# 12W Antex Iron taking 15+ seconds to melt my lead-free solder, do I need a new Iron?

I don't recall ever having the problem with the iron before, but it's been a few years since I used it, as I'm just getting back into some projects since my Electronics degree.

I bought some solder for a new project (I need a lot) and it's lead-free:

95% Tin
4% Silver
1% Copper


Now, I'm not sure how tolerant the values are for melting point but I can say that it does appear to act Eutectic, like the known combination 95.5/4/0.5 (Indalloy 246) which has a melting point of 217 degrees Celcius.

According to the manufacturer of my Iron (Antex) it has a tip temperature of 370 celcius.

I sanded down the tip yesterday with a fine grain metal sanding paper to see if the tip just needed cleaning, however it's now gone "black" instead of the shiny silver it was when I first sanded it.

The real question I wonder is where the problem lies, is it that my tip is dead, is my iron too low power or is it just that my iron is dead.

I ask because I need to know whether to replace the iron, the tip or a higher power iron. My preference is to stick with the Antex irons, and I prefer "precision" bits like the on in my current iron, so, what are the recommendations?

• Sanding tips isn't a good idea, it removes the coating. – Leon Heller Sep 25 '11 at 15:47
• Yep, Antex tips are generally iron-clad and must never be filed or sanded. – Linker3000 Sep 25 '11 at 22:34
• I'll have to remember that for the future.. Thought I was pretty smart sanding it down with a nice fine grain metal sand-paper. I'v gone and replaced it with a new 25W Antex which is working beautifully until I can take the advice I'v been given and buy a decent Microcontroller-temperature controlled solder station. – Hamid Sep 26 '11 at 13:31
• 12W is a really weak soldering iron – F.Ahmed Dec 15 '19 at 12:09
• This question is pretty old now @F.Ahmed. But for reference, I upgraded to a Hakko FX-951 (hakko.com/english/products/hakko_fx951.html) a few years ago. The difference in soldering experience is night and day, I've also learned, after almost a decade; (liquid) flux is your best friend. I understand that budgets can be tight, as mine was when I was a student, but, if one is serious about soldering, get a soldering station and save oneself a lot of pain. – Hamid Dec 16 '19 at 13:15