1. fbchurch2009

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    I recently purchased this kind of solder (link at bottom) but I wanted to know what you guys thought of it.. does it have good characteristics for electronics being that it is 99.3% tin and .7% of lead? I am not too certain about the ratios of elements that would work best. so I need your take! Also, I try to take safety seriously and I wanted to know how toxic this is. I hear about lead all of the time researching buy I thought since it is only .7 percent lead, I will try it out. Also, I was thinking about soldering in my room but I wasn't sure if that would be a good idea... Thanks!

    http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10001_10001_170457_-1
     
  2. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    It will take more heat to melt than standard 50/50 or 63/37 solder, but that shouldn't be a problem for most irons. Otherwise it seems a good choice. Unless you like to inhale the rosin smoke deeply and often I wouldn't worry about the lead content. More likely to get lead through hand to mouth routes than in the air. Just wash them hands before eating that tuna fish sandwich(watch out for mercury in the fish too) :)
     
  3. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    It's 99.3% tin, and 0.7% copper - there is no lead in it at all.

    I like Sn63/Pb37 aka 63/37 aka eutectic solder the best. It does not have a "plastic" state; it goes directly from liquid to solid, which is important for good solder joints. It melts at a fairly low temperature. It leaves bright, shiny joints, when used on spotlessly clean components/boards. However, it will eventually prove impossible to get, as lead has been declared hazardous by environmentalists.

    If your components and board are free of contamination by corrosion, dirt, finger oils & salts, etc. then you really don't need to use flux. 3M (tm) Scotchbrite (tm) pads are great for cleaning component leads and PCBs; you can get them at any grocery store in a 3-pack.

    Use the Scotchbrite pads in conjunction with 90% or better isopropyl alcohol (Wal-mart carries 90%, hardware stores may carry 99.9%) don't use anything less than 90%, as it has too much water in it to dry quickly. Acid brushes (black nylon bristles with rolled metal handles, usually available at auto parts stores) work well for the final cleaning prior to soldering.

    Keep your iron's tip clean and tinned. I use a copper or stainless steel "steel wool" pad to clean the tip, as the Scotchbrite pad would melt under the heat. These are frequently sold in supermarkets in the cleaning goods section by the Scotchbrite; one brand is "Chore Boy". They work much better than sponges, as a damp sponge cools the iron too much, and falls apart quickly.

    Practice, practice, practice. Get yourself some prototype PCBs, and an assortment of components, and practice soldering. In the beginning, you will make horrible-looking solder joints; big nasty gray balls of crud. That's what I did, anyway. It looked like volcano vomit. Don't despair.

    Get a decent soldering iron, preferably one with an adjustable temperature.

    I bought an adjustable-wattage iron a month or so ago from Marlin P. Jones & Associates after my ancient Weller burned out. It's not wonderful, but at $15, hard to beat.

    Item number ZD-99 on this page:
    http://www.mpja.com/productsdirect....&item2=15845+TL&item3=15140+TL&item4=15141+TL

    Beware of aluminum accumulating in the barrel; you need to make sure to clean it out. I got a tip stuck for awhile. Don't try to change tips until it's completely cooled off. Get some extra tips; the 1/32" is fine for small stuff, but you will often need different sized tips for different types of soldering.
     
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  4. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    Yes - environmentalists.

    Nothing is too good to not be mucked up by a well meaning environmentalist.

    Gotta protect us 'dummies' from our self inflicted ignorance so we don't get hurt or sumthing. :)
     
  5. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    2,358
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    Kester (and I'm sure others) used to make an anti-seize you put on the tip barrel to help prevent this. I haven't changed a tip in ages but I'd still use some sort of anti-seize, preferably nickel based rather than copper.
     
  6. fbchurch2009

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 10, 2010
    15
    0
    since the alloy 99.3% Sn and .7% Cu melts at a high temperature will it ruin my components trying to solder them? Or do you guys think it will be fine? If not, what is the best lead free solder?
     
  7. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    IMHO, there ain't no such animal. The stuff with lead is clearly superior in every respect, concerns about the environment aside.

    The RoHS people in Europe have rather shaky evidence of potential harm from the solder. Tin solder grows whiskers that can destroy ICs, especially BGA types. You will find soldering much easier with 63-37 eutectic.
     
  8. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    Failures are even more spectacular when they occur in space. :eek:

    The use of tin-only solder caused the failure of a $200 million dollar satellite that Hughes Space & Communications built years back; after a number of years tin "whiskers" grew that shorted out the control circuitry, and the satellite went dead.

    I'm buying 63/37 while I can still get it.
     
  9. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    I'm just as happy with 60/40, specifically Kester #44 SN60PB40 #66 44 in 0.031" diameter.

    For some reason it seems to make better joints than their 63/37

    Super ecologists again, in a year's time more lead from casually discarded car batteries and self-destructed old houses/barns make it into the dump than all the electronics combined.
     
  10. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    850
    215
    I have come to like the "Oatey" brand silver-based copper plumbing sweat-solder -- Homey depot, etc. for any / all applications. They make some very good paste flux as well.

    Their solder melts well with a 15w unit, and sets up darn near as quickly as 63/37 eutectic, which I still have plenty of.
     
  11. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    3,795
    951
    It expensive, but get a full 1lb roll of regular tin lead solder. It will last you almost forever.

    You will have more health trouble from tap water than you'll ever have from tin-lead solder.

    It is only necessary that you WASH YOUR HANDS after using.

    Hand to mouth is the primary route by which lead can enter your body.

    Another little known fact-water taken from a brass bodied faucet/tap that has not been used for more than 24 hours will have a large amount of lead in it. I always let my tap water run for a few seconds before filling my glass. You have probably gotten more lead in your body from tap water that way than occasional use of electronic solder would ever give you. Just remember to WASH them hands - and let the water run for a few seconds :)
     
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