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Pb-free soldering


STEVE
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I don't think that anyone has started a topic on this as far as I can see ...

I was just wondering whether anyone had any experience with using lead-free solder yet?

There have been various directives put forward by the European parliament, such as the RoHS (Restriction of certain Hazardous Substances) and WEEE (Waste in Electronics and Electrical Equipment). Basically the lead content in solder is to be reduced to something around 0.1% (current solder contains about 60%).

I have done a little research into the area before but only really on the industrial implications and I'd be interested to see if any of the problems found in industry are such big problems on a smaller scale ...

Let me know if you have had any experiences

Thanks :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I would post the implications of Pb-free soldering I have found on an industrial scale. This is more for interests sake but also to see if anyone has found similar attributes in a more 'domestic' setting.

Issues which can arise are: the flux used; corrosion of equipment; higher soldering temperature considerations (on components, and in industry board sagging) and fillet lifting.

Dependant on the composition of the Pb-free solder the flux may have to be changed to a water or chloride based flux. This new flux can start to corrode the boards after a while if it isn't cleaned off (hot water can clean it off - just make sure you haven't got the board powered up when you clean it!! :o).

Another effect the new solders can have is they can corrode stainless steel. I don't think this would have much effect in the 'domestic' setting, in industry some of the equipment used for wave soldering etc. contain stainless steel parts.

You may have to be careful about raising the temperature too high on your soldering iron incase it starts to damage IC's etc.. In industry they also have to be careful about how high a temperature the boards are heated because they start to sag - too much sag can be bad news.

Fillet lifting is another concern when using the new solder. If you want me to explain what fillet lifting is let me know. Ways to reduce it include: Avoid the use of BISMUTH (Bi) containing alloys; Avoid lead contamination into lead-free alternatives; Increase the cooling rate immediately after soldering.

Like I have said I have only really researched into the industrial implications of Pb-free soldering and I have no experience in the effects for 'domestic' soldering. I'd be very interested to know if anyone comes across any of the problems I have mentioned above.

Thanks ;D

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Let me know if you have had any experiences

Yeah, I tried that lead free solder. I didn't like that at all. While it may be a good idea so far as soldering water lines, it SUX for soldering electronics. Takes too long to melt, too prone to making cold joints, overheats sensitive components. Unless you have a habit of licking your circuit boards, I don't see the point.

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There's still the probelm of discarded electronis on the dump contaminating the ground water. We're currently phasing out lead solder as it will be banned soon. The company I work at won't be affected as we work on MOD contracts I don't think they're bothered about circuit boards on bombs containning lead solder. ;D

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  • 3 months later...

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