Solder - Kester vs generic

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JohnRoberts

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PSA: solder expires. Don’t buy bulk.
I wouldn't expect solder to deteriorate much with age other than perhaps have some flux evaporate from the ends...

I can definitely imagine solder paste having a use by date. I keep mine inside a plastic bag, inside my refrigerator... no billy don't eat that paste.

JR
 

Rob Storms

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Even just touching solder on a daily basis will get you lead poisoning in a few decades. Just ask any typesetter who worked with Linotypes before they went digital. Oh, wait, not too many of those folk are still around.

What's amazing about lead poisoning is that mankind keeps forgetting about it. The Egyptians knew about it, but that knowledge was lost. The Romans re-discovered it, to lose it again.

In Modern times, the British MD who discovered the cause for "Cider disease" was driven to madness, ending up in the insane asylum. His victorian fellow countrymen lived in a nightmare of different poisonous household items, from pigments in wallpaper to adulterated milk, so lead probably wasn't their biggest worry. And the early industrial capitalists certainly didn't care, as buying positive news was routine in those days.

The first plant in the US that leaded fuel had 22 workers. 12 of them ended up in the asylum, as "criminally violent". Most of the others died before the disease made them insane.

The problem with lead isn't that it's so poisonous, it's that once introduced in a system, you can't get it out. It doesn't matter if it's the human system, or an ecological habitat.

The kids from Flint, Mi, will get damages, but they never will get back the brain cells they lost. Some of them will never live to be old, as lead poisoning causes a plethora of other ailments, like anemia or even infertility.

Equisetum (horsetail, snake grass, puzzlegrass) is capable of extracting some heavy metals from the soil, but lead is one of the very slow. Using Equisetum to clean up would take centuries. As long as people drop their old TV in the creek, lead is the number one poison in there.

Admittedly, there seem to be HF transistors that use beryllium, but those are rare and there's very little as it's just the dopant. I'm sceptical that beryllium tweeters really are made from that metal, as it is extremely poisonous. Should be prohibited, IMHO. Then there's cadmium and some others to worry about...
I think there is beryllium in the magnetron tube in microwave ovens. Enough lead in your system can protect you from it however. That's what the voice in my head told me anyway....
 

Tdo

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I wouldn't expect solder to deteriorate much with age other than perhaps have some flux evaporate from the ends...

I can definitely imagine solder paste having a use by date. I keep mine inside a plastic bag, inside my refrigerator... no billy don't eat that paste.

JR

Lol the forbidden paste! Exactly right from what I understand. I’ve read the core of the solder dries and looses efficacy over time. I would imagine it’s like vitamins or supplements. It works but at some percentage of new. I personally wouldn’t throw out the milk if it passes the smell test lol. I just buy less more often and hit expired solder with some IPA on a paper towel and some good flux.

-Tim
 

swpaskett

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Back when I was a teen, lacking proper tools to hold my work, I often needed a third hand. My solution was to spool off 3-4 feet of solder, roll it into a ball with about 8 inches hanging out, and pop the ball into my mouth. This probably explains why I was a jerk for several years (or was it puberty?). But I recommend, if you have a kid or know a kid who is interested in this stuff, buy him or her a good circuit board vise and a box of gloves.
I have not adopted lead free, but don't do much soldering anymore, either. I do wear gloves when messing with solder paste. Gloves are a good idea when dealing with anything we buy on the spot market; we really don't know what's in any of it. Lead is not the only toxic substance out there.
 

neil.johnson

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A few basic rules I was taught when learning to solder:
  1. Wash your hands before and after soldering, and that includes bathroom/restroom breaks;
  2. Do not eat, drink, or smoke (or any other activity that involves things going into your mouth) while soldering;
  3. Work in a ventilated place where possible, use a forced ventilation system in a production environment.
Solder fumes are really flux fumes, and best to avoid breathing them if you can (but there are worse... anyone welded galvanised sheet? Yeah... cough cough cough). Any lead is mostly going to get into your system through little bits of solder that you ingest.

Also
PSA: solder expires. Don’t buy bulk.
Technically, yes it does. But unless you're soldering in a safety critical system (medical, aerospace, etc) or in a production environment then don't worry about it. I have reels of solder that are decades old and they are fine for general home/diy work, or hacking stuff around in the lab at work (bodge wires, test wires, etc).

As for beryllium, it is used as seals in high-voltage vacuum tubes, such as magnetrons. Don't break one. I remember years ago seeing tall transmitting valves in the back yard at work, great big lumps of bright copper, and beryllium oxide seals and washers...

Neil
 

cyrano

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I think there is beryllium in the magnetron tube in microwave ovens. Enough lead in your system can protect you from it however. That's what the voice in my head told me anyway....

I often disagree with the voices in my head. But we try to keep it democratic...
 

FIX

Paul Wolff
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I used to strip insulation from wires with my teeth.... if those wires were tinned with lead solder, I may have ingested some....

That may explain a lot. :rolleyes:

JR
I hear that it makes you repeat yourself. I hear that it makes you repeat yourself. I hear that it makes you repeat yourself. I hear that it makes you repeat yourself.
 

JohnRoberts

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I hear that it makes you repeat yourself. I hear that it makes you repeat yourself. I hear that it makes you repeat yourself. I hear that it makes you repeat yourself.
I repeat myself because people keep asking the same old questions, over and over.

Working at Peavey conditioned me to repeat requests. Before working at Peavey I was president of the company so when I asked an employee to do something they did it, or came back and told me why they couldn't do it. At Peavey the employees figured if I only asked for something once I didn't really want it. ;)

JR
 
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