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Opinion on a brand of solder wire


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Hi Autir,
Thanks for the reminder, I better stock-up on solder with lead in it too. ;D
I've never heard of your brand, I guess it is not sold here. I use Ersin (I think it is British) because it works very well and I like its smell. I hate Kester (American) because it stinks and its flux splatters maybe because it has air-bubbles in it.

Avoid solder with an acid flux. It is used by plumbers.

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It looks like it is perfect for handsoldering, is very good and is high quality.
Pleasant pine smell? I'm going to get some. I bet it is expensive, but who cares if it is better.

Wait a minute! Its rosin is water (aquious?) soluble. Then it might conduct in high humidity. It would ruin my circuits that use 22M resistors. ;D

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Audioguru hi  :)

The 0.5 kg package costs 10 Euros. I do not know if it is expensive or not, it is the first time I buy solder wire in a large quantity.
It does not seem to be much money because it will last me months. The time needed to correct wrong solders (my soldering skills are still low) is worth it.
Should I stock on this specific quality? Is its only drawback that the solders conduct in high humidity? Will it be ok for circuits which are going to stay indoors? Can't I insulate the board with the special enamel spray afterwards?

What is this "no clean" feature anyway?  ???

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Jarmund hi
(familiar name... hmmm....)  ::)

The typical solder we use today is an alloy of approximately 60% tin and 40% lead (Pb). This alloy has a low melting point (about 250 C ? ), so we are able to solder with ease and speed. Its only drawback is that lead is an extremely poisonous substance. After the summer of 2006 solder material on sale will be required to be absolutely pb-free. It will have a higher melting point, thus resulting in more "cold" solders, damaged ICs (from the extra heat required to make the solder), etc. Not to mention that the new alloys will contain a small percentage of silver, so their value will be much higher.

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Guest 1st Mil-Tech

The best solder to use is 63/37 Eutectic Solder. It has a lower melting point than other electronic solders and doesn't have to be cleaned. The core of the solder is pine pitch also called sap. It is not conductive and does not retain moisture, if you need to clean it use Isopropyl Alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol. Alpha metals is OK but there are better ones. Alpha reliacore 15 is a good one. Kester Solder is another.

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The solder wire is perfect  8)
It produces a very small amount of fumes, which do not smell at all. It does not "spit" burning hot drops all over my arms, and the solders are the shiniest I have ever done. A pleasant change from my old cheap solder wire. I have assembled my second circuit using this solder and a 25W Weller, and the results were more than perfect (for a person's second circuit, that is  ;D )
I have read about the 63/37 chemical properties, and I will look if I can find something similar in the same brand / product line.
1st Mil-Tech, can I use alcohol for the cleaning of the PCB? audioguru said that the resin is water soluble and it may cause problems.

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Guest 1st Mil-Tech

Yes you can use Alcohol, it isn't derimental to most electronic parts. If you use water soluable flux you may encounter problems with using water as a rinse (getting into components and causing shorts, rust, etc.)

Alcohol will absorb any moisture and leaves no residue.

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Some general information about fluxes, compiled from multiple sources...

Flux is an acidic material that is designed to clean oxides from the solder joint and help transfer heat to the solder joint. In general, there are four categories of flux.

    * Clean (RA): Your traditional flux. Has a highly activated rosin core.
    * Clean (RMA): Another traditional type of flux, RMA has more acidic content.
    * No-Clean: By far the most common in today's marketplace. There is less flux per volume in wire core solder. No-Clean flux has weaker acid than RMA.
    * OA (Aqueous): The acid in OA flux is organic or semi-organic and more active than the acid found in RMA flux.

Flux will affect your solder joint quality.

    * Clean (RA or Rosin Activated) flux is highly acidic, but provides instant wetting action, even for difficult to solder metals such as nickel. Leaves residues which can be corrosive if not cleaned and has been known to cause board contamination because of splatter. Higher smoke and caustic odor. Recommended to use RMA or No-clean flux solder instead.
    * Clean (RMA or Rosin Mildly Activated) flux is more acidic. Provides wetting action comparable to typical RA fluxes. It leaves heavy residue that needs to be cleaned off the PCB. Lower smoke and odor than RA flux. Pure (99% or greater) Isopropyl Alcohol is the recommended cleaner. Anhydrous (literally meaning "without water") isopropyl alcohol is a non-ODS solvent typically used for removal of partical contamination and inorganic films such as salts, fingerprints, polar soils, white mineral residue, and highly activated fluxes. Parts usually meet dielectric tests immediately after cleaning. Pure Isopropyl Alcohol meets all current Mil-Spec requirements. Rubbing alcohol is typically approximately 1/3rd water by volume and can be used, but is not recommended over Pure Isopropyl.
    * No-Clean flux leaves much less residue. After light touch-up with No-Clean, cleaning is not necessary. No-Clean also offers improved wetting capabilities and "cosmetics". If you use No-Cleans, you must lower your tip temperatures. High temperatures will flash No-Cleans right off the board. Smoking varies by brand and odor is typically mild.
    * OA (Organically Activated or Aqueous) flux is highly active and water-soluble. Typically used where there are hazardous waste restrictions or when trying to solder difficult metals. Optimal cleanability with minimal smoke and odor. Tip temperatures used are typically lower even than with No-clean fluxes.
Flux greatly affects your solder tip life.

    * RMA flux is much better for the solder tip. It stays on the tip longer due to its gummy consistency. While soldering, RMA core solder wire will cover the tip and protect it from oxidation.
    * No-Clean flux is much worse for your solder tip. It burns off right away, and there's less of it. Therefore, the tip will oxidize faster.

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