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A few questions about soldering.

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Chryseus

New Member
Hi, I've decided on buying a 30W Antex HP30 soldering iron, however I'm not sure about what solder to go for.
I want a solder that is easy to use, however I'm not quite sure about what composition to go for.

60/40 and 63/37, tin/lead seem pretty good to me, however I may not completely be understanding things. Is the melting point important or would any cheap tin / copper solder work fine ?
I'm not too concerned about there being lead in the solder as I'm hardly going to eat it, the lead containing solder seems to be slightly cheaper so should I go with that or look for a lead free solder ?
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
A standard 60/40 or 63/47 tin/lead solder with rosin (not acid) flux will work fine. Do not get lead free solder. They are much harder to use and to make a good joint.
 

MrDEB

Well-Known Member
if doing electronics and soldering on small parts then a rosin core solder. I like .030 or smaller. I dip my solder into soldering paste then apply to heated joint.
I perfer the solder with silver content in it.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
I'm confused, 63/47 is 110%, how'd they manage that? Sorry, couldn't resist the jokeI know it was just a typo.

All but some of the most expensive lead free solders melt at a substantially higher temperature than 60/40 and aren't as generally friendly for hobby use. It's always good practice to pre-clean the solder joint if it's been sitting around, bare copper developes an oxide layer pretty fast when exposed to air. You can pre-clean with pure alchol, or just a quick brushup with a lint free cloth or pretty much anything to remove as much as the oxide layer as possible before even soldering, generally rosin solder does the rest. Acid fluxes work incredibly well but they need to be cleaned after the solder.

I wouldn't use the silver solder myself, the silver content doesn't appreciably increase conductivity and does appreciably raise the melting point. 60/40 solders are eutectic which means basically that the metals naturally want to mix at that ratio and melt at exactly the same temperature. I'm not sure what the reasong for 63/37 solder is.

Surprisingly no one warned you to be careful with your Iron because it's not temperature controlled which means the tips will age very fast and you could damage components if you're not very careful in how you solder. If this is for primary soldering, it's a good idea to get even a cheap temperature controlled Iron. Simply setting a 30 watt iron on a workbench for a couple minutes will develop a heavy oxide layer on it, and the thermal shock from when it's used on the work piece will shorten tip life.
 

Vizier87

Active Member

Boncuk

New Member
I'm confused, 63/47 is 110%, how'd they manage that? Sorry, couldn't resist the jokeI know it was just a typo.

You should try the newly developed soldering tin 85/65. Actually you'll have to desolder the board when finished. :D
 

BeeBop

Active Member
if doing electronics and soldering on small parts then a rosin core solder. I like .030 or smaller. I dip my solder into soldering paste then apply to heated joint.
I perfer the solder with silver content in it.

I hope you don't mean the paste which is made for plumbers? It is an acid, and will corrode over time.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Yeah, I'm curious what you meant by solder paste MrDeb, cause true 'solder paste' is absurdly expensive has a short shelf life and requires refrigeration. It's meant to hot air reflow SMD components and is never used to prep a soldering iron for soldering. I bought a container of tinner/cleaner from radio shack which works incredibly well, it's a solid substance you dip the iron into which contains a solid mixture of acid flux and 60/40 solder, hard as a rock, you however HAVE to clean the tip off with a damp sponge before you solder with it to remove the acid flux.

I use the tinner/cleaner on all important joints, most stuff I just do a quick cleaning of the tip on a damp sponge, apply a little solder to tin it, tap it on a damp sponge again wait a few seconds and then go to soldering. Cleanliness is incredibly important in soldering in fact aside from temperature and the metals used for soldering it's the most important. I never let my iron sit at temperature for more than 30 seconds, that's why having a good ceramic heating element and a light tip is important, fast heat times short soldering times and a clean iron and it'll last forever.
 
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MrDEB

Well-Known Member
The "paste" I bought rom Rat Shack, it says its rosin soldering flux cat # 64-022F.
I just dip the solder into it before soldering (applying the solder to the joint.
the solder is cat# 64-013E .022 dia. 62/36/2
works very well. tried several different types and found this solder and method works well. Joints come out bright (used to not use the flux and joints disn't have that real bright sheen as with the older solder w/ lead)
note after realizing that the "new" lead free solders don't shine as several years ago I started expereminting and now very happy with results.
Can't aford a good temp controlled iron so am using a Weller 20w (might be 30?)
clean with damp sponge then tin. tip has lasted several projects. sure not as good as a temp controlled iron but it works.
Oh yea I use the Rat Shack tip cleaner as well usually if I have a long period between joints.
 

