How to Improve the Life of Your Lead-Free Solder Tips

by Kathy S. on May 18, 2015

Has your tip lost its wettability? If it’s black or dark blue like this, it’s probably undergone oxidation, and solder won’t wet to the surface.How to Improve the Life of Your Lead-Free Solder Tips

What does this mean for your application? It means your tip can’t supply heat to the part being soldered. It may contact the part over a small area, but it won’t transfer heat well enough to get the job done.

But, don’t despair! Although lead improves the wetting action of solder, you can improve the life of your tips when using lead-free solder by following these five, simple do’s and don’ts:

  1. Don’t leave your soldering iron on for long periods of time without making connections.
  1. Don’t set your tip temperature higher than 400°C (750°F).
  1. Do use a flux with an aggressive activation level and long activation window.
  1. Do keep the entire tip surface tinned with a coating of solder when not in use.
  1. Do use the Hakko FS-100 Chemical Paste to re-tin your tip if it’s become oxidized and solder isn’t wetting the tip. This paste is designed to remove heavy tip oxides without corrosive chemicals like zinc chloride. You can use the FS-100 with the FT-700 Tip Polisher to restore solderability to dewet tips.

Just practice these few good tips, and the good tips you need for reliable solder joints will be in the bag.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: