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Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by SparkyCal, Apr 14, 2020.

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  1. SparkyCal


    Mar 11, 2020
    Based on an article that Bertus kindly referred me to, I am looking to buy SN 60 solder at .30 in size. I looked on Amazon but there are too many choices and it’s hard to understand the specs. Can someone recommend a roll? Preferably one that can be found on Amazon?

    thank you
  2. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

    Nov 17, 2011
    Buy any roll that fits your budget.
    Make sure the solder has a flux core (rosin core) and preferably it should be lead free (although leaded solder melts at lower temperatures, but unleaded solder is safer).
    davenn and Martaine2005 like this.
  3. Martaine2005


    May 12, 2015
    So safe that it cracks and stops the little electrons from continuing on their journey..
    I would buy both leaded and lead free.
    Lead free to sit on a shelf looking good and leaded for every day soldering.
    But mainly for re-soldering repairs where lead free was used..
    Just my 2 cents.......

    hevans1944, Bluejets and davenn like this.
  4. dave9


    Mar 5, 2017
    You might get it as soon from an electronics supplier like Digikey, but either way, what size roll? General purpose solder, I'd get a pound at a time, and a major brand. Life is too short for generic solder. ;)

    I'd get eutectic 63/47 instead. It is one of the easiest to get good results with in a variety of situations, no drawbacks compared to 60/40 except slightly higher price, BUT you may find that you can get better joints, using less solder, so it ends up cheaper in the long run.

    There is an argument to be made that leaded solder is safer, because there is less chance of cold solder joints, component damage (or copper delamination on perfboard (pads lifting off)), or tin whiskers later, so more reliable product. Just don't do a lot of lead based soldering without a method of fume extraction. A still air room, bent over a solder joint, it is real easy to inhale the fumes. Then again, it's not like you want to be inhaling fumes from lead free solder either.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  5. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

    Nov 17, 2011
    Not when used correctly.
    Unnecessary. It one doesn't like lead free solder, one can use leaded solder for repairs of lead free solder joints, too.
    When I said safer I meant in terms of toxicity.
    In terms of handling I agree that leaded solder is easier to use.Personally I still use my 1 kg roll of leaded solder that I acquired about 30 years ago and it is going to be good for another 30 years (if I am :))
  6. Ylli


    Jun 19, 2018
  7. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009

    Yes, you can, and for home applications that isn't an issue
    But for commercial applications where it's stated that the electronics are lead free, then lead free solder must be used
    else the system no longer conforms to the standards set :)
  8. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    What is the 0.3 you refer to..??

    Whatever, plenty of choices on Ebay.
    Just one of many....might have to search a bit for any specific size.....
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  9. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    The ONLY reason to use lead-free solder instead of 60/40 (tin/lead) or eutectic 63/37 alloy is to satisfy lead-free environmental protection laws and import/export restrictions involving countries that comply with those laws. The home hobbyist doesn't use enough solder during their lifetime to be a serious threat to the environment.

    Heck, a typical "plinker" that goes through a brick of 0.22 caliber ammo during a weekend of target practice puts more lead into the environment than I could possible contribute with my soldering activities over the last fifty years or so... well, I haven't actually "run the numbers" on that but it feels about right. So make it ten bricks of ammo and see if that looks about right. Hmmm. Since I target-shoot with 0.45 caliber ACP hard-ball or semi-wad-cutter ammo in (typically) fifty round boxes a few times per year, maybe a dozen times per decade, I suppose I could be contributing somewhat more to the environmental lead contamination problem, but certainly not enough for me to worry about it.

    Huh? Three tenths of an inch diameter? About 0.030 inches diameter is more practical for electronics work.
    davenn likes this.
  10. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    Go for it Hop.....they took all our guns way back so you can have my share.
  11. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    That DOES make Australia a MUCH safer place to live, plus being an ex-penal colony of the defunct British Empire, it's probably a GOOD THING youse guys are unarmed.

