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How to Maximize Soldering Iron Tip Life
This article is based on an original publication by Chris Stuber, Product Manager for American Hakko Products, Inc.
As the old adage goes, nothing lasts forever. This is especially true when it comes to machines and other products that are tasked with performing labor-intensive actions under stressful conditions. Soldering irons are no exception. They are designed to work with chemicals under high heat. Over time, soldering tips degrade through a series of physical changes that affect their performance. Once a tip no longer delivers quality solder connections, it is ready for retirement. With this in mind, how does one make the most out of the limited time a soldering tip is able to deliver optimal results? The answer lies with understanding the changes solder tips undergo during use.
Soldering Tip Construction
A soldering tip’s construction is the first necessary component in understanding these changes. The copper plated core “conducts heat energy from the heating element to the application being soldered.” An iron plating protects the copper from corrosion due to exposure to various soldering materials while chromium plating protects the iron plating (excluding the tip) from corrosion.