Thursday, September 14, 2017

Metal sponge for soldering iron tip cleanup

I think i'm melting solder for over 30 years... the first Iron used was one built by my father with a large tip, even so, I managed to work some stuff with it.
In my teen years I bough the cheapest I could find (no other choice), basically crap and still manage to so some work.

Only in 2005 or so I bough a decent one, still no soldering station and all that good stuff, the support for the iron and the cleaning sponge was still in the low end of the quality scale...

That good soldering iron "died" in 2013...

...back to crap equipment and to miracle making (on the left). That was in Portugal, in Ireland I have the cheapest one I found along with a "control" station that is always in the max temperature.... it works!

The iron is not the original because I broke it when replacing the tip. The tip shakes a bit but still OK.

Today, 2017, I have something completely different and new, as you can see I got the latest and greatest of the cleaning devices.... a metal sponge!!! (anyhow was the cheapest)

Need get used to clean the tip with this new this method but now I feel a professional.... still no proper soldering station, the things have "pornographic" prices!

Previously, the methods I used to clean soldering iron tips are, in no particular order:

1 - Slam the iron against the bench
2 - Pass rapidly the tip of the finger on the tip of the iron, it will not burn if your fast enough (took me some time and burn skin to master this one)
3 - Use the wet sponge

Have a nice week!


PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hi Ricardo, funny I use exactly the same soldering iron/sponge. And yes the tip shakes as well. It still is not pro. At my job I replaced the cheap one with a weller digital soldering station. It was "just" 99 euro. But is solders so much better, worth every euro. Saving some money to buy one for myself as well. 73, Bas

Ricardo - CT2GQV said...

Hello Bas,

I have my eye on the JBC CD-2BE specially due the interchangeable tips on the "flight"... but again, it's hard to justify the price since it's just a hobby.


DK3LJ said...

Hello Ricardo,

when I went to university in 1983 I asked the electronics shop (yes, there still were electronics shops) to recommend a station that will last and they recommended the Weller WTCP-S. The thing is built like a tank!

Nevertheless, here are some more options:

- Wellers sell much cheaper in the USA, take a look at Amazon. If you know someone there, that might be an option (check the voltage though)

- I recently received a more basic JBC station as a gift, the BT-2BWA, which is a 75W analog station that sells around 250 EUR. I am very happy with that. The JBC handles very very nice. Changing the tip is a miracle! This is the iron that I use most of the time.

- Many people here currently like a new chinese miniature portable iron called the TS100 (which can operate on any laptop power supply) and sells for 50 EUR or less

- If you happen to travel through Singapore, go to Sim Lim Tower and look for the Japanese Hakko brand. The Asian market loves this brand. Very easy to obtain in Australia too, not so easy to get in Europa.

- I saw blog posts where people bought a JBC iron without the station and added their own electronics.

73 Jan

Ricardo - CT2GQV said...

Hello Jan!

The BT-2BWA looks really nice and more "accessible" than the "digital" ones.
I also seen some projects just to use the T245 tips, that would keep costs lower also, but if you add a box and a good linear transformer it basically gets to the price of the BT-2BWA.
TS100 iron looks good but more flimsy and I wonder how it will be the support in the long run.
The Hakko probably have the best design but I've seen many counterfeit reports so it's always a risk.

Thanks again for the input!