I have read many articles regarding this subject and none have worked - otherwise I would not have made a thread that is surely a dupe of many others on this site.

I purchased this 25W soldering iron a few days ago and used it for the first time without any problems. A few days later I tried using the iron again and the solder would not "stick" to the tip when I attempted to tin it.

I read up on this subject and thought that the tip might be dirty. So, I went about cleaning it. I tried to use a wet sponge when the iron was hot. This worked nicely, and the iron looked great! However, the solder still would not stick. So I then tried using a brillo-type pad to clean it. Yet again, the iron came out looking great but nothing would stick to it.

Here is an image of the clean iron:

enter image description here

I am not sure what to do. Any suggestions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You might be interested in this electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/51895/… \$\endgroup\$ – travisbartley Aug 5 '13 at 1:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Clean tips always have an oxide layer which prevents solder-wetting. "Rosin flux" is used to dissolve that layer. Common solders provide a flux core which does the job. So, might you be using solid, non-flux solder? \$\endgroup\$ – wbeaty Jul 24 '17 at 7:30

Some tip tinner/cleaner compound will reduce the layer of non-metal/oxide that has accumulated on the tip and is preventing the solder from sticking. With a 25W iron you'll probably need one with lead in it.

Also, be careful when abrading the tip since solder will erode the copper underneath if the non-copper layer is removed completely.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The picture I provided looks exactly like the day I purchased the gun. There is nothing on the tip and it looks very clean. I wanted to avoid actual 'tinner' substances because I know they are extremely bad for you if accidentally inhaled. Thanks for the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – sherrellbc Aug 5 '13 at 1:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I recommend using a desktop fume extractor when soldering regardless. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 5 '13 at 1:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, oxide layers are almost invisible when only a few atoms thick, but they will still repel solder. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 5 '13 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well then it's surely possible. I suppose I just didn't jump to that conclusion because it's essentially brand new and I only used the gun once. I've just been using a small fan. Can you link a recommended device? \$\endgroup\$ – sherrellbc Aug 5 '13 at 1:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The Weller WSA350 is probably one of the best at its price point, but a fan is adequate if you're in a well ventilated area. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 5 '13 at 1:54

The best product for this is called Tip Tinner. I use it all the time.

When I first heat up, I put some of this on the tip (you just push the tip into the powder and it melts onto it), then wipe it off with a damp sponge. Then apply some solder and do your job.

When I am finished, I make a point of wiping it again, then put some more of this on the tip as the iron cools down in the stand.

This is the best way to "clean" your iron, imho.

enter image description here

It really works well. I use it for all my irons, regardless of their original quality.


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