Amateur Radio Tip of the Day: Keep your soldering iron tip clean

May 14, 2013 Dan KB6NU

To make good solder joints, you need to keep the tip of your soldering iron clean from any oxides and dust or dirt. A clean, well-tinned tip will transfer heat properly and help you avoid cold solder joints. Many solderers use wet sponges to clean soldering iron tips, and many solder stations have troughs to hold these sponges.


An alternate method is to use a wire cleaning pad like the one shown above. You stick the iron into the pad and then draw it back out. The wire scrapes the oxides and dirt from the tip as you do this. Proponents of this method claim that this method increases the life of the tip as it avoids the rapid temperature changes that using a wet sponge cause.



Larry, KB8QJE, is this week’s winner of one of my e-books. His name was randomly selected from the subscriber list.

Tips like this one are sent out every day by e-mail. To subscribe to the list, simply click here and fill out the form. Every week, I’ll select a random subscriber and give them one of my books.

Do  you have a tip that you’d like to share with other radio amateurs? E-mail it to me. If I use your tip, I’ll send you one of my books.

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