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Help finding right/good solder
Old 9th September 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Help finding right/good solder

Greetings All,
Not sure where to post this, hope it's ok here....

So, I have decided to start making my own cables after rewiring pickups and knobs with success.

I have read so much recently that frankly, I am more lost then when I started reading.
I am making some XLR to TRS cables and a few TRS patch cables....a variety of home studio stuff. I have even purchased nice connectors and Mogami cable....GOING ALL OUT! lol
Ok, finally my question.....what is the right solder to buy...good solder to buy?
Getting lost in the hype I have found Mundorf gold solder but there is no way I can afford using this. I have read that it is best to use some type of silver solder or certain blends.
So what in the world do I need? Is cheap Radio Shack solder just fine? What kind of solder am I looking for that does a good job?
Thanks for any help.
Old 9th September 2012
  #2
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nomoreflakes's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Don't know where you are but I can highly recommend this. Flows well, low melting point, nice to work with.

WBT 4% Silver Solder WBT0800 - 42g spool, Silver Solder
Old 9th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Ike Zimbel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
For your application, the RS solder should be just fine. The important thing for electronics soldering is to use stuff that is pretty thin. I've seen folks try to solder with plumbing solder, which is huge, and wrong. A 60/40 or 63/37 rosin core or "no-clean" flux type solder is what you need.
Best,
Ike
Old 9th September 2012
  #4
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Lotus 7's Avatar
Kester 60/40 in 0.031 diameter for connector wiring. It's small enough that it can be inserted into connector solder cups to pre-tin them. Plain old 60/40 flows better then the 4%Ag tin/lead/silver versions and is a little easier to use. A one lb. spool will last for years if you're only doing connector soldering. The 0.062 size is cheaper, but won't fit into smaller size connector pins.

My very favorite solder (quick, smooth flowing, and quick tinning) is Ersin Multicore. (0.028 inch size) It's difficult to find in the US but seems to be available in Great Britain. It's by far the best I've ever used. It seems to have a better rosin flux and leaves less flux residue, while still tinning quickly.
Old 9th September 2012
  #5
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sameal's Avatar
as much as i hate to admit this, or even support this....


I've used the rat-shack thin solder for everything I've ever done. amazingly it may be the only thing left in radio shack that works and is worth buying.

be prepared to be bombarded with offers on already-dead batteries and bend-you-over cell phone contracts however. it's like being a bleeding lamb in a room full of wolves or walking onto a used car lot with those deer in headlights eyes.

run in, grab the solder, throw your cash at the register and run back out. nothing else in there is worth your time I'm afraid.
Old 9th September 2012
  #6
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
63/37 rosin core is "best" IMHO because it is specially formulated to pass from the liquid state to the solid state with almost no time spent in the "plastic" state. In practical terms, this means that you are less likely to have a "cold" solder joint as a result from any movement of the wire or connector while the solder joint cools.

+1 for sameal's warning about RatShack. When I go into one of their storefronts, the sales-drones descend on me and ask "can I help you find something?" I have found the best response is to tell them exactly what you came for because chances are they have no clue what it is (or where it is), leaving you to shop in peace. Then, of course you must find one of them to come back to the register and take your money, but they are all buzzing around the door waiting to descend on the next clueless customer. :-(
Old 9th September 2012
  #7
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Ike Zimbel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm sure the RS solder is just some name brand stuff rebranded for them.
Best,
Ike
Old 9th September 2012
  #8
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superwack's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I just wired a bunch of cables, snakes, parchbays etc - hundreds of connections - and bought some Kester for the job... It was great but when I ran out with about 10-15% left to do, I switched to the RS 63/47 I had and found no difference in usability or quality
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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Lotus 7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrowley ➑️
...
+1 for sameal's warning about RatShack. When I go into one of their storefronts, the sales-drones descend on me and ask "can I help you find something?" I have found the best response is to tell them exactly what you came for because chances are they have no clue what it is (or where it is), leaving you to shop in peace. Then, of course you must find one of them to come back to the register and take your money, but they are all buzzing around the door waiting to descend on the next clueless customer. :-(
And somehow it's true of every RS store you find in any city. I have 5 or 6 within a 10 mile radius and the personnel turnover is unbelievable as is their total lack of knowledge about anything electronic. Every time you enter one the sales people are seemingly all new faces unless you come back in a week and then the last rookie salesperson will now be the store manager.

A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal had a short article about how RS's latest business plan is to shift away from component sales and to try to become an outlet for smart phone Apps. Better stock up on that RS solder because it soon may become an "antique collectible".
Old 9th September 2012
  #10
Gear Addict
 
Scott003's Avatar
Was using 60/40 flux and just got a coil of thin 4% ag stuff, it works well enough. Lol eBay shopping for NOS solder
Old 9th September 2012
  #11
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Any recommendations for lead-free solder?
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
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sameal's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus 7 ➑️
And somehow it's true of every RS store you find in any city. I have 5 or 6 within a 10 mile radius and the personnel turnover is unbelievable as is their total lack of knowledge about anything electronic. Every time you enter one the sales people are seemingly all new faces unless you come back in a week and then the last rookie salesperson will now be the store manager.

A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal had a short article about how RS's latest business plan is to shift away from component sales and to try to become an outlet for smart phone Apps. Better stock up on that RS solder because it soon may become an "antique collectible".
it doesn't surprise me in the least. they have been making this move for years now. slowly cutting back on anything useful to us audio folk. which i thought was what got them here in the first place. maybe it was the hams....

on that note, I'll be happy to purchase my solder elsewhere. they had me by the balls for sheer convenience, but even that is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

definitely tell them the component your after or ask whether it will work. they scatter like roaches!
Old 10th September 2012
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Scott003's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLilley ➑️
Any recommendations for lead-free solder?
The stuff I mentioned is "lead free solder" from RS, 94 sn 4 ag, .06"
Old 10th September 2012
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Ah ok, thanks; the mention of 60/40 got me confused.
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomoreflakes ➑️
Don't know where you are but I can highly recommend this. Flows well, low melting point, nice to work with.

