How to Keep Your Solder Tip Long Life

At some point in time your soldering tip might not solder anymore.
The solder is dripping off the tip and doesn’t really solder anything or it takes too long.
This often comes from handling the soldering iron wrong and therefore preventing the tip from getting the temperature you set on your soldering station.
Depending on what kind of solder you use determines how long your tip will last.
Especially lead-less solder is more critical than solder that contains lead. Keep that in mind.

Do not overheat the tip
Your soldering iron should be set to +100°C of the solders melting point.
The tip will be oxidized if you overheat it. The tip gets black and solder is not sticking to it anymore. It just drips off.

Turn off your soldering iron
If you are not going to solder for 3-5 minutes. This prevents the tip from oxidizing. Oxidizing is accelerated by high temperatures.

Remember to Clean the tip
After every cycle and before you start to solder always clean your tip. Take either a wet sponge or wire wool.
Wire wool has the advantage of not cooling down the soldering iron too much and you don’t have to wait for the iron to get its desired temperature.

This method is only appropriate for iron and copper soldering tips !
Long-life solder tips have a specialized structure where layers of chromium and other alloys protect the metal core of the soldering tip from oxidizing. Grinding of this layer makes it a short life tip.
So apply this method only to the above mentioned material.