tip Tinner/Cleaner. This gave a nicely tinned tip onto which various grades of leaded solder readily flowed.

However, a year or so ago, the tip cleaner was exhausted and I bought a replacement from Eileen's - Multicore TTC-LF, MM01921, made by Henkel, with a white label. This never seemed quite as efficaceous, the solder tending to ball up rather than run onto the bit, but I persevered. I became suspicious when I noted that Squires' catalogue illustrates a similar Multicore TTC, but with a black label, and labelled TTC only. Further delving into the product spec confirmed that TTC-LF indeed comprises unleaded solder powder in a carrier resin. I presume that TTC version comprises leaded solder powder but have yet to confirm that.

When I rang Eileen's, Derek reassured me that the unleaded version of the tip cleaner would be fine with the leaded solders that we use - and I have purchased a fresh tin (now by Loctite, rather than Multicore). Fine.

Well... not really. I am getting a dull, rather than shiny, tinning to the iron, which rapidly discolours on the tip, and appears to repel, rather than attract, the leaded 145/188/296 solders that I commonly use. The problem actually appears to have worsened during this year!!

So what is going wrong here? The TTC-LF paste is not doing 'what it says on the tin', and what the supplier has assured me it should do?

Do any of you recognise this problem? I have asked around and, as Derek told me, no-one else seems to have a problem - or just uses a damp sponge for tip cleaning.

I would particularly like to hear from anyone who has used the Squires-retailed TTC version, as opposed to the TTC-LF version.....

Thanks in anticipation,

Very puzzled,

Steve

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Andy W
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Andy W » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:19 pm

Steve,

As I've said before, I'm surprised that you use solder - your work is so beautifully clean and, apparently, solder free. :)

I had a similar problem with a new iron a few years back - but it was the tip not the tip tinner/cleaner I was using. I posted the problem here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1153&p=7874&hilit=cleaning+soldering+irons#p7874

In short I solved the problem thus:

"I cleaned the tips with a Scotchbrite type kitchen scourer (fibre type) 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."

This might not be the problem you have, but I hope it helps. We need essdee actively soldering.
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

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Tim V
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Tim V » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:15 pm

Have you changed the tip? Try a clean new original Antex tip.
Tim V
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David B
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby David B » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:38 pm

I never tin my bits or use a bit cleaner. Tinned bits carry too much solder. A damp sponge serves me very well.

I use Carr's yellow label flux which I believe is phosphoric acid. I have a small bottle of water on hand to dampen my sponge and to the water I add a small amount of caustic soda to help neutralise acid build up on the sponge.

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Flymo748
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Flymo748 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:27 pm

Rather than a tip cleaner, I use solder paste.

Heat up iron, when hot clean tip to remove all built-up crud on one of those brass brillo pad type cleaners.

Switch off iron and allow to cool.

Dip tip in solder paste. Mine is Carrs 188 from many years ago.

Place iron on workbench (for it will spit as it heats) and switch on.

Wait until tip goes all silvery and wipe off excess. As the solder paste contains flux, it does the jobs of both cleaning and tinning together. Dipping a hot iron in the paste never seems to work as well, and probably would clag up your jar of solder paste as well.

HTH
Flymo
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Alan Turner
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Alan Turner » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:04 pm

I never use a tip cleaner.

I use a damp sponge and a brass suede brush at the start.

regards

Alan

essdee
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby essdee » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:15 am

Thanks all for your suggestions, but I discovered the major problem this morning. Suspicious about the tarnishing of the hot tip, I set the iron at a minimum 75 degrees, from cold, and was able to melt 296degree solder..... the thermostat control has failed; the flashing light denoting apparent attainment of the set temperature has become illusory, and it's going way too hot and cooking the solder and tip cleaner. It's had persistent and heavy use over nine years, so can't complain too much.

Replacement ordered...

Cheers,

Steve

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Andy W
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Andy W » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:48 pm

I still think fishing might be a good idea.
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

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Will L
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby Will L » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:07 pm

Certainly your symptoms did sound like you were burning the bit, but I didn't think I dare suggest you could possibly be guilty of such a thing.

When I had an element expire in mine a while ago, for various reasons too silly to relate, I managed to order both a replacement element, and a whole new soldering iron hand set(for the lack of a better name). Replacing the element proved easy enough to do so I ended up with two functional hand sets which it turns out is a very GOOD THING. Adjusting the temperature of the bit is (normally) easy enough, but I do like to have a BIG bit for doing chunky work like assembling the major components of a brass kit, and a small bit when doing more delicate work, particularly on white metal, and changing the bit is much more of a faf. So I now have one with a small bit and one with a big chunky bit, so it is now just as easy to swap bit size as it is to change temperature.

essdee
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Re: Solder Tip Cleaner and Tinner problem

Postby essdee » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:55 pm

[Now continues at this thread ("Soldering Station Replacements"), split at the author's request]
Last edited by John McAleely on Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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