Yorkshire fittings with lead-free solder fillet

Are these as easy to install as the older, obsolete kind? I assume that the solder fillet in new Yorkshire fittings is lead-free?
Is a different kind of flux needed?
MM
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It's an interesting point as I've had my first ever solder failure using end feed - and lead free for the first time. It was on an awkwardly situated one where I couldn't heat it as evenly as I'd have liked - but the solder was flowing freely on the bit I could see easily. On removal the underside hadn't flowed.

Again, I'm not sure. There are some fluxes marked as for lead free and some not marked for either.
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On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 00:03:36 +0100, "Dave Plowman (News)"

I've found that's the big drawback with lead-free solder, it just doesn't flow as well as the leaded variety. Apparently the difference is in the order of 10%. It should be OK for 'new build; installations...for maintenance jobs it's a lottery.

The solders marked specifically for lead-free will be more attuned to the relevant melting point and are designed to increase 'wettability'. Because of the issues mentioned above I'd be inclined to use this matched flux - and I'd probably treat all the joints with a quick rub with wire wool and a sloosh of lighter fluid ( as a degreasant ) to be on the safe side. It wouldn't hurt to pre-flux the joints either.
You could always flash over the joint with leaded solder, just to make sure...
Regards,
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wrote:

Now that's where it gets really interesting. My soldering experience is considerable in the electronics field. I have written magazine articles on this hateful lead-free solder as used in electronics, and for the last one, spent considerable time researching the current state of play. One area that I had lengthy discussions over, with a doctor of metalurgy, working for an industrial consultancy, was that of what the implications were of mixing leaded, and lead-free solders. He told me that the general concensus was that the two should never be mixed, as the likely result would be long term compromising of the joint's integrity.
I'm not sure how that would stack up in the same situation in plumbing, however. In the case of an electronic joint, the solder performs two functions. One is to make the electrical connection between the component wire and the printed circuit's copper tracking. The other is to provide the joint with mechanical stability. The more ductile leaded solder seems to do a better job on this score, as we now see many more 'stress' fractures of joints, particularly those subject to mechanical vibration or expansion and contraction, than we had when leaded solder was the norm.
In the case of a plumbing joint, the pipe is already a good mechanical fit in the joint, so the solder has much less of a mechanical fixing job to perform. I'm not sure how it will cope long term with joints on hot water pipes though, where continuous thermal cycling of the joint, will subject it to mechanical stresses not experienced by cold water or gas pipes.
Does anyone have any experience of plumbing joints made with lead-free, failing ? I'd be interested to hear of any stories that anyone might have on this score. In the meantime, a plumber I know quite well, is visiting me later today to do a bit of gas fitting in my new kitchen, so I shall ask him what his experiences are.
As far as making sure that a lead-free joint is good at the outset, if the inferior wetting and flowing properties of electronic lead-free solder are anything to go by, I think it would be essential that the jointing surfaces are absolutely clean and grease free, and that an aggressive flux is used, together with enough heat to get the rotten stuff to flow as well as it's ever going to, which is nothing like as well as lead / tin solder ...
Arfa
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On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 01:46:34 +0100, "Arfa Daily"

This is what prompted my question: I'm making a prototype solar hot water heater from copper tube (15mm). In my rummage box I found about three *OLD* Yorkshire elbows (old, meaning at least 15 years). Anyway, off I go to Focus to buy the pipe. While there I saw Yorkshire fittings at around 7 for ten elbows), but I *also* saw the capillary type at almost a quarter of the price (1.99 for ten), which I've never used before. So I bought them, as I still have some leaded solder left from when I used to solder Maplin circuits and previous home DIY plumbing work.
Back at home my first few capillary joints didn't exactly look very pretty, so I got one of those old Yorkshire elbows (covered in the accumulated crud from 15 years in the rummage box) and spent a good 15 minutes with wire wool giving it a thorough clean. The result was a FAR neater joint, and also much easier to fit as I only needed to hold the blow lamp on the elbow until the solder appeared at both ends, rather than faffing about with adding the solder separately, as in the capillary version.
Now I'm prepared to try the new, obviously unleaded, Yorkshire fittings, despite the cost, but not if they are a pain in the rectum to use. Unfortunately, Focus, and probably B&Q, only sell them in packets of ten, so it's quite an investment to experiment with them, only to find that I would really be better off using the much cheaper capillary kind with my leaded solder and ancient tin of flux and more practice to make the joints look tidy.
MM
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I can't see Arfa's OP, so I'll reply to the quote!

