What Solder Do You Use?

I am looking at buying some high quality solder, and I was wondering what you guys use. I am looking for solder for through hole soldering. I would prefer this solder to be flux core. I would also like to know what solder you guys recommend for surface mount soldering. Also, what are some good fluxes? Do you like pens, bottles, gel, what?

Thanks in advanced guys!

Ps: I would like 1/2 or 1 pound spools. I would like to spend about $15 for 1/2 pounds, or $25 for a 1 pound spool. ;D (I know it probably won’t happen…)

radio shack 60/40 tin lead rosin core solder 0.32 inch

done everything I needed it to for more than 20 years

That’s what I have too… I just feel like there is some better quality stuff out there… :-/

radio shack 60/40 tin lead rosin core solder 0.32 inch

done everything I needed it to for more than 20 years

except in .022 and I have used it for several years.

0.020" eutectic 63/37 solder for surface-mount fine-pitch parts (only $22 for 1lb.):

Rosin core:
https://webvia.techni-tool.com/VIA/products/488SO158

Flux core:
https://webvia.techni-tool.com/VIA/products/488SO702

For flux, I like RMA flux pens:

Techni-Tool part #488CH0186

Water-soluble flux is better if the board is going to be (easily) cleaned for a more professional look:

Techni-Tool part #237CH803

Water-soluble flux is better if the board is going to be (easily) cleaned for a more professional look

Note that “water clean” flux MUST be cleaned off after soldering; it’s a lot more corrosive than rosin based fluxes. Rosin flux residue may not be pretty, but you CAN leave it on the board.

I like 63/37 rosin core solder…

That’s what I have too… I just feel like there is some better quality stuff out there…

There is no “better quality” - relish in the fact that this is America, where one can still get lead-based solder, and damn the RoHS rules! Just don’t sniff the fumes or eat it, and you’ll be OK.

I’ve have a small spool of this stuff that I bought at Radio Shack like 20 years ago; I don’t know if I will ever run it out. If you go to Apache Reclamation down in south Phoenix, you can buy -ingots- of the stuff. Doesn’t everybody own a wave soldering machine?

;D

Seriously, though - just go down there and buy a small spool; it will likely last you the rest of your life. If you think you may sell a product outside of the US, then you may need to consider lead-free solder (I don’t have any experience with it; it supposedly takes a higher temperature to melt, but probably not enough to worry about, except on more delicate SMT parts).

If that isn’t good enough, you could always spend a boat-load of money on silver-bearing solder…

:slight_smile:

I don’t have a clue!

I’ve had a coil of solder in my toolbox for about a decade. Don’t know where it comes from, don’t know what it is. It works, so that’s fine.

A few weeks ago I decided that my soldering was rubbish because of my kit so I bought a finer tipped iron and some of the more expensive solder from my local electronics store (maplin). The new iron is a bit rubbish - doesn’t quite get hot enough but it was cheap so I’m not that bothered. The solder calls itself “silver solder” but I have no idea what that means.

I’m doing better at soldering, but I suspect that’s practice rather than anything else.

relish in the fact that this is America, where one can still get lead-based solder,

You can still get it in Europe as well, where it is perfectly legal to use under the RoSH directive to use it for repairs or prototyping, you just can’t use it for production of something you are going to sell in Europe. I know of no engineer that will willingly use anything else.

You can still get it in Europe as well, where it is perfectly legal to use under the RoSH directive to use it for repairs or prototyping, you just can’t use it for production of something you are going to sell in Europe. I know of no engineer that will willingly use anything else.

I learn something new everyday - I was thought it was completely “banned” for any use (it won’t surprise me if one day that were the case worldwide), not just production. Thanks for the update!

:slight_smile:

radio shack 60/40 tin lead rosin core solder 0.32 inch

8mm thick solder?
How do you bend it?

I’m pretty sure that was an epic fail on the 0 button?

Thanks for all of the input on this! I am hoping for lead free, because I have athsma as well as my grandfather, so I figure the cleaner the better. And yes, I will be getting an air cleaner, I just want everythign to be as healthy as possible.

Well if you want things as clean as possible I recommend leaded solder. It wets quickly and solders quickly at lower temperatures which means lower levels of fumes. I don’t think soldering temperatures are anywhere near hot enough to actually have lead vapor in the air (boiling point of lead is >1700C).

If you really want to keep the air clean, turn the temperature way down to 150C and use tin-bismuth solder, like this (though this is way expensive):

http://www.shop.customthermoelectric.com/138C-melt-solder-SDR-5842.htm

It’s also lead-free.

I don’t think soldering temperatures are anywhere near hot enough to actually have lead vapor in the air (boiling point of lead is >1700C).

The boiling point of water is 373K, but I can see quite a lot of it floating past my window.

I doubt you’d see much water vapor at 273K, 100K away from boiling.

If temperatures were up near 1600C I might start to become concerned about lead vapor.

I doubt you’d see much water vapor at 273K

What do you understand by the term “triple point”?

Thanks for all of the input on this! I am hoping for lead free, because I have athsma as well as my grandfather, so I figure the cleaner the better. And yes, I will be getting an air cleaner, I just want everythign to be as healthy as possible.

By “air cleaner”, I hope you mean fume extractor, and not a regular air cleaner. Something you can sit near where you solder, so it sucks the fumes in and filters them (doesn’t have to be expensive or complex - plenty of pages on the net show how to build one).

With that said, I think such things are overkill (unless you know for sure they are causing you problems); if there were an issue with lead poisoning from the vapor that comes off a soldering iron, I think we would’ve heard something about it by now.

That don’t mean you should sniff the fumes or work in a non-ventilated area. I think a fume extractor setup (tape a charcoal filter over a small fan and point it away from you) is probably more than adequate, provided you have good air exchange in the room.

:slight_smile:

Well, I was thikning some sort of tube system, with the actual fan and extractor on the floor… I dont know yet… Its all plans. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, I was thikning some sort of tube system, with the actual fan and extractor on the floor… I dont know yet… Its all plans.

That can work, too. I’m actually thinking about something similar for my shop, using a length of dryer vent hose into my attic.

cr0sh: Thats my plan, but my house is a rental, so itll be on the floor. LOL! :wink: