I want to teach my son how to solder

I have some old solder which contains lead; I would prefer not to use this with my son, I am consider using kester lead free solder however I am not sure if it will work with my old 15 watt solder iron. I have heard lead free solder needs higher temperature to melt. Does anyone know if I need a hotter solder iron or will I be fine with my 15 watt solder iron


What other soldering accessories would you recommend, would a flux pen be useful.


Also regarding removing solder, is a de-solder pump better than a de-solder braid.
 
Nothing will happen to the lead, it doesn't vaporize at soldering temperatures.

60/40 is not eutectic, 63/27 is, a better choice.

Also you can buy a nice inexpensive variable temperature iron (asian import) from a variety of sources, including Mouser and other online vendors. You want an iron with sufficient temperature, proper temperature and a good tip. Buy extra tips.

Flux pen is not required.

The 15watt iron is likely not a good choice.

I prefer desoldering pump, others love braid. Braid never worked well for me personally.
 
I prefer a desoldering pump. Not the skinny one one from Radio Shack, one like this (OK Industries DP-100 | Desoldering Pumps).

I don't like lead free solder, it's hard to work with and the higher temp may be a factor with the 15w iron. As long as you don't ingest the solder I don't think it's a serious issue, kind of like the lead/tin solder joints on copper plumbing. The amount is so small as to be negligible.
 
I hate lead free solder. I have to fix it too often. Fortunately I can still use lead solder in the USA. The main concern over lead in electronics is that it might leach out into the ground water if it is placed in a landfill. The EU requires it, so now everyone has to use it in manufacture.

The fumes and vapors you see/smell when soldering is not lead, and as bear said, it is not harmfull. Speaking only as one example, I have been soldering for close to 60 years now, and have so far not had any accumulation in my system. MY doctor told me as long as I kept it out of my mouth I;d be OK. So I don't eat solder.


Lead free solder doesn;t melt as well, or reheat as well, is more brittle and likely to crack, it grows "tin whiskers", and doesn't wet to surfaces as well. I suspect it does not respect its elders nor clean its room either.

I do not like braid, and prefer a hand pump (or my desoldering station). I like the metal pumps over the plastic ones, myself.

Oh, and I find the squeezie bulbs about useless.
 
Sure, so don't drink any water in a city... most cities still have lead pipes in the water system. Copper pipes were all sweated with lead solder... etc.

Soldering won't do squat to you.

Other things like solvents and other chemicals are much much more likely to cause some sort of long term harm. Including stuff they routinely add into "food". My opinions do not represent the staff or management.
 

tomchr

Member
Paid Member
2009-02-11 12:58 am
Calgary
www.neurochrome.com
+1 on the OK Industries DP-100 (or its ESD-safe equivalent) desoldering pump. Those things rock.

For learning how to solder. Take bare PCB material and have your son drill 0.8 mm holes in it at regular intervals. Scrub it thoroughly to clean off burrs and oxide. Then run solid core wire through and solder. Once he can make a nice volcano shaped solder joint, move on to real circuits.

~Tom
 
That is the thing, your skin isn't absorbing lead through the skin. If you ingest lead, your digestive system will chemeically absorb it, but that is not skin. That is why they don;t want it in the groundwater, because there it WILL get into your system when you drink it.

I'm with bear, I am much more afraid of the solvents I use, the adhesive chemicals, lubricants and silicones I get al over my fingers, than I am about lead from solder.

A couple thoughts. There are many inexpensive electronic kits, anywhere from the very basic to the more involved. A couple simple kits make good practice for soldering. If you ruin it, you are not out much, and you do need to make good connections for it to work, so it is not just busy-work practice. And you wind up with some little gadget.


Next, it is not hard to find discarded electronics. Look in the trash, someone will be tossing an old VCR or cassette deck or something. Take it apart - that alone is good practice - and remove the circuit boards, use them for practice. Now you have something with lots of parts on it. You can unsolder the parts, resolder the parts. Move the parts around. All good practice, and ther is no danger of spoiling anything of value.
 

tinitus

diyAudio Moderator R.I.P.
2005-11-24 1:47 am
I have my solder tin roll in a small plastic bag, and it stays in there

and I always wash my hands immediately after soldering

btw, I might have had minor small local infections in a few of my fingers, from handling old print boards scrap, trying to collect components
scrap is nasty stuff, not recommended
 
I am with you bear, but some people are more sensitive to these things than others.

As to the led in our plumbing: I have never met a retired plumber with lead poisoning. But, than, they all live in Florida and I don't. Any old plumbing still in use using leded solder: these connections would be coverd with calcium deposits making lead transfer into our water supply all but impossible. E
 
I have some old solder which contains lead; I would prefer not to use this with my son, I am consider using kester lead free solder however I am not sure if it will work with my old 15 watt solder iron. I have heard lead free solder needs higher temperature to melt. Does anyone know if I need a hotter solder iron or will I be fine with my 15 watt solder iron


What other soldering accessories would you recommend, would a flux pen be useful.


Also regarding removing solder, is a de-solder pump better than a de-solder braid.

I'll throw in my 0.02 dollars. I have a 3.5 year old boy and I solder in my basement workshop, some people think I'm paranoid about lead but at the end of the day what is more important than your son?

