How Do You "TIN" a soldering iron?

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How do you know when your soldering iron is tinned? I keep mine plugged in for 5-10 minutes then when I try tin it, the solder beads up and just drips offs. It doesn't seem to "wet" the tip. Is it suppose to wet the tip of the soldering iron?
I'm using non lead solder, 95%Sn, 5% Sb (Tin/Antimony). Rosin core.
Also, when 1 solder two wires together, I twist the wires together, then hold the iron to one side of the wire and hold the solder to the opposite site. The wire should get hot and soak up the solder, right? I've been practicing but it seems to be hit or miss so far.
Bonnie
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On 11/28/2010 9:26 PM B_ snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com spake thus:

Yes.
The problem is that the tip of your iron is dirty. You've got to get all that scale off of it in order for solder to stick to it. Clean it.
I just use a small piece of sponge which I wet with water. Wipe tip on sponge.

A tinned tip will work better. Also, melting a little blob of solder on the tip and then using the blob to transfer heat to the work helps.
--
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with the flaunting of well-defined muscle, wrapped in flags.
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On Nov 29, 12:26 am, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

As one beginner to another.....
First, I don't know much if anything about soldering, but I do solder wires wires together pretty often.
Second, I only solder either aluminum or copper wires, which are easy.
Third, the advise you have received here is good, but they didn't mention that the wire has to be clean too. If the wire is old and oxidized, it has to be clipped off or cleaned too.
Fourth, use a resin core solder.
Fifth, I scape off my tips with a knife. I have even used a bench grinder to grind them back to a point. Then I heat up the iron and melt solder on the tip which helps clean it, then wipe off the excess solder.
Hope these little tips help.
Hank <~~~assuming it is a Pencil type soldering iron
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On 11/29/2010 7:14 AM, Hank wrote:

you don't solder aluminum. You might think you are, but no, you're not.
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Steve Barker
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2010 11:51:16 -0600, Steve Barker

Yes you are if you are using the proper solder. Alumisol is one that works very nicely on aluminum
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Like I said, I don't know much about soldering. I'm pretty sure the wire is aluminum and stranded. It is high quality aircraft wire. It is silver in color. Maybe its some alloy. Anyway, what I'm doing is working for me. :-)
Hank
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wrote:

easiest types of wire to solder - it is "pre-tinned"
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On 11/29/2010 9:13 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The stuff with the Teflon insulation?
TDD
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2010 23:12:57 -0600, The Daring Dufas

stuff.
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On 11/29/2010 11:53 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I love that wire for electronics work and surprise, it's the best wire in the world for soldering to those Bendix aerospace connectors and making wiring harnesses. :-)
TDD
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 00:02:14 -0600, The Daring Dufas

Teflon insulation doesn't burn but it does creep. It's not good around anything even slightly sharp.
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On 11/30/2010 7:06 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

You mean it will slowly flow apart if it rests on a sharp edge and cause a short circuit? The tough nylon jacket on THHN seems to resist that sort of break in the insulation. Geez, I just thought of the thousands of feet of that stuff I've pulled into conduits and cable trays over the years. :-)
TDD
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 19:47:11 -0600, The Daring Dufas

Yep. We used to have that problem with teflon insulated wire-wrap wire. The Gardner-Denver machines could work with it reliably, but it was easy to screw up by tightening the wires too tight. The intermittents would drive ya' crazy.

It generally happens when its under tension going around an edge.
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 21:24:27 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

But you've never been wrapped four times around a .025" post.

Sometimes, if the history gets unwieldy, always with you because of your dumbass posting style.
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 19:06:10 -0600, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

is not fully cured (crosslinked) it outgasses flouride, which corrodes even siver plated wire. And before anybody says I'm blowing smoke, here is a reference: http://www.residues.com/pdfs/foresite_teflon.pdf
And aircraft (mil spec) wire can be silver plated, nickel plated, or tinned.
Also, teflon WILL burn, but it is self extinguishing - meaning it will burn as long as a separate source of ignition exists.
I've got a reference around somewhere that covers the shortcomings of all the mil-spec (aviation) rated wire and insulation. There is really NONE that are "ideal". Either they have physical limitations like cold flow or abrasion resistance, or they produce toxins when heated or burned.
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Here is a good primer on soldering and tinning (using conduction soldering - i.e., a simple soldering iron)
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/13553662/Soldering-Techniques
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Automotive electrical best practices from GM:
http://www.gmupfitter.com/publicat/electrical.pdf
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wrote:

I think the stuff I use is teflon. It is very smooth and tough. I bought a big roll of it about 20 years ago at an aircraft Mfg. plant salvage yard.
Hank
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B_ snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

As others have said, the solder won't stick to crud. Follow these steps for your abused iron.
1. Using a file or sandpaper, abrade off the crap from the tip of your iron until the tip is shiny base metal (either copper or steel).
2. Plug in the iron and, when it gets hot, cover the tip with solder.
3. Periodically during your soldering project, drag your iron's tip over a damp sponge.
4. When the iron's tip turns black and can't be returned to shiny via the sponge business, repeat steps 1 & 2.
5. You are correct when you twist the wires together. Soldering is an ELECTRICAL connection, not a mechanical one. Depending on solder to hold two items together is ultimately futile.
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re: "Depending on solder to hold two items together is ultimately futile."
Hmm...I wonder what's holding all of those little electronic components onto the circuit boards.
I also wonder why I can easily pull twisted wires apart but I have hard time pulling soldered wires apart.
I guess there must be something else holding that stuff together.
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