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Eutectic Solder

Eutectic solder melts and freezes at the same temperature avoiding movement while it sets which would otherwise result in poor joints

Type Part # Supplier URL
Eutectic Tin/Lead/Copper/Silver Cardas Quad Eutectic Amazon https://amzn.to/2zoyzsP
Eutectic Tin/Lead Solder Kester 24-6337-0027 Amazon https://amzn.to/2Hb2NEZ
Lead Free Solder Kester 24-7068-7603 Amazon https://amzn.to/2HckdB6

Notes

  • Not all solder is made equal, and an early investment into a high quality solder will make your life easier
  • Eutectic solder melts and freezes at the same temperature. Non-eutectic solder has a "melting range" where it is "slushy" which can create weak solder joints due to movement while in phase transition. You can read more about eutectic solder here.
  • Cardas Quad Eutectic contains silver and copper to help prevent corrosion and prevent joints going bad over time. It's the best solder Jim's ever used, and you can read his comments on why having silver in your solder is not just audiophile quackery.
  • Kester 24-6337-0027 63/37 tin/lead eutectic solder is an excellent all round solder, sold in 1lb spools (and no smaller quantity) which will last a lifetime. It melts (and freezes) at exactly 361F (183C), and the relatively low melting point means it's easier to melt the solder and not your precious components. You can read more about it here.
  • Non-leaded solder is hard to use and leaded solder is safe if used sensibly. Here's a good post about the safety considerations of leaded solder. Don't chew or suck on it and wash your hands afterwards (fingernail biters take note).
  • Soldering produces resin and flux smoke fumes (close to zero lead is in the fumes due to its low vapor pressure at soldering temperatures). If you don't have the luxury of an exhaust fan, a Hakko FA400-04 bench top smoke absorber or the Hobby Creek Soldering Fume Extractor might be good options.
  • If you'd like to use some lead free solder, Kester 24-7068-7603 is a good option. It's a Sn96.5Ag03Cu.5 alloy sold in 1lb spools, and is "almost eutectic" - it freezes at 423F (217C) and melts at 426F (220C). You can read more about it here.
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