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Re: 60/40 vs. 63/37 Solder

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by William Sommerwerck, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. As far as I know, no.

    63/37 has been "known" to be eutectic for at least 50 years. (I read about
    it in "Popular Electronics" as a wee babe.)

    The only reason 60/40 was ever manufactured in the first place is that tin
    is more expensive than lead, so 63/37 solder costs more. Unless you're
    Really Cheap, 63/37 is always preferable. It has slightly greater mechanical
    strength, too, though this is rarely a consideration.

    J Gordon Holt, who founded "The Stereophile", had his own theories about
    soldering. Back in the days when people assembled vacuum-tube equipment from
    kits, he recommended simply poking component leads through the lugs, and
    soldering them without crimping them. His reasoning was that, if the
    component ever needed replacement, you wouldn't have to fiddle with
    uncrimping it. (If you've ever unsoldered old equipment, you know what a
    tsuris this can be.) The "catch", of course, is that both the lug and the
    lead have to be very clean, and you're more likely to get a cold or
    incomplete connection. This is a situation where you would /definitely/ want
    to use 63/37.

    While I'm on the subject... I once asked the late Bob Tucker, * who wrote
    the user manuals for Dynaco, why the soldering instructions were, at one
    point, obviously in the "wrong" sequence. He explained that Dynaco's
    "policy" was that, once a lug had three wires in it, it was to be soldered.
    There was otherwise too-great a chance of it being overlooked and remaining
    unsoldered, only to cause problems down the line.

    * Bob, who passed on in the late '80s, was one of the nicest, most-gracious
    people you could ever hope to meet. He was, perhaps surprisingly, also one
    of the handsomest men I've ever seen -- by comparison, most actors and
    fashion models are plain -- but he didn't seem aware of it.
     
  2. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    Cite, please? (and I don't mean a link to commodity prices)
     
  3. The only reason 60/40 was ever manufactured in the first place is
    I can only cite "common sense". 63/37 has always been more-expensive than
    60/40.
     
  4. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    I can only cite "common sense". 63/37 has always been more-expensive than
    60/40.[/QUOTE]

    Then you can't substantiate your contention that 60/40 was THE worldwide
    standard for tens of years just because it was a few pennies cheaper per
    pound? That is the statement of yours with which I take issue.
     
  5. The only reason 60/40 was ever manufactured in the first place is
    I have no objection to your objection.

    However, 60/40 was never, ever, "a few pennies per pound" cheaper than
    63/37. For the last 30 years, the price of eutectic solder has been
    sufficiently higher to make one think twice before buying it. The last time
    I purchased solder, I decided that a one-pound roll of Kester 44 would last
    the rest of my life, and I splurged. (At this point in my life, my
    prediction is coming true. I rarely solder any more. If I drop dead, someone
    digging through the junk will find a pleasant surprise. Assuming they know
    what 63/37 is.)

    I just checked Parts Express, and a 1# roll of Kester 44 60/40 is $22.23.
    63/37 is $26.85. That's a $4.62 difference, almost 21% more -- hardly
    "pennies per pound". When I bought the same product some years back, my
    memory is that the price was around $7.50 for the 60/40, $9 for the 63/37.
    Even that wasn't "pennies per pound".

    I looked at the MCM site for Ersin products. Get this... MCM describes its
    house brand of 60/40 solder as "provid[ing] the lowest possible melting
    point".

    Businesses almost always try to cut every corner they can. If you think your
    solderers -- or soldering machines -- are doing a good job, you might prefer
    to buy the less-expensive 60/40.

    When I worked at Bendix Field Engineering, I often walked through the
    section where a bunch of women (never men) soldered assemblies, following
    NASA standards. I never thought to ask whether they used 60/40 or 63/37.
     
  6. Maybe the price difference is due to "new and improved"
    No, eutectic solder has always been more expensive, and the reason has
    always been that tin is more-expensive than lead.

    Exactly. That was my point, and MCM's error. I remember the little phase
    diagram in the Popular Electronics article.
     
  7. GregS

    GregS Guest


    I like 63/37 because some stuff I do I like it as low a temp as possible.

    Deja vu. I worked for BFEC at NASA site, and went to NASA ssoldering school.
    I would guess 60/40 would be the norm.

    greg
     
  8. I like 63/37 because some stuff I do I like it as low a temp
    Allmost all my soldering is repairs; cold joints seem more likely when
    you're fixing something.

    Probably. I never had to solder, so I never went to school.

    Which site? When? I worked from 1974 through 1978.
     
  9. GregS

    GregS Guest


    http://zekfrivolous.com/goldstone/
     
  10. Fred Abse

    Fred Abse Guest

    NASA standards authorize both.
     
