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#3511 - 06/09/02 03:15 PM Soldering
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
I've recently tried using some lead free solder for my connections (banana plug/wire) and i've had a bit of trouble getting the 10ga wire to take. Even getting the wire tinned is somewhat problematic.
The solder is a 97/3 tin/copper mix.
I know it has a melting point higher than that of standard tin/lead mixes (about 215C vs. 180C) but my soldering gun is a Weller 25W which should hit well above this temp. I refuse to use lead solder lest our environment be continued to be pummeled by heavy metal contamination.

Has anyone else used this lead free solder?
Any tips or thoughts?

_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#3512 - 06/14/02 03:15 AM Re: Soldering
Randyman Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/29/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
Wow!
Not too many folks ask questions like this. As an old fan of soldering just about anything - I would make a few suggstions.

First - 10 gage wire is pretty heavy - and thus it's ability to conduct heat AWAY from the soldering point is pretty good.

Second - A 25W iron ISN"T all that great for soldering big stuff. Do you have access to a Weller gun? that has 125 to 150W? (perhaps you had a typo at 25W) If so that should clear up your problem.

Third - Some wire has a "coating" on it that makes it more difficult to "tin" it prior to soldering. You may need to spread and flatten it out and scrape it with a sharp blade in order to expose the bare copper - so that you can tin it.

Well, thats about all I can think of right now.

Let us know how it turns out!

Randyman

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#3513 - 06/14/02 10:26 AM Re: Soldering
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
Ah finally a kind soul. I had almost forgot i put this post out there.

Randyman, the 10ga is heavy and YES conducts heat quite well away from tip of the wire.

Second, i do not have access to a Weller gun, just the solder 'pen' 25W. My father has done a ton of soldering in his day (everything from building houses to owning a Radio Shack) and he said he's never used anything but a regular 25W pen. It has taken me some practice but ya, if i spent the extra $80 i imagine a gun would probably have heated the area more effectively more quickly.

Third, i will give the scraping a try next time. The companies probably use an oil based anti-oxidant compound which i may also be able to remove with some isopropanol. THanks for the tip.

I'll let you know how it goes.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#3514 - 06/19/02 04:09 AM Re: Soldering
Randyman Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/29/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
chesseroo
FYI
Saw a 75W Weller gun at Lowes for less than $20 (US)
No I don't work there - just thought I would pass that along.

HEY! You can NEVER have too mant tools!
(I have one gun and 3 different size irons)

Randyman

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#3515 - 06/19/02 10:23 AM Re: Soldering
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
I've been to 3 stores here in canada and no one carries the Weller guns. I can get a nice Mastercraft gun for about $80 Cdn but that really is getting kinda pricey just to solder a couple of banana plugs. It's not like i do this for a living or ever will do much soldering again once these plugs are finished.
Not one of my neighbors is a damn electrician though...

I do still wonder if the solder would take any better using the gun instead of the wand. Do you find with 12ga wire and soldering that the gun vs. the wand is any easier (i.e. melts easier)?

Do you think you could do a comparison for me, i'm curious to know. Keep in mind i'm also using a lead free solder which melts about 30C higher than lead stuff.


Edited by chesseroo (06/19/02 10:39 AM)
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#3516 - 06/19/02 05:07 PM Re: Soldering
Randyman Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/29/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
chesseroo
Did some on line checking. Here is the best I could find. Still more than the in store price at Lowes. Least expensive is the 7200PK model. (75W)

http://www.action-electronics.com/weguns.htm

http://209.15.35.110/solderin.htm

http://www.sacelec.com/cooper/solderingguns.html

Not sure what else to say about this. Having the right amount of heat is critical (obviously) but too much melts the insulation - or anything else nearby!!!

What I find is that the gun heats up quicker - ( and its important to keep the tip clean) but works best only for bigger stuff. You would NEVER use a gun anywhere near small descrete components (without a heat sink) or ICs.

Most all solder produced today is lead free - and yes it has a higher melting point, but a proper iron/gun should be able to make the extra heat needed. For soldering 12 ga wire, I would always use my gun rather than a smaller iron.

I think we have pretty much exhausted this subject eh???

Randyman


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#3517 - 06/19/02 05:33 PM Re: Soldering
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
That should be all the info i need.

However, i do believe soldering is really an art. I've heard of this friend of a friend who fires off a soldered banana plug and 12ga wire in about a minute or two. Now that doesn't sound too amazing until you see how SMALL the banana plug is that he uses!!
Holy crap. This thing is wayyy tiny. I have no clue whatsoever how he gets that large a wire rolled tight enough to fit.
It is truly an art.

I just need to keep practicing.

Just offhand though, almost all of the solder i've come across so far is still the 60/40 lead/tin mixes. In fact, i had to order online for lead free stuff if you can believe it! (97/3 tin/copper for electronics)
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#3518 - 06/19/02 05:44 PM Re: Soldering
Randyman Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/29/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
hmmm...
maybe I'm still using the old lead based solder stuff - and don't know it.

Perhaps that is why I can't remember what I soldered the day after I did it! And I just thought it was alzheimers!
HA!!!

Randyman

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