Pb / Pb-free

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- Lead free solder is the biggest load crap you'll ever see
- You often cannot re-work product made with lead-free solder with regular solder (and vice-versa -- that includes board tinning).
- You CAN usually solder "lead-free" leads with regular solder. This depends largely on the treatment of the pins. Make sure you inspect the joints closely, however.

If you're really concerned. put it in a socket. :)

Be sure to use the pb free solder with the silver in it, although crap it's much better than the cheaper no silver stuff. IMHO all this pb free thing is about the worst thing to hit the electronics industry in living memory (well ok, those that are selling the new soldering gear are making a killing!), apparentlly there was not even any research done to prove that the pb was causing any pollution!...
It's a potential minefield for anyone working in electronics in as much as that there are now several types of solder in use and not all of them are compatible with each other, I was at a presentation by a solder manufacturer (designed to put our minds at rest about it!) and some of our engineers made some searching questions which led (sic) to them admitting that different types of Pb free were being used in Europe and the far east and that if you try to repair somthing with the wrong type you will quickly end up with dry joints etc....also many Pb components have a shelf life....I could go on...personally I have been stocking up on lots of Pb/Sn for my own use but I suppose that for legal reasons I will have to start using the duff stuff on customers gear next year:whazzat:
But solder used for water pipes is still Sn40/Pb60. Just guess what I'll do if I can't find Sn60/Pb40 :D

There are still countries with lead in gas, and electronics are not even going in the trash anyways. I guess there's a problem here.

Solution : Keep some leaded and lead-free solder and use sockets, when working woth both components, no?

I worry about this 'cause I'm getting my first pb-free ICs, PCM2706.

It's impossible to solder this kind of ICs(SMT), so I'guess I'll use sockets and Sn/Pb to do the job.

What about SnPb + Pb-free alloys?
OK, so, returning to lead-free.

I'm going to build some new projects but I would switch to Pb-free solder to simplify maintenance once SnPb will not be available anymore.

There are about 5 thousand types of solder now. Which one should I use? I see Ag ones are better but are there 500 different types of PB-free solders with Ag? My local shop sells "Lead-free solder with silver", is it the right kind?

Note that the Pb-free ICs that now have are all Cu NiPdAu if it can help.
The advice we've received from manufacturers is to just use leadfree solder - apparently this works fine on leaded solder boards anyway?.

Personally I've never had a problem using leaded solder on leadfree boards and components, it just gives a far better looking (and more reliable?) joint.

Certainly the change to leadfree solder has caused LOT'S of problems, with dry joints being even more common than before!.
Lead free is the wave of the future. Ya gotta learn to live with it.

Make sure that you use lead free flux with lead free solder, and regular flux with leaded.

The difference between the two types of flux is the activation temperature. Each temp range is quite specific.

Lead free flux will not really clean the surfaces before a lead solder will melt. And a lead type flux can char and burn before the lead free solder is ready to melt.

Other than the temperature issues, there are no problems with incompatibility of the different metal schemes.

Where I live, lead free solder is the only type allowed for use in potable applications. They are so strict about it, that the plumbers I have spoken to do not carry lead solder with them, but do even baseboard heating runs with the lead free.

Cheers, John
Joined 2004
Paid Member
Hi John,
Lead free is for the US and Canada, except for "high reliability" assemblies the military and some telecom uses. Yes, there is an exclusion.

The higher temperature is one of the main things the average repair guy will need to deal with. You must use lead free in the new products, but lead leaded types are okay for older products.

You can thank garbage units (you know, the cheap stuff) hitting the trash for this. We are all to blame in some degree. Can you imagine some people getting the skews mixed up for part number that didn't change?


Edit: Rosh is for the world, just pointing out that Canada is part of the North American situation.
DragonMaster said:
I always use solder with flux core so I don't think I'll have problems with this.

So I should go with Pb-Free with Ag?

As I recall (I'm not near my data type stuff), the introduction of silver dropped the eutectic temp two degrees, from 221 C to 219. It may be I'm thinking of the lead/tin/silver trinary with it's 179 C eutectic, but hey, this is free advice, so you're getting your money's worth..;)

Seriously, for these alloys, the flux tends to be the biggest asset or heartache. It's been 15 years since I had to switch to higher alloy temps, like pure tin at 232, gold tin at 320, gold germanium at 356, and pure lead at 325..numbers burned into my memory, unfortunately..

Now I use nothing but 96 tin/4 silver at 221, and is works just fine. Flux and methodology are by far the biggest issues.

Cheers, John
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