Get the soldering robo in India

A soldering robo can be an indispensable tool for electronics use. A new or adequately cared for soldering robo is very efficient in its operation, allowing components to be quickly and easily soldered into place. But sometimes the soldering tip gets a buildup of oxidation on its surface. When this happens, the soldering iron no longer functions as it should. But with a little effort, the tool can be restored to complete functionality. Let’s take a look at soldering tips and how to deal with oxidation.

The Soldering Tip

In the past (and in some very cheap tools today), soldering tips were constructed of copper. The tips were shaped by filing or sanding, and there was no plating involved. The copper from the tip eventually dissolved into the solder, leaving a pitted and eroded surface. This directly affected soldering performance.

Starting in the 1980s, iron plating was added to the thermally efficient copper tip. This prevented the copper from dissolving into the solder, giving the tip a much longer (and predictable) operational life.

While the iron plating on a tip is excellent for extending the life, it can lead to oxidation issues.

What Causes Oxidation in Solder Tips?

Solder tip oxidation is created when the iron plating on the tip becomes iron oxide and is a natural part of the metals used. Oxidation will occur at room temperature, but at a much slower rate. The heat of soldering dramatically accelerates this process.

The biggest factor affecting tip performance in oxidation will be the loss of wetting ability. As oxidation builds up on the tip, it creates a thermal dewetting barrier. When this happens, the solder will tend to ball up on the tip instead of flowing smoothly.

The oxidized layer will also impact heat transfer between the tip and the work. Many times a soldering robo  that does not seem to be hot enough is actually suffering from oxidation.

Removing Mild Oxidation

Any soldering tip will have a small amount of oxidation, it’s part of the natural process of the iron plating. But any kind of buildup will impact soldering performance. If you are experiencing reduced effectiveness from a soldering iron, or there is visible oxidation, you should clean the tip to restore proper operation.

Adjust the temperature of the soldering iron to a typical work range (about 300°C).

Apply flux-cored solder to the oxidized tip. The heat will activate the flux and start the chemical reaction that will remove the oxidation.

Use brass wool or specially designed cleaners on the tip. The cleaning tool will begin to remove the oxidation.

Repeat the steps above until the tip is clean. The tip should show allow for smooth solder flow when it is clean. For a mild case of oxidation, expect to repeat this process three or four times.

If this process does not adequately clean the tip, or if the tip is severely oxidized, you may need to follow the instructions for severe oxidation.

Removing Severe Oxidation

If a tip has been severely oxidized, flux itself will not be enough to restore proper wetting characteristics. In this case, you will need to use a tip tinner or chemical paste to remove the oxidation. Tip tinner contains a mild acid which will help to remove the oxidation from the tip.

Avoid using sandpaper or other abrasive tools to remove oxidation. This can damage the plating on a soldering tip, leaving it ineffective for most applications and significantly shortening its life.

Adjust the temperature of the soldering iron to a typical work range (about 300°C).

Once at the proper temperature, push the soldering iron tip into the tinner. Be sure that the entire tip is covered by the product.

Let the tinning product melt around the tip, then clean it as above with brass wool or a tip cleaner.

Repeat the steps above until the tip is clean and all the oxidation has been removed. Correct solder flow should return to the tip once it is properly clean.

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