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sangram 23rd February 2006 12:06 PM

3.5% silver solder
Now available at about 4x the cost of regular solder in India, and being sold as 'Lead-free'. Composition is 96, 3.5 and .5. I don't know if the .5 is antimony or copper, guess it's copper.

Anyway the damn thing is a pain to use. It doesn't flow or wet like regular 60/40, and the finish is pathetic. The flux is very mild in the core, and wets only mint parts with good tinning, well enough. Dry solders every 2nd joint. For P2P it's basically unusable. OK on PCBs it's kind of OK but every joint looks suspect.

Any solution other than a nice aggressive flux? Those things leave very messy residues on PCBs though, not too fond of them and haven't used them in a while.

Should I get back to 60/40?

By the way I haven't seen any major sonic benefits. OK, make that none. I see no difference, maybe because I'm partially deaf now, but whatever...

Nigel Goodwin 23rd February 2006 05:23 PM

There aren't any sonic benefits - in fact no electronic benefits at all!. The sole reason for the use of lead-free solder is to reduce the amount of lead going into landfill!.

The solder itself is (in my opinion, and many others) inferior to leaded solder, and like you say the joints all appear to be dry.

However, it is the way the world is going, and AFAIK all manufacturers now have to use it?.

It solders OK as long as you have a decent iron, which MUST be temperature controlled, as it melts at a higher point than leaded solder.

sangram 24th February 2006 09:29 AM

Yes, I actually bought two 50 g rolls (this is eutetic silver solder, not even sold as silver solder for audiophiles, but as lead-free) on impulse, and see that normal solder is better in most respects except fumes, the silver solder does not fume and flux as much regular 63/37, as it says 'Mildly activated', which would mean less flux in the core.

Apart from that I think I'm buying a big roll of my regular stuff again, and a big box of flux for the times I wish to use the silver solder if a custom order does come up.

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