FDP Home Page / FDP Forum / FAQ's

The FDP is made possible by the following companies and individual members like you.
Please use the links below to show them we value their sponsorship.

Musician's Friend

Antique Electronics Supply

Amazon

MOD KITS DIY

Apex Tube Matching

Sweetwater

Guitar Center

Jensen Loudspeakers

Yellowjackets Tube Converters

WD Music

Amplified Parts


* God bless America and our men and women in uniform *

* Illegitimi non carborundum! *

If you benefit and learn from the FDP and enjoy our site, please help support us and become a Contributing Member or make a Donation today! The FDP counts on YOU to help keep the site going with an annual contribution. It's quick and easy with PayPal. Please do it TODAY!

Chris Greene, Host & Founder

LOST YOUR PASSWORD?

......................................................................

   
FDP Jam
Calendar
Find musicians
in your area!
  Search the Forums  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Lead free solder - RoHS

Next 20 Messages  
Dr. Mark
Contributing Member
**

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Sep 16th, 2008 11:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

After several recent threads on the use of lead free solder, and the problems that many people have with using it, I have sought some advice on the subject from the electronics lecturers at the college where I work.

Basically there are only two types of leaded solder, 60/40 (60% tin / 40%lead) and 63/37 (63% and 37%lead). Everyone one has used it for years, and it works great on guitars.

Lead solder is now against European RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) regulations.
It's use is therefore banned on all electrical equipment, including amps and guitars. As far as I am aware, The US may also follow suit in the future. A guitar manufacturer,guitar tech or casual hobbyist cannot use lead solder on any guitar for a customer, whether he charges a fee for the job, or does it for free. HOWEVER it is still legal to repair your own guitar with lead solder.

A quick look on Wikipedia (search for "solder") shows that there are a staggering sixteen different types of lead free solder. The problem is that some types are ideal for industrial processes, like wave soldering, re-flow, laser soldering etc., but are not suited to hand soldering.

Ad to this the fact that most of these solders come with several different types of flux - further fine tuning their ideal use, and sixteen types of solder turns into HUNDREDS of types, and with hugely varying prices.

The types of lead free sold in electronics stores like Radio Shack or Maplins here in the UK, contain around 96% tin/ 3.5% silver and 0.5% copper, and really don't like sticking to pots, trem claws etc. They are really intended for PCB work.

Other FDP posters like Smark have reported good results with 97/3 lead free solder.

Typically Lead free solder needs much hotter iron temperatures than leaded solder, to work properly.

We have ploughed through a huge database of lead free solder types, and with different flux types from different manufacturers, and have looked at the associated manufacturers data sheets, to try and come up with the BEST lead free solder for use on guitars.

Maybe the FDP can pool their experience and resources, as try as I might, I can't find an easy answer anywhere.

I have however found a type of solder that might be ideal. You won't find it on the high street, but most industrial electronics stockists should carry it.

99.3% tin / 0.7% copper, with a 309 type rosin core, made by Multicore. Melt temperature is 227 degrees, and ideal tip temperature is 350 degrees.
The data sheet says that it is ideal for use on difficult surfaces like nickel, chrome and stainless steel, so that covers many guitar components.

I've got some on order so will let you know how I get on with it.

If anyone else wants to chip in with any recommendations, or types to avoid, we might come up with an answer as to what is best for us.

Cheers guys,

Mark.



(This message was last edited by Dr. Mark at 11:46 AM, Sep 16th, 2008)

Steve Dallman

USA

Sep 16th, 2008 01:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I don't like the lead free solders. I do believe there will be failures in the future with the new crap. Time will tell.

I remember learning proper soldering techniques. There was a mantra, "Solder is NOT an adhesive. Make sure you have a good mechanical connection before soldering."

Component leads were wrapped, or inserted in a hole, the end bent, and then solder.

Now with surface mount technology, solder IS the adhesive. And with the questions about the new lead free solders, time will tell how rubust and lasting equipment designed and built in such a manner will be.

I have my doubts.

strayedstrater
Contributing Member
**********
*********

Asheboro, NC

but my heart's still in Texas
Sep 16th, 2008 01:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This is a good thread. I was asking about the mechanics of dealing with lead-free the other day. We'll all be dealing with lead-free more and more from now on. Even the people who are only into vintage gear, unless they do all their own repairs and mods.

