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how do i make sure i dont destroy my new soldering iron?

i did my first bit of soldering 'tother day using a cheap iron i got from lidl and one of those stainless steel scourers (you know - the ones made from metal shavings) to clean it...and i must admit, the tip has seen better days.

i was using the scourer as ive seen lots of copper and brass equivalents being sold as an alternative to the sponge + water technique as they dont cool the tip down... it worked a treat but the tip is now bright silver and a different shape...was this a bad idea?

i ask as i'm going to replace my iron tommorrow with a 25w antex version from maplin due to the fact that my old versions tip kept unscrewing itself and didnt have very good heat transfer (i had to leave it in place far too long which allowed heat to spread to the plastic on the board and warp it) and frankly i'd really like it to survive more than one use.

any idea's peeps?


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You should catch a video on soldering iron care.


After doing this for 50+ years, I would suggest two simple things:

1. DO use the "Wipe on wet sponge" usually.  (If you somehow have a really messed up tip, wipe on wet "Scotchbrite"  (green pot scrubber)..

2. ALWAYS "Tin" the iron immediately after cleaning (add solder to tip). The solder coats and protects the tip.  And before you stop using the iron and turn it off, add even more solder to the tip for storage time.  (After you heat it the next time, you wipe it off).

...Works For Me...



not a single comment about the brass shavings makes me think they are probably best avoided then.

i have seen a whole bunch of youtube vids on the subject...but its always the little details that catch you out

i gotta say peeps (especially to fellow beginners) BUY A DECENT IRON!!!

today i used my decent one for the first time and jumped from absolute beginner to semi pro in the space of ten minutes...it was amazing the difference a decent piece of kit made (also using 0.7mm rosin cored solder helped too).

my confidence jumped so much i was able to put all the extra pins on my picaxe PCB and the end result under my old microscope slide magnifying glass was exactly the same as those you see on all the decent youtube vids.

i am officially a happy bunny

btw - by decent i mean the 25w flat tipped antex from maplin for about £20 (not some £100 soldering station) - the heat transfer working properly made all the difference (ie from core to tip to pin to solder)