had a small repair job to do this PM and my beloved Weller soldering
station was left in my friend's garage as I've been helping him rewire
an old Avanti...
so I stop at Radio Shack on my way home and pick up the cheapest
soldering iron they have along with a small roll of solder... get home
and I realize the solder is marked "60/40 Rosin Core Solder." Now it
doesn't say what the 60 and the 40 stand for... but... I just realized
that this is the first time i've seen same in years... have the rules
been relaxed to allow the sale of non-lead-free solder again? or did I
stumble across some old stock? Last time I bought solder was maybe 5
years ago and I couldn't find goold old 60/40 to save my life...
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
60/40 solder == 60% Tin / 40% Lead
There's nothing illegal about tin/lead solder in the US, at least yet
(Ssshhhh! Obama hasn't thought of this one). You do *NOT* want anything else
for electronics. Sure, lead-free (RoHS) solder is available unless you really
know what you're doing it's impossible to use. Leaded solder is not supposed
to be used for plumbing, however.
It's used quite a bit in SMT (surface mount technology) soldering,
which I'll soon be exploring. Not exactly sure why, since I've heard
there are problems with non-lead solder forming "whiskers", over time,
which are bad mojo. I'm still learning about this.
As for lead solder, I keep hearing it's being phased out, but you can
still get it at many places. Radio Shack continues to list it in 1/2
lb and 1 lb rolls, but it's no longer available in the little 1/2 oz
tubes. I don't know if they're just running out their stock or what.
There are still many electronics kits, specially for amateur (ham)
radio hobbyists, including $1K+ radios which still need lead solder. Some of
these companies (Elecraft, Ten-Ten) provide links to vendors who still
provide lead solder and lead solder irons, stations, and supplies.
Not sure where I bought my last roll, probably one of the horrible Big
Boxen, but my only choices were plumbing solder and "lead free flux
core" solder. I guess I ASSumed that since I didn't see something it'd
been outlawed or at least restricted, but maybe it just means that my
local stores suck (this isn't really news.)
I'm thinking of going back to the Shack and getting a pound or so
because I forgot how much easier it is to work with. Plus I keep
hearing people bitch about cracked solder joints with lead-free stuff.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
That makes sense. AIUI, leaded solder is good for plumbing because
drinking the water from it will leave a lead lining in your stomach
and intestines that will cut absorbtion and help you not gain weight.
But it also gets absorbed into your blood where the heavy lead weighs
down he red blood cells and causes them to settle in your feet, and
other places to move too slowly.
So it ends up doing more harm than good and that's why it's banned
This must be true because I read it on the net.
That may be a state-by-state thing, but here in Indiana at least, the sale of
leaded solder was never prohibited.
You weren't looking in the right places, then. I've never had any trouble
finding leaded solder -- especially at electronics-supply stores. There's no
reason to require lead-free solder on anything but potable water.
Lead solder can be purchased in Ontario, Canada. It is illegal to use it on
potable water, but I went through a bit of it installing a tricky shower
control with body sprays. Tin/lead solder guaranteed that my joints were
good and not leakers. I have experienced non-lead soldered joints testing
good with no signs of a leak, but start to leak three months after they were
put into use. This could possibly be in a sealed wall, where a slow leak
could do a lot of damage.
Not that much difference. 60/40 melts at 370F and 63/37 at 361F (pure lead
melts at 621F). 60/40 should be a little harder. Often the mixture is set
for a specific melting point such that the part can be soldered without
another joint melting. For common electronics use, either will work.
Tin costs more per pound than lead. If your making tons of product per year
even the 3% differential between eutectic (63/37) and 60/40 adds up. There
are also situations where a slightly longer elastic phase might be
beneficial, compared to the almost instant "freeze" of eutectic solder
When the game is over, the pawn and the king are returned to the same box.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar.org
On Wed, 07 Jul 2010 23:37:36 -0400, Nate Nagel wrote:
The stuff I have here is 63/37 - surprising how different it is to work
with (I really don't like it). I've got a huge reel of 60/40 over in
England that I'll move over here one day (well, customs officials
permitting - I'm not sure if there are rules about such things)...
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