"A guitar manufacturer, guitar tech or casual hobbyist cannot use lead solder on any guitar for a customer, whether he charges a fee for the job, or does it for free. HOWEVER it is still legal to repair your own guitar with lead solder."

Is that true for the US at this point, or just the European Union? I'm under the impression that US businesses can still opt to be non-RoHS compliant if they don't sell in Europe.

Does that apply to equipment built before RoHS? Will owners of vintage gear be forced to look for back-alley techs?

When I re-wire, I usually leave the existing solder on the back of the pot and just reuse it. I melt the solder, pull out the wire, then tin the new wire, re-melt the old solder on the pot and submerge the wire, adding fresh solder only when needed. If the existing solder is old lead solder, am I breaking the law?

When old solder is wicked/sucked off it becomes toxic/hazardous waste. The garbage police probably aren't going to sift through my home trash and analyze the blobs that came out of my solder-sucker. But a repair shop could become a target for a zealous agency that wants to send a message to small businesses by making an example out of someone.

Te 52

'52 Tele + Delirium

= Tellurium 52
Sep 16th, 2008 02:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Note that the melt and tip temperatures Dr. Mark gives for the Multicore lead-free solder are in Celsius.

227C = 441F
350C = 662F

Dr. Mark
Contributing Member
**

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Sep 16th, 2008 02:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

""A guitar manufacturer, guitar tech or casual hobbyist cannot use lead solder on any guitar for a customer, whether he charges a fee for the job, or does it for free. HOWEVER it is still legal to repair your own guitar with lead solder."

Is that true for the US at this point, or just the European Union? I'm under the impression that US businesses can still opt to be non-RoHS compliant if they don't sell in Europe."



At the moment it is Europe only. The US does not have to comply with RoHS, unless a US company wants to export it's product to Europe, and American companies and individuals are free to carry on using lead solder.

Effectively however, this means that the majority of US, (as well a Chinese or anywhere else) manufacturers, HAVE to make their product RoHS compliant, as Europe is such a huge market for it's products. In today's global market, it is becoming increasingly less commercially viable for any company, to produce two versions of it's product, one for the European market, and one for the rest of the world. I appreciate US and European products ARE different in terms of voltages for example, but which company is going to have two completely different processes for soldering up each version?

Most companies policy is probably "Better to make your product RoHS compliant today, and sell that to the whole world, not just Europe. That way, when the US goes lead free, as it inevitably will, you are ahead of the game."

"Does that apply to equipment built before RoHS? Will owners of vintage gear be forced to look for back-alley techs?"

Again not in the US, but over here yes. You have to use lead free - just because the guitar is 20 years old and was built with lead solder, counts for nothing. Any repairs or mods done now or in the future, have to use lead free.


Steve I fully appreciate your scepticism about lead free solder. At the moment you don't HAVE to use it, but for how long? We Europeans have no option - use lead free or face possible prosecution (unless you use it ON YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT).

Two things are (almost certainly) for sure. Firsly, it is only a matter of time before the US and indeed the whole world goes lead free. Secondly, it's not something that will be reversed once implemented.


(This message was last edited by Dr. Mark at 02:50 PM, Sep 16th, 2008)

strayedstrater
Contributing Member
**********
*********

Asheboro, NC

but my heart's still in Texas
Sep 16th, 2008 06:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Among US manufacturers it's only the smallest boutique companies who shun tube cages and still use lead. All mass produced things are lead free and comply with all international standards. (Fender had to put covers over the bias test points on the Pro Tube series -- I guess to prevent people from sticking their tongues into the holes.) I was mostly thinking about repair shops and working techs -- most of them work on local stuff.

But even if they still have the option here, virtually every modern piece of electronics they work on will have lead-free joints.

The plumbing industry switched to lead-free a long time ago. While the experience learned there isn't entirely applicable to electronics, it's not like it's totally new and untried. I'd expect some isolated cases where the wrong solder or technique causes failure but I doubt it'll be widespread. We survived the switch to low-VOC paints -- other than Fender's 25th Anniversary Strat and some GM's in the early '80s there weren't a lot of problems and none at all these days.

But I can imagine a lot of repair failures caused by insufficient heat, poor choice of lead-free alloy, wrong flux, or mixing lead and lead-free. Industry invested millions finding the proper choices, but some techs will just be using whatever was in stock at Radio Shack. Some of us amateur hacks will continue struggling to solder to a trem claw anchor with a 15 watt pencil.

