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Easiest solder to use and clean?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next [all]
Author Easiest solder to use and clean?
megaohm
dude wrote:
newb q: if i keep cleaning the tip, how do i keep the layer of solder that is prescribed on the tip as well?


Always keep a layer of solder on your tip.
After you wipe apply some solder instantly.
cornutt
bubblesound wrote:
2. and make sure your tip is very clean at the end of the day. this stuff will eat through tips.


That's one reason I keep some 44 around... after a session with 331, I tin the tip with 44 before I shut the iron off. Haven't had any abnormal tip wear.
dude
does anybody know another place besides mouser who carries the 245/331 combo? there is month lead times on em. should i just buy them anyways and wait or is there a quicker solution?
itijik
dude wrote:
does anybody know another place besides mouser who carries the 245/331 combo? there is month lead times on em. should i just buy them anyways and wait or is there a quicker solution?

I got mine on amazon for a bit cheaper than mouser. It is through a third party, but it shipped to me pretty quick. Let me get the links...

here they are:
http://www.amazon.com/Kester-No-Clean-Core-Solder-Spool/dp/B00068IJOU
http://www.amazon.com/Kester-Organic-Core-Solder-Spool/dp/B00068IJY0/

I looked for different diameters, but no go.
dude
awesome! the good shit ordered. anybody got a lead on a lead bender like this?

i would get that one but it doesn't nearly meet the order min.
dude
does anybody have a good list of parts that can and can't be washed after using the 331? i knew my resistors are safe (at least i hope so), but i didn't go any further despite the fun for fear of damage due to ignorance. where is the line to go from 331 to 245?
daverj
Most electro-mechanical parts can't be washed. (some are sealed and say washable on their data sheet). Things like trimpots, trimcaps, pots, switches, connectors, relays, buzzers, etc... Some crystals and ceramic resonators can be washed, some not. Check their data sheet.

IC sockets are tricky. They can be washed, but even the slightest residue left on the contacts can cause bad connections.

Jacks are another tricky one. Even though residue left from washing might be able to be scraped off of the contacts by a plug going in and out a few times, residue that gets onto an internal switched contact might not go away.

Most ICs and passive parts can be washed, though certain types of caps might have the wrong value for days afterwards.
dude
fuck, hope didn't fuck up my resistors!

thanks.
daverj
Fixed resistors are no problem. They are part of the "passives" group that I mentioned can be washed.

Sealed trimpots can survive quite well. Open ones not so much. Same for sealed pots vs open ones.
sduck
What I've got on this pcb in front of me is a pretty good guide - it's got all it's washable components soldered in. So far it's got all the resistors, caps, diodes (except for the big GE glass diodes - I'm not sure about them, so they wait), transistors, power connector, and IC sockets. I use the gold plated IC sockets (only a few cents more per) because they won't corrode, and have better connections as the gold's a bit more malleable. Polystyrene film caps - the clear plastic ones - I've read that they are generally not washable, although I have without problem on occasion.

What daverj said is all correct - I'd trust his judgement over mine any day. Just to be safe I don't wash any trimpots.

The timing with my builds is such that after my final wash, the pcb has several days to several weeks before it's finished and power is applied, so if any moisture got into any places it shouldn't have it'll have a chance to dry anyway. Also, I've read that it's a good idea to do the final rinse after the final wash with distilled water, to minimize and mineral buildups - although that sounds pretty anal, it's not a bad idea, and I do it.
Bricks
I just got some 331 and it is really great! My solder work is getting pretty good.

I'm just trying to decide to convince myself I'm good to wash these stackable headers I have to solder to my pcbs. I figure they'll dry eventually, and I don't plan to use them for a few weeks anyway. But they're basically tiny pockets where moisture could probably hang out for a while
landrobot
total DIY noob here.

Is the lead-free solder okay to use for basic circuit board soldering? My wife is a doctor and doesn't want to be around excess lead in the house. sad banana anything else I should know the lead-free stuff or a brand better than others?
Enginear
landrobot wrote:
total DIY noob here.

Is the lead-free solder okay to use for basic circuit board soldering? My wife is a doctor and doesn't want to be around excess lead in the house. sad banana anything else I should know the lead-free stuff or a brand better than others?


It would appear that you never received an answer to your question. Here goes - probably a bit late I know, but anyway...

Your wife is a doctor and wants to avoid lead. She has an issue here! Medical equipment is one of the groups of equipment excluded from the RoHS (lead-Free) guidelines. So every piece of medical electronics she sees has leaded components and lead solder in it. Two of the other groups excluded are aerospace and military.

So why might that be? Well the same reason I would advise a newbie against using lead-free solder. Its much harder to get good joints with it. In fact, many of the conditions I was taught to look out for as unsatisfactory joints are par for the course with lead free boards.

And the long term reliability is a huge unknown, hence no usage in Medical, military or aerospace.

