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choosing solder for original work and repair

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Jun 1, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    There are many choices when choosing a solder for repair and original
    PCB work.
    I am looking to understand any issues or compromises with lead-free,
    no-clean or water-soluble flux solders. Recommendations of brands/
    types would be highly appreciated.
  2. Used leaded.
  3. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    Depends on whether you are located within a geographical area subject to the
    RoHS regulations, whether you are exporting to, or taking repairs from any
    such area, and whether anything you build or repair is for your own use, or
    for commercial gain. There are also some (unresolved) possible metalurgical
    issues with regard to whether older equipment, manufactured in leaded
    solder, should be repaired using lead-free solder. There are several recent
    threads on here regarding lead-free solder, which may serve to further
    enlighten you if you hunt them down. In general, lead-free, which has been
    forced on the manufacturing sector as a result of dubious eco issues, is not
    much liked by the repair fraternity, as it has led us to experience many
    more bad joints - which are often very much harder to locate than if they
    had occured in a leaded solder environment - than we had been seeing in
    recent years. Perhaps if you can let us know a bit more about what exactly
    your operation is likely to involve in terms of technology - surface mount
    or thru' hole - whether we are talking primarily new build, or repair or a
    mix of both, and whether equipment for repair is likely to be up to date
    (post June 2006) or older stuff, we might be able to offer you better advice
    on solders, fluxes and tools that will be suitable for you.

  4. Guest

    Thanks for the detail on lead-free solder.
    Can you elaborate on the different types of fluxes.
    No clean, water soluble and standard rosin.
  5. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    We're not here to write essays for your amusement. Do your own homework,
    and if you have specific questions, why, step right up and ask.
  6. Guest

    Who the hell are you to speak for the USENET community?
    This is a discussion forum where people engage in discussion about
    relevant topics. If you don't want to engage in discussion on this
    thread, then don't read it.
    This is not a forum for you to project your childhood issues towards
    Never did I ask anyone to write an essay. A link to material or other
    posts would be sufficient. The specific question is in the my original
    post regarding the disadvantages of no-clean and water-soluble fluxes
    from experience.
  7. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    Again, it depends on what you are intending doing. My main line of work
    involves repairs to existing equipment. For this I use both leaded and
    lead-free solders of the multicore varieties - that is bog standard
    off-the-shelf wire solder, with multiple built in cores of flux, that are
    predominantly rosin. These tend to leave the customary brown residue behind
    them, which is claimed by the manufacturers to not require cleaning off.
    However, I always do just to make the job look tidier. Many many years ago,
    my apprentice mentor told me that the only way you should be able to tell if
    a component has been replaced, is if the soldering is *better* than the
    manufacturer's original. For this reason, and this reason only, I always
    clean the board after doing any soldering work on it. For this, I use a a
    product called De-Flux 160 from Servisol.

    I do build the occasional one off piece of equipment, sometimes for a
    customer, sometimes for myself, and I just use the same solder for the job.
    I have been doing this for 40 odd years now since I was a kid, and have
    never had a problem. So if you are just going to be repairing, with the
    occasional new build job, don't worry too much about fluxes. Any pre-fluxed
    solder wire that is sold as being suitable for electronic work will be just
    fine. If you are going into production, however, then flux types become more
    important, and there are production solder people on here who can better
    answer you on this. Basically, as I said before, you need to tell us the
    area that you are going into so that we may better advise you. As an aside,
    if the work is going to involve surface mount repairs that will be done by
    hand soldering, then you will need to have some liquid flux to hand. This is
    essential if you want to do a reliable job. I use a product from Electrolube
    for this, and have done for some years.

  8. Guest

    Yours is the second recommendation I have seen for De-Flux 160 from
    Servisol. Do you know where to find it in the U.S.?
    The only distributors that seems to carry it are from the UK. Repair
    work, I always used rosin core.
    But for personal PCB projects, I prefer something thats easier to
    clean where the results look neater. I have heard about long-term
    reliability problems with no-clean and water soluable flux solders. So
    I wanted to hear from more experienced people and their opinions of
    these two types in regards to problems that were experienced.
  9. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    I really don't know where you would find it over there. I had never really
    thought about where they came from - I have just been using their products
    here for years. I had a quick look on Google, and found several other
    countries where it seemed to be available, so maybe someone in the U.S.
    carries it. Try asking Servisol if they have a U.S. agent. Other than that,
    there must be an equivalent product.

