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Old 15th March 2011, 09:31 PM   #11
infinia is offline infinia  United States
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Yikes
The acid is used for cleaning/etching the PCB copper right. Acid core rosin in olden time plumbing solder has the same purpose in a single step. what's the zinc doing?
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Old 16th March 2011, 03:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinia View Post
Yikes.... what's the zinc doing?
Acid core flux is rosin with zinc chloride powder blended in. This is quite acidic, hence the name. Plumber's paste flux is similar.

The solution of liquid flux, as Arty has made, is a time honoured way of making zinc chloride solution without having to stock the salt or acidify it to boost fluxing activity. Its called "Killed Spirits" for those with a sense of the macabre. You can still buy zinc granules if you don't have a collection of galvanized iron.(that's what Oz and UK guys may call it) Don't try using the more recent "zincalume" treated steel, I hear it's not so good.

Simplified, all these "acid" fluxes work by exchanging a little copper on the metal surface for the Zinc in solution or rosin, thus providing a chemically clean and active surface for Solder to flow and bond to. It needs some acidity to do this but hydrochloric acid is a tad noxious, yet zinc chloride is quite acidic still, has a buffering effect that maintains consistency and works just fine.

The zinc and copper will alloy with the solder and the displaced chlorine will vaporise with the water as HCl in the soldering heat. (mind breathing the gas from this; some are a bit sensitive to an olefactory burnout!)

As long as the PCB is only treated to these cocktails before stuffing and is washed and dried fully, there should be no problems on single sided boards.
I've seen a few people use industrial strength fluxes to solder a delicate part because it was easier than buying electronics solder but the gas released when fluxing usually resulted in corrosion beginning on bright or passivated metal surfaces, getting into plated-through areas etc.

Commercial operators and users of multi-layer boards would be crazy to go anywhere near a PCB with this stuff IMO. Actually, we should ask that nobody try this stuff at home or indoors etc. However, we're DIY guys so we do what works!

BTW, thanks DevilMKD ..Colofonium, eh?
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Old 16th March 2011, 04:46 AM   #13
infinia is offline infinia  United States
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Thanks Ian for the detailed answer.
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Old 16th March 2011, 07:35 AM   #14
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Hi Infinia, 'just hope it made sense. Actually, the GL liquid flux you posted is surely Colofonium in alcohol, according to Wikipedia. You Californians have a couple of native pine species said to be good for flux. Here we have just a few of your Monterey Pines (Pinus Radiata) in plantations and as ornamentals. They bleed rosin, so I'm just gonna have to "procure" some and try it. How about "Poor Oz man's soldering flux"? (with apologies to Zen Mod) .
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Old 16th March 2011, 04:12 PM   #15
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i think i have left enough warnings on this process.
Actualy i usualy take my fresh orn pcb, slam it nto the solution for approx 5-10 secunds, then immidatly i cover everything with fresh and nice solder.
The surface is clean as it can get.
then comes the hole drilling job.
I found it as an advantage that i can cover the surface with a nice layer, this gives a bit more current carry ability for example. and the end product is a surface that is equaly coated with the solder.

Needles to say, read my warnings.
And do not under any circuimstance use over 25% acid. the instant heat generation of the thing will surprise you.

As far as i have tested (like 5 years now or so since i made a big jug of it) it keeps working perfectly. Cheap, effective, DIY.
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