Solder question?

Lead free solder totally sucks.
It refuses to flow nicely, even when you add a lot of flux.
(but maybe you need dedicated flux for lead free solder?)
Melting point is higher too.
I really hate lead free solder.

A small spade bit (shaped like a flat head screw driver, more or less) can be very useful for soldering wires to the LED board.
It has a bigger surface area at the tip, so it will go faster.
You can push down the wire with it too.
But a pointed tip is more versatile.
Sometimes i put on a sharp pointed tip for SMD parts (on drivers for example).

Weller is good stuff, but it’s expensive.

The Weller WLC100 5-40w was $39 from Amazon. The 5 Pack of Weller tips were $8.

I’m using 60/40 wire.

Now I need to look into this flux stuff you all talk about and see if it will help me.

Nobody here is using lead free.
Are you just sharing your opinion on it?
I think we all agree it sucks and should be avoided.

Conical are not very useful due to their small mass and small contact points. If they don’t perform well enough, you might buy some chisel tips. They have larger mass at the tip and can make better contact.

The wire you have has flux inside it. It burns away quickly so you want to feed the solder/flux into the joint. Having extra flux makes everything flow better and gives nicer performance. The videos I posted explain it.

My satellite internet is to slow for vids. Next time I’m in town I will check them out.
Thank You Jason

I’m having déjà vu. Wierd

Anyway, something you might try when you get wifi access is to download all the videos from YouTube using
I use it all the time to download 720p resolution videos to watch when I’m away from wifi. You get a popup junk page once per video, but it’s no big deal to me.

I’ve been using Kester 44 since the late 60’s. At first, I was using 60/40. Then in the 70’s I switched over SN63 (63/37). SN63 gives a brighter finish than 60/40 from my experience. That being said, I wouldn’t be caught dead using lead-free solder. It sucks big time.

Well, my new Weller will be here Monday directly from The I will give an update on how it does.

I’m debating on unsoldering a couple of the mods I have done in the past week, I’m a perfectionist and the solders are on the ugly side.

Thank You to all and I really appreciate all the great advice.

Adding additional flux will help with that.

Don’t forget “adequate ventilation” is defined, it doesn’t just mean “whatever”

Get a syringe of the translucent flux grease.
Good stuff, smells of pine tree resin. :slight_smile:

Good. :+1:
But sometimes you encounter lead free solder used by the manufacturer of whatever you decide to solder.

Yep, that too. :wink:

Just emphasising it for the solder noobs who may have been persuaded by the ecological and health fear porn.

I think i would be less healthy if i had to use lead free solder.
I’d probably get an ulcer…

There are different brands and formulations of flux. Like with any type of product, there are companies that try to make it cheaper at the expense of quality. So you want to stick to good brands like MG Chemicals, Kester, SRA, etc… if you want good performance.

I’ve tried the syringe applicator and find it a real pain to use. It’s hard to control the amount that comes out and after you set it down it will still be oozing out the end. What I did was find a small air tight container and squirted a bunch in there. Then I use a toothpick to apply just a tiny bit on the joint. Works nicely.
MG Chemicals 8341 No Clean Flux Paste, 10 milliliters Pneumatic Dispenser (Complete with Plunger & Dispensing Tip)

Good flux in a tub. Apply with toothpick:

The flux pens are pretty easy to use and seem the be less messy, but they are more watery and apply less flux to your joint. Still, it does improve the joint.
SRA #312 Soldering Flux Pen Low-Solids, No-Clean 10ml - Refillable

The best flux I have ever used Amtech NC-559-V2 Tacky Flux
Went to tractor supply and picked up a few small syringe’s and dispened some into one. Been using that small syringe for months now and you can barely tell I have used any out of the original. If you pull back on the syringe a little after use, then it doesn’t leak once it sets awhile. It also works better if you file down the beveled tip until its flat. Keeps you from sticking yourself too. :wink:

You don’t want to be like Louis though and and completely drown your components in flux. :smiley:

He has an ultrasonic cleaner to clean his mess, while we don’t.

I can never seem to get the right amount out of a syringe. It’s either too little or too much.

If I didn’t already have some good flux I’d buy that Amtech myself.

Well i have the “Mechanic” brand, and it’s fine.

I put a wooden stick in the back and it works well enough.

Those are usually alcohol solutions and i haven’t been impressed with the liquid fluxes i have tried.

Right, it’s a lot thinner/watery. It’s not the best type of flux, but it does improve the joints. It’s main advantage is its very clean. The thicker type of fluxes work best, but they are a bit messier. I typically use some alcohol on a q-tip to clean up the thicker fluxes. I don’t have to clean the flux pen stuff at all.

So it’s a toss up as to which you prefer. Personally, I prefer having the best quality solder joints possible so I use the thicker stuff and just clean up the residue afterwords. It’s worth the trouble.

The only time I add a little more flux than usual is removing a sense resistor. If I drown the resistor it heats the whole thing and comes off easier. Louis gets a little crazy with the stuff. It does clean off very easy with alcohol, doesn’t hurt to leave it unless it’s on a contact point like the outside ground ring.