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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Dirk_Hendrik
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Post by Dirk_Hendrik »

Leadfree is not "better" from a soldering perspective . That's sales talk. It's different and requires a different approach. After that there's no reason not to solder leadfree. There is a reason however to solder leadfree. It's only a matter of willingness to see the bigger picture.

quote from myself from a while agö:
Dirk_Hendrik wrote:A shortie about RoHS, just to keep in the back of our minds.

RoHS is one of the best things happening in the nowadays industry, not electronics alone although it largely affects the electronics industry.

The stuff we play with, wether it's effects, amplifiers or electronic instruments can be considered one of the "victims" of RoHS. Our stuff in general will be used for many years, gets repaired, gets used again, repaired again, ends up in collections, etc etc. It will, in very limited quantities only, end up in the waste bin. They keep their value.

The main target for RoHS is the stuff with an expected economical life of between 3 to 8 years. DVD players, MP3 players, TV's, Computers. AKA, all consumer electronics goods which, at the point they break down (or earlier) have no value left whatsoever.

This leaves RoHS as an enormous PITA for us, musicians, but in it's overall perspective, takes an enormous strain off the environment we live in.

And let's not forget that.

And I stick to this.
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Post by LooseCannon »

donpachi wrote: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.

As I understand it the fumes are from the flux, not the lead, and lead only evaporates in much higher temperatures, that's why I asked if there are any health benefits to the lead free solder, I assume there are none and it's just an ecological thing for disposed appliances like dirk hendrik explained.

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Post by donpachi »

LooseCannon wrote:
donpachi wrote: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.

As I understand it the fumes are from the flux, not the lead, and lead only evaporates in much higher temperatures, that's why I asked if there are any health benefits to the lead free solder, I assume there are none and it's just an ecological thing for disposed appliances like dirk hendrik explained.
Yes and no. Some people, including me, occasionally touch solder joints. And there's the solder droplets which just seem to go everywhere near my workspace. That's what I was referring to with skin and work space contamination. During the day, I work in a lab and I can tell from experience that everything goes more or less everywhere. You can only decrease the it-goes-everywhere by not handling it :)

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Post by Dirk_Hendrik »

LooseCannon wrote: an ecological thing for disposed appliances like dirk hendrik explained.
You are completely correct.

Now do a google images search on e-waste and wonder how big that ecological effect is, esspecially in countries like India, Africa and the far East where all discarded electronics are dumped. As said, we, musicians, and a minor player in the field of electronics (since we keep our stuff alive for decades past it's intended lifespan) are victim of the RoHS directives. I embrace that fact, considering the larger picture.

RoHS is not only Lead Free solder. It also contains stuff like hex-chrome (extremely poisonous in production) and forms of styrofoam.
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Post by Zipslack »

Personally, I dislike using ROHS because it does require higher temp, which leads to more damage to components and boards, and it's harder to visually inspect.

The reason I'm posting is to provide some anecdotal observations - I worked as an Engineering Tech. with a small company that specialized in EMI/RFI filters, mostly military stuff. Standard enclosures were cold-rolled steel that was solder-dipped after forming (60/40 in a large vat). We also wound our own inductors and used small inductive-heated vats of 60/40 to strip/tin the ends of the magnet wire. Assembly was all done by hand with 60/40 and then the cases were seam-soldered shut with 60/40. One guy worked in the tinning shed (plating) for about 35 years before retiring - no health issues at all. We had women that worked in assembly for 25+ years with no health issues from lead and most of them didn't even use vent fans. Unless you're drinking water from lead pipes (see the Roman Empire) and eating with lead utensils, I would not lose much sleep about lead-poisoning, especially just from touching/handling solder. Although I appreciate the environmental issues, I still get the feeling that ROHS is just another in a long line of business "fads" that will prove to be no better than the problem it is trying to fix.

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Post by rocklander »

Zipslack wrote:I still get the feeling that ROHS is just another in a long line of business "fads" that will prove to be no better than the problem it is trying to fix.
but we must use lead free solder...just so long as the farmers don't have to take responsibility for all the crap they throw into the water table... :roll:
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Post by minnow »

In the previous place that I used to work, they had women who do full time soldering.
No sexism here - there were male employees who also did soldering, but it just so happened that women employees were far more skilled doing rework.
At least in terms of quality, speed & volume.

They had fume extractors, overall - a proper soldering station.
Hot air blowers, solder paste, solder iron, solder lead, lead free & leaded, everything, I don't quite remember the details. But I am sure they had stuff with lead.

The employers had this formula (don't ask me, I never bothered to find out), where the calculations were that a certain employee could be exposed to X number of hours to soldering environment. X was well below the standards set by NIOSH. No one ever had any health issues. Most of the women were seniors (a.k.a. old :lol: ) and were *ehhem* fat *uhheem* (they had to sit a lot). Some of them had lots of children (just guessing, perhaps exxagggeerrating :lol:)
Basically just wanted to make a point that they had families, all without health concerns. At least, that's what I can say about some of the ladies I got to know & work with.

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Post by Dirk_Hendrik »

Stop finding excuses dammit. Open your eyes,'
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This is just a very small sample of a google images search on e-waste. Do it yourself sometime
Where's all these controlled conditions now? Leadfree is not about hazard for the tech doing the soldering. It's for all the dumped scrap electronics.
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Post by rocklander »

there's a lot of plastic there.
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Post by SoundPerf »

rocklander wrote:there's a lot of plastic there.
Sure is....I don't have a problem with lead free solder. I always liked using higher temps when soldering (even with 60/40) and learned to be quick and accurate from the start. So the transition wasn't so bad.

The key to much of the waste that humans make is to put as much effort into recycling technology as possible. I'm amazed at when we put our minds to it we can do some incredible things with recycling products down and reuse them.

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