Tinning a soldering iron is essential to ensure it functions efficiently and produces clean solder joints. Properly tinning your soldering iron can also prolong its lifespan. In this guide, we will take you through a step-by-step process on how to tin a soldering iron.
Most people are unsuccessful in their soldering task because they need to learn the importance of a tinned and sharp soldering tip. Because of this, they keep using the same soldering iron without making it sharp and renewing it, and at last, they end up with a poorly performed task.
Whether using your soldering iron regularly or not, you should remember that you must renew its condition at specific intervals to save it from getting damaged. Anytime you are in a hurry and don’t have time to sharpen the tip of the soldering iron, you can use it easily.
Tinning of soldering iron
The tip of most of the soldering iron is made up of copper covered with an iron layer plated with nickel. This layer can easily get oxidized in the air, because of which the chances of the corrosion of the tip increase, and it will not solder the two electrical components in a good way.
So, any joint you make using the soldering iron whose tip is more oxidized and corrosive than the soldered joint will get separated very soon. So, the soldering iron tip is tinning so that the tip does not get oxidized in the air and can solder two joints strongly.
Why is tinning necessary?
Soldering is done when you are opted to join the two electronic subjects together. It can be a metallic alloy or any other component like this. But the role of tinning the tip is most important in the soldering capacity of a soldering iron.
It will make the soldering process smoother, and the quality of the joint made by the tinned soldering iron will be better than the untinned one. So if the soldering task is performed by using a cleaned and tinned soldering iron tip, then the joint will solder strongly, and you will not need to call any professional to better check the joint solder by you.
How to tin a soldering iron?
Before moving towards the procedure, first, you should know the necessary things you should have before tinning the soldering iron tip. So ensure you have all the following materials with you, and then you can start the procedure by following the guidance properly.
- Soldering iron tip
- Brass tip cleaner
- Protection gloves
Before moving towards the detailed guide below, read quick steps:
How to tin a soldering iron (quick guide):
- The first step is to clean the soldering iron tip
- Now heat the soldering iron tip at 250 to 280 degrees centigrade.
- Now get the solder and melt it over the tip of the soldering iron to make the nickel-plated area of the tip shiny. You do not have to melt the solder over the tip; do it for the pinpoint.
- Wait for a few seconds so that the smoke gets finished.
- Put the hot soldering iron tip into the brass tip cleaner, and it will dust off all the solder from the soldering iron tip.
- Take the tip out of the brass tip cleaner and observe the shiny tip of the soldering iron.
- Repeat the process until the tip gets fully shiny.
Lets read step by step-by-step guide below:
How to tin a soldering tip (step-by-step guide):
Here is the detailed step-by-step procedure to tin a soldering iron tip.
Step 1: Clean the soldering iron tip
The first step is to clean the soldering iron tip, so make sure that it is clean and does not have any dust particles or any other material over it.
Step 2: Heat the tip
Now you have to heat the tip of the soldering iron at a high temperature. This is the first step for the tinning of the soldering iron tip. You have to heat the tip at different temperatures according to the type of soldering iron.
If you are using an expensive and high-quality iron, you have to heat it at 250-degree centigrade, or if you are using a cheap soldering iron, you have to heat it at a higher temperature, like 280 degrees centigrade. Make sure you hate the tip well; otherwise, you will not be able to perform the next step of the tinning of the soldering iron tip.
Step 3: Melt the solder
In this step, place the solder over the soldering iron tip. Make the connection between the tip of the soldering iron and the solder so that the solder starts melting over the hot soldering iron tip. This step covers the nickel-plated part of the soldering iron tip with the melted solder layer.
This is important to cover the pin tip of the soldering iron with the melted solder layer to make it look bright and shiny. Covering the whole tip with the melted solder is not essential, and you have to apply it over the tiny point of the tip. Do it until you get satisfied that your required tip area of the soldering iron has got covered with the melted solder.
If you see that the solder is not getting melted in the form of a fine layer or accumulated over the tip of the soldering iron forming a ball, then it means that you have not performed the first step in the right way. Your tip has some impurities over it.
That’s why the solder is not getting melted over the tip. So for this, you have to go for the first step again, and you have to clean your soldering iron tip thoroughly, and then perform the procedure of tinning the soldering iron tip step by step again.
Step 4: Wait for a few seconds
Now you have to wait for a few seconds until the smoke produced by the burning of the rosin flux present in the solder gets over. After the smoke stops emerging from the soldering iron tip, you can perform the next step.
Do not put the smoky soldering iron tip in the brass tip cleaner. Doing this will ruin the whole tinning process, so ensure no smoke gets out from the tip. Then go for the next step.
Step 5: Put the tip in cleaner
This is the final step of the tining procedure of the soldering iron tip, in which you have to take the brass tip cleaner and place the hot soldering iron tip you have heated into the brass tip cleaner. Place it there for a few seconds, and then take it out to observe the tip.
If the soldering iron tip appears fully shiny, bright, and evenly clean, then it means that you have done the tinning procedure accurately. If you see that the tip still needs the tining, you have to again put the soldering iron tip in the same brass tip cleaner. Repeat this step until you get your desired clean and tinned soldering iron tip.
After this, you will get the fully protected soldering iron tip, which will not get corrosive even if you store it for a long time. Every time you will take the soldering iron out, you will be able to get high-quality results from it.
The shiny appearance is only required for the nickel-plated area at which we want to decrease the chance of oxidation, so it is okay if the whole tip is not shiny. You have to tin the nickel-plated area of the soldering iron.
People often say using the soldering iron at home is not easy because only professional ones can do the tasks better, but this statement needs to be corrected. If you know how to use and store the soldering iron properly, you can efficiently perform any soldering task at home.
For this, you must take proper care of the soldering iron tip by tinning it regularly so that it does not get oxidized in the air and no corrosion can attack it.
By taking a little care of the soldering iron tip, you can easily use a reasonable and best-quality soldering iron for an extended period without getting damaged. So cleaning and tining the soldering iron tips is necessary because hygiene is very important in every matter.