    Here in the States it's much different. We're a mostly uncivilized conglomerate of people from all over the world, Europe, China, Japan and Mexico mainly, but more lately from the Middle East and other parts of Asia such as India. Hell, unlike Australia with its strict vetting of wannabe immigrants, the good ol' U.S.of A. will accept anyone who wants to live here. Land of opportunity, you know. Probably says that on the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Right under the mouse-print that says, "Bring money."

    Our forefathers (George Washington, Ben Franklin, and bunch of other rowdies like them) had sense enough to instill the "right to keep and bear arms" into the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution, to more or less guarantee the preservation of a free state by violence if necessary. Guns were also necessary to swipe the land out from under the objections of natives who were here first, terrorize ex-slaves after our Civil War (until they got guns, too), to enforce territorial "rights" claimed by various gang-bangers, and to protect the citizens against possible tyranny in government and from possible violence against them by their fellow citizens.

    When @(*steve*) visited here, I noticed he seemed nonplussed and somewhat uncomfortable when he observed I carried (concealed) a fully loaded model 1911 Colt .45 Caliber Automatic Pistol on my hip. At that time, I don't think I recalled that Aussies were unarmed, having rejected firearms violence many years ago. Steve didn't make a big issue of it, and I didn't explain that my wife (who also had a Concealed Carry Weapon or CCW permit) and I lived in fear of our lives because of the deterioration of our neighborhood and the increased level of crime there. Having a neighbor's child murdered gang-land style with a bullet to the head two houses down the street from us was the last straw. We took classes and obtained our CCW permits. Wife purchased a nice Ruger 9mm semiautomatic pistol.

    I have owned firearms almost all my life, being gifted my first single-shot .22 caliber rifle when I was a young boy. I purchased the Colt pistol in the late 1960s after my enlistment in the Air Force, but seldom carried it openly. Wife has also been around guns her whole life. In West Virginia, where I was born, it is practically a requirement to own a gun.

    After we moved to Florida, neither one of us bothered to obtain a Florida CCW permit, although we still have guns readily available in our home. South Venice seems to be relatively free of crime except for petty larceny and some vandalism of vacant vacation properties once in a while. The Sarasota County Sheriff keeps things pretty much under control with fast response and helicopter surveillance from nearby Venice Airport.

    Lately it appears that COVID19 has brought drug dealers to our next door neighbors, who lost their jobs because of the lock-down stay-at-home policy during this pandemic. Wife and I are keeping a close watch on the situation, but so far nothing actionable has occurred. We are going to install TV cameras, passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors, and night lighting around our house to warn us of intruders and to discourage unwanted visitors. Florida is a "stand your ground" state, but you better "fear for your life" before drawing a gun on someone, much less shooting at them. I prefer to let the sheriff do the shooting if it comes to that.

    @Bluejets: You, having decided to remain in a civilized country, have no share of firearms to offer me. I envy you! Besides that, I think I have all I need, at least for now. :D
    shrtrnd likes this.
  12. dave9


    Mar 5, 2017
    Hmm. The lead was in the ground, in the environment, then we mined it up and with it in lots of things, there is less lead in the environment, and the great danger is we might throw it away so it is in the ground. Makes perfect sense.
  13. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    Agree Hop but it was my allocation of lead I was offering. :):)

    Have spent quite some time with the family back in Thailand where carrying a gun is an everyday event for some, usually only those that can actually afford one.
    I'm no stranger to firearms as in our day it was simply a part of the growing up process. At age 13, we joined the cadet unit at our state school and would regularly be taught the right way to handle and maintain weapons and to attend both regular shooting range and camp outings. Part of the induction included exercises with the regular army on chase and hide basis. I was even originally selected as a state entry in interschool shooting competitions with the Royal Enfield 303 which you are possibly familiar with. For "in town" rifle range we used to attend the local CMF unit which had a range right next to the local police station and we used the same rifle only with a .22 bore, heavy as hell.

    Lead is probably still embedded in the target mound there , as well as the back wall of the local pub.:eek::eek:
    Never seemed to bother the pub tomcat though.

