The Soldering Mega Thread

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
31,834
It's just getting moved around.
Well, we do not want it in the wrong places. Same with mercury.
But I think the main point with lead-free is to diminish the mining and processing demand which is, apparently, hazardous.
Musical instrument building and repair has to be a drop in the bucket on a world level.
 

m-m-m

Member
Messages
688
I’m not a scientist, and I don’t consider myself a tree hugger, but here’s my two cents:

Lead is in the ground, but it’s highest concentrations are incased in rock, which is why it needs to be mined. When it’s in the rock, it’s not likely that it will find it’s way into our drinking water. The traces that are found naturally (in topsoil and what not) are not enough to cause a problem; similar to the way that the trace amounts of natural cyanide inside apple seeds is not enough to harm us of they are ingested.

There’s probably more lead in the walls of my 80 yr old house than what’s in a half a pound of solder, but for the time being, that lead is sealed behind many layers of non leaded latex paint.

Landfills are just holes in the ground. They aren’t that deep, and they’re just covered over with soil. When it rains what’s in the landfill gets into the groundwater. There’s a landfill not too far from my house that’s right on Lake Michigan. So the contaminated water gets into the lake. If I’m not mistaken, lead isn’t too difficult to filter from drinking water, but it’s a problem none the less because the fish get contaminates, and you can’t filter the lead out of the fish. Now, anything that eats the fish is eating lead. I understand the desire to keep lead out of our waterways, but how much lead contamination is actually due to consumer electronics? Wouldn’t a greater amount also come from construction debris, and industrial pollution? That’s possible, but since the start of the industrial revolution we’ve been adding lead into our environment that had been previously out of our environment (encased in rock).

I think that taking steps to lower the amount of lead in our environment is good for the health of the life on the planet.
 

KGWagner

Member
Messages
3,243
I heard somewhere that we have more lead in the topsoil now than at any time in history due to leaded gasoline combustion byproducts washed out of the atmosphere. But, since the introduction of unleaded gas, some are even crediting the drop in violent crime over the last 20-30 years to the fact that there's less lead in the air we breathe. People aren't as irrational/crazy as they used to be. Of course, read the news any day of the week and you might be tempted to doubt the "less irrational" observation, but that's another discussion ;)
 
Messages
796
...One shotgun shell has likely spread more lead into the environment than a handful of solder droppings in a landfill waste area...
That's a fair point, hence steel shot is gradually replacing lead shot. Similar with other outdoor activities, you find people trying to recover old fishing weights from water, and dive weights are increasingly PVC dipped.


...When it rains what’s in the landfill gets into the groundwater... ...I think that taking steps to lower the amount of lead in our environment is good for the health of the life on the planet.
Similar here - I know there's already lead in the landfill, and it's entering the groundwater, but I don't want to add to it. If I can put my lead into a waste stream that's expecting to process lead, all the better.

My other thought is that all the effort expended mining/refining the copper, gold, aluminium, lead etc. is wasted if it ends up in landfill. Better for it to have a chance of another use. (Anyone seen overlay photos of massive gashes in the landscape compared with the tiny amount of material that was extracted?)

But if you've no access to e-waste, it's all moot.



Slight tangent - your immediate environment - I've seen videos on YouTube of people soldering in the kitchen on their food preparation surfaces...





Returning to RoHS solder that doesn't suck:

...what lead free solders and fluxes are people having good results with on our 1950s style pots and switches?...

...Anyone found something that mostly works, or that they're moderately happy with?
I forgot, I also used to use an Interflux IF14 lead free solder, but I don't think it was quite the same as the current offering. Again OK on fresh boards/components, hard to rework.

I see they have a "new" product - NH 1 - "NH1 works very well on brass and oxidized and degraded surfaces. The solder wire exhibits fast and excellent wetting combined with very low spattering."

I'm interested - if it can really wet those difficult surfaces, that would really be something.


