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(Topic ID: 174940)

Preferred solder


By doompin

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 31 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by HHaase
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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    #1 3 years ago

    I'm curious what solder each of you have as a go to. Type, size, brand, source, etc. I'm sick of buying it from Lowe's but I've been too lazy to look elsewhere until now.

    Thanks,

    Jay

    #2 3 years ago

    Kester 44 rosin core. .031 diameter (I think). I think you can get it on Amazon (but my 1lb spool is from 1999, lol)

    #3 3 years ago

    Kester 44 rosin core solder 66/44

    LTG : )

    #5 3 years ago

    I've been using radio shack rosin core 60/40 solder for a while now. I've never had any issues with it, and all my board work I've used it in have held up without issue. Cheap and easy.

    #6 3 years ago

    Buy several rolls from a vendor at a big pinball show (TPF?). Usually good deals to be had. I almost bought a pallet full one time. When a vendor offered the for five bucks a roll I bought all he had.

    #7 3 years ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    I've been using radio shack rosin core 60/40 solder for a while now. I've never had any issues with it, and all my board work I've used it in have held up without issue. Cheap and easy.

    That's what I use. Number 64-005 solder.

    #8 3 years ago

    Go for 63/37 tin/lead solder -- 63% tin to 37% lead. Tends to run about same price as 60/40 but has a quicker liquid to solid transition state (hardening or "plastic" phase) resulting in fewer cold solder joints. 63/37 has a bit lower melting point.
    0.031 is typical size for this type work and is one of the most common sizes. Some people use 0.025".
    #44 rosin works well (pretty much same as original solder on these old boards). #245 (no clean) also works well but costs more.
    AND -- stick with Kester brand. Mexican and Chinese solder SUCKS...and smells bad.

    gokimco tends to have the best price for Kester:
    https://gokimco.com/adhesives-and-bonding/solder-flux-mask/solder-wire/44-rosin-core-solder-wire-sn63-pb37-031-66.html

    https://gokimco.com/adhesives-and-bonding/solder-flux-mask/solder-wire/245-no-clean-solder-wire-031-66.html

    #9 3 years ago
    Quoted from G-P-E:

    Go for 63/37 tin/lead solder -- 63% tin to 37% lead. Tends to run about same price as 60/40 but has a quicker liquid to solid transition state (hardening or "plastic" phase) resulting in fewer cold solder joints. 63/37 has a bit lower melting point.
    0.031 is typical size for this type work and is one of the most common sizes. Some people use 0.025".
    #44 rosin works well (pretty much same as original solder on these old boards). #245 (no clean) also works well but costs more.
    AND -- stick with Kester brand. Mexican and Chinese solder SUCKS...and smells bad.
    gokimco tends to have the best price for Kester:
    https://gokimco.com/adhesives-and-bonding/solder-flux-mask/solder-wire/44-rosin-core-solder-wire-sn63-pb37-031-66.html
    https://gokimco.com/adhesives-and-bonding/solder-flux-mask/solder-wire/245-no-clean-solder-wire-031-66.html

    Kimco was my go-to solder and desolder station supplier when I worked for a route operator from '79 to '85. 100% female owned company. Back then anyway.

    #10 3 years ago

    I use Kester 245 for all my lead and rework use. .031 size with no-clean core as opposed to the rosin core in the Kester 44.

    #11 3 years ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    I've been using radio shack rosin core 60/40 solder for a while now. I've never had any issues with it, and all my board work I've used it in have held up without issue. Cheap and easy.

    Me too!

    #12 3 years ago

    I have been soldering electronics since 1970. I used 60/40 for years and then switched to 63/37. Would never go back to 60/40. The 63/37 is a bit more money but your solder connections are so much nicer and less chance of a cold solder joint.

    This guy explains the liquid to solid phase between the two.

    http://thecurrentsource.com/eutectic-6337-vs-6040-solder-and-phase-diagram

    #13 3 years ago

    So no one uses the lead free silver solder that Todd T touts? I solder usually in closed spaces and prefer not having to worry about toxic fumes but maybe that's just me..?

    -1
    #14 3 years ago

    I buy the $2 Walmart (literally) solder. Comes in a nice sizable tube. I use it on everything from EMs to dense circuit boards. Works like a charm. Lead-free. Flows great.

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    So no one uses the lead free silver solder that Todd T touts? I solder usually in closed spaces and prefer not having to worry about toxic fumes but maybe that's just me..?

    Not recommended for boards that were already built using tin/lead solder. Just a waste of money plus the extra time to mess with it. And the added risk due to running your soldering iron hotter for the lead free stuff.
    The fumes you are smelling do not contain lead as he mentions. Unless you have an incredibly hot soldering iron which actually raises the solder temperature to the boiling point (3000+ degrees!), there is no solder in the fumes. It is only the flux fumes (which you also have to deal with when using the lead free solder as well).
    Always good to use a fan or fume extractor though -- you should be breathing the fumes from none of the solder types.

    #16 3 years ago

    Bought a couple rolls of Kester from PBL a few years ago. It'll be enough to last my lifetime!
    I really like the stuff for all the board soldering I've had to do.

    IMG_2434 (resized).JPG

    #17 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Kester 44 rosin core solder 66/44
    LTG : )

    LLoyd solders 110%!

    #18 3 years ago

    Here is my opinion.

    No clean solder is less effective than Rosin core solder. The "no clean" aspect is debatable too. The no clean flux still makes a mess that is harder to clean than Rosin flux.

