When buying a soldering iron, sometimes the manufacturers may include directions on how long you should use a soldering tip before you replace it, other times they do not. So it is up to you to know the process of changing a soldering tip and when to do the replacement, after a certain period of use of course.
If you are keen enough, you will start noticing the top part of the barrel and the bottom part of the solder tip starting to turn brown or grey. This is usually a sign that you should the process of changing a soldering tip.
If the soldering iron is in constant use, it is advisable you change the tip every three weeks or so. If the use is not as constant, then you can give use it even up to six months while still in good condition.
However, this is all dependent on how well you take care of the device because if you are always doing the process of changing a soldering tip often this will mean it will be an expense for you.
How to keep the soldering tip working for longer
- First of all, you have to invest in a good quality tip. Iron plated tips are most recommended because they last for longer periods as long as the plate stays complete.
- Ensure the tip remains clean always because this lengthens its shelf life. As soon as the plating is broken or damaged the tip starts dying slowly from that point.
- Never leave the hot iron tip to be dry for long periods because it will get damaged faster. As soon as you are done using the soldering iron, put the solder on the tip and then in the holder then switch it off.
- Lastly, always leave the solder on the tip because it will last longer. It does not matter if it is hot or not, just do it. Also, consider using a wet pad when working to have it last longer.
How to go about it
You will know you need to change your soldering iron tip when it becomes too difficult to work with or when the tip starts to fall off.
When you realize the tip is becoming weaker, get into the habit of tinning it on a regular basis. How do you do this? By tinning your tip before you start soldering a joint. Clean the tip, solder, clean it again, tin it, and then put it back into the holder. As long as you remember to do this often then you are on the safe side.
Alternatively, you will need certain materials for changing the soldering tip such as a soldering iron, additional solder tips, and a gripper. The next step involves dismantling the solder. After this, you can now remove the old solder tip and replace with the new solder tips and you are good to go.
The only way to avoid the process of changing a soldering tip often is to ensure proper maintenance is observed at all times. As we mentioned earlier, the best way is to ensure you tin your tin as often as possible.