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Solder - a comparison (you get what you pay for)
Solder - a comparison (you get what you pay for)
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Old 21st September 2019, 05:45 AM   #1
ubergeeknz is offline ubergeeknz  New Zealand
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Default Solder - a comparison (you get what you pay for)

I'm the lucky recipient today of some Kester 44 solder, 63/37 with 3.3% flux 0.020" / 0.5mm

So I thought I'd do some comparison with the solder I've been using.

The conclusion I've come to is that my roll of "63/37" 0.8mm is at least probably lead solder, but probably not 63/37.

I've another roll of "60/40" 0.3mm which I had got for fine work and always hated. I am pretty sure it's lead free.

Here are the tests I did and results.

1. 200C iron, melting point test.

Kester : Melted easy. Good wetting.

"63/37" : went chunky

"60/40" : nothing. At 220C, chunky. At 240, melted.

2. Solder test, iron 300C, some breadboard (I didn't clean it but it isn't "dirty")

Kester middle) good wetting, easy, glossy

"63/37" : (right) reasonable wetting. Glossy until cool then "cloudy". Cleaning doesn't improve it.

"60/40" : (left) melted okay but poor wetting. Crystalline finish.

Thought these comparisons might be helpful.

Verdict: the Kester is amazing. I can't wait to use it in anger...

The solders used:

Kester (44 flux 63/37 0.5mm):

Kester 24-6337-0010 44 Rosin Core Solder 63/37 .020 1 lb. Spool: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

"63/37" (0.8mm) :

Retail 300g Hot Tin Lead Solder Core 0.5 mm/1mm/0.8mm Soldeing Wire Welding Wire 63/37 Tin Lead 2.0% Flux Roll Reel Solder Tools
AliExpress

"60/40" (0.3mm) :

1 Roll Tin Lead Wire Rosin Core Solder Soldering Wire 60/40 For SMD Welding Rework Repair Accessories 0.3/0.4/0.5/0.6mm Hot Sale
AliExpress

Hope this helps someone else make better choices regarding trying to save a few bucks on solder.IMG_20190921_172435.jpg

Last edited by ubergeeknz; 21st September 2019 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 21st September 2019, 05:51 AM   #2
ubergeeknz is offline ubergeeknz  New Zealand
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Here's what "chunky" looks like, sorry they're a little out of focus, but you get the idea. First pic is the cheap stuff, 2nd the Kester, at 200CScreenshot_20190921_174756_com.google.android.apps.photos.jpgScreenshot_20190921_174900.jpg
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Old 21st September 2019, 08:35 AM   #3
SyncTronX is offline SyncTronX  United States
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You sure you don't have a contamination issue? Or Temp Issue?
Both my 60/40s and 63/37 when soldered properly are bright
and shiney, not dull.


60/40 is good for tinning raw copper ends, leads etc.
63/37 is then good for assembly.



You also might want to swab the board with 99% Isopropal.



In some other thread Kevin Kennedy mentioned that he
has his iron temp at 700 F and has not problems etc.
I concur with that. I've had now board problems at that temp.


At 700F, I have when I use desolder braid, especially on the two layer
boards....at times it got stuck, and I pulled and up came the trace.
So I bump it up to 720F or 730F, without issues.
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Old 21st September 2019, 09:12 AM   #4
ubergeeknz is offline ubergeeknz  New Zealand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SyncTronX View Post
You sure you don't have a contamination issue? Or Temp Issue?
Both my 60/40s and 63/37 when soldered properly are bright
and shiney, not dull.


60/40 is good for tinning raw copper ends, leads etc.
63/37 is then good for assembly.



You also might want to swab the board with 99% Isopropal.



In some other thread Kevin Kennedy mentioned that he
has his iron temp at 700 F and has not problems etc.
I concur with that. I've had now board problems at that temp.


At 700F, I have when I use desolder braid, especially on the two layer
boards....at times it got stuck, and I pulled and up came the trace.
So I bump it up to 720F or 730F, without issues.
I don't normally solder at 300C. This was purely for comparison, however the chinese solder never sets bright and shiny, no matter the temperature.

