Ok in this section we are considering soldering iron cleaning and maintenance. You might feel that solder iron tip maintenance as being pretty insignificant, but if you think about it if the solder tip yo use is contaminated then any joint you make will also be contaminated. A contaminated joint will nearly always fail it is just a matter of time. So you can see getting a uncontaminated join is really important.
To prevent oxidation of the soldering tip it is necessary to always have a thin layer of solder on the iron tip. Most soldering stations come with a cellulose sponge with a hole in the center. The hole section is used to clear any debris off the solder tip , after clearing off the debris just tap the soldering iron on the wet sponge before you reapply with new solder.
After you have finished soldering it is important to clean off the tip of your soldering iron. It is useful to have a wire cleaner which are great for cleaning off any bits and pieces of the tip . The way you use it is to charge your soldering iron up with new solder and then stabbing the tip into the cleaning wire. The wire acts like a brush and cleans off all the excess leaving you with a new looking clean soldering iron tip.
Te bottom line is that a clean soldering iron tip is going to last a lot longer and give you stronger joints.
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