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How to Use Tip Tinner - 6 Easy Steps - Q Source

Dirty Tip

A trusty tool to have among your soldering supplies is tip tinner, which will help to remove oxide buildup and keep your soldering tip clean and functioning at peak performance.

With prolonged use, soldering tips will eventually start to lose their protective layer of solder through the process of oxidation. They become “detinned,” eventually limiting or altogether preventing the tip from accepting solder so they are less able or unable to transfer heat to the materials you are trying to fasten together.

Thus, you have tip failure, which usually can be remedied with a 10- to 15-second application of tip tinner — sometimes longer, depending on the level of oxidation. However, if you use tip tinner as part of your regular maintenance and remove the oxide before it builds up too heavily, you are likely to avoid tip failure altogether.
Tip tinner contains a combination of mild acid and solder powder that quickly and efficiently eliminates residue from the soldering tip, helping prevent oxidation between uses. While the compounds make for an effective, thermally stable, oxide-removing cleanser, it’s best to handle tip tinner with a certain amount of care and know-how.

Try to avoid breathing in the fumes and follow these simple instructions periodically, and your soldering-iron tip — no matter how heavily used — should almost always be ready for the next project without any disruptions.

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How to Use Tip Tinner

  1.  Set the heat on your soldering iron to between 600- and 610-degrees Fahrenheit (about 320-degrees Celsius).

  2. Remove any visible residue or surface oxidation with brass cleaning wool or a brass-bristled brush, as brass cleaning tools are softer and more forgiving than stainless steel wools and brushes.

Steel Wool
  1. Insert the soldering-iron tip into a tin of tip tinner — but first, try saying that three times fast! There are several different brands from which to choose, and we recommend the following in no particular order: Plato TT-95, JBC Tools TT-A, and R&R Lotion Tip-T.

  2. Typically, the tip will start smoking as the metal begins to melt. Slowly turn the tip as you have it submerged in the tinner so that you complete a full rotation in about 10 to 15 seconds.

  3.  Remove the tip from the tinner and gently wipe it off with your brass wool or brush.

  4. You should now be able to tin your soldering iron tip and go to work, but if you’ve experienced tip failure prior to this process and it continues after taking the steps above, simply repeat the process until the tip accepts the solder.

Preventing Tip Failure

There are some peremptory steps you can take to minimize detinning and prevent tip failure. One of the worst offenders of increasing the oxidation process is soldering at heats above 800-degrees Fahrenheit (about 425-degrees Celsius). Maintain a maximum temperature of 800-degrees F and try to work below that level as much as you can, and it will take longer for oxide to build up on the tip.

Oxidation generally occurs between uses, and the less solder kept on the tip during idle periods will also speed up oxide buildup. A lack of flux in the soldering process also contributes to the detinning of the tip, so low-residue and no-clean fluxes also increase the rate of oxidation and the likelihood of tip failure.

As mentioned above, stainless steel and metal brushes and wools, man-made sponges, dry sponges, rags, and paper towels should not be used to wipe the soldering tip, nor should you rub the tip on the metals with which you are working. The 
WPB1 Polishing Bar can help. Finally, also be sure to feed solder to the joint rather than adding it directly to the tip.

Q Source is a distribution leader for a wide range of essential products commonly used in soldering and throughout all sectors of the manufacturing industry. We understand your needs, and we deliver high-quality products from the world’s most well-known and respected brands.


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