    As a point of conjecture, if someone had been armed when the Port Arthur drongo was on the loose, maybe it would not have been as bad as it finally turned out.
  14. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    Only makes sense if you believe your body can absorb lead by breathing soldering fumes (which arise from the flux, NOT the molten tin/lead alloy). The vapor pressure of lead is too low at soldering temperatures to pose a significant hazard to human beings.

    Lead, however, may be leached into potable drinking water plumbed with copper pipes, the pipes and fittings traditionally sweat soldered with a 50/50 tin/lead alloy. For that reason, this alloy is no longer allowed in the USA for plumbing copper pipes. That didn't prevent the residents of Flint, Michigan from being poisoned by lead in their public water supply.

    Lead can be absorbed by eating dried and flaky paint chips containing lead compounds. Said paint chips are found in dilapidated houses painted with lead-bearing paint from the 1950s and earlier. If starving poor children inhabiting those houses eat those chips, it is said to cause them brain damage later in life. Lead, when absorbed by the body, affects brain tissue much like mercury compounds. This is allegedly where the term "Mad as a Hatter" originated because hatters often used mercury compounds to stiffen felt used in hats, which over a period of time exposure to the mercury drove them mad. The same thing occurred in the early part of the 20th century when mercury-vapor diffusion pumps were used to create high vacuums, at least according to a professional scientific glass blower I once knew.
  15. argon


    Apr 14, 2016
  16. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    Oh! :eek: At one time, perhaps 1968 or 1969, shortly after I had purchased my pistol, I had a co-worker who also happened to own a 1911-pattern pistol (a Taurus, made in Brazil IIRC). He liked to shoot a lot, so he saved his brass from the shooting range and reloaded it at home. IIRC, he also melted lead alloys, mostly wheel weights but sometimes Linotype lead, and cast his own bullets. This inspired me to obtain a reloading outfit, but I don't think I ever reloaded and fired any rounds of ammunition. I did purchase a box of .45 caliber semi-wad cutter cast lead bullets with lubricant in the "gas rings" that is still stashed away in one of my tool boxes, awaiting loading into spent brass cartridge cases. I have a bunch of them stashed away too, awaiting cleaning by tumbling in walnut shells.

    After discovering that bite-wing dental x-rays contain a small, thin, sheet of pure lead I asked my dentist to save the discarded bite-wing pouches after the x-ray film was removed and developed. He did this for awhile, but then one day asked me why I wanted the lead inside the pouches. I should have made up some BS story about how I needed it for my electronics bench soldering pot, but instead I truthfully told him it was for making reloading bullets for my pistol. I got no more lead from the dentist after that, although a few years later he did give me a joy ride in the co-pilot seat of his 4-seat private airplane.

    My take-away from that joy ride was runways look awfully small from the air until you are right on top of them. If I ever decide to get a private pilot license, I will for sure practice a lot of touch-and-go landings with my instructor before I solo. That was only my second flight in a small private airplane. The first was a short hop to Put-In-Bay airfield on South Bass Island, off the coast of Ohio near Cedar Point, and back again the same day. That's when I first noticed how small the runway looks from the air until the airplane is practically on top of it. I cannot imagine what the pilot of jumbo jet sees, although their runways are somewhat longer and perhaps a little wider...

    I eventually also purchased a set of sizing dies for the 7mm Remington Magnum cartridge used in my bolt-action hunting rifle, bought for a hunting trip to the western side of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I never reloaded and shot any of those either, and only made the one trip out west with a co-worker. He was a California native, retired Air Force colonel. He and a bunch of his buddies rented a six-man cabin every year to "party hunt" mule deer, elk, and moose... a highly illegal activity in Colorado, but apparently common enough on the sparsely populated western slopes.

    They would each purchase out-of-state hunting licenses and deer permits, but only purchase one elk and one moose permit. In party hunting, the hunters were split up into two teams: one team would drive animals toward the other (shooting) team. Didn't make any difference who shot what. The deer tags were divvied up among all the deer taken, so everyone "got their deer" whether they actually shot it or not. Same-o, same-o with the elk and moose permits. Whoever wanted the animal paid for the permit and took it home. That year there were no elk or moose taken, so the permits were a waste of money. The California folks didn't seem to mind, and I sure as hell didn't know what I would do with an elk or a moose if one were offered to me.

