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Prepare to Solder Your Electronics Project

Before you start soldering to connect the wires on your electronics project, you should first prepare your soldering iron by cleaning and tinning it. Follow these steps:

  1. Turn on your soldering iron.

    It will take about a minute to heat up.

  2. When the iron is hot, clean the tip.

    The best way to clean your soldering iron is to wipe the tip of the iron on a damp sponge. As you work, you should wipe the iron on the sponge frequently to keep the tip clean.

  3. Tin the soldering iron.

    Tinning refers to the process of applying a light coat of solder to the tip of the soldering iron. Tinning the tip of your soldering iron helps the solder flow more freely once it heats up. To tin your soldering iron, melt a small amount of solder on the end of the tip. Then, wipe the tip dry with your sponge.

You should clean the tip of your soldering iron frequently as you work — ideally, immediately after every joint you solder. You should also tin the soldering iron occasionally. Usually, it's sufficient to tin the iron once at the start of each project. But if the solder disappears from the tip of the iron, you should tin it again.

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