Author Topic: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US  (Read 4929 times)

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Offline Domitronic

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Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« on: September 30, 2022, 05:49:48 pm »

Hello,

when watching repair videos on YouTube for example from Louis Rossmann or NorthridgeFix i see they are still using leaded solder for fixing notebooks, tablets and so on.

I thought usage of leaded solder is not allowed anymore. Are there exceptions in regulations for repair? And are regulations different in the EU and US? I wonder if we could use leaded solder for repair of electronic equipment as well in the EU.

 

 

Online ataradov

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2022, 06:05:56 pm »
It is your equipment, you can do whatever you want. Same thing with hobby projects. Leaded solder is not outlawed, it is available and some industries still use it even in mass production for reliability reasons.

The goal of the regulation is to reduce the use of lead in mass production. The amount of leaded solder a repair shop would use in a lifetime is meaningless, it literally does not matter.
Alex
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2022, 06:08:35 pm »
The goal of the regulation is to reduce the use of lead in mass production. The amount of leaded solder a repair shop would use in a lifetime is meaningless, it literally does not matter.
I beg to differ. There is not just one repair shop but thousands and all of them using leaded solder does at up to a significant source of lead contamination. Louis Rossman should use unleaded solder for equipment that goes into to field (the hands of consumers) like anyone else.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online ataradov

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2022, 06:15:50 pm »
Only tiny percentage of the manufactured devices go for repair. And repair shop modifies a tiny part of the board. The amount of solder they use even if combined is tiny compared to the amount used for manufacturing.

You can dick around with formulations all day long, but leaded solder is still unbeatable for manual soldering.
Alex
 
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Offline Domitronic

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2022, 06:22:37 pm »

Not sure what Louis is using today. I thought in an older video he mentioned that he used leaded on this particular repair. And even in his online store he has leaded solder as affiliate link to Amazon.

But finally my question comes down to professional repair in the EU.  I thought RoHS directive prohibits the use of leaded solder. Is that correct or are there any exceptions for repair? So if i do some repair here and there as a part-time job i assume i can not use leaded solder? I mean unleaded is fine for most things. But sometimes it would be easier to use leaded for really tiny stuff.
 

Online coppercone2

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2022, 07:25:29 pm »
Lol, that amount of solder accounts for maybe... 0.0001% of the solder used in the product. Usually its like a cap repair or something

Think about this:
1) risk throwing away entire device because of some trace de lamination that occurs on a 12 layer PCB because of excessive heat (those boards are practically one time use). Factor in all the other costs associated with telling the customer that you broke their stuff. Thats about a pound of e-waste generated.
2) tolerate a few milligrams of lead.

Its not plutonium.


The amount of energy saved by reducing the demand for manufacturing demand for even more phones to end up being burned in Africa totally covers all the downsides of using lead.

How about you go after lead on historical building roofs? It's actually alot compared to the amount of lead used in many years of equipment repair, and its still considered basically nothing.  ;D


I am telling you that there is so much more hidden lead being used in all sorts of industries that ends up polluting stuff that this is a absolute waste of time to consider.

here is one, how about you go after lead acid batteries instead. Thats like going after a match stick burning when there is a whole city that is in conflagration. One incorrectly disposed LA battery (not counting stuff like lead contaminated acid leaks that get on the road) probobly equivalent to many years of SMD caps being replaced in every repair shop in the world. A boat that sinks? A car crash that ruptures the battery and scatters it ? You are talking pounds every time, tons of crumbling lead oxide dust, etc. And lead acid battery is just one of them.

Hell, tons of old cars are soldered together with lead thats slowly disintegrating along the roads as well (used to be a way to attach the roof of a car).