    I did get to take a deer home with me, but not the one I shot at (twice) and missed from about two hundred yards away while sitting in a field, freezing my butt off in the snow. That was the last time I ever shot that rifle. A few years later I was unemployed and had to pawn it pay my utility bill. I never did retrieve it from the pawn shop. At that time, rifles were not allowed for hunting in Ohio, so I really had no need to own one. It was fun to shoot, though I had trouble with the right-handed bolt action, me being left-handed. That particular rifle was made in a left-handed version but it had to be special ordered and there was not enough time to do that and still make the trip out west for the Colorado hunting season. To this day I still do not have a hunting rifle, something no West Virginia native should ever have to admit.:(

    I had to look that one up as I am not really a "gun nut" who is familiar with weapons. Seems to be a fine rifle, very reliable, easy to cycle the bolt for fast action reloads, the British manufactured millions of them, but it is not overly accurate. Good enough for war, but not accurate enough for any really serious shooting without some fine tuning.

    There is an American rifle equivalent from WWII, but I cannot remember what it is... Springfield armory maybe. Shooters would sometimes purchase them as surplus military rifles and then replace the barrel and re-bed the barrel in a new stock. Then, depending on how the cartridge is loaded, a steady-rest accuracy of less than one minute of arc (MOA) is possible for five-round groups. That's about a one inch diameter at a hundred yards. My 7mm Remington Magnum cartridge was capable of this accuracy, but sadly I wasn't. IIRC, my best effort was to place a five-shot group inside of a six-inch circle at one hundred yards. That and "buck fever" is probably why I missed my deer. I don't think I am much of a hunter, or even much of a marksman with a 'scoped high-power rifle.

    I Googled a description of this horrible event. The first round of shootings took less than a minute and many of the victims either thought it was firecrackers going off or part of an historical reenactment event. This was a tourist vacation spot, and even here in America we normally do not go armed to such places with our children. But if anyone on the premises DID happen to possess a gun, it is doubtful they would have had enough time to use it effectively before becoming targets themselves. The only person mentioned to have a gun was a gas station attendant, who had an unloaded rifle. The "bad guy" was long gone by the time the attendant located his ammunition and loaded his rifle.

    Just having a gun is no guarantee you know how to use it effectively in a situation like that. Training and frequent practice in realistic scenarios is necessary. Some soldiers and law enforcement officers may initially receive such training, but it must be practiced long and often before it becomes effective in a situation like Port Arthur. Only a very few civilians will have the incentive to seek out and participate in such training. I think Australia did the "right thing" in basically banning all private possession of firearms, and I think the massacre at Port Arthur was a major factor in getting that done.

    It wouldn't work here in the USA though. We Americans seem to have become numbed in our response to such violence, it occurs so often. A shooter goes into a gay bar here in Florida and kills a bunch of people. There is a flurry of interest for a few days then attentions turn to something else. Our mass media have a motto: "If it bleeds, it leads." And the gun culture is deeply rooted in our society. Maybe if a gang equipped with semi-automatic weapons invaded a sports stadium or shopping mall (prior to the COVID19 lock-down) and began killing everyone in sight, some traction to ban personal ownership of weapons would occur. But I doubt it. Such an event would just increase gun sales and lead to more people obtaining concealed carry weapons (CCW) permits. We have our Second Amendment Rights, don't ya know?

    If you wanna shoot lead, use a solder gun and load it with eutectic rosin core alloy. I saw one advertised online that held a spool of solder and when you squeezed the trigger it fed the solder to the tip of the soldering iron. Easy peasy, just a gentle squeezy, and you are on your way to perfect solder joints.:D
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
  17. Fish4Fun

    Fish4Fun So long, and Thanks for all the Fish!

