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lead free solder

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Cydrome Leader, May 24, 2010.

  1. What happens if you use regular solder on something that was originally lead-free,
    or you get the lead free solder on a regular iron?

    I understand manufacturers keep separate lines as mixing the two is bad, but what
    about in the repair world?

    Does lead free solder mess up good quality tips or anything like that?
     
  2. CL-

    One problem occurs if you use leaded solder on surface-mounted
    components. Lead amalgamates with the silver that is "fired" onto these
    components, ruining their electrical connection.

    I've read that a lead-contaminated solder iron can cause the problem
    even if lead-free solder is used. I've never heard of the opposite case
    with lead-free solder.

    To be safe, I keep two sets of equipment.

    Fred
     
  3. Luckily, here in the US you can buy and use any type of solder ever made.
    The issue which I've avoided but can't be ignored is that there's lots of
    that RoHS crap floating around and I will at some point have to deal with
    it.

    A friend that's starting out in electronics and building some basic kits
    wants to use a soldering iron.

    I'm not clear on if I should just grab a spare and hand them a roll of
    60/40, or get new tips for them and let them start "fresh" with some
    lead-free sample packs from trade shows. It's all through the hole stuff,
    and probably doesn't matter at al for what they're doing now.

    Also are there any foolproof method of telling if lower production type
    items are traditional or lead-free?
    Boo
     
  4. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    Huh? What the devil are you talking about?
     
  5. This is not new. Tektronix used to include a bit of silver bearing
    solder with their scopes so you wouldn't ruin the plated ceramic
    terminal strips if you changed out parts.

    Jeff
     
  6. I guess I have another question based off what you're saying.

    Aside from silver plated or specialty parts in an old scope, is there any harm done
    in using real solder in a RoHS device?

    Here's an example.

    a resistor mounted through-hole has a bad joint. Normal repair just reheat the joint
    and add more solder. No problem.

    Say it's Rohs assembly this time around. Will regular 60/40 even melt and fuse with
    the lead free stuff, or you do you need to remove the tin stuff and then resolder
    from scratch, or is it really just best to resolder with lead free solder?

    I've not tested it, because I really don't want to botch up my tips, sponges all
    that stuff.
    Interesting. I may need to tear apart some equipment I have and compare. It's
    alleged the the new version is rohs while the last one are conventional.
     
  7. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    So adding tin/lead solder to a silver component terminal turns the
    connection into what, a non-conductive roofing shingle or something? I'm
    pretty sure I would have heard from a customer or two if the thousands
    of RoHS components I've soldered with 63/37 weren't conducting
    electricity.
     
  8. Well this sounds like good news. Thanks for pointing out the solder wick.
    I don't generally use the stuff, but it's does a good job of removing as
    much old solder as possible.
     
  9. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    99% of the time, there's plenty of solder already there. So add FLUX and
    reheat the joint. Same procedure for lead-free, of course.
     
  10. N_Cook

    N_Cook Guest


    It is not possible to do "long term" experiments , you have to do
    accelerated aging and hope it is comparable. Now one way to accelereate
    aging effects of solder integrity is to subject boards to vibration and
    cycles of heating and cooling, er come to think of it ......
     
  11. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    I'm just curious, how would this "threat of law" scenario play out?
    Assume some authority finds out that you've got a roll of 63/37 stashed
    under the floorboards, (or a bin of old leaded components) and you pull
    it out on occasion for an illegal repair. Would the cops come? Throw you
    in the slammer? Would you be facing jail time, a fine, revocation of
    your business license?

    I'm reminded of my business neighbor a number of years back, who had a
    600 watt amplifier on his CB radio. (Legally, CBs are limited to 4
    watts, IIRC) I called the FCC, gave him his name and address. They said,
    "Sorry, we don't enforce that law. It's too costly."

    I'm guessing you're in an analogous situation, and that short of hanging
    a giant neon sign over your shop that says "**** RoHS, we still use
    lead," you'd never be bothered. But, my guesses are often wrong ...
     
  12. The usual procedure with laws like this is to find one small operator
    who has made a mistake and smash him to pieces with the maximum of
    publicity. It is supposed to frighten the others and is a lot cheaper
    than chasing them as individuals.

    It would have been a lot better if the manufacturers in other countries
    had got together and told the EU that they were going to continue to use
    lead in their solder. If Europe didn't like it, they could do without
    the products. (Did I hear somewhere that this was exactly what the Swiss
    watchmaking industry did - or did I imagine it?)
     
  13. Baron

    Baron Guest

    Smitty Two Inscribed thus:
    Thats about the size of it ! ;-)
     
  14. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    Wow, that is an awful story. Anyone working on the movie yet?
     
  15. haha. make sure that neon sign has leaded glass, is pumped full of mercury
    and uses a non GFCI transformer with a really low power factor.
     
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