Anyway, hope that - somewhat belatedly - answers your question.
cleaninglady
I know this is a bit of a long shot but i need to know...i have made every PCB over the past two years without ever washing anything. oops

Mostly the PCB's have been later Rev. CGS boards or even more recent style boards with masking on both sides so the only exposed parts of the tracks are the pads.

What am i to expect in the future. Is the unremoved flux going to eat through my PCB's ? seriously, i just don't get it
sduck
Depends what kind of solder you used.
wsy
sduck wrote:
Depends what kind of solder you used.


Indeed. And if you're not using paste solder (but something like Kestar 282 thin
wire 66 flux) then there may well be no need to clean the flux *at all*. I've got stuff
I built from that same roll of solder 15 years ago and it's still just fine and it's
never had the flux removed.

At the lab we use solder paste and that can usually use a wash with FluxOff but
that's only because of the superfine pitches on the SMDs; if we miss soldering
a joint, then the Fluxoff removes the paste and it's really obvious what we did
wrong under the microscope during inspection.

IMHO, lead-free solder is useful only for disposable electronics; the whiskering
phenomenon is still out of control (i.e. Sony receiver, 4 years old, died from whiskers.
Reheating EVERY SINGLE CONNECTION to melt the whiskers brought it back 100%).

So if you want your modules to still work in 20 years (which isn't unreasonable)
use the lead based solder with a rosin core (NOT ACID!!! THAT IS IMPORTANT!),
and mitigate by gently ventilate the work area to outdoors with a slow
fan, and wash your hands and work surfaces after every use. And do NOT eat
or smoke while soldering. Of course, if you're in the EU you may not have the option
to use lead based solder any more, in which case remember that you may have
whiskering shorting out those unobtainium Curtis chips in 5 to 10 years and
that's gonna suck but there's no way aorund it.

Good luck!

- Bill
thetwlo
sduck wrote:

I use Kester 331 (mouser part 533-24-6337-6401) for soldering basic parts .
And then Kester 245 (mouser part 533-24-6337-8800) for everything else.
These are the kinds that both Paul Schreiber of MOTM and John Blacet of blacet supply with their kits.


EXACTLY!!! makes it EASY!!
cleaninglady
sduck wrote:
Depends what kind of solder you used.


We'll most of the time a Rosin Core 60/40 by Duratech (through Jaycar in Australia) but unfortunately made my entire BOG and MARSH PCB sets with some cheap ass stuff from China on ebay. Dull joints galore really hard to work with.
raisinbag
I have been using radio shack 60/40 rosin flux solder forever, and feel silly that I have never heard about cleaning the board before. I have not had a problem, but after reading all this, I think I will try to get a hold of water sol. flux and no clean.

I have been looking around interweb at cleaning etc. I was wondering if people who are using old school rosin solder have good results cleaning off rosin flux with 99% alcohol? I'm itching to build up a bunch of stuff in front in front of me, but would obviously want to have it work for a long time.
raisinbag
has anyone used this solder from MG chemicals? I can get water sol and no clean. http://www.mgchemicals.com/products/solder.html I can get locally, which is a major SlayerBadger!
cleaninglady
I'm curious to know about the corrosive properties of the flux and if more modern boards are immune to this due to the masking on both sides.

Can anyone shed light on this ?
raisinbag
Ok so I got a pound of 331 and a pound of 245. This should last for a life time! Thanks for the great advice.

Now my other modules are made with ratshack rosin core, so if you were me, would you take these pcbs and clean the with alcohol? Or can anyone recommend what to clean old rosin off the board with, if 99% alcohol isnt going to do the trick. I assume I should use a tooth brush or soft metal wire brush, use the appropriate cleaner and get as much residue off as possible without ruining any components.
Thanks.
decaying.sine
331/245 here.

However, I was getting a little frustrated with CGS boards using the 331 and was not getting the nice flow I wanted. I bought this rosin flux gel at radio shack. Now I am using that on everything. I paint on a thin layer and use it with 245. It produces the best flow I have ever achieved and beautiful looking smooth, bright joints (top and bottom for through hole).

That's interesting to hear about rosin trapping moisture. My assumption is that is only with boards that are not cleaned extremely well. I use 91% isopropyl alcohol for 3-4 good scrubs top and bottom. Then I soak the entire board immersed in isopropyl alcohol, agitated and scrubbing, around 10 minutes. Rinse one more time afterwords and there is no rosin residue, at least to the naked eye.

I am wondering if there are microscopic droplets of rosin that remain and this would cause the moisture problem even after scrubbing? Any thoughts on that?
decaying.sine
I guess I do have a stereo microscope somewhere at work so I could check out a close up after a good washing.
raisinbag
Haha maybe you can use a jerk crossfader to switch between eyes with the stereo mic(roscope).

Anyway I'm all freaked out about all the crap I have built over the years pooching out on me. I don't really want to take it back to resistors and caps, and am hoping if I clean a board a week I can clean it all up with alcohol and a scrub. I mostly have guitar pedals, as the synth thing is kinda the new thing for me, so luckily I haven't got myself into too much trouble.

Ha let me know what you see with your scope. I think you make new things to add to your giant list. razz
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