January 21st, 2012, 08:46 PM
So I'm building my first pedal but I've done a ton of soldering in the past, car audio, alarms etc, mostly wire stuff. Anyways, I'm trying to teach my son how to solder and my wife preferred the idea of lead free solder. Ok I'm game, I didn't even know they had it.
Everything is going okay, but I just can't get a good flow out of the solder. I curse and curse and blame the iron for being weak, and my son thinks I have no idea what I'm doing. I basically end up with not a fuzz, but a sine wave generator. The next day I look at the board and see that most of the joints have shrunk, like pulled back. So I reheat and try to flow them out again. Again, a bunch of cold joints.
I kind of gave up (I call it stepping back for awhile) but then today I'm reading about special irons and techniques for lead free soldering applications. Anyone else ever make this mistake?
I hope to just remove all of it and redo it with leaded and it'll work.
January 21st, 2012, 08:47 PM
By the way if it matters, the pedal is a General Guitar Gadgets Shin-Ei FY-2.
January 21st, 2012, 09:03 PM
Sounds about as useful as alcohol-free beer :lol:
Not helpful I know, but just saying....
January 21st, 2012, 09:07 PM
You need a hotter iron for lead-free. If your only doing small amounts then its worth getting the better quality stuff with silver in it as its easier to use - more like the traditional solder. It been illegal to manufacture with leaded solder here in the UK for 5 or 6 years now. Lead and non-lead solder don't mix too well either!
January 25th, 2012, 05:24 PM
The other tech at my present job has been using lead free solder for repair work many years now.As Pinewood says ,it doesn´t mix well with leaded solder..You have to get rid of all solder and start all over,this time with 60/40 ( tin/lead) solder.
January 25th, 2012, 05:38 PM
Yup. Not a fan of lead-free solder either. Like you, I used it on an amp I was working on and ended up with a bunch of cold joints.
January 25th, 2012, 05:51 PM
my wife preferred the idea of lead free solder.
I didn't know your wife was an electrical engineer!
Anyway, lead free solder is kinda rubbish for hobby stuff. I have tried it before, but it's much harder to work with and really not worth the effort. I bet on an industrial level it probably works a treat, but for building fuzz just get some good quality lead solder by someone like Kester.
Plus you're soldering with it not eating it. The solder doesn't get hot enough to vaporize lead. Most of the fumes are from things like flux and other combustibles. You get them with both lead and lead free solder.
January 25th, 2012, 06:01 PM
lead 327 deg... tin 232 deg.... Silver 961 deg...
the more silver you've got in the mix the hotter the iron/flame needs to be....
to silver solder a copper pipe you need an oxy flame and mega heat to get it to flow... get the copper red hot 1000deg+... then feed on the solder so it flows, in a flash.... take the oxy flame away...
I'll be using lead based solders for ages to come on small wires...... with a regular soldering iron.
January 25th, 2012, 06:13 PM
You can still buy Multicore in the UK.not cheap though .
January 25th, 2012, 06:38 PM
Never let the wife dictate anything technical to you. Short of achieving that....
Depending on the alloy, like if it's SAC305, which has a liquidus of 217C or a 96.5/3.5 Sn/Ag, which I believe is 221C, You'll need an adjustable temp iron, like the Weller I have to get it to work properly. Normal eutectic 63/37 Sn/Pb solder has a liquidus of 183C. So there is a 34C to 38C higher temperature required.
January 25th, 2012, 07:00 PM
Lead-Free solder is the Devil! If I worked in a shop, then I'd use it. Then again, I'd probably be using some kind of high-end German-engineered soldering station that would make short work of it.
However, since I only occasionally have need to solder anything, I take my chances and use the leaded kind. I do, however, make sure that I'm in a room that exhausts outside, and I use a little fan to blow the vapors away from me and toward the exhaust fan.
January 25th, 2012, 09:18 PM
I recently read an article by OkI (the people who make the Metcal irons) about how a recent study shows that the fluxes in lead-free are more dangerous than those in leaded solder. Since these are what are being vaporized and inhaled, there's not much of a reason to go lead-free.
January 25th, 2012, 09:54 PM
lead is a very heavy element, as far as I know, it does not boil off during the liquidus phase because the surface tension is so high. Natural rosin flux vapors will not harm you either. I do not recall what they are using for the higher temp stuff and this "green" movement crap but the old 60/40 eutectic Sn/Pb solder with rosin flux is perfectly fine to use. If you touch lead based solder, wash your hands when it is convenient and do not put your fingers in your mouth. Pretty simple! Been using it at work for almost 40 yrs with no problems and we use it by the tons.
January 26th, 2012, 04:10 PM
I use lead-free solder all the time with no problems. I can count on 1 hand the number of cold joints I've had with the stuff. You do need a hotter iron though.
I think some of the "lead-free gives you cold joints" myth comes from the fact that the joints are not as shiny as traditional solder. It does make it a bit harder to tell at a quick glance if a joint may be cold, but it doesn't mean they're all bad.
January 26th, 2012, 05:33 PM
You do need a higher temperature to flow lead-free and even then it doesn't flow well nor wet the joint well, and it deteriorates. Whiskering too. Lead-free is effectively banned for defence and aerospace work because of this.
The dry/cold joint is not a myth, but applies to both types, and it is true that lead-free is more difficult to use. Perhaps best left to the skilled hand.
Surfaces need to be prepared very clean.
Weller TCP tip#8 instead of tip#7.
My advice is only use lead-free if you must.
Tin/lead is a much better solder, and legitimate for repair work and domestic/hobby jobs.
Both types present heavy metal poison hazards.
The latest nanny-scare is the rosin flux.
Use well a ventilated work space.
January 26th, 2012, 05:45 PM
Well you learn something every day. Good I don't contract fro the DOD ;)
January 26th, 2012, 08:29 PM
Wow. Lots of info here. She isnt an engineer, she's a lawyer with a background in fertility genetics turned screenwriter. So she doesn't really want my son exposed to lead. But if it isnt vaporizing then no problem!
I redid all the joints in 60/40 but still have problems. So i put that aside for awhile and modded my wah pedal instead. That turned out great!
January 26th, 2012, 08:38 PM
You do need a higher temperature to flow lead-free and even then it doesn't flow well nor wet the joint well, and it deteriorates. Whiskering too. ...........
Tin whiskers are being implicated in the Toyota sudden acceleration cases.
If your Fender guitar has a sticker that says RoHS, it has lead-free solder.