And then you also create a industry of high precision soldering tools that is bound to be extremely wasteful when people try to figure out a way to get lead free to work right for shitty consumer item repairs. Why build tools that you don't have to? I can imagine all sorts of efforts going to making all sorts of crazy  shit to replace 10 miligrams of lead on a SMD capacitor reliably. Easier repair = less waste. The amount of general industrial waste that won't be produced if you reduce yearly electronics demand by 10% (facilitated by easy repairs) is extremely large. If people start getting the idea that your average repair shop is gonna fuck up the repair (they already have a bad reputation!), you will just have more people saying fuck it and buying a new phone, laptop or videocard. It's setting up the repair industry to fail.

Look at the pakistani car battery repair industry (and their practices) and you will see that going after a phone repair shop is just preposterous. (tldr, they do open air casting of lead plates in the desert with high wind and dry conditions, it must spread lead dross everywhere within 1000 miles lol, ). And don't fail to consider coal and stuff, which ends up making lead vapors from operations. by tightening down emissions regulations for mineral based industries you already have a sea compared to the drop. For instance dust control on open air mines (they leave heavy metal laiden dirt on top of the ground), coal processing, minerals processing water (you get lead compounds in the wash water), land reshaping projects, etc. Probably tons of lead contaminated industrial water are mixed with normal water every day also post discharge (try to ensure that all water extracted from the earth is drinkable, and do not allow for 'industrial grade' water to be used.. good luck doing this in some places, you have special water sources that everyone knows you cannot drink).
« Last Edit: September 30, 2022, 07:48:02 pm by coppercone2 »
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2022, 08:24:02 pm »
There are restrictions in the EU on the sale of leaded solder to non-professional users ( e.g. at rapid you need to have an account), but not on any usage.
Of course Aliexpress will sell anything to anyone, so not a problem to get hold of it.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2022, 08:25:35 pm by mikeselectricstuff »
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Online coppercone2

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2022, 08:43:55 pm »
I wonder how many heart attacks per year that causes because of stressful delaminations
 

Offline DaJMasta

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2022, 09:31:02 pm »
I thought the regulations were always that new devices had to be made with unleaded without special exception but that repair did not have such restrictions.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2022, 12:45:07 am »
I thought the regulations were always that new devices had to be made with unleaded without special exception but that repair did not have such restrictions.

Repair of devices on the market prior to the introduction of the regulations.

With some of the comments here I do wonder just how much soldering experience some have. Lead-free just isn't that bad, and modern boards are not 1970s scopes which have been rotting in a barn for 20 years.
 
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Online tooki

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2022, 09:46:13 am »

Hello,

when watching repair videos on YouTube for example from Louis Rossmann or NorthridgeFix i see they are still using leaded solder for fixing notebooks, tablets and so on.

I thought usage of leaded solder is not allowed anymore. Are there exceptions in regulations for repair? And are regulations different in the EU and US? I wonder if we could use leaded solder for repair of electronic equipment as well in the EU.
As far as I know, ONLY the EU has actually restricted lead solder (under RoHS). The reason the whole world switched is that it’d be uneconomical to make separate lead-free versions of things for the EU and leaded for everyone else. It’s cheaper to just make it all lead-free.

In USA, do what you want. (California requires a warning on products with lead, but doesn’t ban them outright, IIRC.)

In Europe, you can use leaded for repairing devices originally manufactured with lead solder. But due to a separate law (REACH) it’s difficult for European consumers to purchase lead solder. (Businesses are allowed to.)

But I have said many times: lead-free isn’t anywhere near as bad as so many people make it out to be. From their hysteria, you’d think it made soldering practically impossible. That’s simply not the case. In my experience, the quality of the flux makes a bigger difference than whether it contains lead. And yes, some lead-free alloys are better than others, and surprisingly, the ones with the lowest melting points are not the ones that are the nicest to work with. (The nickel-germanium-doped tin alloys like Sn100+ flow nicely and produce good looking joints.)

If you’re soldering (or desoldering) at the very limits of what your equipment and technique can manage with lead solder, then the added heat needed for lead-free can push you into failure. But with proper equipment and technique, lead-free works just fine.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2022, 11:45:47 am »
As others have mentioned, the amount of lead on a repair shop is minuscule compared to other sources of lead "in the wild". I don't worry about it.