BeeBop

Active Member
The "paste" I bought rom Rat Shack, it says its rosin soldering flux cat # 64-022F.

No harm in that one; it's just thick rosin.

Does your iron have a grounded tip? It is a Weller so probably. Someone who's opinion I respect reasons that as an iron heats up and cools in repeated cycles it builds up static charge....

Sceadwian, I thought that tin lowered the melting point, so that a solder with more tin had a lower melting point.


EDIT: according to this page it is so, sort of - the amount of tin lowers the upper end of the range... and adding a hint of zinc lowers it further and is good for soldering aluminum !?! tough cookie!
http://www.bhavanimetals.com/Solder_Wire_Rosin_Core_Solder.htm
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
Zinc is bad for long term solder joints though because Zinc corrodes readily. I'll probably use 60/40 till they stop selling it. Why are you using lead free solder MrDeb? I'm not sure what your budget for electronics is but I only paid 40 dollars for my temp controlled soldering iron, and replacement handles are only 12 dollars. Ceramic heating core and it comes with an extra core. Handle construction is a little flipsy as I've already partially stripped the plastic threaded handle, but that's my fault as I tend to be ham handed when torqueing things down, (more torque is almost never better)
 

shortbus=

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I wonder why they plate the tips rather than use the plating metal throughout the tip itself?

They plate with iron then flash chrome. The copper that they make the tip from doesn't hold up to long exposure to lead and flux and heat at the same time. The iron plating is why you should never use sandpaper or a file to clean a tip.

If the tip was made of iron it wouldn't heat up fast enough.
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
What are you talking about shortbus? Copper base metal then iron plated then chrome? That doesn't make sense.
Iron tip, copper plated then chrome does.
If the tip was made from copper there is absolutely no reason to iron plate before chrome, in fact it would be detrimental to plating and base metal life. For a copper tip it would simply be cleaned really well in an agitated acid, hit with a Woods nickle strike in most cases an then placed into a bulk nickle bath. If the tip were made from pure copper then there should be no problem of any kind whatsoever because an acid flux then dipped into a solder bath would tin the tip just fine.
 
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Vizier87

Active Member
If the tip was made from copper there is absolutely no reason to iron plate before chrome, in fact it would be detrimental to plating and base metal life. For a copper tip it would simply be cleaned really well in an agitated acid, hit with a Woods nickle strike in most cases an then placed into a bulk nickle bath. If the tip were made from pure copper then there should be no problem of any kind whatsoever because an acid flux then dipped into a solder bath would tin the tip just fine.

I assume you agree the heating time part by shortbus?
 

Vizier87

Active Member
They plate with iron then flash chrome. The copper that they make the tip from doesn't hold up to long exposure to lead and flux and heat at the same time. The iron plating is why you should never use sandpaper or a file to clean a tip.

been there done that.. years ago after sandpapered mine I noticed it's sudden improvement in solder melting for a few minutes then the rest is history.
 

shortbus=

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
What are you talking about shortbus? Copper base metal then iron plated then chrome? That doesn't make sense.
Iron tip, copper plated then chrome does.
If the tip was made from copper there is absolutely no reason to iron plate before chrome, in fact it would be detrimental to plating and base metal life. For a copper tip it would simply be cleaned really well in an agitated acid, hit with a Woods nickle strike in most cases an then placed into a bulk nickle bath. If the tip were made from pure copper then there should be no problem of any kind whatsoever because an acid flux then dipped into a solder bath would tin the tip just fine.

Check out this; Electronics Tips: Soldering Techniques I also read it on a Hakko site that I can't find right now. I've soldered for years and didn't know this until I started to hunt for a temp controlled unit.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Justin, it's already been several times not to actually solder electronics with acid flux, however to clean and tin the tip nothing works better than an acid flux, after the flux has mostly burnt off and the tip is tinned you wipe it against a damp sponge and you're good to go. By the way the gasses given off by Rosin core solder are bad for you, but the gasses given off by acid flux is REALLY bad for you =) Breathing vaporized acid is pretty horrible for your lungs so be careful =)

hrmm, I guess I was wrong shortbus, I looked into it a bit more, and it looks like the copper and nickle layers partially alloy with iron plate and it's actually that diffusion layer that acts as the barrier as the alloy is better than the pure metals. It's too bad my old job doesn't do Iron plateing, I still visit there every now and then and I could have infinite tip life =)
 
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