Anyway, I'm sidetracking this thread. It would be more useful if people with experience will chime in with what solders they use for what applications, and any working quirks they've noticed.

Achase4u
Contributing Member
*

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 16th, 2008 07:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I use 800 degree tips on my weller. I'll have to try some lead free. I use radio shack right now. Have used Kester too.

Interesting thread thanks much

Pinetree
Contributing Member
**********

Take him out.

Sep 16th, 2008 08:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Lead free solder just doesn't have the same tone.



(and to be very honest, It's not as much fun to work with).



Dr. Mark
Contributing Member
**

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Sep 17th, 2008 06:43 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nice one Pinetree, I was wondering how how long it would be before someone mentioned the "T" word.

"But I can imagine a lot of repair failures caused by insufficient heat, poor choice of lead-free alloy, wrong flux, or mixing lead and lead-free. Industry invested millions finding the proper choices, but some techs will just be using whatever was in stock at Radio Shack. Some of us amateur hacks will continue struggling to solder to a trem claw anchor with a 15 watt pencil."

No Strayed you are not sidetracking the thread, it's a very valid point.

If we can work out between us what's best to use, and the best way to use it, then we all come out winners.

(This message was last edited by Dr. Mark at 06:48 AM, Sep 17th, 2008)

Fistfull of Clams
Contributing Member

Wales

Bethesda, Land of Song
Sep 17th, 2008 07:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Good thread, thanks Dr. Mark.

I have a friend who's in his late 70's, and is a retired electronics engineer. He refuses to believe me that lead free solder is now being used in guitars and amps - he still maintains that lead free is the plumber's domain!

Last year something went "pop" in my Laney VC30 (covered by warranty, luckily) and it took nearly three weeks to get fixed, as the tech who was working on it couldn't get the right spec. lead free solder, even though he said it was a really simple repair (it didn't help that Laney decided to build these amps part point to point part PCB wiring either).

I'll pick his brains next time I visit the shop.

Interestingly enough, following the use of lead free solder, I can now sound like any of my guitar heroes, so I for one do believe it has an effect on "tone"... ;0)

(This message was last edited by Fistfull of Clams at 07:11 AM, Sep 17th, 2008)

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member
********

united kingdom

Sep 17th, 2008 01:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The reliability of lead free joints is not proven to the point that it is permitted for use in aerospace and medical applications."Spidering"
being one problem.
Therefore in the U.K. leaded solder is used in those applications.
Multicore still produce a 60/40 leaded solder.
Cellulose is still used in the U.K. and permitted under an exemption relating to antique and restoration requirements.
Sadly the Euro laws produced seem to have a misinformed,lack of detail/understanding to them.
Stack-Knob.

Dr. Mark
Contributing Member
**

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Sep 17th, 2008 03:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You are right stack-Knob, and I can still easily buy lead solder from UK suppliers like Rapid Electronics, Farnell etc. The problem is that as a guitar tech who makes part of my living from repairing guitars, I am obliged to conform to RoHS. And its not just me, but every other guitar and amp tech in Europe.

Unfortunately we don't have the same exemption as the aerospace and medical industries.

Leftee
Moderator

NC

Sep 17th, 2008 07:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I stuck this to the top. Great thread! At some point I'll cut it loose but one can always search on it to bring it up. I shortened the title to make it easy to remember for searches.

Dr. Mark
Contributing Member
**

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Sep 18th, 2008 01:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks Leftee!

Dr. Mark
Contributing Member
**

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Sep 18th, 2008 11:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ok guys, an update. I have been in touch today with Henckel, who produce The Multicore brand lead free solder, and spoke to their technical department.

They were extremely helpful, acknowledging that Maplins / Radio Shack types of lead free may not be ideal, and suggested I try four of their types of solder. Three of these I had already earmarked as being potentially suitable from reading their data sheets. They are also fairly easy to get hold of.
The fourth is a speciality solder, that they reckon will be particularly suitable for soldering the earth wire to trem claws. That one may take some tracking down.

They are sending me a sample of each, so when they arrive, I will try them out and let you know how I get on.

Theotherbrent
Contributing Member

UK

Caveat Emptor !!!!
Sep 30th, 2008 09:48 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"The reliability of lead free joints is not proven to the point that it is permitted for use in aerospace and medical applications."

Yes, us aerospace boys still use leaded solder.