As tooki mentioned, lead free is not as bad as it once was, but it is still worse than leaded, especially in large mass areas where it can get very brittle depending on the age and/or mechanical stress. Or in small components where the higher temperatures can potentially cause more damage to the parts.

One aspect rarely mentioned is that, regardless of leaded or lead free, the volatile compounds of chemicals surrounding the process (type of flux, tip cleaner, which are much more needed when using lead free) worry me much more than the lead content. Those fumes are nasty (and we have filters), but I suspect these don't get anywhere near the attention they deserve in this discussion. 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2022, 12:26:41 pm by rsjsouza »
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Offline mushroom

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2022, 11:59:32 am »
...But due to a separate law (REACH) it’s difficult for European consumers to purchase lead solder. (Businesses are allowed to)...

No it isn't. It is available everywhere for individuals.

For example :

https://www.bmjelec.com/categorie-produit/alliages/bobines-soudure/plomb/
https://www.bmjelec.com/categorie-produit/alliages/creme-brasage/plomb-creme-brasage/
https://www.gotronic.fr/cat-fil-de-soudure-au-plomb-592.htm

I just renewed my own stock (early 2022), all leaded :



 

Offline Paceguy

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2022, 12:23:06 pm »
I still have several NOS rolls of Kester '44 solder of various diameters. I repair and restore vintage test equipment and electronics. I'm good for life with the solder I have and rarely use solder paste.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2022, 01:24:58 pm »
...But due to a separate law (REACH) it’s difficult for European consumers to purchase lead solder. (Businesses are allowed to)...

No it isn't. It is available everywhere for individuals.

For example :

https://www.bmjelec.com/categorie-produit/alliages/bobines-soudure/plomb/
https://www.bmjelec.com/categorie-produit/alliages/creme-brasage/plomb-creme-brasage/
https://www.gotronic.fr/cat-fil-de-soudure-au-plomb-592.htm

I just renewed my own stock (early 2022), all leaded :

A couple of French non-compliers does not equate to everywhere.
 
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Offline mushroom

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2022, 01:28:54 pm »
France complies to EU regulations (and always adds more restrictive laws to existing directives). I was confirmed by my local supplier that leaded solder is still available for individuals as well as for repair. Lead free solder is for industry only.

Please, don't spread false information.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2022, 01:39:24 pm »
France complies to EU regulations (and always adds more restrictive laws to existing directives). I was confirmed by my local supplier that leaded solder is still available for individuals as well as for repair. Lead free solder is for industry only.

Please, don't spread false information.

https://echa.europa.eu/substances-restricted-under-reach/-/dislist/details/0b0236e1807e30a6

Quote
7. Shall not be placed on the market or used in articles supplied to the general public, if the
concentration of lead (expressed as metal) in those articles or accessible parts thereof is
equal to or greater than 0,05 % by weight, and those articles or accessible parts thereof
may, during normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, be placed in the mouth by
children.

That limit shall not apply where it can be demonstrated that the rate of lead release from
such an article or any such accessible part of an article, whether coated or uncoated, does
not exceed 0,05 μg/cm² per hour (equivalent to 0,05 μg/g/h), and, for coated articles, that
the coating is sufficient to ensure that this release rate is not exceeded for a period of at
least two years of normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use of the article.

For the purposes of this paragraph, it is considered that an article or accessible part of an
article may be placed in the mouth by children if it is smaller than 5 cm in one dimension or
has a detachable or protruding part of that size.

Please claim the religious article exception for the funnies.
 
