lead (Pb) free tin-solder

Ok, you got your soldering iron and nothing is going to hold you back, but you have no clue where to start or what to build. There were others before you with the same questions... read them first.
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Seiche
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Post by Seiche »

Hey guys,

i tried to use the search function but i didn't really get any results that answered my question.

I just started out building this summer. I'm a student in the city and live in an apartment. So i have to build pedals in my room. I am a little concerned about the fumes of the solder, as I notice that my eyes are getting a little dry and itchy after soldering, especially in the colder months when i can't really open the window all the time. Could this be because of the lead in the solder? is that stuff very dangerous? I mean breathing lead and getting it in the eyes can't be too good right?

what do you guys do? do you wear masks (mouth and/or eyes)? What about lead-free tin solder? Are there any drawbacks in using lead free? I read that it is used with SMD components and a bitch to work with, is that the same as say, this one: https://www.musikding.de/product_info.ph ... ifrei.html? Or is it no different to work with then regular tin? It's rather expensive but i think health should be the main concern.

I also found this https://www.banzaimusic.com/Mundorf-Silv ... -100g.html

What do you recommend?
cheers

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Post by Hides-His-Eyes »

Lead free solder is not a bitch to work with really.

In the nicest possible way, lots of people grew up with the old kind, and the new kind requires changes in technique, and nobody likes their technique to be out of date. I would not try to solder leadfree without a temperature controlled iron; just a knob will do, doesn't need to be digital; because the right temperature for soldering leaded solder, leadfree solder and DESOLDERING leadfree solder are all different.

-hotter iron

-joints will never be shiny

-tips don't last as long

-tin the iron more often

That's all there is to it, honestly. Part of the problem is people with irons designed to be the right temp for soldering lead solder, aren't hot enough to use leadfree solder easily.

HOWEVER I doubt that changing solder will stop fumes irritating your eyes. I'd recommend a fan and an open window, honestly.
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Post by Seiche »

hi thank you for your answer,

I use this iron: https://www.banzaimusic.com/MLS-48-Solde ... ation.html It has a simple knob to turn from cold to hot. i almost always use it on hot (the highest temperature). Looking at your post, that is probably not the right way to do it? :hmmm: Maybe there's a technique that lead fewer fumes?
lots of people grew up with the old kind, and the new kind requires changes in technique, and nobody likes their technique to be out of date.
i just started out and am in my early 20ies, so I could adapt :wink:
HOWEVER I doubt that changing solder will stop fumes irritating your eyes. I'd recommend a fan and an open window, honestly.
I might have to try a fan. It is not only the irritation, i also worry about inhaling the fumes and since they are full of toxic lead, it will certainly be worse for my eyes and myself than lead-free.

What do you think of my second link, the silver solder? It is advertised as having very few fumes. Is silver solder much different to work with from leaded/lead-free solder?

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Post by Hides-His-Eyes »

Try turning your iron down a bit. You might be burning the flux or something.

Mine is almost identical and I usually run it on about half.
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Post by Seiche »

I just ordered the regular lead free solder from Musikding. In the meantime, i will try turning down the iron a bit. Thanks!

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Post by Seiche »

so i'm trying to use less heat (about half way on the solder station) and I received the lead free solder. It's working for me. The lead free needs a little more time to reheat, but it's not bothering me. My eyes feel much better. I still have some fumes but they are not as bad.

Don't let anyone tell you lead free tin solder will be a bitch to work with, cause it's not, it's just slightly different. The solder points look a little less shiny but i doubt anyone would notice a difference if they didn't know. Plus my pedals are RoHS compliant from now on :thumbsup

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Post by Hides-His-Eyes »

Glad it worked out for you :) :horsey:
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Post by danielzink »

I'll weigh in here and say: there are no lead fumes in the smoke you see when you're soldering. The smoke is the flux burning off. Flux is in simple terms -made from tree sap- it can cause respiratory issues - or even maybe your dry eye issues - but it is typically not fatal unless you're allergic to it :wink:

To vaporize lead your need a whole lot higher temperatures than our little soldering irons could ever produce.

I believe lead-free solder was developed due to the incorrect disposal of old electronics and the heavy metals leaching into the soil and ground water (don't quote me - but it's something like that).

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Post by Electric Warrior »

lead free solder usually contains more of that nasty flux. :)

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Post by LooseCannon »

Hey guys, I bought some solder today, I asked the salesman for 60/40 that i've always used and he said he has that but the lead free is better... So I went with it.

