Can you use leaded solder with lead-free tips?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by strantor, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    4,302
    1,988
    I recently watched Dave Jone's soldering videos for reeducation and, while I don't remember which of the 3 videos it was and I don't have time to watch them again for an exact quote, I'm 90% sure he says somewhere in there that you can't use lead free solder with ordinary tips, and you can't use lead free tips with ordinary solder. Is that correct? I just bought a new soldering iron and then found out that all the tips available for it are "Lead Free Style" - nothing else is available. Can I, or can I not, use these lead free tips with lead solder?
     
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,248
    6,745
    Not my problem. I'm still have half of a 50 pound spool of 60/40 and I'm 64 years old. :p

    ps, Merry Christmas.
     
    Lundwall_Paul, strantor and wayneh like this.
  3. sdowney717

    Member

    Jul 18, 2012
    385
    13
    Hmnnn, never noticed a problem. I solder with a weller gun with copper wire tip and also a Harbor
    Freight cheapy. The HF puts out so much heat, the tip oxidizes fast. I found scrapping clean with a knife or even rubbing tip on hard wood helps.

    If the tip wets out with solder, then it is good to go.
     
  4. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    4,302
    1,988
    So do I, and that IS the problem. Trying to figure out if my new iron demands new solder or not. If it does, I'll return the iron before I buy new solder.

    Meery Christmas back

    Edit: never mind I missed the part about your spool being FIFTY pounds. I don't have near that much and didn't know there was such a thing
     
  5. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,248
    6,745
    Photo attached.
     
    djsfantasi and strantor like this.
  6. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,413
    782
    The general consensus seems to be that lead-free solder is more destructive to the tip than 60/40, the higher temperature required might be part of that as well.

    Generally speaking; the 2 types of solder shouldn't be mixed, but when I was in TV & monitor repair I reworked all the dodgy RoHS soldering with 60/40 - the proof of the pudding; the repairs were more reliable than the originally shipped product.
     
  7. takao21203

    Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    3,577
    463
    Another problem, there is no tin inside the tips either.
     
  8. sdowney717

    Member

    Jul 18, 2012
    385
    13
  9. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,413
    782
    Lead was originally added to solder to stop the tin doing that.

    Cadmium also whiskers - many years ago they used to Cd plate component leads to prevent the oxidation that made soldering next to impossible.
     
  10. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    4,302
    1,988
    I don't think i stated the question clearly. The question is:

    Can you (or is it advisable to) use regular lead solder (like 60/40, 63/37, etc) with a tip that is designed for lead free solder?
     
  11. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,672
    899
    I did a quick search of Weller and another soldering tool manufacturer and could not find any distinction made between tips made for leaded and lead-free solder. What I did find were comments about faster erosion of the iron plating by higher temperatures of lead-free solder and poor cleaning techniques. After all, leaded electronic solder is still 60% or more tin in most cases.

    John
     
  12. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
    2,449
    428
    I have used lead free tips to solder with 60-40, works fine. the reason you shouldn't use it is that if you do, you cant meet ROHS lead free standards again with that tip. the reason for the 60-40 solder mix is that it is a eutectic mixture, and melts at a lower temperature.
     
    strantor and sdowney717 like this.
  13. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,248
    6,745
    Like keeping the soldering tip Kosher?:D
     
    strantor likes this.
  14. lightingman

    Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2007
    374
    22
    I use Weller and JBC irons with lead free tips and standard solder and have had no problems.

    Daniel.
     
  15. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,715
    4,788
    It's not that you can't use them in terms of getting viable solder joints, is that as soon as you use a lead-free tip with leaded solder, it is no longer a lead-free tip. If your tip sets the temperature, then a lead-free tip may set the temperature higher than you want for leaded solder. I've used lead free solder with ordinary tips with no problem, but if your tip sets your temperature then it may not be hot enough. Although my tips do set the temperature, I use a Metcal that can send enough power to the tip that this has never been a noticeable problem for me.

    I've never had to meet RoHS requirements, but I did build up some boards that had to operate in ultra high vacuum along with things that were exceptionally sensitive to lead outgassing and so I had to be sure that everything I used had no lead anywhere at any time and this was back with RoHS was just starting out so finding parts was a royal pain.
     
  16. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,715
    4,788
    60-40 is not eutectic, 63-37 is. Both have the same liquidous temperature (183°C) but 60-40 has a solidous temperature about 5°C to 7°C higher. Thus 60-40 has a plastic region which can more readily give rise to cold solder joints if the joint is disturbed during the transition. Since 63-37 has no plastic region (the definition of a eutectic alloy), cold solder joints are less common. But 60-40 is close to eutectic and is enough cheaper that it is used more predominantly.
     
  17. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,413
    782
    You didn't state whether its a decent quality tip with iron plating or just bare copper.

    With bare copper tips there was always the problem that some of the solder alloyed into the copper and leeched it away over time - there's just a faint outside chance that lead free solder might not alloy so much.

    With an iron plated tip there isn't going to be much difference - if you can turn down the temperature a bit while using 60/40, its a slightly less harsh environment.
     
  18. Dr.killjoy

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2013
    1,190
    156
    I have read up alot on this and will help out ...
    The new tips you buy are lead-free solder tinned have been for a while cause of the legal reason of lead poisoning and other legal reasons on commercial products.. Hence why company's must use lead-free solder.. Tips are lead-free coated and then you just coat them with leaded solder and be on your way..
    Check out PDF from hakko
    http://www.hakkousa.com/AHPDirect/download/tn/Hakko_Pb-FreeTips.pdf
     
  19. takao21203

    Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    3,577
    463
    who cares about 10 mg lead on a tip for manual soldering?

    Its only relevant for mass production, using automatic soldering.
     
    Dr.killjoy likes this.
  20. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,413
    782
    Its relevant for any product to be sold within the UK.

    Hobby use, and repairing stuff originally made with 60/40 are among the exemptions.
     
Loading...