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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2022, 01:41:07 pm »
France complies to EU regulations (and always adds more restrictive laws to existing directives). I was confirmed by my local supplier that leaded solder is still available for individuals as well as for repair. Lead free solder is for industry only.
Although "my local supplier" is not a reliable source of information, a corporate company seems to bring weight to your claim.

https://eu.mouser.com/c/tools-supplies/soldering/solder/?description%2Ffunction=Leaded%20solder

It may well be one of the exemptions for Leaded regulations.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2022, 01:43:38 pm »
As others have mentioned, the amount of lead on a repair shop is minuscule compared to other sources of lead "in the wild".
That is still no reason to add more lead to the environment. We'll likely see laws pop-up in the EU that require removal of existing pieces of lead. Starting with pipework. In the NL a law is in the making banning lead piping from some existing buildings (like rented homes) and thus requiring replacement of lead pipes.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2022, 01:47:26 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline mushroom

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2022, 01:46:36 pm »
Lots of exceptions !
Divers will understand.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2022, 01:48:43 pm »
Lots of exceptions !
Divers will understand.

Please state the exception which applies to your use case. I'll even list them:

Quote
8. By way of derogation, paragraph 7 shall not apply to:
(a) jewellery articles covered by paragraph 1;
(b) crystal glass as defined in Annex I (categories 1, 2, 3 and 4) to Directive 69/493/
EEC;
(c) non-synthetic or reconstructed precious and semi-precious stones (CN code 7103
as established by Regulation (EEC) No 2658/ 87) unless they have been treated with
lead or its compounds or mixtures containing these substances;
(d) enamels, defined as vitrifiable mixtures resulting from the fusion, vitrification or
sintering of mineral melted at a temperature of at least 500 ° C;
(e) keys and locks, including padlocks;
(f) musical instruments;
(g) articles and parts of articles comprising brass alloys, if the concentration of lead
(expressed as metal) in the brass alloy does not exceed 0,5 % by weight;
(h) the tips of writing instruments;
(i) religious articles;
(j) portable zinc-carbon batteries and button cell batteries;
(k) articles within the scope of:
(i) Directive 94/62/EC;
(ii) Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004;
(iii) Directive 2009/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (**);
(iv) Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (***)
 
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Offline mushroom

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2022, 02:59:32 pm »
Why should I lose my time with that, about industry ?

OK, you are right, you can't purchase leaded solder, you can't purchase lead weights in scuba stores or pick some on the boats, you can't shoot lead shot (EU : ends feb 2013), my solder is lead free, etc. On my side, end of story.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2022, 03:12:01 pm »
Why should I lose my time with that, about industry ?

OK, you are right, you can't purchase leaded solder, you can't purchase lead weights in scuba stores or pick some on the boats, you can't shoot lead shot (EU : ends feb 2013), my solder is lead free, etc. On my side, end of story.

It clearly states this is not about industry but consumer sales.

If you're going to make claims about 'false information', you should inform yourself first.
 
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Online tooki

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2022, 04:31:56 pm »
...But due to a separate law (REACH) it’s difficult for European consumers to purchase lead solder. (Businesses are allowed to)...

No it isn't. It is available everywhere for individuals.
The fact that you found a distributor that ignores the law doesn’t mean the law is not in effect.

Others have done the work of showing you the law.
Please, don't spread false information.
The only one spreading false information here is you.
 

Offline mushroom

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Re: Leaded solder for professional repair in EU/US
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2022, 05:47:51 pm »
"The fact that you found a distributor that ignores the law doesn’t mean the law is not in effect."

The fact that you are unable to source leaded solder does not mean it is forbiden. For your information the first link is... a manufacturer (BMJ, France) !!!

Search for other manufacturers. You will find such solder.
Search for distributors (RS, Mouser, Amazon, etc.), and you will be able to order.

The "leaded solder doom's day" has been around for at least 15 yars, all around the world, all around the Internets. And leaded solder is still there, available for everyone, from anywhere.

And yes, I consider a local reseller as a reliable source. More reliable than a forum, copying and pasting the same legends for over 15 years.

Always funny to hear from non EU residents how it works where I live   :-DD

 


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