    I have never really had anything to do with any water based or soluble flux,
    but I have used no-clean formulations. These still leave a residue, it's
    just that the manufacturers claim that the resisdue is stable and 'dead'.
    However, I still clean it off, as I don't like the look of it on the board.
    De-Flux 160 removes the flux completely with a tiny spray of product, and a
    quick scrub with an old toothbrush. It does not touch any solder resist on
    the board, which some solvents that I've come across, do. If you are doing a
    large area, a slightly 'tacky' residue can be left behind, but this is
    quickly and easily removed with IPA.


  10. Does the company have a website, and do they list MSDS (Material
    Safety Data Sheet) for their products? These tell what chemicals are
    used, in case of an accidentally spill and so that people using it know
    if they have to worry about health risks. They are also required before
    a chemical can be sold in the US.

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  11. Servisol is part of the CRC group.

    I've given the URL of the UK site as the link to their US one appears to
    be down ATM
  12. For rosin, we've tried various products, and ultimately concluded that
    none of them worked any better than the gallon of 99% isopropanol that
    we could get for $25 and put in a $1 spray bottle.

    Water-clean generally removes well with hot water as advertised. We
    consider no-clean essentially unremovable - it always leaves that white
    residue unless you scrub it with a brush.

    Somebody mentioned long-term problems with water clean, but we haven't
    found any so far.
  13. GPE

    GPE Guest

    I've used both no-clean and water soluable.
    The no-clean still leaves crap behind. Just that it supposedly doesn't need
    to be cleaned...but I clean it anyways. For cleaning - I use Techspray
    Ecoline Flux Remover and a boars hair brush. Don't buy the tiny can with
    the attached brush on the nozzle -- guaranteed to plug up within the first
    30 seconds of use. Get the 10oz can or bigger.

    I use water soluable on new boards. For the big stuff - we pop the boards
    into a board washer. Hot water sprayed on and the stuff comes right off.
    For small jobs -- hand soldered with the water soluable flux. Has the
    consistancy of ear wax...yeucky stuff. Run under hot water, couple swipes
    with a soft brush, rinse and dry - looks perfect. Just make sre everything
    on your board is washable.

    If you are using boards with washable parts - I recommend the water soluable
    stuff. Much better results when things are cleaned up.

    -- Ed
  14. Pete Wilcox

    Pete Wilcox Guest

    Agreed, but if you're building here in Britain, get your supplies NOW,
    before the nanny state takes them away from you. Leaded solder is about
    to become a thing of the past. Bastids.

  15. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    ah, maybe my future is in smuggling leaded solder into the UK and
    selling it for $100/lb.

    have you guys gone unleaded for military applications?
  16. GregS

    GregS Guest

    But are they really concerned with the disposal of all the leaded stuff
    out there right now? Here, just about everything gets dumped into the garbage.
    I tried to find a place to get some hazardous liquid disposed of, and there was noplace
    near my home. They said there may be a place to take it once a year, but
    I quickly forgot about that idea. I just threw away a half gallon sized capicitor,
    which I hope did not contain PCB. I would like to get rid of the Chloradane I have, but
    maybe I should use it around the house, or send it to Canada. I understand
    they still have it for sale.

  17. Pete Wilcox

    Pete Wilcox Guest

    Har! You may be right. I'd buy it, but I've already laid in a good
    enough stock to see me through to retirement!
    Dunno. I work for a university; very little call for milspec stuff around

  18. Avionics, military, (and possibly medical), all have
    exemptions afaik. Reliability reasons.
  19. Pete Wilcox

    Pete Wilcox Guest

    Waste recycling sites are becoming more common here, (Or "Civic amenity
    centres" to give them their proper designated title) but they've got a
    ways to go yet. Leaded circuit boards, old PC's, hi-fi's and whatnot are
    just dumped in with the "metal" junk. Plastics, paper/cardboard, wood,
    "green" waste and earth/rock/ceramic waste are seperated out and dealt
    with individually, and the workers, Gawd bless 'em, are diligent in
    ensuring that "customers" put the right stuff in the right skip. But
    IMHO, it's too little, too late, and it doesn't do anything to stop Johnny
    Householder from chucking out anything he likes with his regular trash
    collection. Ye Gods, I haven't had a good rant for ages. I feel much
    better now.

  20. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    Well, then wouldn't the "good stuff" still be easy to get? Or do you
    have to prove that you're a supplier to one of the exempt industries to
    buy it? Just curious.
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