My experience is in manufacture and maintenance of wind instruments - so mechanical integrity is to the fore.

It appears that lead-free solder is rather more 'brittle' than leaded, and that smaller surface-mounted self-contained fittings are more susceptible to knock shearing when fitted with lead-free solder. It's too early to tell what corrosion resistance is like but I have a sneaking suspicion that's it's not as good. I'd be surprised if mixing the two compromised a joint's integrity - it seems to me that adding a more ductile alloy would bring benefits. It might make the joint more arbitrary in terms of stress/strain distribution, but then if that's an issue I would say that soft solder is probably the wrong material for the job.

That remains to be seen...but in the case of sleeved joints I doubt there'll be too many mechanical issues. I feel it still hinges on corrosion resistance. Time will tell - we might end up with less lead in the scrap bin but more copper...

More cleaning, more heat, more flux - that's seems to be the order of the day. Environmentally that means the use of degreasants, probably about a third more gas, and about twice the amount of flux....and maybe twice as often as before?

In theory the primed fittings should be more reliable. Nothing wrecks a soft soldered joint faster than moisture being allowed to sit in it - and the primed joints are far more likely to throw a wall of solder around the internal interface. Such luxuries are unknown in my trade, so I rely on tinning the joint to ensure maximum cap. flow.
Regards,
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Stephen Howard - Woodwind repairs & period restorations
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Hi Stephen,
I hope you don't mind me hijacking this thread.
Stephen Howard wrote:

I have a friend with a cornet (yes really) that he bought off ebay. He says that the tuning slide has been soldered in place, but would like to free it up.
Can you suggest how to go about doing this, and what the hazards to the instrument might be.
I'm just an engineer, and occasional DIYer including plumbing, but my first suggestion was heating the smallest component including the offending slide in the oven to see if that got it free.
I'm sure that I can separate the two with a blowtorch, but would like a little advice on what to watch out for.
Obviously the lacquer will burn off and it will need re-polishing.
The other question that springs to mind is why did they do it in the first place?
thanks
dan
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On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:30:38 +0100, Dan Smithers

Has it been soldered in place ( i.e. visibly ) or is it just stuck fast? I assume you mean the main ( largest ) tuning slide.

The standard method of freeing a stuck slide is plenty of freeing agent ( Plus Gas ) and heat. The Plus Gas will have to be dribbled down the bore of the mouthpipe tube and in through the third valve casing, which is a tiresome but necessary process. More will need to be applied from the external joint...and I tend to use one dose of Plus Gas followed by a dose of heavier oil ( Hypoid gear oil works well ) because this doesn't burn off quite so readily. Use the flame to draw the heat and oil along the tube. Repeat as necessary...and preferable leave the whole lot to sit for a couple of hours.
If the slide has been soldered in place then you'll have to hope that the solder is confined to the last few millimetres of the tube...otherwise it's going to be a hell of job. It might well be the case that the tube is stuck, as well as soldered ( highly likely, in fact ) in which case it could be a very nasty job. The big problem is getting both tubes to temperature at once, and maintaining it long enough to grapple with the ( very hot ) tube. Be careful - too much heat and the surrounding fittings will drop off! Use plenty of soldering flux...it'll help the solder to flow out of the joint ( it won't do the lacquer much good though ). You might need to rig up a 'cord pull' - this is a two foot length of stockinette with the ends wrapped ( to spread the load ) around the top and bottom of the tuning slide bow ( or around the stay if there's one attached to the bow ) and the middle portion secured in a vice. Use masking tape to hold the cords in position. You will then be able to 'yank' the cornet. You have to be extremely careful though...one tug too hard and you can cave the whole lot in!
It might be necessary to knock the slide out, and you do that with a bit of hardwood placed against the tuning slide ferrule ( the larger bit of tube that the slide tube itself fits into ). Used like a chisel, you place the edge of the wood against the rim of the ferrule on each tube in turn and very carefully tap the wood with a small hammer. It's very much a 'knack'...too little force and not much will happen - too much and you'll cave the tube in. You should do this while the tubes are hot.
If at all possible, fill the tube up with vinegar ( stand the cornet up so that the vinegar only covers the portion of tube you're working on ), then heat it to near boiling point. Leave to stand, heating occasionally...then leave overnight. This will dissolve any calcium carbonate deposits and may help to free things up. I'd be inclined to start with this method anyway.
Either way, the job is typically 60% heat, 10% sweat, 5% oil...and 25% luck. Very satisfying when it works...usually a complete disaster when it doesn't.