    Aug 27, 2013
    Just going to chime in on the "lead" stories ... I own a retail fishing tackle store @ the beach and sell lead sinkers ... for various reasons lead sales have been "down" for the last 15 years, but still we sell ~4000lbs a year. Back in the 80's/90's and early 2000's we sold over 10,000lbs a year!

    I don't shoot much any more ... use to shoot a lot when I was able to step out my back door and shoot when I wanted, but they put up a housing development on some adjacent property and safety concerns eventually took the fun out of it. I have hand loaded rifle and pistol ammo as well as shotgun shells. I have cast 38 caliber lead bullets and loaded them into 38 special cases, but the amount of cleaning required after shooting cast bullets negated any cost savings over copper jacketed projectiles for me. You also have to keep the velocities below ~800fps or the "rifling" in the barrel simply strips the lead rather spinning the projectile ... this, of course, dramatically decreases accuracy ... and after a few rounds begins to jack up the chamber pressure causing a larger than usual gas leak between the cylinder and the barrel (obviously I am talking about a revolver ... read **Fire Ball**).

    I haven't purchased any solder since lead prices went crazy ... a friend worked for an electronics company when California decided to ban lead and sued the world ... the company gave all the lead based solder they had on hand to their employees (rather than paying a company to dispose of the "hazardous waste" LoL) ... The box she brought me had 15 x 1lb made in USA rolls in various diameters and I haven't used all of any of them yet, LoL.

    I have plenty more lead stories ... LoL


  18. Audioguru


    Sep 24, 2016
    My hands have not turned black from handling solder with lead in it all my life and my soldering iron has controlled temperature so it does not incinerate the rosin making smoke, instead it makes a pleasant aroma.

    The many guns in the USA might cause all the shot people to have lead poisoning. But they shoot so many bullets in the USA that they probably make unleaded bullets now.

    Here in Canada, we don't go around shooting everybody. Only US visiting criminals have guns.
  19. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    They DO make unleaded bullets! For use in indoor shooting ranges so everyone can breathe cleaner air. Also shotgun shells must use steel shot for migratory waterfowl hunting. Seems not enough birds were dying from lead poisoning in the air and instead were dying from ingesting lead pellets that had fallen to the ground and in bodies of water inhabited by the birds. I only hunted ducks one time as a teenage dependent of my dad when he was stationed on Okinawa. He bought me a 16 gauge shotgun to match his 12 gauge pump-action Winchester Model 12 and we went out to the rice paddies to hunt ducks. I'm not much of a hunter. I tripped and fell into a rice paddy while playing with the push-button safety, located below and behind the trigger guard. IIRC, I was trying to remember whether the red ring on the safety meant it was ready to fire, or that it meant the weapon was on "safe" and I had to move the safety until a black ring appeared. Still, that's no excuse for carrying a gun with your finger on the trigger!

    My shotgun discharged into the water, neatly creating a crack in the barrel located where the bead-sight used to be. So that ended my duck hunting adventures on Okinawa. Dad knew someone in the Kadena AFB hobby shop who sawed off the end of my barrel, crowned the end, and installed a new bead sight. This ruined whatever "choke" (for shot pattern control) the gun might have had.

    Years later I took this shotgun deer hunting in public forests near the Ohio River. It was a little on the light side, caliber-wise, for double-ought buck-shot, but "rifled" slugs were available in 16 gauge so I loaded up with those. Again, I was not "lucky" and did not see any deer. I didn't hunt again in Ohio after they passed a law allowing hunting with large caliber pistols. It was scary enough being alone in the woods surrounded by nimrods who figured they were "lost" if they couldn't see the road they drove in on. Being surrounded by trigger-happy people armed with high-power pistols was not my idea of a fun hunting experience. So I bought a couple of left-handed compound bows and tried to learn how to shoot them. That went nowhere. I was not strong enough to pull the string on a bow with sufficient draw weight for hunting. I now hunt for meat bargains at grocery stores, mostly Angus beef but some pork and chicken too. Wife makes some mean chicken 'n' dumplin's. Hmmm! Yummy!
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