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I recently purchased a new soldering iron and read here that it is good practise to tin the tip before actually using it. As I turned on the iron and applied solder to the tip, I noticed the very top of the tip accepts solder perfectly fine, but the lower parts have solder just run off.

Soldering iron tip

When the iron cooled back down, I noticed the top of the tip looked nice and shiny, whereas the lower parts of the tip have blackened. I am unable to remove the blackened color with a damp sponge.

The separation between the top of the tip and the blackened part is a distinct straight line, so I assume it is made of a different material or coating.

I am therefore wondering whether what I observe with this new tip is normal? I'd like to maintain this tip as well as possible, so am wondering whether it is good practise to store the tip like this (top part tinned, lower part blackened)? Or do I need to maintain it in a different way? I have read through the questions on tip maintenance but could not find anything similar to what I've observed here.

The soldering iron works perfectly fine, I am just worried about the blackening of the base of the tip.

The soldering iron is a TS100 and the tip is a B2. (https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B072LR7DV6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Clean the dirt off, add flux and you can tin with solder easily \$\endgroup\$ – Solar Mike Sep 1 '18 at 12:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ The end is plated with a metal that 'wets' with solder, the rest isn't. Typically iron over nickel plating. You can clean it up with a bit of alcohol if you want, but it doesn't matter much- as long as the tip is covered with shiny fresh solder. You just use the end part. Be careful not to damage the thin plating (don't try to pry things with it, don't sand or file it) - once the plating is penetrated the solder will dissolve the copper very quickly and you'll be shopping for a new tip. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Sep 2 '18 at 1:45
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The delineated part that accepts solder is the part you use. The rest is just there to transfer heat to the working tip. It is good that it does not accept solder, because that avoids having stray blobs of stale solder hanging off the tip that aren't what you are actually trying to work with and might make a mess.

The un-tinned part will get dark and ugly looking with use. This is normal and harmless. I wouldn't expect to see necessarily that dark a color on a new tip, but it doesn't look unreasonable and your attempts to tin it might have contributed (burnt flux?).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay thanks, that's exactly what I needed to know! So in short, only the top part of the tip is used to solder. I did try to melt solder (with flux) onto the heat-transfering part so that probably caused the blackness indeed. \$\endgroup\$ – Jelle van Campen Sep 1 '18 at 13:40

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