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Topic: Recommendations on affordable lead free solder? Confused by all the formulas. (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


I've been soldering for many years, first using the radio shack 96sn/4ag lead free solder, and more recently the harbor freight 96sn/4ag solder, .031 in size.  Problem is it comes in such tiny little tubes, I've gone through about 100.  Its got to be cheaper buying a spool, but heres the biggest problems I'm running into.

1.  All the different formulations, and ratios.  Some with "no clean flux", others make no mention of the flux.  Kester has some SN96.3AG3.7 .031 that has my interest a little bit, seems almost the same as what I'm using.  But then I also hear of SAC solder which has mostly tin with a little silver and copper, perhaps its better?  As well as many other formulas.
2. I can't ever find a reasonable size like 1/4 or 1/2 pound.  Its all either super expensive 1lb rolls which I hesitate to buy not knowing if Its right, or else tiny tubes which aren't worth shipping.

I'm not that picky, just want it to work as well or better than the harbor freight stuff, but buy it in slightly bigger amounts to hopefully save money.  But all the different choices are just confusing me.  Any advice?


My advice: Unless you are soldering something together that -requires- lead-free solder (for instance, the PCB is tinned for lead-free solder), or you are intending to sell your devices to people in countries with the RoHS directive - do yourself a favor and switch to leaded solder. It has a lower melting point, it's easier to use, and is much cheaper - not to mention that it doesn't grow tin whiskers that can later short your project out if you get unlucky.
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.


Agreed, that solder comes in too many variations.  I have been soldering for a little over 20 years and I have stuck with the same formula, 60/40.  The roll I have now is from Radio Shack and it doesn't say unleaded so I am assuming it's leaded.  I usually don't go over .032" unless I need a mess of solder some where (repairing copper pipes).

So I don't think it makes much difference as long as the solder melts, once cooled it hardens, and conducts electricity.

But, while I'm typing, if anyone has a link to the uses of different formulas, post it up.


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