Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ Category: Soldering Irons

Q. Why are there different wattages available for the same iron? link
A. A higher wattage iron will give you better thermal recovery than one of lower wattage. This is an important feature when you are performing an application that draws the heat out of the iron faster than it can produce it.

Q. Why is my Soldering Iron vibrating? link
A. The soldering iron is operating on 50/60Hz, AC (Alternating Current) voltage. The vibration is caused by the Alternating Current passing through the nickel-chromium wire of the soldering iron's element and is most noticeable in the larger industrial size irons.

Q. What is special about our Paragon Soldering Iron Tips? link
A. Paragon Quality Soldering Iron Tips are the best tips made. The Paragon Tip is professionally machined from solid tellurium copper rod. It receives a heavy, uniform coat of electrolytic iron to help protect it from the deteriorating effects of soldering. The working surface is then expertly pre-tinned with solder. The pre-tinned area gets coated with "stop off" to protect it from any further plating. The remainder of the iron clad surface is then plated with nickel (which protects the iron surface) and then with a special chrome, which when heated (during use) diffuses with the nickel creating a unique bond of a stainless steel like alloy on the tips shank. These measures are taken to extend the working life of the tip and also to help prevent tip "freeze-up" in the iron.

Q. Why is my soldering Iron no longer getting hot enough? link
A. This is usually a result of improper tip care. You must periodically remove the tip from the (cooled down) Soldering Iron and clean the oxidation from the shank. The oxidized layer slows heat transfer from the element.

Q. Why should I use Soldering Irons with plug style tips? link
A. A plug style tip is seated inside of the soldering Irons heating element. This allows for more efficient heat transfer from the element through the tip, giving you a faster warm up and better thermal recovery.

Q. Can I pull the tip part of the way out of the iron to extend my reach? link
A. No. The tip must remain fully seated into the element for efficient thermal transfer. An air pocket behind the tip can create a hot spot in the element, causing a premature failure, or burnout. However, soldering iron tips are available in an assortment of lengths and sizes.

Q. What does tip configuration mean? link
A. Configuration is the shape of the working portion of the tip. Some of the basic tip configurations available include conical, ballpoint, diamond (pyramid), chisel and spade. There are variations, or modifications of each of these families available to meet specific application requirements.

Q. Can I modify the tip myself? link
A. That is not generally a good idea. Our (Paragon) tips go through a series of special plating processes to insure a longer operating life. Any modification to the tip would remove some, or all of the protective layers and drastically shorten the expected life of the tip.

Q. For the most efficient transfer of heat, what is the best tip configuration to use? link
A. The standard chisel is usually the tip of choice for efficient thermal transfer from the heating element to the work. For soldering seams in corners the standard diamond tip is used in order to heat both conjoining surfaces. Lengthening, or turning down the diameter, of the tip will negatively affect its efficiency.

Q. Can I use another brand of tip in my American Beauty Soldering Iron? link
A. Because they have not been manufactured to the tolerances and specifications of our Paragon Tips, we do not recommend using another brand of tips in our Soldering Irons. Using another brand may lead to problems with tip "freeze-up" or improper thermal transfer, caused by improper fit in the heating element.

Q. Why do tips "freeze-up" in the Soldering Iron? link
A. The continuous oxidation of metal surfaces that occurs naturally, is magnified by the introduction of heat, flux and solder vapors. If the oxidation is not periodically cleaned from the shank of the tip and the inner wall of the heating element they will eventually freeze-up or seize together inhibiting future replacement of either the tip or the heating element.

Q. How can I regulate the temperature of an American Beauty® soldering iron? link
A. The temperature of any electrical heating device can be controlled, simply by regulating the supply voltage. The American Beauty® V Series Voltage Controller was developed for just this purpose. The dial setting is marked to show percentage of input from 0-100% of the supply voltage. To verify the actual operating temperature, an external device will be needed. The Model V3700 was built to tackle the higher outputs generated by our Heavy-Duty Soldering Irons and Industrial Solder Pots.

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