Does Unused Solder Go Bad Over Time?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Big Dan, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. Big Dan

    Big Dan Member

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    Here is a question. I was working on an old project amp this weekend and ran out of solder. I knew I had more kicking around somewhere and I finally found an old roll of it. It was the same basic solder (60/40 w/rosin core) that I was using earlier that day. As a guess, this solder is 5-10 years old, but maybe older.

    Anyway, it was not acting the same. It took a little more heat to melt, and all the joints look "cold". All the joints I made with the "good" solder earlier that day look bright and shinny. All the joints with this solder though look dull and faded, almost like a "Cold" joint. So, why did this happen? Does solder go bad over years?

    I am now doubting the quality of these joints. I fear I am going to have to go back over them all, suck all the old solder out and do them again with new solder. What do you all think???

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  2. Enzo

    Enzo Member

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    I am currently using a roll of Ersin Multicore that is at least 20 years old. It works as well as it did new. I prefer the Kesters frankly. I think the Kesters flux works better. But the lack of flux action was the reason I retired the Ersin in the first place. it works no less well these years later. My other roll ran out and I have not replaced it yet. Your old solder may have been crummy solder in the first place. I have some little packs of solder that came with something and it is crumy solder. Radio Shack solder seemed to not work as well in my opinion. And geez I hope it is electrical solder.
     
  3. Big Dan

    Big Dan Member

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    Thanks for the response. Yeah, it's electrical solder. Maybe you're right. Maybe it was just crappy solder to begin with. It's going in the trash can at any rate, but I'm still questioning if I should redo all the joints that look bad. The anal retentive side of me will most likely win.

    Dan
     
  4. wilder

    wilder Member

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    If you're like me it will bug you forever. You might as well just redo it.

    Chris
     
  5. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    Well, if they look bad and are not shiny
    and you are using a low temp iron re do them.

    Only use a 63/37 solder. It goes from liquid to solid
    in one step. A 60/40 has an intermediate step in it
    and should be avoided (one more thing to go wrong).

    Kester 44, 63/37 is the industry standard.
    Alpha has some too, but it stinks!

    The 63/37 needs the joint to be greater then
    615 Degrees F.

    According to our J-STD, MIL SPEC, IPC friends. :dude

     
  6. Big Dan

    Big Dan Member

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    Hey AmpNerd,

    I was using Kester "Quick-Draw", which is a 60/40 and comes in a handy little tube. All those joints seem perfect. I was planning on buying some more of that. The crappy joints were with some off-brand 60/40.

    Is the Kester "44" 63/37 the ideal solder for amps? What diameter do you use? I think I had .050 guage in the "Quick Draw".

    Any more help/advice on this topic?

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  7. Enzo

    Enzo Member

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    Size depends upon application. If all you do is solder wires to pots and sockets or eyelets/turrets, then that fat solder is fine. if you work on PC boards ever, the fat stuff will glob you up. it is tough to get just a little solder from it. I like the thin stuff. I can always put more into a joint if it needs it. A pound of solder is a pound of solder, so using more thin stuff or less fat stuff is a wash as to expense.

    While formulations other than 60/40 may have certain advantages, I firmly believe that your technique matters a lot more than the assay. I have been using 60/40 for 50 years now with good results. next time I buy solder I might buy the 63, but I won't retire a roll of 60/40.

    I am more fearful of the lead free requirements coming our way.
     
  8. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    63/37
    is just about the ideal solder period. When I
    was out at Lockheed fooling around with
    "electronic aircraft" 63/37 was it. You had
    to go through a week long certification
    class and pass the soldering practical exam.

    People who failed, couldn't work (soldering)
    until they passed their certification. It is quite
    and interesting process where you acutally
    look at the solder joints under a microscope.

    Also, they are tending to move away from
    solder joints where possible. Doing more
    crimping. Don't confuse MIL SPEC crimps
    with the crap they have in the civilian world.
    We are talking very fine racheting tool here
    propbably costing $100 - $200+. All of which
    are calibrated and certified as well.

    Getting back on track here,

    Just what enzo said.
    Let me see what I have on the bench. I have
    three sizes for different applications.

    I lied, I have at least 5 sizes, the most common
    .062 and the .050 for eyelets, pots, discreet components etc,
    63/37 the other is with 2 percent silver (Ag) for larger
    type board and when using silver wire.

    THEN

    .031 and .025 for pedals, smaller stuff.
    63/37 and the other 2 Ag.

    HECK

    I also have some .032 which I rarely use.

    AND

    Got some really hefty .15 stuff for chassis work.

    I think I have 20 lbs in reserve.

    Some company was selling the stuff way cheap when
    I got mine. Because they messed up communication
    with me, I missed out on 50 and 90 spool lots at about a
    buck a pop...and this was the brand spanking new stuff.

    I have a few years supply left though.

     
  9. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Are you sure it's 60/40? More than once I grabbed the wrong one and was shocked at the difference. Lot's of 40/60 around. Harder to work, requires a lot more heat, was not satisfactory for what I was doing.
     

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