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What kind of led do you guys solder with?

Currently I have some "silverbrite 100" and it is 99.6% lead free.  NOW, this is plumbing solder and it is for potable water.  Its made of copper, tin, and silver.  I also notice how some people comment on how "weak" a solder joint is........ I never have that problem!  

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jeff-o6 years ago
For plumbing, I use lead-free plumbing solder. For electronics, I use 37/63 Pb-Sn solder.
framistan6 years ago
Plumbers solder sometimes contains a FLUX built into the center core of the solder. It comes out when you solder with it. Problem is that PLUMBERS solder has an ACIDIC flux that can interfere with electronic connections. For this reason you should NEVER use plumbers solder on anything electronic. Soldering is not WELDING... even though it looks like welding. Solder will not hold over a long period of time on any connection that is subjected to repetetive movement or tension/pressure. Like a wire that is soldered but has a pulling force on it.... will eventually break the solder connection. Large components on circuit boards will VERY OFTEN come un-soldered when the circuit is subjected to constant vibration. Like a TV set that you might carry on your CABLE-TV truck. The components are constantly jostled and vibrated all day long as you drive down bumpy roads. Eventually larger components will come disconnected from their solder joints. This happens VERY OFTEN. You might not have seen it because you have not worked as a bench-technician repairing electronic devices.
Absolutely:

1) Rosin core solder, ONLY, on electronics. Acid-core will destroy your circuits. The smaller the wire, the more damage it can do; printed circuit boards, for example, are Doomed if you use acid-core.

2) Solder is not a strong mechanical joint. It doesn't amalgamate into the metals it's applied to to any great degree (just enough to make a decent electrical connection/seal), and solder itself is a weak metal (consider how easily you can break off a piece from the roll, and compare that with, eg, copper wire of the same gauge). And, of course, it starts to soften further at relatively low temperatures. If you're just trying to tack things in place that will never be subjected to any significant amount of force, solder may be enough (solder and lead were traditionally used on stained glass windows, after all) but don't count on it to hold if pulled on or bumped into more than occasionally.

Standard mantra: "Tools for tasks." You can drive a screw with a hammer, but that really isn't good for you or the project.
Solder joints aren't necessarily weak at all. It mainly depends on the quality of the junction and the soldering job.

Plumbing solder is in general unsuitable for electronics work and not recommended by anyone I know who knows diddly about electronics and/or does it for a living. We might use it after a nuclear war, but that's about it.
Be a bit careful from our electronics prejudice ! There are "HARD" solders that DO form strong joints, and/or have higher melting points. The interface between copper/solder is an ALLOY of copper/tin - the same process that dissolves our soldering iron tips, or soldering wouldn't work at all - and metallurgically speaking its a lot stronger than it ought to be.

That said, even rosin residues are supposed to be washed off in certain specifications, and before tropicalising for example, we always clean flux residues, whatever the solder.

Steve
Point granted -- copper-tipped soldering irons do tend to dissolve into the solder. Slowly, but it happens. Which is why people asking here are told to look for tips plated with metals which will _not_ dissolve -- copper is great for transferring heat, but a barrier between it and the solder is indeed a good thing.

Back when I was a kid, acid-core plumber's solder wasn't uncommon, nor were people making the mistake of trying to use it on electronics. That was (mumble) decades ago, admittedly.

(I am NOT over the hill, but I think I can see the top from here. I just hope there's a nice wide plateau.)

(I am NOT over the hill, but I think I can see the top from here. I just hope there's a nice wide plateau.)

Wide and well populated. I can see you too.  :-)
Solder joints aren't necessarily weak at all. It mainly depends on the quality of the junction and the soldering job.

Plumbing solder is in general unsuitable for electronics work and not recommended by anyone I know who knows diddly about electronics and/or does it for a living. We might use it after a nuclear war, but that's about it.
I've never seen cored plumbers solder here, and plumbers flux here is NOT acidic, or at least the traditional rosin flux isn't. The modern "no clean" fluxes seem to be corrosive though
seandogue6 years ago
Solder joints aren't necessarily weak at all. It mainly depends on the quality of the junction and the soldering job.

Plumbing solder is in general unsuitable for electronics work and not recommended by anyone I know who knows diddly about electronics and/or does it for a living. We might use it after a nuclear war, but that's about it.
The traditional electronic solder is the 60/40, a eutectic blend of tin and lead. Plumbers used to use 40/60, a blend which gives a pasty "melt", for the classic sweated joint.

The trouble with all the new solders for electronics is they contain too much tin to melt well at the old temperatures, they don't give classic shiny joints, and we really don't know if they will hold up to long use, without the infamous tin whisker problem.

Tin/lead is still permitted for truly mission critical applications, like aircraft and military electronics.