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Tip Numbers and Styles?
How do I tin a tip?
Taking the best care of a tip.
Why is my tip glowing red?
Recommended maintenance?
Premature element failure?
What is the plated finish on my tip?
Custom Tips?

Tip Numbers and Styles?

Plug tips differ by their diameter and shape. Nine diameters support 30 different plug style iron groups. A semi-chisel tip shape is furnished as the standard tip for each sold plug iron. See Catalog, Tips for list of plug tips by diameter. Screw tips are for the larger screw tip irons.


Screw tips are furnished in copper (T tip number) with the screw tip irons. A plated equivalent (HT X) is also available for longer life.


J tips fit all Therm-O-Trac TOT-1002 and TOT-1006 soldering stations. J202X is the standard tip furnished with the station. J tips with a 500, 600 or 700 series part number fit the Therm-O-Tract Power Boost TOT-1002PBS soldering stations. A custom outercase is required to accommodate the power boost tip’s larger diameter so be sure to have a TT-PB5, TT-PB-6 or TT-PB7 if you are using Power Boost. J tips with an 800 series fit our largest soldering station of all the Magnum Therm-O-Trac TOT-2300 soldering station. TT-PB8 outercase is used with the Magnum and J802X is the standard tip furnished when Magnum is purchased.


CT tips are used in both the HTC series of soldering stations and the Phenix controlled temperature soldering iron. CT200X series tips fit the classic irons and the CT300X fits the ultra irons. A custom full chisel CT402X tip was developed especially for the stained glass market and also requires a larger outercase. Contact factory for more details.


Sleeve tips fit the Micro-Stedi group of irons and stations. A sleeve tip has a retaining ring around its slotted base. Upon installation of a sleeve tip ensure that the retaining ring fits tight to the base of the tip. HT880X is furnished as the standard tip.


SMD and Other – Using an adaptor tip most irons can solder surface mounted devices. We have a wide range of tips too detailed to share on the website. Copper tips T are included here and can be either copper screw tips or copper plug tips. Copper tips can be formed to your shape without affecting plated surfaces.

How do I tin my soldering tip?

Wipe your tip on a moistened sponge. Be careful not to over wipe, but instead use a quick, light stroke. Then apply fresh solder to the surface of the tip.

How can I take the best care of my soldering tip?

  • On a regular basis when the iron is cold before you plug it in, remove the tip. 

  • Wipe off the tip to remove any scale and shake out any that may be in the iron. 

  • When you reinstall the tip make sure the tip is fully inserted in the iron. Failure to do so will cause the iron to overheat and the element will fail prematurely. 

  • Never remove the tip when the iron is hot.

  • Always keep the tip covered with solder. Never let the tip go dry. If you do, it can become dewetted. 

  • Dewetted means that the tinning (currently 100% tin) on the working end of the tips has been allowed to oxidize which exposes the underlying iron plating. The iron plating then also oxidizes and at that point solder will not adhere to the tips. 

  • If the plating has no cracks or holes, many times the tips can be cleaned & retinned. 

  • When the tip is cold, clean up the end of the tip with our TS-10 tip scrubber. Do not file the tip. Put the tip back in the iron & as soon as the tip is hot enough to melt solder, flood it with flux & solder. Do not wait too long or the iron plating will oxidize and you will have to clean the tip again. 

  •  To help keep the tips from dewetting, replenish the tinning by feeding fresh solder to the tip so it is wet with solder at all times. After wiping the tip on the sponge, when the iron is set down between tasks, and before it’s unplugged, apply a fresh coat of solder. When the tip is dry, there is no molten solder to protect the plating or to make a “heat bridge” to the work, making it very difficult to transfer heat to the work.  

Why is my tip glowing red?

A turndown tip has metal removed at the working end to provide a smaller diameter.  Although this turned down tip shape provides access to the connection to be made it also reduces the mass of the tip.  The tip is glowing because it had too much mass removed for the wattage iron used.

Below Shows the Maximum wattages to be used for small diameter irons to prevent overheating tips.

1/8" dia      25 watt max.
3/16" dia    30 watt max
1/4" dia      35 watt max
1/4" dia L   50 watt max

What is the recommended maintenance for soldering irons and stations?

Soldering Iron Maintenance

  • Use the proper tip and make sure it is fully seated into the iron.

  • Remove tip daily and shake out any scale from the tip cavity

  • Do not allow the iron to idle for extended periods when not in use. Unplug the iron or use a temperature control to lower the temperature.

  • Use a suitable holder. A holder that is completely enclosed can cause the iron to overheat and shorten the element life.

Soldering Station Maintenance

  • Remove tip daily or at least loosen the case and turn the tip to prevent freezing.

  • Reduce heat setting when not using for extended periods.

  • Pilot light should be cycling off and on during normal operation. A station whose pilot light is on steady has malfunctioned and should be taken out of service and repaired.

  • If changing from Power Boost tips to standard tips, the station must be recalibrated to avoid overheating.

Why would a Soldering Iron Element Fail Prematurely?

Was the tip fully seated in the element? Some operators reset the tip by pulling it out further so that it has a longer reach. This leaves an air cavity inside the element which causes poor heat transfer to the tip and overheating of the element, which will lead to early element failure.


Voltage? Is the voltage to the iron the same as the voltage stamped on the element housing of the soldering iron? Typically most irons are wound for 115 volts, but other voltages are available. Make sure you are using the right voltage.


What tip is being used? Is it and original Hexacon tip designed for the iron in question, or has it been modified in some manner? If the tip is made of material other than high conductive copper (such as aluminum, steel or brass) it could lead to early element failure. Is the iron used consistently or intermittently? If using a high heat iron (1000 Deg F) it is recommended to use a voltage regulator so the iron can be turned down when not in use.


Are you using a Hexacon holder for your iron? Some holders enclose the iron, which causes the iron to rise to extremely high temperatures. This causes early element failures. The proper holder should be designed to hold the iron at the proper angle and insure iron and handle stay at the correct temperature.

What is the plated finish on HT---X tips?

Xtradur is the plating finish supplied on tips provided when sold with iron.

Xtradur tips are copper tips with iron plating over the working surface and nickel chrome applied to the non-working surfaces for immunization. The working surface is coated with tin and is lead free. The surface coating on the working end is referred to as tinning but can also mean solder coating. In our case tinning means coated with tin. A plated tip should never be filed. A non-abrasive pad should be used to remove light oxidation and the tip should be loosened from the soldering iron before each use. Xtradur tips have a HT prefix and an X suffix. For example HT499X.

Durotherm tips have an extra process applied to the non-working shaft of the tip to help reduce oxidation. Durotherm is for the user who does not want to maintain the iron or remove the tip and will extend shank life but have no impact on tip life at working end.

Since Durotherm is a premier style it takes longer to make and is not a standard stock item.

Screw tip Irons are furnished with copper tips ( known as T tips) and because they are not plated may be filed to form special shape as needed. Plated versions of the Screw tips are available by adding H to the tip number at the beginning and X and the end. For example a T273 copper screw tip becomes a plated screw tip when ordered as HT273X.

How do I order custom tips?

If you don't see the tip shape you need, be aware that we list only the catalog tips on the website.  If you provide us a drawing of the tip and which iron you are using with it we can make a custom tip with a minimum required purchase of 25 pieces.  For more information please contact the factory. or 908.245-6200

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How to tin
Tip numbers and styles
Care of Tip
Glowing Red
Element Fail
Plated Finsih
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