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Wagner
08-05-2011, 06:24 PM
I use the Hakko brass sponge tip cleaner. My brass sponge ball isn't badly clogged up, but is well used and not as good as it once was.
I am starting a fairly large project this weekend, went to the local dealer, and guess what?
They're out of them.
Anyone have any tips or suggestion on how or what to clean this with, or if it's even possible with meaningful results ?
I shook out all the remnants of solder and allowed the Sun to just melt a little flux into it, but still it just seems dirty and not up to snuff.
I am building a PS filter on a nice glass board and don't want to fight the iron.
Short of mail order and wait, any ideas?

Thanks

grumpy
08-05-2011, 08:01 PM
For fine electronics work, I use distilled water on a sponge.
If the tip still has plating and will 'wet' with solder,
that should be fine. I'm assuming a pencil tip iron, not
a big 100w weller gun :)

Wagner
08-05-2011, 08:29 PM
For fine electronics work, I use distilled water on a sponge.
If the tip still has plating and will 'wet' with solder,
that should be fine. I'm assuming a pencil tip iron, not
a big 100w weller gun :)

No, but actually I do have one of the monster Wellers for automotive work.
I use a very modest but decent adjustable Weller, the 100 I believe.
I used a wet sponge for some time, then tried this brass sponge.
I like it as it doesn't cool the tip with cleaning, once I've found that magic temp spot and have things moving along. Tips seem to hold up better too.

My little station has a sponge, may wind up using it for this one.
I'd still like to hear if anyone has found a way to clean and extend the life of these expensive brass sponges though.

Thanks grumpy.

grumpy
08-05-2011, 09:05 PM
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8964

Shipping might kill the deal, but these seem relatively cheap ...

I should give this a whirl :)

Robh3606
08-05-2011, 09:06 PM
We use a good odd fashion wet sponge as Grumpy sugested at work. We also have the brass sponges. From what I have seen we don't try to extend the life on them. Once they go we just replace them. Good luck on your project.

Rob:)

grumpy
08-05-2011, 09:11 PM
Yeah, it's just what I learned on and am used to.
I don't have a strong opinion about it (yet).
I would re-emphasize the distilled water part though...
Don't need minerals building up on the tip.

(doug, restrain yourself)

Wagner
08-05-2011, 09:38 PM
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8964

Shipping might kill the deal, but these seem relatively cheap ...

I should give this a whirl :)


That's a good price, Hakkos go for around $8 bucks at the brick and mortars.
Back in the day, if it were stainless it'd be called a scrubbing pad, always had one on the kitchen sink.
I've actually looked for them at hardware stores now that so many people use "0000"s brass wool for wood work, but haven't found anything this coarse.

lgvenable
08-05-2011, 10:53 PM
While you're talking solder, remember to carefully choose the proper solder:
use a tin silver (bearing) solder at ~ 4% silver. The eutectic is higher than flux core, but it does a much better job; and is much more durable. BTW use a variable temp soldering gun station, available on eBay for ~ $50 to $70.00 shipped; as real bargin. (no affliiaton) You need it as the silver bearing solder requires a higher mp.

Weller's soldering guns etc, forget about it; much nicer units are available cheaply on eBay.. Here's what I got last year, stll out there. I used it to recap my BGW Sensurround Amps.

http://cgi.ebay.com/60W-SOLDER-WELDING-SOLDERING-STATION-IRON-TOOL-W-5-TIPS-/290593221595?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a8b4abdb#ht_2422wt_1172

Doctor_Electron
08-06-2011, 03:15 AM
I haven't used the metal sponges mentioned. But perhaps some "old school" technology can be still be quite useful in the 21st century.
I was very, very fortunate to have been accepted (with less than 6 months remaining in my Navy enlistment) to attend the four week "Precision Electronic Component Repair Course" at Lemoore NAS, in June 1974. We trained with PACE soldering / desoldering stations. The equipment and tecniques utilized were then considered as state of the art. A square of fairly fine stainless steel brush about 2" x 3" was oriented with its bristles pointing up. It was used for knocking excess solder off the tip (cleaning). Next to it was the familiar dampened sponge.
Emphasis was repeatedly placed on the fact that the sponge was used strictly for "thermal shocking". I have not looked up that term recently, but now it seems to me that this is likely yet another important chemical/metillurgical step used to iinsure, as best as possible, producing proper solder joints.
It is also always necessary that the solder is cleaned with 99% isopropyl or 99% denatured ethyl alcohol, applied to a clean cloth, non-shedding paper towel, cotton balll, etc., immediately prior to its use. It only takes a small amount of any oxides and/or contamination to poison and ruin the "wetting" quality of solder that is desired and necessary to produce acceptable results.
I think that the "cleaning" and "thermal shocking" steps were (still are?) seperated to optimize their respective results.
I will look up what is considered "state of the art" for tip preparation these days, but would appreciate others' comments here. ( I'm certain that I am not considered to be "SOTA" now).

Mr. Widget
08-06-2011, 12:22 PM
(doug, restrain yourself):applaud: :rotfl: :applaud:


Widget

lgvenable
08-06-2011, 08:16 PM
well b4 I started soldering and re-capping my BGW amps, I went trollig sites on techniques. At all the soldering gun manufacturer's I've seen a 10 commandments list:

https://www.techni-tool.com/content/resources/articles/Weller%20Ten%20Commandments%20of%20Soldering.html

however #2 is all about damaging the gun tip if you use a drenched sponge when you're soldering

II. Thou shall maintain a damp (NOT drenched) iron sponge (preferably with de-ionized water). A drenched sponge will bring the temperature of the tip down too drastically, causing thermal shock and reduced tip life.

One thing I did realize, you never appreciate how many solder joints are in those old school amps until you touch every solder joint and reflow it, making sure the solder joint hasn't cracked over time. In doing the work I found several questionable connections; but in re-capping i seemed I got much better bass response afterward; but what a pain.

Wagner
08-06-2011, 08:26 PM
Has anyone here successfully cleaned a brass sponge as used for cleaning irons, or simply replaced them?

Thanks

lgvenable
08-06-2011, 08:30 PM
Has anyone here successfully cleaned a brass sponge as used for cleaning irons, or simply replaced them?

Thanks

I use the mentioned damp sponge and one of the fine brash brushes they sell in hardware stores, ..cheap at ~ 1$- ish, asI had to replace the brush that was in the soldering station next to the sponge.

WDJ
08-06-2011, 09:01 PM
I've been using a sal ammoniac block to help keep tips clean for years.

Paid 2.69 for it.....twenty years ago......