Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kit build came to an abrupt stop

Last weekend I was working on my Elecraft K2 project all was going well until I tried to clean my Weller soldering tip in the wire sponge. For some reason it the wire sponge was not letting the soldering tip go. It was as if the tip was soldered to the sponge that was supposed to clean it! I did free the tip from the sponge and I tried to clean the tip once again and the same thing happened but it was even harder to remove from the wire sponge. I then took a closer look at the Weller soldering tip and half the tip was missing, it seemed to have come off. I never had this happen in the past with these tips and of coarse it was this tip that I did not have a spare of. I did pick up some new tips (4 of them) and will now be able to continue with my Elecraft
Wire sponge
K2 project once again. At one point I was using just a sponge that was damp to clean the tip's but I found this cooled the tips down and the soldering was affected. Has anyone out there ever had the problem of the soldering tips dissolving or breaking off in the wire sponge? The temperature on the Weller WES51 is set to around 800.


  1. This used to happen all the time with plain copper bits, which is why they started to add the additional surface coating.

    It is possible the wire sponge might have over time damaged the surface coating of the soldering bit enough for it to decay underneath the coating and eventually fail rather like a tooth cavity.

    However I used Weller bits professionally and over time the bits do eventually fail in this manner. It just takes a lot of use for this to happen and in normal amateur usage the bits thankfully tend to last a long time.

    I also use Antex bits and the same effect happens with those and a lot sooner than with Weller ones so it is not a quality issue with Weller just normal wear and tear.

    As far as cleaning the soldering iron bit is concerned I just use a slightly damp sponge and adjust the bit size and temperature to suit as I have found that this works for me and cannot harm the surface coating on the bit.


    Kevin G6UCY

    1. Good evening Kevin, well I will say that the soldering tip sure did get a lot of use. I have used this tip to build many projects! I do have the sponge and may try that with this new tip to see how that works out. Thanks for taking the time to comment.