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Solder: 60/40 vs 63/37

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KR2D, Dec 10, 2011.

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  1. KR2D

    KR2D Ham Member QRZ Page

    My son asked Santa for his very own 1 pound spool of Kester 44 for Christmas. Both of us have only used 60/40, so we have no direct experience with 63/37. Is there any benefit to 63/37 over 60/40?

    This is for general purpose hobby use. He is into audio equipment, so it would be used for connectors, printed circuit boards, point-to-point wiring, etc.
  2. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the eutectic is over-blown. I've used both for many years and have not noticed any difference.

    Just don't get the lead-free junk.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  3. KD8DEY

    KD8DEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    For years Kester 44 (60/40) has been the stuff that others are judged against. Buy him 2 spools :) 1 standard diameter for general purpose wiring etc along with one of the the smaller diameter spools for ease of control (not gob up a couple of nearby pads.....)

    A butane iron would be a nice addition for soldering speaker wires "out in the field" (they also come with little blow torch tips that work fine for heat shrink and are refilled with common butane lighter fuel.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  4. KA9UCN

    KA9UCN Ham Member QRZ Page

    In my opinion and yours may be different. 63/37 has a very limited plastic range. I find it questionably better on a printed PCB were you want to get in and out in minimal time. Only then and only rarely I find it better than 60/40.
    I like the 60/40 in all most every application. It flows better and becomes a solid during cooling more consistently . As I said it is just my opinion but I have 1 role of 63/37 on the back of the bench and several roles of 60/40 in reach.
  5. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    You mean you can even FIND solder containing Pb (Lead?) WOW! Buy what you can (preferably 60%Tin, 40% Lead, or 60/40, a QST article notwithstanding [before their correction.]) while 60/40 is still available, at slightly less than the price of Gold, and becomes Unobtanium.
  6. KB3LIX

    KB3LIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Contrary to the others,
    I would stick with the eutectic 63/37.
    The idea behind the 63/37 is that it goes directly from liquid
    to solid. The plastic state is virtually non-existant.

    I use ONLY 63/37.
  7. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Radio Shack has lead solder and it's great stuff. I think it is really Kester 60/40.
  8. W8JI

    W8JI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've tried it all, and the 60/40 with wrap 2 or 3 (activated flux 2% or 3%) is where I keep landing.
  9. W2BBQ

    W2BBQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    NEITHER !!!

    C'mon guys, git wit this century will ya? [​IMG]

    Try the 2% Silver Bearing electrical solder. For goodness' sakes Radio Shack even sells it although in a small roll - small diameter. I bought a 1 pound roll of 2% on eBay a few years ago, use it all the time and no where near 1/4 used yet. I hope it's a 10 year + supply for me.

    The silver bearing flows easier, sticks better and is a better electrical connection than any non-silver. Give it a'll never use anything else.

    If I can read the tiny print on this label, what I have is Kester Tin 62 Lead 36 Silver 2 Diameter .031 Catalog # 24-7150-7402

    Good luck
  10. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    One of the clubs I belong to has there meetings at St. Thomas collage , along with there club and each meeting we have guest speakers talk about things that may interest the members .
    A couple meetings ago , the Prof of the electronics lab talked about solder , in the power point there were many , I do not remember , about 20 or alloys of solder and his main point was to use the 63/37 because of being plastic for so short of time .

  11. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The 63 / 37 is the Eutectic (lowest melting point) for Tin / Lead alloy.
    With the Tin?Lead eutectic there is NO plastic state/phase between solid and liquid.
    SO, cold solder joints are less likely for the begineer.

    The 60/40 is standard formulation used for decades (strength versus melting temperature),
    has a slightly shiny solid state -- when compared to 63/37 alloy.
    It does have a "Plastic state" range of about 10 degrees -- if joint is moved during this phase - a cold solder joint results.

    There are advantages to some solder alloys (Tin, Lead, Silver, etc.) for higher melting temperatures, strengths, etc.

    IF you are using QUALITY soldering stations (Weller EC, TECP, WS series; Hakko 936 or new 888) you will likely not see
    many differences in usage.
    However, IF you are using bargain bin stick irons (NO temeprature control of tip) -- then soldering is very depedent on your skills and experience.
    This is where the novices and apprentices in electronics fail in the repair work that I have examined / reviewed.
    The R/C hobby; audiophiles/guitar amplifier hobby were full of bad examples and techniques -- however the Internet is slowly educating those markets
    and they are moving to crimp connectors to avoid the education / "learn skills" time.

  12. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you do a lot of surface mount stuff, you probably want to use the eutectic, but I generally use whatever happens to be in the shack.

    Have you ever thought about how they get the flux inside rosin core solder? It must be harder than getting striped toothpaste inside the tube!

  13. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very long thin drill? (I know how it is done)

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  14. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Care to share?
  15. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm sure this is how it must be done, by conventional wire-drawing techniques.

    They make a solid solder billet, guessing maybe 6" dia by a foot long. Drill (or cast) the holes and fill with paste. Draw down in the machine, which runs the billet thru progressively smaller dies or rollers, squeezing th solder ever smaller and longer.

    The holes and paste just go along with the process.

    Check WIKI enter "wire drawing"

    Unless someone has a better explanation. (Hey, mine might not be right, but it is cheap)

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  16. KR2D

    KR2D Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the opinions! Pretty much what I thought, there isn't a compelling reason to choose one over the other. I'll just go with the 60/40 - I've been using it for decades myself.

    My son (age 22) has good soldering skills, I taught him when he was 9 years old, and he does some soldering for part of his job (60/40 there, too). Biggest problem is he keeps taking my stuff and not putting it back right away. That's why he got is own Hakko 936 last year, and will get his own solder this year. A DMM is also on the list. God knows where my Phillips screwdrivers have all gone. The kid has his own, but still takes mine when he can't find his.
  17. KL7SG

    KL7SG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Regarding the lead free solder, if a person gets bored, he should google "tin whiskers".

    There are many good articles on tin whisker growth.

    We don't use it on aircraft as it is the cause of many radio failures.
  18. KD4HNC

    KD4HNC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ron, as far as I know about this alloy variation is in how the solder cools back into a solid. various alloys of tin/lead go through what is referred to as a plastic stage as it solidifies. Cold solder joints happen as a result of vibration while the solder set up into a solid. Only the alloy 63/37 does not have a plastic stage. It therefore goes directly from a liquid to a solid in the cooling process. It is more brittle, & it suffers less from cold solder joint when used in mass soldering machines. Other than that, the solder is the same. The other last thing to consider is buy new solder. Older solder contained high concentrations of Lead isotope that was very poisonous. Bill kd4hnc
  19. W8JI

    W8JI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Id ben usen lead sodder awl mi liff, en iet hath knot effected mi.
  20. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tin Whiskers are easy to deal with.
    Conformal coat all circuit boards.
    Use silver solder in RF circuits and use an inert gas to purge modules that are to be sealed.
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