I. Thou shall not remove tip when soldering iron is powered “on.” Doing so can cause heating element to rise up to approximately 1300°F, resulting in thermal shock and reduced heater life.
II. Thou shall maintain a damp iron sponge, preferably with de-ionized water. A drenched, as opposed to damp, sponge will bring the temperature of the tip down too drastically, causing thermal shock and reduced tip life. For lead-free solder, a dry cleaner method is recommended.
III. Thou shall not disconnect soldering iron from base unit when powered “on.” Disconnecting or reconnecting the soldering tool from the base unit while powered on may cause a short between non-compatible pins, resulting in damage to the base unit or pencil.
IV. Thou shall maintain a coating of solder on working area of soldering iron tip. Doing so protects the tip from oxidation.
V. Thou shall never drop soldering iron while heated. Dropping the soldering tool while heated may cause thermal / mechanical shock to the heater, sensor, or tip (fractured plating).
VI. Thou shall not throw soldering iron into soldering tool stand. This will have the same effect as Commandment V.
VII. Thou shall never use soldering iron as a crowbar or pry tool. Doing so could chip or pit finish on tip, rendering it useless.
VIII. Thou shall not use sharp or serrated objects to remove tip from soldering iron. This will have the same effect as Commandment VII.
IX. Honor thy “KGB” (Known Good Base). Do not plug a non-working soldering iron into a KGB. This could cause damage to the base.
X. Thou shall turn the station down to lowest setting or use pre-programed set-back when not in use. Turning the station down during non-use periods will prevent severe thermal cycling of the tool. However, tools that are not being used for extended periods of time should be turned off.