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Old 02-21-2010, 04:40 PM   #35 (permalink)
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"Watch out for that open manhole cover!" "I didn't see that, thanks". This topic is how to reliably solder with lead-free solder. Don't take it as negative, if I point out the pitfalls. What can I do to make a reliable PCB? Well, the only positive step, is to learn to solder. Can you learn that here by reading? If you stick-weld, you know reading doesn't make you a welder. It's an art. A skill. You have to learn a skill. If I told you how to solder, and you thought you were a skilled solderer, I would be doing you harm. you"re free to buy the kit a posted. I don't know the first thing about the kit, but I have faith. You can get scap PCB's and practice, and if you want, you can mail me your efforts and I will call you back with any comments. It's safer to take the long route, than jump right in and solder Pauls kit. This isn't negative about being a first-time solderer. I recommend you learn, and then jump in with confidence! Now, the pitfalls to watch out for in lead-free soldering: When you are a Newbie, you might keep the iron on the joint longer than an old-timer, looking for wetting. Learn wetting on a junk PCB. Semiconductors don't like a lot of heat. The diode MBR60l45CTG, which is typical, says "lead temperature for soldering purposes: 260 C for 10 seconds. The typical iron temp. for lead solder is 700 F. The typical temp. for lead-free is 750 F. which is 400 C. Jfitzpat mentioned that the Radio Shack lead-free solder has no-clean flux. This flux is a slight compromise on performance, at the expense of being "invisible" Actually, it is only transparent! BUT, my experience has been that if you heat it too much (and SUPPOSED to know what I'M doing!) it turns very dark brown, and nearly insoluble in anything short of AQUA REGIA! (just kidding) I recommend rosin flux, and don't clean.
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