Depends...it's possible to get the lacquer to the melt-point of soft solder without burning it...but you only get so many goes at it.

Could be any number of reasons; a botch job, a split inner slide, an idea that once tuned the slide would not need to be moved again...or even a belief that the slide should never have been able to move in the first place.
Hope he didn't pay too much for it, or that it's a particularly good one...you can pick up a decent new one for around 100 these days, if not cheaper.
Regards,
--
Stephen Howard - Woodwind repairs & period restorations
www.shwoodwind.co.uk
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Stephen Howard wrote:

no, he said that he paid about 25 for it as a toy (compared to his 3000! french horn)
dan
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On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 17:19:44 +0100, Dan Smithers

Phew!
In which case....flame on!!!
Regards,
--
Stephen Howard - Woodwind repairs & period restorations
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Might a hot air gun be gentler and more controllable?
For "just warming", I use a old hair dryer that runs too hot -- the plastic grille on the front's melted a bit -- because it's hard to scorch or burn with it. Won't solder, though.
Thomas Prufer
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On Thu, 19 Jun 2008 08:07:31 +0200, Thomas Prufer

It's not hot enough quick enough - and can't be focussed sufficiently.
Regards,
--
Stephen Howard - Woodwind repairs & period restorations
www.shwoodwind.co.uk
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On Wed, 18 Jun 2008 01:19:26 +0000, Stephen Howard

Oh, is leaded solder still available, then? What about the multicore solder (wire) that I was using 20 - 30 years ago?
MM
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Still readily available from the likes of Farnell and Rapid, and will be for at least as long as equipment constructed with tin/lead solder needs to be repaired.
MBQ
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MM wrote:

For electronics, certainly - for example http://tinyurl.com/5ozzud shows 68 different kinds of lead solder alloys, all in stock.
Lead-bearing solders are widely - and legally - used for repairs to items that were made with tin/lead solder. They can also used for new items that are not "placed on the market" in the EU, which categorically includes almost all forms of hobby construction.
Don't be misled by the fact that Maplin stock only unleaded solder. Their buyers dumped tin/lead when the regulations were first announced, and still don't realise that they got it wrong.
Although lead-bearing solders may not legally be used for repairs to RoHS-compliant items that were "born lead-free", as a private owner I wouldn't hesitate to use lead solder. IMO the highest environmental priority is to make a successful and reliable repair, and thus keep the whole item out of landfill for longer.
Taking Arfa Daily's point about not mixing alloys, in practice you would probably use solder-wick to strip the whole joint clean, leaving only a very thin "tinning" of the old lead-free solder. Re-making the joint with leaded solder is then very similar to using leaded solder with RoHS-compliant components and PC boards, which was happening for several years during the changeover period.
(I do believe we've met, Arfa? Hope you're well :-)
--
Ian White

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Yes indeed Ian ! Sounds like you're quoting from one of the articles that I did ... I'm very well, thank you. Trust you are too ? Have you seen that TeleMag is back on the shelves (well available to buy direct or from a couple of the big component suppliers, anyway) in a new incarnation that very much resembles the original, before it's previous sad demise ...
Arfa
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IHMO the best combination is an active flux - the acidic kind - and lead solder. Both are still available from PMs, but probably not the sheds.
Just make sure you wipe down the outside of the pipe with a damp rag afterwards.
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Right. I must admit my blowlamp might be marginal as well.

Even on a new build there will be awkward locations.

I was using an active one specifically for lead free.

I don't use wire wool anymore - fed up with getting bits stuck in me. ;-) I use pukka cleaning strips. The sheds sell them.

Hmm. Lighter fuel around mixed with blowlamps? ;-)

Is there any other way?

I've gone back to lead solder totally.
Another tip is to get a small mirror - like perhaps a dentist's one - so you can examine the back of such joints with the aid of a torch. It's pretty obvious if the solder hasn't flowed.
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I've found that the acid fluxes work just as well for lead-free as they do for solder containing lead. I do find however that lead-free Yorkshire fittings are a pain compared to older fittings. The solder can simply run out of the fitting and seems to be much more finicky than leaded solder.
I'm very careful to clean tube and fitting with a wire brush/steel wool and recently a deburring tool which deburs and brushes the tube in one go. I still find lead solder much easier to use.
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I've got one of those stepped cone cutters which used in the cordless drill at a slow speed makes deburring a pleasure. ;-)
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*It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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