Time to buy solder

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I'm finally getting to the end of a 2-lb spool of 60/40 0.05" (18
gauge?) rosin core solder I bought from Radio Shack years ago.  This
time around, I'm considering:

* 63/37
* 0.032 (21 gauge?)
* Water-soluble rosin core

Frankly, I'm enough of a hedonist that I'm happy to use as much lead as
needed to make my life easier.

I do mostly circuit board repair, and some PCB prototyping.  Any
opinions or recommendations as to what solder works the best?

Re: Time to buy solder

On 11/30/2011 12:09 PM, Grinder wrote:
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That sounds like a good spec and that blend is eutectic for tin-lead, the
diameter is right for semi-delicate work and water-soluble flux is pretty
much a given. I'm still using up a 2-pound roll of Kester 62/36/2 (with
silver) which I first got decades ago when I was fixing Tektronix test
equipment which called for it at the time and I'm getting old enough that
more solder purchases seem unlikely.

Re: Time to buy solder

On 11/30/2011 2:20 PM, John McGaw wrote:
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What does that bit of silver do for the joint?

Re: Time to buy solder

On 11/30/2011 7:30 PM, Grinder wrote:
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Very little in most circumstances except that it probably conducts slightly
better than regular tin/lead. Tektronix, back in the dark ages, used a
method of construction which depended on ceramic 'sticks' with silver fired
onto them to produce ultra-high impedance low capacitance circuitry. Other
components were soldered onto the silver patches on the ceramic and silver
in the solder prevented it from literally dissolving the fired silver and
weakening the bond. All very high-tech back then but obsolete long ago.
This type of solder is sold now for use with components having
silver-plated leads but those are pretty rare. So there I was with this
roll of expensive solder when my old 2-pound roll of regular stuff got used
up so rather than waste it I started using the odd stuff. I use so little
now that it will surely outlive me.

Re: Time to buy solder

On 11/30/2011 7:49 PM, John McGaw wrote:
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Would you be willing to include me in your will?

Re: Time to buy solder

Grinder wrote:
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    "At the retail level, the two most common alloys are 60/40 Tin/lead
    (Sn/Pb) which melts at 370 F or 188 C and 63/37 Sn/Pb used principally
    in electrical/electronic work. The 63/37 ratio is notable in that it is
    a eutectic mixture, which means:

    1. It has the lowest melting point (183 C or 361.4 F) of all the tin/lead
    2. The melting point is truly a point - not a range."

The roll of solder I'm still using, has a gauge lower than the two you
mention. In the lab, I referred to that type as "angel hair". The
gauge is 0.015", and examples of that gauge can be seen here.
Mine is 63/37 eutectic. The resin on mine, is alcohol soluble, and
alcohol is what I use for cleanup (it's not the best, but where
are you going to find "trike" ?). It's fine enough for surface
mount stuff. But if you were soldering 0402 or 0201, you might
need something smaller again. With my eye sight, 0603 is about
as small as I could work (followed by checking with a magnifier
when finished). I've worked using a stereo microscope before,
but can't afford that for home use. Watching your hands shake
under a microscope, while working, is lots of fun.


I have no idea what the current flux formulations are like.


Re: Time to buy solder


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60% tin works for me.  Good for the odd plumbing job too.  

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