  11. Which site? When? I worked from 1974 through 1977.
    Did you ever change the klystron frequency from the control panel (there
    were six buttons along the bottom), rather than going out to the
    transmitter? If so, you used one of the improvements I installed.
     
  12. GregS

    GregS Guest


    I never ran that, but do recall them tuning them up. Something
    rings a bell though about mods. As the 80's rolled through everything
    was remote controled off site.

    I do remember the time I pushed a button on one of the antenna motors,
    and everything went black for miles.

    I also remember the time one would go outside and point at the falling Skylab,
    and the other person would try to move the antenna and lock on to it.
    What with the 1 degree beamwidth was impossible. We were using Norads
    predicts and they were too far off to be able to use. Somebody finally locked
    onto the spacecraft and finally got good predicts.

    I also remember the time we tracked the moon with a wrench.
    For a while.

    Big 85 ft.antenna made in Pittsburgh, as was much of the stuff made in the USA
    back then.


    greg
     
  13. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    I have no objection to your objection.

    However, 60/40 was never, ever, "a few pennies per pound" cheaper than
    63/37. For the last 30 years, the price of eutectic solder has been
    sufficiently higher to make one think twice before buying it. The last time
    I purchased solder, I decided that a one-pound roll of Kester 44 would last
    the rest of my life, and I splurged. (At this point in my life, my
    prediction is coming true. I rarely solder any more. If I drop dead, someone
    digging through the junk will find a pleasant surprise. Assuming they know
    what 63/37 is.)

    I just checked Parts Express, and a 1# roll of Kester 44 60/40 is $22.23.
    63/37 is $26.85. That's a $4.62 difference, almost 21% more -- hardly
    "pennies per pound". When I bought the same product some years back, my
    memory is that the price was around $7.50 for the 60/40, $9 for the 63/37.
    Even that wasn't "pennies per pound".[/QUOTE]
    William, Parts Express sells to hobbyists. Their prices are meaningless
    as a reference. I buy solder, as I have for 25 years, from industrial
    suppliers. Since you didn't state either the diameter or the core, (and
    diameter can make a huge difference in price) I looked up your
    comparison rolls on Parts Express. I see you referred to Kester 44 with
    a 66 core and at .031 diameter.

    To compare apples to apples, I called my supplier yesterday for current
    pricing: 63/37, $13.80/lb. 60/40, $13.30/lb. I also asked how many
    people were buying 60/40, and she confirmed that well over 90% of
    customers use 63/37.

    1. You're paying nosebleed prices whichever formula you buy.
    2. The cost difference is indeed pennies when purchased from real supply
    houses
    3. Regardless of the cost difference, 63/37 *is* the standard now, as it
    has been for 20 years.
    4. Based on #3 above, your assertion that companies will cut corners
    anyway they can is false.
    5. Therefore, my contention that the widespread switch was made due to
    improved performance of 63/37 seems to be the only logical conclusion.

    Now, you said that 63/37 eutectic nature was known 50 years ago. That
    may or may not be true, but what is true is that the widespread
    industrial changeover happened much more recently, about 20 years ago.
     
  14. To compare apples to apples, I called my supplier yesterday for
    Fascinating. It raises the question of why there is such a huge difference
    in the pricing of Kester's solders.

    Hey, I read it in Popular Electronics in the '60s. It was probably known
    back in the '30s.
     
  15. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    Fascinating. It raises the question of why there is such a huge difference
    in the pricing of Kester's solders.
    [/QUOTE]

    If you're referring to widely different prices from different suppliers,
    it's the same with any product or service, of course. When the 99%
    isopropyl topic come up, I plugged it into google's "shopping" tab.
    Prices ranged from 2.79 to 14.50 for a pint of the stuff.
     
  16. To compare apples to apples, I called my supplier yesterday for
    That isn't what I meant. There's a 20% difference in the price between
    Kester's 60/40 and 63/37 solders.
     
  17. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    That isn't what I meant. There's a 20% difference in the price between
    Kester's 60/40 and 63/37 solders.[/QUOTE]

    Oh, so you didn't read my post after all. To reiterate, 63/37 is 13.80,
    60/40 is 13.30. That's uh, let's see, oh yeah, less than 4%.
     
  18.  
  19. I think you may have conflated two different issues here, when
    I didn't conflate the issues, as the latter hadn't been raised when I first
    brought up the point.

    It does in the case of the MCM catalog, at least for the gauge I looked at.
    Other companies show similar huge disparities. It makes little sense, when
    the ones you (and Smitty) cited are so close.

    I wasn't mislead. Given the differenc in price, it was obvious it wasn't
    Kester.
     
  20. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

     
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