Suggested max time for running a RadioShack 45-Watt Desoldering Iron?

After using my desoldering iron for approximately 1-2 hours I had melted the tip, rendering it useless. I have since gotten replacement tips. I do also want to add that the desoldering iron and tip were brand new, just out of the pack, and yes, I was using it correctly  =) 

But is their a suggested maximum amount of time someone should use the iron to avoid this?


sort by: active | newest | oldest

These tips don't last long, I buy 3 at a time. One thing i noticed if you let it rest on metal under the solder very long the tip will do that so i try to keep it high enough so the solder is the only thing touching the tip. the iron is a good product, I use it all the time but the tips are made cheap

Wired_Mist2 years ago

Yhea that sounds really strange. I have had previous Irons develop pitting because of a break in the coating, Similar to what Steve here said. I would suggest that you buy a nice soldering iron ( maybe not from radio shack, ) And a classic hand pump like what Icing posted. I've been using that combo for years and works great!

As per maximum amount of time left on, I have accidentally left Irons plugged in overnight before with no Ill effects. (aside form a mild heart attack) It probably happened from a faulty coating. It doesn't help that the tip looks hallow too, more surface aria for somthing to screw up.

If you'r doing that much desoldering then you should invest in a good quality desoldering station with temp control and vaccume pump.

OrangeJ (author) 2 years ago

Just so you can see what had happened...

OrangeJ (author) 2 years ago

Well i suppose I misspoke, It didn't melt rather it seems to have gotten very brittle and broke off at the center hole leaving a large open area at the end.

@iceng I have alot of desoldering work because i was given alot of old PCB's from various devices and there's alot of good components on them. And i like how they look, so I'm stripping them to hang on the wall as well =] I do have a manual hand pump too but I'd much rather use the desoldering iron.

Ok it seems like the tip that the iron came with was crappy I haven't received the new tips in the mail yet so I'll just see how they hold up.

iceng2 years ago

I find it curious, that you have hours of desoldering work.

Even a 24 pin IC, would not take me over 30 minutes to remove with the below hand pump tool...


It shouldn't have "melted" - it sounds like the tip plating was faulty, exposing the copper to the solder, which dissolves it. If its melting copper, it would be glowing a very bright red.