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Soldering Iron Questions

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Soldering Iron Questions | 2 November, 2006

I'm looking for some information on soldering irons being used in my no-lead process.

Specifically, my floor seem to be burning out tips at an alarming rate, when soldering lead-free assemblies. Today, I had one woman burn out a brand new tip in 4 hours of post-wave touch up.

It seems crazy to me to be burning out tips this quickly, but my solderers all tell me that it's common to burn out tips soldering no-lead.

For the 4 hour tip mentioned above, we were using a Weller WSD80 iron, with an LTC 3.2mm chisel tip. Solder temp was set at 750, and increased to 800 as the tip started to go.

Do tips really cook this quickly? Or is it more likely that we're doing something in our process that is causing this?

Thanks ..rob

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Soldering Iron Questions | 2 November, 2006

WE are also going through tips left and right as well with the lead free, thats why it is so environmently friendly you know!!! 10 times the amount of tips now going into trash!!

okay back on track here

you may wantto try some of the other MFGRS that have been developing tips more suited for pbfree, Mecal and JBC are 2 that come to mind. still have short life though but do have some improvement.

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Soldering Iron Questions | 2 November, 2006

Which solder did you use? What process? Just hand soldering? I think 750~800 temp. maybe so so so so high!!! Normally, we set irons at 350~400 degC temp. for our common hand soldering.

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Soldering Iron Questions | 3 November, 2006

Try Koki S03X7C-56M*** it has colbalt in which prolongs the tip life. I have also heard that the Nihon Superior SN100C does this too, however in our trials the Koki Soldered better.

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Soldering Iron Questions | 3 November, 2006

The process that burnt the tips up yesterday was hand soldering/touch up of lead-free assemblies. Not even assembly, but just touching up boards that we've soldered on a solder pot...which will lead to another question.

We're using SAC 305 WS482 3% flux core. Our OA liquid flux is WS715M.

I'm told we used to use a different type of solder that caused the tips to burn up even faster (I'm guessing a more active flux, but have no confirmation).

The 750-800 degrees sounded awfully high to me as well. At the temps you that reworking lead-free solder?

Thanks! ..rob

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Soldering Iron Questions | 3 November, 2006

The temp your iron is set at is somewhat irrelevant, it is the temp at the tip right? We use metcals and have 700 deg tips for leadfree. As you may know Metcal temp is at the tip and not a heating element seperate from the tip like many irons are. I am not familiar with these wellers but that temp will accelerate tipdeath for sure if that is truly what the temp is, sounds like the oxidization on tips is making you turn them up to adjust for the poor thermal transfer you are seeing. Try the SN100C as we think it helps.


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Soldering Iron Questions | 5 November, 2006

ok, sorry ,750 was deg F and which I said 350~400 were deg C, I got a mistake.

As I know, we use 660~720 deg F to do reworking for lead free solders such as SAC series and SnCu0.7 series solder to protect irons and components on boards. when temp. increasing above 750 deg F, the tips burn up faster more than 2 times as it below 750 deg F. But sometimes for special application, we have to use this high temp. which are above 750 deg F to reduce our reworking time and increase efficiency. Anyway, we also can protect our tips by some other ways. For example, we can use some special tips which have special metal coats for lead free alloy. Another good method is change your wet sponge to dry sponge, I saw this dry sponge at customer side, it is special for lead free irons because it can reduce corrosion due to less temp. dropping.

Thank you!

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Soldering Iron Questions | 6 November, 2006

*We've tried the WSP80s for leadfree, also SAC. Problem with these was when they are not being used, they keep their temp and oxidate like hell. Second problem is as Russ states, the sensor is not in the tip, therefore to get the same heat in the tip when soldering a high thermal mass contact, U will have to up the temperature (U will get a delta T between the sensor and the actual contact point tip-solder area)

*We've been told that for every degree increase in temperature, your tiplife will decrease 1%.

*The tips with thicker coating should last 4-5 times as long and cost 4-5 times as much :)

We now mainly use the WSP's for our leaded proces (They work perfeclty there) and use JBC's with standby temp reduction and sensor+heating element in tip. I love them.

Hope this helps

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Soldering Iron Questions | 16 November, 2006

The key to longer lasting solder tips when using lead free solder is the amount of Iron plating on the tip. While it is true that tips will burn out quicker, there are some solder iron manufacturers who have addressed this. The ERSA ICON, for example has 600 microns of iron plating which protects the copper tip and helps it last 2 times longer than others. Most tips have between 150 to 300 microns of Iron plating and that is not enough. Try looking at the ERSA ICON

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Soldering Iron Questions | 27 November, 2006

800 degrees? Ouch! I find that every company that I do training for has at least one person that likes to go through one tip a day. The solution is tip tinning. Tell your operators to wipe the tip on a damp sponge often. Do not buy your sponges from the Dollar store. Colored sponges have chemicals that can damage your solder tip. Coat the tip with solder whenever it is not being used for more than 30 seconds. Especially with the lead free solder. If your operator goes to lunch and does not wipe their tip clean and coat it with solder, the tip will most likely be oxidized beyond use on their return. Most SMT does not need above 750 F. I suggest trying even lower temperatures. Don't just jump up to 750 F because you are using lead free. See what type of result you will get starting at 650 F. You might be surprised. For a longer tip life. remember. Tip tinning. Tip tinning. Tip tinning.

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