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Iron free solder for electronics.

  1. Jan 3, 2007 #1
    I am a EE student and havent done any hands on stuff yet, but have a broken shortwave radio and i wanted to fix it. I bought a 15/30w iron from radio shack and a desoldering vacuum. I also got some 60/40 rosin core solder with a .32 dia.

    I am a little worried about the lead in the solder and wanted to know if the iron free stuff is just as good for electronics.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2007
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  3. Jan 3, 2007 #2

    chroot

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    I really hope that you mean lead, not iron. Iron is a nutrient, and is not toxic.

    Even if your solder has lead in it, you'd essentially have to eat it to cause any harm. Wash your hands after you're done working with it, and don't give it a second thought.

    - Warren
     
  4. Jan 3, 2007 #3

    dlgoff

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    "I really hope that you mean lead, not iron. Iron is a nutrient, and is not toxic."

    ...And you'll need a lot more the 30 watts to melt it. :biggrin:
     
  5. Jan 3, 2007 #4

    Gokul43201

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    Maybe llama is talking about iron-free solder and is worried about magnetic interference from trace levels of Fe in regular rosin-core stuff. To my knowledge, which is highly limited, iron-free solders are critical only to high precision (magnetic) measument systems, or in extremely rare cases, they're important from microstructural considerations.
     
  6. Jan 3, 2007 #5

    ranger

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    Would inhaling the [lead based solder] fumes have any adverse effect?
     
  7. Jan 3, 2007 #6

    chroot

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    The fumes given off by melting solder are essentially all from the flux, not from the molten metal itself. I wouldn't breathe the fumes intentionally or anything, but they're not going to cause lead poisoning.

    People have been using leaded solder for centuries with no obvious health problems. Just wash your hands so you don't ingest any of it, and use it in a ventilated room.

    - Warren
     
  8. Jan 3, 2007 #7

    chroot

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    He's trying to fix a shortwave radio. I don't think the solder's going to make a difference. :wink:

    - Warren
     
  9. Jan 3, 2007 #8
    no I meant lead instead of iron, sorry. I am interested in the lead free solder.


    another reason is I live in a apartment with a cat and don't want the cat to be near the lead or eating it.


    so back onto the topic, yesterday at radio shack they had lead free solder but it was more expensive and i really didnt know if It was right for electronics.
     
  10. Jan 3, 2007 #9

    chroot

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    Lead-free solder melts at a higher temperature than leaded solder, and some electronic components cannot tolerate the higher temperatures. Most devices sold today, however, are designed with lead-free solder in mind, and are fine.

    Lead-free solders were created not to protect technicians who use the solder (the risk to them is minimal), but to eliminate lead from discarded electronic devices. The lead can be leached out over time and adversely affect the environment.

    You honestly do not need to be concerned, in the slightest, about using leaded solder for common soldering tasks. Just wash your hands afterwards, and keep it in a plastic bag or plastic box so your cat won't get into it.

    - Warren
     
  11. Jan 3, 2007 #10

    berkeman

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    Lead free solder will take a higher temperature soldering iron to work, and may not work well with all components. Just stick with the standard stuff, and like chroot said, do your soldering in a well-ventillated place. I use a small exhaust fan placed in front of me pointing away to pull the smoke away (when I'm not using the exhaust hood work area at work, I mean).

    You might want to check out some soldering tips also before you do the work. There's are several important tips that will help to keep you from ruining your radio with incorrect soldering technique.

    I googled soldering tutorial, and got lots of hits. Here's the hit list FYI:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=soldering+tutorial
     
  12. Jan 3, 2007 #11

    berkeman

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    Dagnabit! chroot out-types me again! :-)
     
  13. Jan 3, 2007 #12

    chroot

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    Muhahahahaha!

    - Warren
     
  14. Jan 3, 2007 #13
    thanks guys, Guess il keep with the lead for now.
     
  15. Jan 4, 2007 #14

    Gokul43201

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    Ah, the number of times I've eaten a sandwich just after hours of soldering and forgetting to wash my hands! I wish I could tell you that number, but lately it seems like I've forgotten how to count. Also some of my fingers seem to have fallen off, making it harder...or maybe they're still there, but I don't see them. 'Cause my eyesight has gotten pretty bad. Also, my hair is falling out, and my skin is turning green, but I digress... :yuck:

    Nah, just kidding! Make sure you wash your hands with soap after soldering. And keep the solder out of reach of pets (impossible a task as that may seem). Other than that, there isn't much to be worried about unless you happen to have some unusually rare allergy.
     
  16. Jan 4, 2007 #15
    I do live in a apartment in NYC, so I don't have a workspace, all I have to work in is the kitchen table and my desk on my bedroom. The kitchen is wear the food is and my desk is right next to my bed. my bedroom is pretty closed off and even thogh it has windows doesn't get a god breeze. which is the better place to work.
     
  17. Jan 4, 2007 #16

    chroot

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    You're really exaggerating the dangers of metallic lead. It's not some kind of super lethal toxin that's going to leap out of your solder and contaminate your kitchen table for thousands of years. The kitchen table is probably fine. If you're very concerned, put down some newspapers or an old towel before you begin soldering.

    - Warren
     
  18. Jan 4, 2007 #17

    berkeman

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    Should we mention the funny thing about soldering stuff on newspapers? Nah, probably not.
     
  19. Jan 4, 2007 #18

    turbo

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    I repair/rebuild old tube-driven guitar amps as a hobby, mostly in the winter, and the kitchen table is my bench. I always use lead-based rosin-core solder and I heat-sink the leads to prevent overheating, since I use a fairly hot iron to get a good shiny flow. The amps I fix don't come back - they stay in service. Use lead solder, make good joints, and employ reasonable safety procedures. No-lead solder will require higher temperatures, longer heat application times, and diligent heat-sinking, and even then the chance for component damage and/or cold joints will be higher, increasing the rate of failure of the repaired system.
     
  20. Jan 4, 2007 #19

    dlgoff

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    Have you ever picked up the wrong end of your soldering iron? :surprised
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  21. Jan 4, 2007 #20

    berkeman

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    I burned my finger once as a kid (around 9 years old, I think), and ever since then I've been careful. However, I have accidentally dropped the dang iron a few times over the years, and you develop cat-like reflexes as that thing is heading for your pants! :eek:
     
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