The joints made by the lead free solder looks dull unlike 60/40, which makes it harder to tell if you got a cold solder joint.

It also seems harder to work with than 60/40.

My question is should I return it and get the standard 60/40 instead? Any benefits of using the lead free? Better for your health maybe?

Thanks

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Post by deltafred »

I am interested to now how much soldering the salesman does to know if it better or not. :scratch:

Call me an old fart if you want (I've been called a lot worse) but I have used 60/40 since the mid 60s and see no need to change now.

When I was running low a while back I was recommended to keep away from lead free by a very good friend who is still working as an EE (and has to use lead free), he hates it. He says It is harder to tell if you have a dry joint, but as I have never used it I only have his word to go by. Usual disclaimers apply IMO, YMMV, NYPD, etc etc but I trust his judgement and bought 60/40 and will probably get another roll while I can still buy it to last my soldering days out.
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Post by IvIark »

60/40 or 63/37 all the way. When I solder I want to know that somewhere a polar bears house has melted.
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Post by SpencerPedals »

If a salesperson ever tells you something is better and doesn't provide at least one criterion to back that statement, run away. Sprint first and then slow it to a manageable pace until they are out of sight.

Return it for sure. You'll find out that some of today's switches have lugs that will melt out of them before that solder turns liquid.

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Post by LooseCannon »

IvIark wrote:60/40 or 63/37 all the way. When I solder I want to know that somewhere a polar bears house has melted.
LOL!

Thanks for the help guys, not a lot of love for lead free huh?

So what's the deal with it anyway? What's wrong with lead?

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Post by rocklander »

LooseCannon wrote:
IvIark wrote:60/40 or 63/37 all the way. When I solder I want to know that somewhere a polar bears house has melted.
LOL!

Thanks for the help guys, not a lot of love for lead free huh?

So what's the deal with it anyway? What's wrong with lead?
I think it's an RoHS thing... general consensus for some time seems to be that lead free is like low alcohol beer.. pointless and frustrating.
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Post by SpencerPedals »

Hahaha excellent analogy.

On a related note, my latest batch of homebrew hard cider came out at 13% alcohol by volume...

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Post by donpachi »

My first experience with lead-free solder was frustrating, similar to what was reported above. However, to keep lead out of your body is a very good idea. And who actually uses a fume removal system that really works AND can be absolutely sure that their skin and working area are not contaminated? Very few people, I guess. So I bit the bullet and bought a nice soldering station (Ersa Analog 60), which set me back 120 Euros IIRC. Since then, lead-free soldering has been a breeze. Really. Just set the temperature high enough, and lead-free solder will melt as quickly as you can blink. And if you think about it, it's a small price to pay. OTOH, you can argue that lead usually only makes people deaf and crazy like Beethoven and that that's the fate of all musicians anyway :wink:
No, honestly, most people don't worry so much about effects on their health which they do not perceive within a short period of time. My strategy is not to take any risk in life that can be easily circumvented, but in the end, everybody's an individual. Just my two cents.
Last edited by donpachi on 12 May 2011, 07:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Hides-His-Eyes »

And, the counterpoint:

Lead free needs a higher temperature. If your iron is at a fixed power that's good for leaded, it's not going to be good for leadfree. Frustration ensues.

When I'm some of you guys ages, I'm not going to be able to buy 60/40; that much seems inevitable. So having deliberately taught myself with leadfree, I don't think it's that bad at all. You just need a temp controlled iron.

They make leadfree solder with silver; I have some to try out here somewhere. 217C instead of 224C or something like that, look it up on wikipedia if you want the exact numbers.
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Post by deltafred »

SpencerPedals wrote:Hahaha excellent analogy.

On a related note, my latest batch of homebrew hard cider came out at 13% alcohol by volume...
Nice!

I recently fixed a bass for a guy, a broken bridge earth wire. He owns a micro brewery and I got paid with a crate of stout that is 7.5% by vol. I wonder if he has any more soldering jobs for me to do.

Never could see the point in alcohol free beer, it's very much like being a veggie and eating soya/Quorn sausages and pseudo bacon and chops, why? :scratch:
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Post by Hides-His-Eyes »

deltafred wrote:it's very much like being a veggie and eating soya/Quorn sausages and pseudo bacon and chops, why? :scratch:
It's just what we use for junk food; you can put it in the oven and not have to 'make' something. The shape is pretty irrelevant to be honest.

Things are much better than they were now though; the good veggie burgers/sausages these days are made of vegetables, not soya...
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