It does work however, and I've used it a while now, but it's just okay, but it can be picky, and its just not as good as a quality solder.

Last edited by ubergeeknz; 21st September 2019 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 21st September 2019, 09:34 AM   #5
ubergeeknz is offline ubergeeknz  New Zealand
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Also.. just did the math.. 700F seems VERY hot for lead solder. That's 370C? I would only use that for very heavy work if the tip is too low mass and it needs the extra "oomph"
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Old 21st September 2019, 10:18 AM   #6
ubergeeknz is offline ubergeeknz  New Zealand
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I can do a few comparisons at higher temps and different conditions, if it would be interesting.
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Old 21st September 2019, 11:15 AM   #7
oreo382 is offline oreo382  Canada
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Advice from a high reliability solder course I took,company that put it on sold equipment and repaired boards of all types,multi layer irreplaceable military ones with bullet holes thru them as an example.---Always use flux,rosin type,do not just rely on the rosin core in the solder.Use 63/37 solder,its eutectic,freezes instantly.Clean the pads/leads etc. with 99% isopropyl alcohol and LINT free tissues,do not use rubber erasers etc.Tip temperature of 600 F.If not enough heat getting to joint with this temperature then your tip is too small for the application,don't just turn up the heat to compensate.Don't use too much solder,there are lots of pictures available showing proper joints.Clean up the joint aferwards with the isopropyl alcohol.
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Old 21st September 2019, 08:19 PM   #8
SyncTronX is offline SyncTronX  United States
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oreo382,

I'm not disagreeing, and wondering are you using metcal or similar?
Using standard resistive element soldering iron, hakko, weller and the like
I stand by my observations and use. At 600F, I would destroy board
and parts from over heating them.

I don't regularly use wet flux in additional to core flux, but know folks who do.
Sometime you have to go with what you have, as far a solder tips go, and I have
plenty of variety.

I found the post to which I was referring, here are kevin kennedys own words:
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinkr View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrjon View Post
I was taught (as an apprentice) to run my iron hot and be quick. Run the iron at a temp that you can solder a joint in less than 2 seconds. This technique leads to far less heat soak into the component and less chance of lifting a PCB pad.
I was taught basically the same thing in soldering school when I first went to work for GTE Labs in the early 1980s. I typically solder at 700F/371C and can do it very quickly. I do a lot of SMD this way as well as through hole and point to point. No problems to date, I sometimes see stuff I built 30+ years ago and 99% of the time the solder joints are just fine. (The only time I have ever seen a problem is when I used exotic solders.)

I generally get several years out of a given tip, but I wipe regularly on a wet sponge and re-tin frequently. Turn off iron as soon as done. The Weller stuff is pretty durable. I solder a lot.
As an aside, at the electric aircraft manufacturing company in Fort Worth, Texas, it was stated that the temperature needed to be 617F for proper wetting and around 654 Ffor electrical bonding to take place. That is what was described to me by their soldering training staff, along with the rest of the J Standards.

I've not had issues at 700F.


There is more over at the sick of crap solder thread: LINK


Cheers,
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Last edited by SyncTronX; 21st September 2019 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 21st September 2019, 08:26 PM   #9
schiirrn is offline schiirrn  Germany
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These days I mostly use a Metcal. With my "standard" temperature controlled Weller cranking up the temperature to 365C allows me to work fast and at least for me that's the key for being non destructive with delicate stuff.
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Old 21st September 2019, 08:53 PM   #10
ubergeeknz is offline ubergeeknz  New Zealand
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Interesting reading about the "hot and fast" school of soldering. I'll have to try it. It's not how I was taught, but times have obviously changed \_(ツ)_/

Anyway, this thread was meant to be about what you're paying for with on brand quality solder, and not really intended to be about technique, but is making the perhaps one inevitable detour in that direction Solder - a comparison (you get what you pay for)
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