Soldering Station Maintenance

Like any device, a solder station requires regular maintenance to insure it works properly. There are many steps that can be taken to make sure your machine is working at its highest potential. Regular preventive maintenance and cleaning will allow for your soldering iron to last years without replacing parts. These simple steps will help preserve the life of your soldering station.

  • One of the most important tips when it comes to soldering is to make sure to use quality solder. Poor quality solder will have impurities which can build up on the tip of the soldering iron over time. As solder builds up on the tip it can become more difficult to transfer heat, making the solder joints weaker.
  • Always remember to keep the soldering tip clean by wiping it with a wet sponge. However, you do not want to do this too often, or the tip may experience failure. Wiping the tip causes the temperature of the tip to increase and decrease drastically, which expands and contracts the metals in the tool.
  • Try to avoid exposing the tip of the soldering iron to flux, this can be corrosive and over time damage the soldering tip.
  • Avoid using course materials, like sandpaper, to clean the soldering iron.
  • When you have finished using your soldering station, make sure to clean the tip, and then flood the tip with clean, good quality solder. Wipe the tip once more and turn the machine off and unplug it, this will re-tin your tip which will protect it from corrosion.
  • If you decide to replace the tip make sure the tip is securely seated in the barrel.

These simple guidelines can help extend the lifespan of your soldering tip. Basic maintenance is a necessity to keep equipment running at its highest potential. Remember that cleaning the tip and use good, high quality solder which can help insure the lifespan of the soldering tip.

George

George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.

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