I like Interflux's Colophony free flux too. It's much kinder to your lungs and zero clean. If you're using extraction, maybe not so much difference, but if you're a mobile tech. stuck in an enclosed space, it helps. Their IF14 63/37 is my favourite leaded solder. That flux is not as aggressive though, so sometimes you need a more conventional flux to cut through the surface crap on old equipment.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
FYI, part of the extreme cleanliness when dealing with lead solder has more to do with business than with real environmental concerns, though you obviously don't want to just dump lots of lead randomly into the environment regardless.

RoHS rules are quite strict, and even very insignificant bits of contamination will cause a failure if the product ever gets tested. For example, I know of a case where a company got busted for contamination that got traced back to a common tip cleaning/shock sponge. So companies take extreme measures to keep RoHS compliant and non-compliant lines very separated, and take precautions to prevent any possibility of contamination.
 
Messages
379
Nice! I learned soldering the hard way & made a bunch of mistakes that rendered more than one expensive piece of equipment useless.. So this is a great idea!!

*My one quick piece of advice for those who’ve learned the basics & wish to say; mod their non-vintage amps or other PCB equipment, build a pedal or maybe a full tube amp etc. The absolute number one thing I wish I had done sooner, (and made me realize my abilities were wayyy above what I had thought!) Was; Purchase a good quality, Digitally adjustable temp control station!!!! I can’t express how much this changed electronics work for me! A Hakko station is the ideal unit, But there are several cheaper options like the X-Tronic Model #3020 that you can find on amazon for a fraction of the cost of a Hakko or the pro level Wellers.
 
Messages
379
How about one of these - I hear they work for everything!



;)
Please check out my post ^^


-But that Weller gun is for like plumbing and industrial electrical work. You see those sold at places like Home Depot & Lowe’s. Not for fussy control cavities or chassis..

There are Desoldering irons & Rework/Hot air devices included in the really pricey soldering stations.. Metcal Mx-5341 comes to mind @ 1,450$ plus for just the base unit (and you have to buy the soldering/rework attachments separately!!) Yikes.. 250 bucks for the accessories and you’re well into two grand territory.. That’s exclusive to only successful computer techs or millionare hobbyist folk..:eek::eek:
 
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Messages
796
RoHS solder that doesn't suck update:

Shenmao PF604-R by Shenmao - melts at 227°C, Sn 99.3%, Cu 0.3%. It wets closer to 63Pb37Sn (melting point 183°C) than anything else I've tried, possibly due to an amazing flux(?). You'd really not realise you were using lead free at all after a short time, so low is the level of suck. (Although you would probably want some external suck in the form of extraction, the flux is so amazing I'd imagine it scours your alveoli pretty well too.)
 

whatdisay

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
4,127
So excited to find this thread. Just completed my first 2 pickup swaps and my soldering of ground wires to the pot-backs was horrible. Looking forward to learning from y’all’s experience.

I’m currently using a Weller WLC100 and recently purchased an ST2 “screwdriver” tip, as the one I was using was balling up solder at point of contact way too often.
 

vortexxxx

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,113
Not quite a soldering tip, but something you may have to deal with once in a while. I bured my index finger or my first finger (next to it) for a split second on the highest heat setting of my digital Weller. The best way to deal with this if the skin isn't broken is to let cool (not cold) water run over the burn for 20 minutes. Make sure you clean it with some sort of anti bacterial liquid gently after. I put a band aid over it. There was a tiny white blister right after the burn.
It was my fretting hand, so I wanted to make this heal as fast as possible. I took the band aid off after a few hours and no noticeable damage, blister or pain. Ice is supposed to be bad as it can damage the tissue. Anyway, it worked and that is why I'm not sure what finger was burned at approx 850 degrees F. I can't recall the last time I burned myself soldering so it must have been quite a while, but things can happen. My hand holding the solder coil slipped.
 

MrGibson

Member
Messages
1,014
-But that Weller gun is for like plumbing and industrial electrical work. You see those sold at places like Home Depot & Lowe’s. Not for fussy control cavities or chassis..

