[sdiy] unleaded solder

Tom Bugs admin at bugbrand.co.uk
Sat Apr 2 22:31:59 CEST 2016


Having read the other replies...
I started off using lead-free 10+ years ago and have had little cause to 
think I made the wrong choice - most of the world is now lead-free.
Though I have learned some stuff along the way and do have a specific 
tip + kit set on hand for repair work that requires leaded solder.

For solder I highly recommend Warton Metals Fast-Flow Lead Free
http://www.rapidonline.com/tools-equipment/warton-metals-omega-ii-sac3-fast-flow-flux-2-solder-wire-22swg-0-711mm-500g-85-6196
(though, yes, it is quite expensive!)
Lower melting point than most lead-free + has much less aggressive 
flux/colophony. (though I do still use extraction)

Technique & tools are important - definitely get a new tip (making sure 
it is specified as suitable for lead-free work).
[Metcal systems are very good, by the way]

I also recommend using the brass wool tip cleaner - get a fresh refill 
regularly too!
Technique - clean, tin the tip, solder, etc - then before putting the 
iron down clean it and re-tin.

For desoldering braid - I've tended to find it hard except with the 
0.8mm thickness + making sure that the tip is cleaned & tinned. + maybe 
dragging the wick over big joints.
Def. a bit tricky..

I've taught quite a number of workshops using these methods - all lead 
free - and helped people realise that decent soldering is not hard when 
you use the correct techniques.
In fact, there's a detailed section in my WorkshopCrusher documentation: 
http://www.bugbrand.co.uk/docs/workshopcrusher.pdf


On 02/04/2016 17:19, Phillip Harbison wrote:
> Last night I was soldering for the first time in many years. I
> am trying to use lead-free solder. I believe it is 99% tin and
> 1% copper. In the lead solder days I never had a problem with
> getting good joints. Last night I had lots of problems. Perhaps
> it is more a matter of declining vision and unsteady hands, but
> I'm inclined to believe the solder is part of the problem. When
> using lead solder it was quick work so my eyes and hands did
> not have as much time to become fatigued. It seemed to take
> forever to get the solder flowing. I had my iron set at 430•C.
> I'm not sure if that is sufficient temperature, but it is near
> the iron's maximum temperature. I struggled to assemble a kit
> with a ZIF socket, a dozen discrete components, and a handful
> of connectors on a 1.25" x 4" board. I did not time myself but
> I'm guessing at least 90 minutes. Any suggestions on what I
> might be doing wrong? Should I give up on lead-free solder? I
> would appreciate any advice anyone can offer.
>

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