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Old 15th May 2010, 09:25 PM   #1
atnaat is offline atnaat  Wales
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Default Can you get bad quality solder?

I'm dying to start building my gainclone kit, I've got some 60/40 on order over the internet. I was in the hardware store where I picked up some 20swg solder. It has no information on the packet but It's lead, that's all I can tell.

I've built a few things before so I can make a good joint but I've only ever used 60/40 from Farnell.

I have nothing else to solder to test apart from this gainclone kit, would you start building or wait? I can just imagine soldering and getting cold joint after cold joint, having to clean up my pristine gainclone PCB :-(.
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Old 15th May 2010, 09:32 PM   #2
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atnaat View Post

I have nothing else to solder to test
Just cut some copper wire, and solder them together .... maybe it will be a nice sculpture
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Old 15th May 2010, 09:42 PM   #3
atnaat is offline atnaat  Wales
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Don't have anything! All the hookup wire on the same order as the solder. I'll see if I can sacrifce a kettle lead. I'm in a student house away from home so I really have next to nothing.
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Old 15th May 2010, 09:48 PM   #4
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Hmm, you must be able to find a piece of mains wire or something..... just slice it up, but please dont cut yourself

It would definately be good to practice a bit
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Old 15th May 2010, 10:12 PM   #5
tomchr is offline tomchr  United States
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If the solder you bought at the hardware store is intended for use on electronic equipment, then it's likely 60/40 solder. However, if it's intended for pipe soldering (it'll be fairly fat, 3~4 mm diameter) it doesn't have flux in it and is basically useless for electronics. I suppose you could get a flux pen and hack something together, but why bother?

~Tom
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Old 15th May 2010, 10:32 PM   #6
Xoc1 is offline Xoc1  United Kingdom
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Q 'Can you get bad quality solder?'
Firstly are you sure that this is electrical solder and not plumbing solder?
If it is 60/40 solder it should melt at a low temperature -If it is lead free solder it will require a higher temperature.
The real difference between 60/40 solders is in the flux. A good quality solder will wet the components easily, and leave a residue that is easy to clean, or be safe to leave on the solder joint.
The more expensive electrical solders tend to have some silver content along with the tin / lead.
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Old 16th May 2010, 12:23 AM   #7
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You have to be careful with unknown solder. If it's acid core for plumbing, and you use it on anything electronic, the device will be junk. It will corrode and have subtle failures forever, no matter how well you think you've cleaned it. Electrical solder for electrical devices.
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Old 1st June 2010, 12:38 AM   #8
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It sounds like you need to practice some patience and wait for the known good stuff to arrive...
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Old 2nd June 2010, 03:09 AM   #9
star882 is offline star882  United States
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If it's new and leaded, it must not be plumbing solder. It is illegal to use leaded solder for plumbing. (It could be solder for metalworking, however.)
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Old 4th June 2010, 12:51 AM   #10
1audio is online now 1audio  United States
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Look for SN63 eutectic alloy solder, 63/37. It will work better. It will have a very clean transition from liquid to solid. Other eutectic alloys are SN62 with silver and SN96 with silver and no lead. SN96 needs much more heat since its a higher temperature melting point.

There are a number of fluxes for electronics. The activated fluxes usually need to be cleaned off of the circuit after use in critical applications. There are water soluble fluxes for production environments that work real well but must be washed.
ROHS stuff is a pain and life is easier if you can avoid it. However lead is considered the modern equivalent of Kryptonite and has people really scared. However its still used in avionics and military applications where failure isn't tolerated.

I was told years ago that Ersin solder uses more corrosive rosin since its from European trees. That may be total shuck but it seems Kester was less likely to have problems if left on the circuit.
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