    PS

    Any pinball website that is trying to sell you some special formula of kester that is no longer available is basically ripping you off. They just changed the part number.

    Kimco usually has the best deal
    https://gokimco.com/specials-sales-free-shipping-new/on-sale/kester/44-rosin-core-solder-wire-sn63-pb37-031-66.html

    #19 3 years ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    So no one uses the lead free silver solder that Todd T touts? I solder usually in closed spaces and prefer not having to worry about toxic fumes but maybe that's just me..?

    In a former job I was forced to use lead-free for pcb population. It is garbage. Get a fume extractor or wear a mask if you're that concerned about it. It's hard enough for a soldering expert to get a good joint with lead-free. if you aren't that experienced, all you're doing is ruining your repairs/assembly. As said, it also requires a higher heat which in turn damages traces and components easier. You'll also be replacing tips more often especially when you're that guy that cleans the tip off before storing or powering down the iron. (Always leave the iron tinned if you didn't know)

    #20 3 years ago

    Thanks for all the feed back Gents.

    #21 3 years ago

    Here is my opinion.

    Multicore solder beats Kester all to heck.

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    prefer not having to worry about toxic fumes but maybe that's just me..?

    Everything I have ever been exposed to ended up killing a rat in a laboratory somewhere.

    Solder fumes, paint fumes, glue fumes, vomit inducer in glue fumes, DDT, etc. etc.

    Too late to start worrying about it now, for me. Something else will get me first.

    LTG : )

    #23 3 years ago
    Quoted from balzofsteel:

    Multicore solder beats Kester all to heck.

    You are correct, sir! I like the Hydro-X. The flux is water soluable but it also cleans easily with a Q-tip with a bit of alcohol.

    You guys using the stuff from home improvement stores and big-box stores make me weep. The flux in that stuff contains pure, undiluted evil. The smell from the fumes is a little bit of the evil escaping every time you use it. When enough of it escapes, it becomes a monster hiding under a child's bed somewhere in the world.

    "No clean" is not. Whatever you use, please clean the flux residue. Some of that stuff will etch the solder mask if not cleaned.

    As many have mentioned, many of thees boards are old, delicate. Be careful what you use for repairs.

    #24 3 years ago

    There's nothing like the smell of burning flux in the morning.....

    #25 3 years ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    So no one uses the lead free silver solder that Todd T touts? I solder usually in closed spaces and prefer not having to worry about toxic fumes but maybe that's just me..?

    The LEAD FREE solder, while friendlier to the environment is actually more toxic to use that 60/40 solder; it's really the flux fumes that can be harmful. You would basically have to eat the lead solder for the lead to be harmful to you ... unless you solder at temperatures over 750F.

    #26 3 years ago
    Quoted from PinNerd:

    "No clean" is not. Whatever you use, please clean the flux residue.

    I hate "no clean" flux, it's still flux and makes the board look like ass if you don't clean it off ... and some of the "no clean" I've dealt with is hard as hell to get off.

    #27 3 years ago

    Right before they stopped putting lead in solder a few years back bought 10lbs from every radio shack within 30 miles

    #28 3 years ago

    Can you imagine working in a Chinese solder factory? Jesus.

    #29 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Everything I have ever been exposed to ended up killing a rat in a laboratory somewhere.
    .... DDT, etc.....

    For all you less fortunate young folks who never experienced the sweet smell of DDT... Always on my bike behind the "Fogger Truck"
    I don't worry much about the solder fumes...

    DDT (resized).png

    #30 3 years ago
    Quoted from hoby1:

    Right before the stopped putting lead in solder a few years back bought 10lbs from every radio shack within 30 miles

    When I was a kid. My grandfather used to let me play with a set of toy soldiers that he had cast in lead when he was a teenager.... My mother got a little upset when she found out and I never saw them again. At least it was more fun than eating paint chips.

    #31 3 years ago
    Quoted from Pin_Guy:

    I hate "no clean" flux, it's still flux and makes the board look like ass if you don't clean it off ... and some of the "no clean" I've dealt with is hard as hell to get off.

    Every flux has its issues.

    RA and RMA fluxes are still a pain to clean, and go brown and nasty in a few years if you don't clean it. Some of them are also conductive. Newer ones aren't as bad for corrosion, but some of the older ones could seriously etch the copper if applied too heavy and left too long.

    Water Soluble is very good for solder joint quality, and cleans with just water. However, if not cleaned properly, it's just as bad as battery corrosion when left on the board. Particularly with low-profile BGA's. Huge industry issue these days with the high density low profile BGA's and how hard it is to clean flux out from under them.

    No-clean is harder to clean (if you decide to do so), makes testing a pain due, and is the least active of fluxes. But if you're doing larger scale production and don't mind the visible residue, is a real time saver. A modern no-clean can safely be left on the board as they aren't conductive or corrosive.

    They're all compromises, all depends on your application which kind is best. Either way you'll find the 'name brands' are almost always of higher quality all-around.

    I'd never recommend lead-free if you can avoid it, eutectic lead (63/37) just solders so much nicer and is easier on the boards due to lower temperatures needed. The ONLY significant reason anybody uses lead-free is regulatory requirements. Unless you need to ship to Europe, or make TV's for sale in California, there's no reason for anybody but manufacturers to look at lead-free. Since I ship about 30% of my stuff to Europe, I use lead free for all my production stuff. Otherwise things got too complicated having to duplicate my entire inventory and keep the RoHS separate. Always used lead for repair work when I was doing that.

    -Hans

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