Persder Soldering Iron Tips
I’m usually quite confident in my soldering skills, but then sometimes I find myself completely failing at putting a header on a Raspberry Pi Zero, and what little confidence I had in my supposed skills drops through the floor. Then I remember that I haven’t replaced the tip of my soldering iron for a couple of years, and it all makes sense.
Soldering is a nasty business. Every time you use your iron, you’re heating the tip to 380°C or more, covering it in molten metal and subjecting it to boiling acids in the form of flux, then letting it cool back down to room temperature until you need to solder once more. Over time, this process absolutely ruins the tip of your iron, an issue that makes itself known by simple soldering jobs taking increasing amounts of time until, like myself, you’ll find even the most basic tasks impossible.
That’s why soldering irons have replaceable tips, a fact I need to remember more often. Finding myself facing the assembly of the MAKERbuino, I headed off the problem at the pass by picking up a ten- pack of Persder soldering iron tips in a variety of shapes and sizes – and in a natty black finish to boot. Exactly which tips you’ll need depends entirely on which iron you own. In my case, the Persder tips – sold as being compatible with a range of Hakko soldering stations – were just what I needed for my trusty Tenma 60W soldering station (reviewed back in Issue 149). These tips have a hollow base, with the internal diameter (ID) measuring around 4mm. This hollow base slides over the soldering iron’s built-in heating element and is held in place with a metal shield and retaining ring, with the tips being heated from the inside out. Other irons require solid tips, which slide inside the handle of the iron, and which typically cost considerably more money due to the extra metal required for their manufacture.
Although it’s entirely possible to buy individual iron tips, this ten-pack caught my eye, as it had a range of different shapes and sizes. Apart from being fresh, it’s the shape of the iron tip that has the biggest effect on your ability to solder; a large chisel tip will hold its heat for longer and transfer it to the piece more effectively, making soldering easier, while a finer tip is trickier to use but allows you to solder very finely pitched components without disturbing their neighbours.
This ten-pack includes double- and singlesided chisel tips in a range of sizes, a couple of needle tips (including one at a jaunty angle for hard-to-reach areas) and one sharp-looking knife edge.
The latter is a particularly useful shape for drag-soldering – the process of soldering a surface-mount component with multiple legs, such as an SMD, by applying solder to the tip and slowly dragging it along the legs; you rely on the circuit board’s solder-resist layer to prevent bridges between legs.
For the price – a mere £7.99 (inc VAT) from UK supplier Arlent via www.amazon.co.uk – you certainly can’t fault the selection on offer, and the tips are a perfect fit for my Tenma iron. The key, though, will be in their longevity. While the tips I’ve tried currently solder like champions, it remains to be seen how long they’ll last.
A new tip will breathe fresh life into even the oldest irons, and at a fraction of the cost of completely replacing one
A ten-pack of assorted soldering iron tips for the cost of a couple from my usual supplier? Colour me interested