The Workbench

Solder Lead or Non-Lead Solder Preference?

1

Now and then if I want to change pickups on my guitar I will do my own work unless I have some extra money and am lazy then I will bring it to a tech. Lately been trying to save money so I done my own work.

I have some solder I have had since college because I had a class where we had to solder. I had no idea there was non-lead solder until recently but I noticed mine was non-lead. Probably in college I just bought without knowing.

My question is do you use non-lead or lead solder. What is the advantage of one over another? I can guess solder made of lead is better but what do you prefer? I tried to buy some but I think I'll get it over the net because locally I don't know where to get it. Fry's Electronics was almost all out of solder and what they had was not what I wanted. Really thin solder and I want some a little thicker. It was lead though.

Thanks

2

Lead for private use, much easier to work with.

3

What Stefan said. For the hobbyist doing occasional soldering, I'd say go with the leaded stuff.

4

60/40 lead is the standard. Always use ventilation when soldering.

5

Last time I needed some in a hurry (away from home) I got some 60/40 at ACE Hardware...in the plumbing section!

6

Always lead 60/40 for me. Cant get the no lead stuff to stick very well, even with additional flux, PITA as far as I am concerned

7

If you're manufacturing for worldwide distribution, you have to go lead free. For everything else, go with the good stuff. Lead free is a big PITA to work with.

8

Thanks everyone for your help. I ended up at Home Depot and they had lead, the 60/40.

I did notice that the lead free didn't want to stick to the back of the pots well nor did it tin the soldering iron tip well. It didn't want to stick to the tip. For now on it's lead for me.

9

Careful Charlie with the plumbing stuff. Electrical solder has rosin flux while plumbing solder can have acid flux and isn't suitable for electronics.

But yes, I agree with the other guys. For personal - i.e. not manufacturing - work, I prefer leaded.

10

My preference has always been a lead solder 60/40 (lead tin alloy), electronics grade with a rosin flux core. The flux core is important, it cleans the surfaces and allows the solder to adhere properly.

I've not been a been a fan of lead free solder, it can be temperamental. It doesn't flow as freely as lead solder, and has a higher risk of making a "cold solder joint". This is where the solder lays on top of the surface, and fails to bond.

As has been mentioned, proper ventilation should be maintained while you are soldering. Lead is one of those heavy metals that accumulate in the body over time, and there is no safe level of exposure. That sounds a bit scary, but it can be avoided by simply ventilating the room in which you are soldering. EDIT : Wash your hands after handling solder.

It sounds like you picked the right stuff, I jumped into the thread a little bit late, I'm glad you figured it out and it is working well for you.

11

100% Sn solder will grow tin whiskers in time. The only reason anyone uses it is because of RoHS. This is a requirement out of the EU. They don’t want e-waste with Pb in land fills. This is asinine since large batteries are exempt. The amount of Pb in solder alloys is minuscule compared to lead acid batteries.

Use 60/40 or Sn63 with rosin core flux.

12

100% Sn solder will grow tin whiskers in time. The only reason anyone uses it is because of RoHS. This is a requirement out of the EU. They don’t want e-waste with Pb in land fills. This is asinine since large batteries are exempt. The amount of Pb in solder alloys is minuscule compared to lead acid batteries.

Use 60/40 or Sn63 with rosin core flux.

– Charlie Vegas

One of the primary reasons for lead in solder is to prevent whiskering as described. This is an especially big problem on printed circuit boards with alot of components and solder packed tightly together. Lead also helps prevent solder joint cracking due to temp fluctuation and vibration....big factor in guitar amps. Just say no to lead free.


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