WBT 4% Silver Solder WBT0800 - 42g spool, Silver Solder
I'm in the states.
Old 10th September 2012
  #16
Gear Head
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Thanks all for the help. Looks like I have plenty of good advice.
Old 10th September 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I use the American Terminal stuff that pops up on Amazon. Cheap, 4oz should last longer than you'll need (that's what I've gotten so far). I like it, seems to melt fairly easily. I didn't have any problems with the RS solder that came with my first iron (RS iron).

When I go to RS (there's only one near me with a half-decent selection of stuff, 1/8" connectors, battery holders, etc) I just walk right by the sales people. At first I felt like a dick, since I was just sorta blowing them off, just waving and carrying on. But after asking one of them for some help once, I realized they had no idea where anything non-phone related was. Not their fault, I'm sure 10K resistors don't get much attention as opposed to iPhones and cases. Now they just say hi when I come in, I'm usually there for just one or two things that are easily found, and then ring me up. Nice to have em trained =P
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLilley ➑️
Any recommendations for lead-free solder?
Don't.

Unless you are selling commercial products in Europe and it is required by law. Otherwise, lead-free solder is more difficult to use, requires higher temperatures (more danger of damaging components) and carries its own long-term risks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrowley ➑️
Don't.

Unless you are selling commercial products in Europe and it is required by law. Otherwise, lead-free solder is more difficult to use, requires higher temperatures (more danger of damaging components) and carries its own long-term risks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)
+1 doesn't flow well either, at least the stuff I had didn't. It was MG 2% silver and lead-free. Threw it away...
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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Lotus 7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrowley ➑️
Don't.

Unless you are selling commercial products in Europe and it is required by law. Otherwise, lead-free solder is more difficult to use, requires higher temperatures (more danger of damaging components) and carries its own long-term risks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)
It seems the manufacturers are still "finding their way" and are constantly changing the formulation by adding more and more additional metals to the alloy mix. In several "mission critical" applications, specifically aerospace and medical diagnostic and monitoring equipment in the US, the very high tin content lead-free solder is absolutely banned.

I've tried a couple of brands and so far have not found any that are usable for my work.

If used with adaquate ventilation, tin/lead solder is perfectly safe for the user. I've been using it for decades and have breathed plenty of lead fumes and my I.Q has only dropped by 50 or 60 points and I can still usually remember my name on a good day. Now what was the subject?
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLilley ➑️
Any recommendations for lead-free solder?
Radioshack lead free silver solder is good if you need something local

WBT Lead Free SILVER SOLDER (3.8%)

CARDAS TRI EUTECTIC Silver Solder

You can find the WBT and Cardas on ebay at low quantities.

For higher volume I like Kester 275 - good price/performance and no clean flux
Old 11th September 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Hi
The actual solder you use is largely immaterial although some formulations and brands are a little more 'novice friendly'.
You SHOULD be using lead free although I have been very happy with 'added lead' for 45 years. Mental note, stop eating the solder.
Learning the technique of soldering is far more important than the type.
Matt S
Old 11th September 2012
  #23
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Lead-free solder is far more difficult for a novice to use. Even with decades of experience, I still avoid it whenever possible.

I am still waiting to see actual data showing that lead leaching from electronic waste is responsible for ANY kind of "pollution". The entire exercise appears to be a knee-jerk political exercise completely absent any demonstrated cause and effect.
Old 11th September 2012
  #24
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I use Kester 245 63/37 .031. Got a lifetime supply off of Ebay at a very reasonable price.
Old 11th September 2012
  #25
Gear Addict
 
Scott003's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrowley ➑️
Lead-free solder is far more difficult for a novice to use. Even with decades of experience, I still avoid it whenever possible.

I am still waiting to see actual data showing that lead leaching from electronic waste is responsible for ANY kind of "pollution". The entire exercise appears to be a knee-jerk political exercise completely absent any demonstrated cause and effect.
No doubt, lotsa minor **** is swept up in regulation. My school had a radioactive source, but new regs meant it'd be somewhere around 600 g's a year to keep it somewhere else, so... But what can be done.

I got lead-free and figured itd also be better if I wasn't inhaling lead vapors
Old 12th September 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Once you get used to lead free it's not that big of a deal. The WBT lead free might be a bit easier for people due to its lower melting point.
Old 13th September 2012
  #27
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sameal's Avatar
back in my day we had lead in the paint and we liked it!
Old 13th September 2012
  #28
Gear Addict
 
Scott003's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sameal ➑️
back in my day we had lead in the paint and we liked it!
Haha! I'm but 22 and I've inhaled my share of lead fumes and asbestos
Old 13th September 2012
  #29
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Well, being in PA will do that to a person, won't it! Pretty soon you'll have so much natural gas in your water that you won't care about lead...
Old 14th September 2012
  #30
Gear Addict
 
Scott003's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakrum ➑️
Well, being in PA will do that to a person, won't it! Pretty soon you'll have so much natural gas in your water that you won't care about lead...
Yea f'real! I keep reading about these trends toward cheap natural gas and it's like uhhhhh.... Fracking caused a series of earthquakes in OH I read, bad news bears..

But I digest. Lead fumes prob wouldn't do damage that's not already done Lawl. But I do dig the lead free stuff, even without the flux or rosin core
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