Bear
Contributing Member
*********

Colorful CO

Sep 30th, 2008 12:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Citizen's Arrest! Citizen's Arrest!

Arrest me, too, while you're at it...

Dr. Mark
Contributing Member
**

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Oct 3rd, 2008 04:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ok guys here's an update on this issue.

Firstly I have emailed the RoHS website and asked a couple of questions, and got back this reply.

Question #1. Can I continue to use lead solder on old equipment that was made using lead solder?

Answer: Yes. If the equipment was made or imported before 1st July 2006, you can use lead solder on any repairs or modifications.


Question #2. Do I have to take any special disposal measures if I remove old lead solder from any equipment?

Answer: No.


The answer to question #1 CONTRADICTS what I said in my second post, so please ignore a large chunk of that post.

This shows the advantage of me getting my facts straight from the horses mouth, and not relying on what I read elsewhere on the web!!!
I now realise that I am as guilty of spreading dis-information as any body, so my apologies to you all.

So I will say it again to confirm:
YOU CAN STILL USE LEAD SOLDER ON ANY EQUIPMENT MADE OR IMPORTED TO THE EUROPEAN UNION BEFORE JULY 2006.

I have been using the samples that Multicore sent me, with some encouraging results.

They sent me some 96% lead free with 511 and 309 type flux, and some 99% lead free with 511 and 309 flux. The last type was 96% with ARAX flux.

First off, ALL these solders are a significant improvement over the Maplins solder I was using.

I will discount the 96% ARAX first. Great solder, but you have to wash off the flux after use, otherwise it absorbs moisture and becomes corrosive. This makes it less than ideal.

The 96% and 99% with 511 flux was really good, but the 96% and 99% with 309 flux was even better.

This confirms what I have suspected, that flux type is more important than the percentage of tin.

The 96% has melt temperature of 217 degrees (Celsius), and needs a bit temperature of 340 to 420 degrees.

The 99% has a melt temperature of 227 degrees, and needs a bit temperature of 350 to 370 degrees.

Of the two I think I favour the 99%, but they are very close.

I hope this helps, but remember that it is only MY experience on this. Some of you guys may be using something better. Please chime in if you are.





wrnchbndr
Contributing Member
*****

New Jersey

saving the otters one guitar at a time
Nov 21st, 2008 06:01 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thank you so much for your effort on investigating this issue thoroughly. It can be tough to get the facts. What you have posted has explained a few of the problems I've encountered during some of the repairs that have gone across my bench with the solder not cooperating and or behaving different during repairs. I was under the silly impression that RoHS was something that applied to components only rather that the use of lead in soldering. It may not be a bad idea for those who repair things for a living to educate themselves and prepare for the future one way or another. Facts about what the rules say including their intent need to be gathered and understood fully. The hobbiest market is quite large along with the professional repair trade. Our goverment is not going to step on a tax revenue generating market without some transition time. Here in the US, a case could be made that prohibiting the use of traditional solder could result in an increased amount of electronic devices going into landfills instead of being repaired. I doubt that the hobbiest and repair trade contribute a measureable level of lead contamination to the enviroment but still its worth becoming educated on the issue. If I were in the UK, I doubt that the solder police will be pulling off pickguards to check my solder connections. Its not worth the effort of RoHS enforcement people to investigate a business or individual who uses less than a pound of solder per year. The RoHS rules are in place to address the thousands of tons of electronic devices that get chucked into landfills and cause a real problem -- its a big deal. The dozen or so repaired connections from a repair shop on your average television would probably still leave the television within the overall limits of lead content. Still, I'm going to look into what is is available for RoHS compliant solder and see if there is something that is acceptable. You learn all sorts of things when you explore something new. Again, thank you for this great post and taking the time to share some hard found facts.

Dr. Mark
Contributing Member
**

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Nov 23rd, 2008 06:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks Mark, you are welcome :)

Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Lead free solder - RoHS




Reply to this Topic
Display my email address             Lost your password?
Your Message:
Link Address (URL):
Link Title:




Moderators: Chris Greene  Iron Man  reverendrob  

FDP, LLC Privacy Policy: Your real name, username, and email
are held in confidence and not disclosed to any third parties, sold, or
used for anything other than FDP Forum registration unless you specifically authorize disclosure.

Furtkamp.com 
Internet Application Development

Copyright © 1999-2017 Fender Discussion Page, LLC   All Rights Reserved