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scwhiteley 13th March 2010 09:55 PM

Soldering Iron Troubles & Questions
Hello! Quick soldering iron question here.

First off, I have a 30 Watt radio shack soldering iron that inexplicably stopped working after about two weeks of use... I really wish I would have hung on to that receipt. Is this common? Is there an easy fix for this?

Anyhow, that was long ago, and I've since been using a 45 Watt Craftsman soldering iron. It works well, but I seem to go through tips pretty quickly. They only seem to last a week or so before I need to replace them, which is unfortunate, because getting replacement tips from Sears is like pulling teeth. Is 45 watts too hot or is it normal to burn through tips this quickly?

At this point, I'm considering investing in a new soldering iron, and I'm open to suggestions. All of the soldering I do is on electronics, and I'm not one hundred percent sure what wattage of iron I should be using.

Thanks again,

Speedskater 13th March 2010 10:39 PM

a) First I assume that you are only using rosin-core solder designed for electronic applications.
b) Don't clean the tip after making a solder joint. Clean the tip just before doing the next joint. The old solder protects the tip as it sits there hot in it's holder.

tinitus 13th March 2010 10:46 PM

I dont know the ones you mention
But when they eat your tip very fast it tells me that you can do your own and better tips from copper

Fore finer electronics you need one with a longlife tip

smokinghot 13th March 2010 10:51 PM

Check your solder... The acid core type tend to eat tips if left on for prolonged periods.

Xoc1 13th March 2010 10:56 PM

Maybe you should concider investing in a decent temperature controlled iron.
The thermostat will ensure that it is never too hot, The tips last a lot longer and the risk of damage to the components and PCB are reduced.

john blackburn 13th March 2010 11:24 PM

Hi scwhiteley

What are you cleaning the tip with?

They should last a lot longer than one week. You aren't using any thing abrasive as a cleaner are you?


tinitus 13th March 2010 11:34 PM

Alone the tip fore a quality iron probably cost more than your solder stuff

I just bought a cheap solder iron fore soldering speakers and stuff, to not use my fine solder iron

The tip only lasted a few soldering junk
Man, I have had simple homemade copper tips lasting 100 times longer

If you buy a new solder iron, make sure its easy to get replacement tips
And different size tips is good to have as well
I have a Weller, and my next will also be a Weller

TheSeekerr 13th March 2010 11:39 PM

I can't imagine what you're doing with your tips to destroy them so fast - I'm still using the original tip I got with the iron 6 years ago.

Tips for longevity: never clean your tips with anything stronger than a damp sponge. Always leave your tip "dirty" to protect it from oxidation, then clean it just before you use it.

tinitus 13th March 2010 11:56 PM

Hmm, there is one thing that could destroy a longlife tip very fast
If you start soldering before the tip is hot enough, the tip could "get stuck", and the surface breaks off, and the tip is hurt
It also happens when you try to solder items fore which the tip and iron isnt heavy enough, like speaker terminals, heavy wire, etc
Also be careful not to drop it, and such

scwhiteley 14th March 2010 05:29 AM

Thanks for all the quick replies!


Originally Posted by john blackburn (
Hi scwhiteley

What are you cleaning the tip with?

They should last a lot longer than one week. You aren't using any thing abrasive as a cleaner are you?


I just use a water-moistened sponge to clean the tip.

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