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Which solder to use? - Electrics - DC - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Thu Feb 15th, 2018 09:51 pm
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Padster
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Hi all. Tried using the search option in the electrics forum for 'solder' and it found 411 hits ... but will only show 1 page of results - the others cannot be clicked on to see .. just shows empty forum page - weird.
So had to start a new and hopefully short topic - what solder should I use for the best all round results, simple stuff like wiring points, power supply droppers, etc? Having a search on the web it seems that a 63/37 or 60/40 mix are recommended ... there are also strong leanings towards resin core. Also seems to be a little hard to source such solder unless you're prepared to wait a few weeks for it to be shipped from China.

Any advice welcome please on type to use and a uk based outlet. To flux or not to flux, that is the question :-)

Thank you, 
Paul

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 Posted: Thu Feb 15th, 2018 10:01 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Here we go . . .

I use 1.0 mm diameter 60% tin 40% lead resin core.  Never had a problem.
I buy it in 1 kg rolls.

I used liquid flux once (on PCB ties).  Never again.  It made a terrible mess and caused collateral damage.

Now.  Where did I put that tin hat and flak jacket?  :lol:



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 Posted: Thu Feb 15th, 2018 10:10 pm
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Sol
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Maplins UK has solder
so does Hattons
http://www.hattons.co.uk/59682/DCC_Concepts_DCS_S179_Universal_solder/StockDetail.aspx

and https://anticsonline.uk/

and Gaugemaster



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 Posted: Thu Feb 15th, 2018 10:14 pm
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Sol
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And for electrical work, I use resin core solder.



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 Posted: Thu Feb 15th, 2018 10:27 pm
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Brossard
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I believe you can use non acid flux for electrical soldering, I did for for my recent track laying.  DCC Concepts do this to go with their 145 Solder.  I have a bottle of Gaugemaster non acid flux.  Phosphoric Acid flux is a definite no-no.

You can also get Rosin flux which smells nice but it makes a sticky mess.

I have a big roll of 60/40 uncored solder - equivalent to 188 solder.

Most of my soldering is kits, but I only use non acid flux these days - saves my nasal passages from vicious fumes.

John



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 Posted: Thu Feb 15th, 2018 10:44 pm
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Robert Denton
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I have used flux for varying jobs around the layout. If you want to avoid "dry joints" and dodgy connections, I would advise using a flux. 60/40 rosin cored solders are ok but I'm never happy with the overheating method in order to discharge the core and adequately prepare the joint. It works, but it's my preference not to use it.
6% acid flux cleans and assists solder to flow adequately well in brass work, nickel silver work but is, or can be, harsh in thin wires. However, its use will ensure enhanced jointing and connection work.
The trick here is not to use too much, and to keep the joint clean. Only the slightest "swipe" of flux from a brush is all that's required. (I have never had damage or corrosion with 6%).
"Frys" (in a big yellow tub) as used for plumbing is a good cheap paste but again residue can spoil the surface of brass and cables and green Verdigris can be a problem.
In ALL cases, I recommend a wash following jointing; a brush dipped in water is usually sufficient to remove flux traces, followed by a wipe with a cloth.
I'm talking small area soldering here, not necessarily brass '0' gauge or gauge1 modelling.
Flux cleaner is available and a quick spray onto the joint, followed by a wipe with a cloth (if accessible) will ensure sufficient cleanliness.
Circuit boards/Vero board work can be flushed following a session with flux cleaner / PCB cleaner and is usually ok for our purposes.
A good clean joint can be enhanced by using a good quality flux and I recommend using it in all applications.
Good Luck.

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 Posted: Fri Feb 16th, 2018 10:20 pm
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Padster
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Thanks all you guys for the pointers ... really appreciated.

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 Posted: Sat Feb 17th, 2018 04:01 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Paul,

For general work cored solder (electrical, dropper wiring, rail joiners) is fine. The modern ones do not leave a mess ("Low Residue"). Just make sure the surfaces are clean and oxidation free (#400 grit, IPA). I use cheap soldering irons from Amazon, temperature controlled pen types (ceramic heater element). Current one has lasted almost 18 months and cost $16 post-free with half a dozen tips.

The cost of a new tip for an expensive iron such as a Weller is often almost as much as a cheap iron and tips..Get some tinning compound to condition the tips on a regular basis, use a wet sponge to wipe the tip when working, and the tips will last several years.

I also use regular lead/tin and organic no-residue flux for a lot of jobs where I don't want to clean off flux residue (wiring decoders or motor terminals for example). Lead free solders are more difficult to work with than lead ones, and IMO just as toxic. Brass and white metal model building is another story.

Nigel




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 Posted: Sat Feb 17th, 2018 04:10 pm
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Brossard
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I'll second your comment about lead free solder - avoid it.  DCC Concepts solder does contain lead - got that from the man himself.

John



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