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Topic: Switching to lead-free soldering (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


the big question is WHY??? Unless there is some strong legal reason for you to switch, why bother? the net effect on the environment will be NOTHING! Lead free is harder to use, needs more heat and makes poorer connections. No gain for less performance.

Because its a potent cumulative poison and lead-free solders are perfectly easy to use - you set your iron for the correct temperature and _use enough flux_.  Nearly all problems with soldering are solved by using a hot enough iron and enough flux.  I've used both leaded solder (years ago) and tin/copper and tin/copper/silver solders more recently and there is no difference if you can solder properly and _use enough flux_.

As for the net effect on the environment go and take a look at the people in India / Asia / Africa recycling precious metals from circuit boards and the fumes they breathe every day(*).  If you want to use lead, you are morally obliged to recycle it yourself I feel.

The only valid worry about lead-free solders is not the points you make, its the long-term reliability issue with tin-whisker formation.

(*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_waste_in_Guiyu
[ I won't respond to messages, use the forum please ]


Thank you everyone for those interesting answers.


I've always used 60/40 rosin core lead solder.  Always wash my hands when I'm done soldering.
The fumes isn't the lead but the rosin flux burning off...probably bad for the lungs but ok as long as you have some good ventilation.

I've always wondered if all the problems with the cpu and gpu's from the current generation of game consoles (360 & PS3) are a result of the lead free stuff..



When I solder, I have a fan that blows the fumes away from my face, and I always wash my hands after. If you do these things when you only occasionally solder, then you should be fine....Nice decision to go lead-free, though! Lead-free solder is usually harder and more dense, so I suggest turning up the soldering temperature  to 350* F. If you don't have a variable temperature soldering station, I suggest buying another iron that is higher in temperature. Good luck with all of your soldering!


Today is my 65th birthday. I've been using lead/tin based solder for most of my life and when a youth use to play with pure mercury which was a lot of fun. I will die of some cause but I suspect that solder and past contact with mercury will not be the reason. Lead free solder is not something will ever play with until, if ever, I run out of my lead based solder and can't find replacements anywhere including E-bay. I'll let others work on saving the planet as I figure the planet as a finite lifetime anyway once the Sun explodes.


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