Can you use leaded solder with lead-free tips?

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,980
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?
 

sdowney717

Joined Jul 18, 2012
706
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.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,980
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.
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
 

ian field

Joined Oct 27, 2012
6,536
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?
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.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,980
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?
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
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
 

alfacliff

Joined Dec 13, 2013
2,458
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.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,411
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?
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.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,411
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.
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.
 

ian field

Joined Oct 27, 2012
6,536
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?
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.
 

Dr.killjoy

Joined Apr 28, 2013
1,196
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
 

ian field

Joined Oct 27, 2012
6,536
who cares about 10 mg lead on a tip for manual soldering?

Its only relevant for mass production, using automatic soldering.
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.
 
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