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Old 15th October 2009, 09:23 PM   #1
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Default Good lead free solder availible yet?

Sorry to dredge up this old hot-topic, but I just finished of the last of my 5lb roll of Kester 44 63/37.

Now my son is almost two and seems to be into everything. If lead free solders have finally improved I would like to use them, but if they are still as bad as they were 2 years ago forget it!

I have heard Kester 24-7068-7063 is pretty good, any thoughts?

Also I wouldn't mind trying out the lead-free audiophile stuff either, like Cardas, Mundorf, Johnson IA-423, WBT, Wonder Signature, etc. Which one flows the best?

This is for point to point with proper wiring etiquette, so mechanics of the solder is more important than sonics to me.

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by greenvalve; 15th October 2009 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 16th October 2009, 12:02 AM   #2
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Well, I did a little research of a few lead-free solders. Here is what I found:

WBT
Diameter: 0.9mm
Melting Temp: 426°F (219°C)
Silver 3.8%, Copper 0.7%, Tin 95.5%

Cardas Tri - Eutectic
Resin Core
Diameter: 0.8mm
Melting Point: 430°F (221°C)
Silver 4%, Tin, Copper - ratio proprietary

Mundorf Supreme
Diameter: 1.0mm
Melting Point: 554°F (290°C)
Gold 0.1%, Silver 9.5%, Copper 1.8%, Tin 88.6%

Johnson Eutectic IA-423
Rosin Core FLUX RECOMMENDED
Diameter: 0.8mm
Melting Point: 423°F (217°C)
Silver 4.7%, Copper 1.7%, Tin 93.6%

Furutech
Rosin Core (Ersin 362 Flux)
Diameter: 0.7mm
Melting Point 428°F (220℃)
Silver 4%, Tin 96%

Wonder Signature
Rosin Core
Unknown specs

What surprised me is that Johnson IA-423, which has the lowest melt temp also has the worst reputation for good joint wetting. Perhaps the key factor is using a good resin core vs rosin core.

Last edited by greenvalve; 16th October 2009 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 16th October 2009, 12:27 AM   #3
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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It may sound strange, but the only lead free I have used made me pretty sick at every solder job
Pretty awful smoke
Im sure its toxic, and maybe even more than lead solder

I have found some cheap lead solder fore heavy jobs
Also bought some SMD solder, which should be very clean, but havent tried it yet
Need to buy some solder with silver

But no doubt, cigarette smoking taste pretty awful after soldering

Last edited by tinitus; 16th October 2009 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 16th October 2009, 12:52 AM   #4
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Building a Welborne Terraplane kit 3-4 years ago I had the same experience. I used the included solder. By the time I finished the second monoblock I thought I was going to do the technicolor yawn! I still remember that sickening sweet smell, nothing else is like it.

His current offering

Welborne Labs Solder
Rosin Core (Grade "A" pure natural water white gum rosin) ??
Diameter: 1mm
Melting Temp: 365°F (185°C)
Silver 3%, Tin 97%

Specs look the best. I may order it again! Has anyone out there tried it?

Last edited by greenvalve; 16th October 2009 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 16th October 2009, 03:33 AM   #5
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Tried a few... all ended up in the plumbing kit for pipes

I snagged 4Kg of Kester "88" for $20 when everyone was dumping their lead stuff on fleabay

Cheers!
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Old 16th October 2009, 03:47 AM   #6
stoc005 is offline stoc005  United States
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Default Lead free? NO, not yet for me.

I work in the US military/aerospace industry and most of our customers will not accept any equipment built with lead-free solder. We still use 63/37 and RMA flux for everything. All SMT boards use leaded solder. All BGAs have to have leaded balls. We sometimes have to reball lead-free parts to be compliant with the customer wishes.
BTW, I make solid state video recorders for military aircraft and the Shuttle.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 01:12 PM   #7
djQUAN is offline djQUAN  Philippines
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hah. we use lead free at work and it sux. I asked if we could procure some leaded solder for rework and the EMS section said no. I still have a 2kg roll of 63/37 at home, no lead free there.

I have tried the Mundorf solder and it wets nice. just a little pricey for some solder....
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Old 22nd October 2009, 01:13 PM   #8
djQUAN is offline djQUAN  Philippines
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hah. we use lead free at work and it sux. I asked if we could procure some leaded solder for rework and the EMS section said no. I still have a 2kg roll of 63/37 at home, no lead free there.

I have tried the Mundorf solder and it wets nice. just a little pricey for some solder....
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Old 7th November 2009, 09:41 AM   #9
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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One of my colleagues was doing a COSSH (Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health) assessment recently and discovered that whilst lead is undesirable it's a known hazard whereas the hazards from the weird and wonderful fluxes used in lead-free solder are unknown. Thus, he came to the conclusion that we should continue to use leaded solder because at least we knew what the hazards were (and we could at least make reliable joints).

Personally, I stocked up on "real" solder but I see that it is still available so I'm certainly not going to use this nasty unleaded stuff. My previous house carried the drinking water in via lead pipe...
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Old 9th November 2009, 02:50 PM   #10
djQUAN is offline djQUAN  Philippines
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we all hate lead free solder at work. it's a little picky on iron temp. too hot and eats away the copper pads and component pins, too cold and you get sucky joints. we deal with reworking with SMD's and removing components without damaging boards is much much more difficult with pbfree.
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