I want to get rid of the lead solder and replace it with lead free, when you solder you can get tiny flecks and splats of solder which stick to your clothes and the bottom of your shoes and you can move them anywhere without knowing, my son plays on the floor and puts his hands in his mouth all the time. If you look up how much lead effects a child, its in the parts per billion (which is the level they measure to now in blood tests), my son weighs 40 pounds which means he will be effected with around 0.00002 grams of lead in his body, it only takes one fleck.

BTW I have been soldering for around 30 years, I'm no noobie.
 

M Gregg

Disabled Account
2010-06-28 11:04 pm
UK
Hi,

I prefer to use 25W soldering irons..something like this:

25W Soldering Iron Type XS (Silicone Cable) : Mains Soldering Irons : Maplin Electronics

A De solder pump is way better than braid I use large and small..the large one is not any good for small spaces, you can get away with a large one on a flat PCB..power desolder is good but probably overkill.
Maplin Electronics


Regards solder..Lead solder is OK if you wash your hands after use...the problem with soldering is the flux fumes are an issue even more so with lead free..the Antex led free solder is OK...it depends what equipment you are using it on.In industry a small extractor is used over the work bench with a Goose neck..this is not realy needed, however I am more cautious with lead free than standard multicore..

Remember that the solder has to suite the metals you are soldering so its not just a case of one type for all..this applies to silver coated component leads etc.

So get a 25W iron and make his life easier...some solder will not melt with 15W even more so with lead free! I would add the reduced heat of the small iron creates more danger not less..because it can slip off when he pushes it onto the workpiece with frustration when the solder won't melt! And boy does it hurt when it makes a hole in your finger!

One other point..you also get fumes from the things you are soldering..like PVC melting etc...also remember PTFE cable can give off dangerous fumes when heated...the next point is soldering sockets or plugs will heat sink the joint and I bet you will get a dry joint with a 15w iron if you can get the joint hot enough quick enough..the trick is high enough heat for a short time before it heat sinks the iron tip less melted plugs or damaged parts..and less dry joints or tracks lifted on strip board.. :) Please don't use additional flux..if you don't clean it off the joint, it will eat through the copper track...

Regards
M. Gregg
 
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M Gregg

Disabled Account
2010-06-28 11:04 pm
UK
One more thought,

Remember to get a stand with a wet sponge (heat resistant) to clean the iron tip. Lead free solder tends to eat the iron tip away quickly..remember that the tip has a coating on it so once you use emery paper etc to clean it, its going to be no good any longer...some solders are "Savbit...ie they make the iron tip last longer...however without a wet sponge and a stand you will struggle..probably a good idea to fix the stand to a heavy piece of wood they tend to tip over..;)

The standard tip shoud be good enough for most jobs don't use one thats thinner unless you have to..it eats away faster and the heat transfer is not so good!

Regards
M. Gregg
 
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tinitus

diyAudio Moderator R.I.P.
2005-11-24 1:47 am
local infections? long term? seek treatment!! serious.

simple small cuts, apply antibiotic ointment if needed.

no, its gone, no problem
only means that all small cuts you get from the sharp soldered components ends sticking out heals slower than ususal
I expect some 'could' get serious infections from it
I'm just saying, be cautious
not a childs game at all

btw, these days you can get small sucking filters to remove the solder fumes
even if not effective, it might prevent the fumes from being inhaled directly
I don't smoke any more, but when I did it was a pain to smoke right after soldering
tasted like shite, really
but food for thoughts, ehh ?

its like messing with petrol, olis, solvents, and this new kinds of spay stuff, silicone or whatever, nano stuff, etc etc
many people think, 'hey, spray it on, no problem'
highly toxic all of it
dangerous stuff, and one should know how to handle it accordingly

consider it like playing with fire
 

M Gregg

Disabled Account
2010-06-28 11:04 pm
UK
Yes, can be very dangerous,

Look at the fumes that can also come off the things you solder like PTFE cable..
Thats + the flux..however I am not a fan of the lead free flux either..
I know a few people that said they got warts after a solder burn probably just coincidence..open to infection longer maybe..
This tended to be a deep iron burn more so than the solder..(After the white burn finally heals)

Regards
M. Gregg
 
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M Gregg

Disabled Account
2010-06-28 11:04 pm
UK
On the point of the solder joint..

At many companies I worked for the component leg was put at 45 Deg to the board reason was the solder was the connection the bend was the mechanical joint..this went even further at the GEC the legs of the parts had to be flat to the board..to stop lacquer penetration and "Aerials for interference and carbon build up"...what a PITA to remove when a fault occurred..That’s when you need experience..+ plated through holes..:D


Regards
M. Gregg
 
Now all gasoline is free of lead. Years ago tetraethyl lead was added to gas to improve performance. Lead compounds thus came out the exhaust and into the air. It settled on the ground, getting into the soil, and accumulated. AT some point officials discovered that children in some urban areas had extremely high levels of lead in their systems and were baffled as to why. They ruled out eating of paint chips, and ultimately found that the dirt they played in had become toxic. The lead from tailpipes driving down the highway nearby had poisoned the dirt.