There are Desoldering irons & Rework/Hot air devices included in the really pricey soldering stations.. Metcal Mx-5341 comes to mind @ 1,450$ plus for just the base unit (and you have to buy the soldering/rework attachments separately!!) Yikes.. 250 bucks for the accessories and you’re well into two grand territory.. That’s exclusive to only successful computer techs or millionare hobbyist folk..:eek::eek:
Talking about desoldering, those soldering guns could demagnetize a pickup. I have no first hand experience, but that's what some folks claim. I find that a regular 40W iron is sufficient for most TGP applications and that a soldering gun is overkill.

Here some general desoldering tips handy for that PCB members love to hate.

Soldering is cool. It's hot actually, but you know... cool; always wear a black suit when soldering.

 

Timtam

Member
Messages
2,054
Talking about desoldering, those soldering guns could demagnetize a pickup. I have no first hand experience, but that's what some folks claim. I find that a regular 40W iron is sufficient for most TGP applications and that a soldering gun is overkill.

Here some general desoldering tips handy for that PCB members love to hate.

Soldering is cool. It's hot actually, but you know... cool; always wear a black suit when soldering.

Good desoldering vid.

However, while there are very good reasons for not using a soldering gun for guitar work, any risk of de-magnetizing pickups is probably not one of them .... ;)
https://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/8782/attempting-demagnetize-pickup-soldering-gun
 

KGWagner

Member
Messages
3,243
Interesting. I'd never use one of those guns for several reasons, but I have always wondered about the fields they produce. I used to work around resistance welders 100 years ago, and they use transformers that do a similar thing - transform higher (480VAC or so) voltage to very low, increasing the current dramatically. Not unusual to see 10Kamps in the secondaries of those things. They'd create magnetic fields that could pull tools right out of your hands.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,568
-But that Weller gun is for like plumbing and industrial electrical work.
to be clear, @David Collins was very much joking with the soldering gun

@Timtam very interesting about the degaussing myth-bust!

good to know, since @Terry McInturff espouses and i've adopted the use of those guns for heating frets for removal by cutting apart the copper loop and using the ends on a fret to complete the circuit and heat the fret; works great!
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
to be clear, @David Collins was very much joking with the soldering gun

@Timtam very interesting about the degaussing myth-bust!

good to know, since @Terry McInturff espouses and i've adopted the use of those guns for heating frets for removal by cutting apart the copper loop and using the ends on a fret to complete the circuit and heat the fret; works great!
I'm delighted that @walterw finds the soldering gun/cut loop method to be as good as I do. I've pulled literally thousands of frets using that method since the mid 1980"s, and once you get the hang of it, there's no downside to it that I can imagine.
 

Winnie Thomas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
634
I'm delighted that @walterw finds the soldering gun/cut loop method to be as good as I do. I've pulled literally thousands of frets using that method since the mid 1980"s, and once you get the hang of it, there's no downside to it that I can imagine.
I use one for a number of different things, but found it a great help on removing and replacing tuning key buttons.
 

jay42

Member
Messages
6,974
I can't go through all of this. I almost always find myself having the sense that I'm having to use too much force with soldering...getting parts out of a PCB or eyelet board, or Carling switches. What say you?

Also, are there any heat resistant gloves that can make it safer while maintaining reasonable touch/sensitivity?
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,568
I can't go through all of this.
it's worth the time, it's really about the first page or two with the videos
I almost always find myself having the sense that I'm having to use too much force with soldering...getting parts out of a PCB or eyelet board
that's a different thing!

for pulling PCB components if you don't have a fancy "de-soldering iron" suction thing (i don't), get yourself some chipquik.

it's basically special solder that melts at super-low temp and stays melted for a long time.

you suck out as much as you can of the regular solder (there's always enough left over in the holes to keep the part from coming out :mad:), then fill those holes with the chipquik. then you go back and forth from hole to hole with your iron and melt all the spots, the chipquik will stay liquid long enough to let you wiggle the part out without tearing off a trace
 




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