There is a first time for everything, but I've never seen circuit traces not copper. I have seen plenty with a clear coating you had to sand off to expose the actual copper for solder. And of course the blue or green coating on many.
Did you contact PE and ask what is on their boards?
Yep, it was a pain to solder to. I was thinking it was the Cardas solder I was using since the manufacturer had soldered a few connections directly to the silver board. Maybe next time I'll sand around the pin holes to see if soldering is any simpler.
Use a good flux, and a proper electronics grade solder (no audiophile specific stuff) such as Kester in a eutectic blend. A fine rub with some scotchbrite pad or fine sandpaper to knock off the tarnish before application of rosin is a good idea if it isn't already bright and shiny.
Cardas solder isn't my favorite, I really like Kester, it's a joy to use and very nice stuff. Don't bother with lead free if you can help it, there's literally no good reason that a hobbyist needs to choose it over a good traditional type.
Would you have a link to the Kester solder? I'm assuming they have more than one eutectic type. Which is the one favored around here? I've been wanting to try something other than Cardas. You're not the only one to make that comment and after a year or so of using Cardas, I'm realizing why it isn't a favorite.
Yes, but California, where everything is outlawed!
We have a new law in CA that states nothing associated with any plumbing fixture can contain lead. Not just items that come in contact with drinking water (That would make sense), but any part of any plumbing fixture can not contain any lead. The nut that holds the fixture to the bottom of the sink, the handles of shut off valves under your house, the bolts and washers that hold a toilet to the floor .... no lead.
There's nothing glamorous about heavy metal poisoning, its pernicious and nasty. Remember at some point someone might have to demolish an old building, and if its full of lead pipes and such then they will be breathing lead-containing dust, which cannot be removed from the lungs and brings life-long toxic effects. Lead poisoning may well have turned the roman nobility mad and sterile according to some researchers...
Actually you probably do eat it, in very small quantities, as soap doesn't remove lead from the skin effectively, and lead solder is soft enough to be rub off onto fingers. Its not as dangerous as the dust though. Much elderly red/orange/yellow/white gloss paint was lead-based, and a real nasty booby-trap for people who didn't realize and power-sanded the old paint off. My view is treat poisons with respect, they never respect you.