Author Topic: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder  (Read 3484 times)

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Offline redg

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Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« on: May 09, 2021, 11:07:37 am »
Returning to soldering after a hiatus of several years, I'd like to try both leaded and lead free solder.

I thought that I’d post about a financially sensible way to do this because I haven’t seen it discussed in earlier threads. An authorised Kester vendor, NTE Electronics, markets what it calls Kester Pocket Paks. See the screen capture below.

I’ve ordered two Pocket Paks via Amazon:

Kester 44, 63/37, 3.3% flux, ⌀ 0.8mm/0.031”: $7.35
Kester 48, SAC305, 3.3% flux, ⌀ 0.8mm/0.031”: $5.95

For my purposes, ⌀ 0.8mm should work well, and Kester recommends 3.3% flux for both of these solders.

I also ordered a Kester 186 Flux Pen, which Kester also recommends for these solders: $10.10.

Amazon U.S. is the vendor as well as the shipper for all three products.

There’s a gentleman who sells small packs of Kester and other solders on Amazon, eBay and Tindie, but I decided that Pocket Paks and a 186 Flux Pen is the right combination for me.



« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 08:43:14 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2021, 07:49:44 pm »
Next day delivery from Amazon for the Pocket Paks. I should receive the Kester 186 Flux Pen on Thursday. Given that Amazon is the vendor, I don't know why it would take five days for delivery of the Pen.

The attached photo shows the Pocket Paks. The tubes are 11cm (4.3") long, about 14mm (0.5") in diameter.

Plenty enough solder to test Kester 44 (leaded 63/37, white tube) and 48 (lead free SAC305, green tube).



« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 09:54:18 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2021, 10:28:40 pm »
One of the factors that I'll consider when deciding whether to go with leaded or lead free will be cost. The table below shows the prices for the Pocket Pak solders as bars, as solid wire and as Kester 44 and 48 wire embedded with flux. The prices are from the website of an authorised Kester vendor.

I'm curious about what the market is for solid wire. Note that it costs quite a bit more than more heavily processed flux core wire.

I'm also curious about what Kester's reputation is based on. I assume that there are a good number of companies that can make bars and solid wire of equal quality. If so, when people talk about brand quality, it would appear that they're actually talking about either differences in how well flux is incorporated into wire or the quality of the flux itself.







« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 01:03:21 am by redg »
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Offline narkeleptk

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2021, 11:04:56 pm »
I've been using rel22 lately, happy enough with it.  I rarely use leaded solder mostly because of my young children hanging out in my workshop but its pretty much all the same for me, just different temp settings on my gear. I do dislike the extra clean up care needed with leaded solder tho so probably even with out the kids I'd stick to lead-free in most cases.
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2021, 03:43:35 am »
I've been using rel22 lately, happy enough with it.  I rarely use leaded solder mostly because of my young children hanging out in my workshop but its pretty much all the same for me, just different temp settings on my gear. I do dislike the extra clean up care needed with leaded solder tho so probably even with out the kids I'd stick to lead-free in most cases.

Thanks, your post got me thinking about this further. I've decided that I'll go with lead-free solder unless my test of Kester 44 and 48 gives me compelling reasons to go with leaded. I may be able to ensure that all of my finished work eventually goes to a recycler. However, I've now done some reading on dealing with solder waste. I'm not prepared to throw it in with my regular garbage, and I'm not interested in collecting and isolating it and taking it to a recycling operation. Also, I had enough from the pandemic of treating my hands as a source of contamination. One of the real benefits of being vaccinated was dispensing with that rigamarole :)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 10:13:12 am by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2021, 07:21:09 pm »
I seem to be moving in the direction of lead-free.

I checked eBay on a whim and discovered that one of Kester's authorised vendors is selling the balance of a 20lb reel of SAC305 solid wire in 1lb lots. Photo below.

I'm interested in using a small solder pot. This wire, which has a diameter of 0.093" (2.36mm), should work well for that. The price - US$20 (+$6 for shipping) - is less than half what a Kester SAC305 bar costs per pound, and Kester bars are actually 1.67lbs and priced accordingly (see the table three posts up). Indeed, it's less than the price of a Kester tin/lead bar (63% tin, 37% lead).

Anyway, I've now got some SAC305 solid wire on the way :)


« Last Edit: May 11, 2021, 12:40:14 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2021, 03:31:31 pm »
The table below shows the prices of the three Kester wires that I'm considering: Kester 44, which contains lead, and Kester 48 and Kester 275, which are lead-free.

With one exception, the prices are from https://gokimco.com. Kimco offers lower prices than other Kester resellers. It also sells some Kester wire on Amazon. The exception is the price for Kester 275 with 3.3% flux, which Kimco does not currently sell. That price is from https://www.jensentools.com and appears to be representative of pricing for 275 3.3%.

Note that Kimco's prices for Kester 48 3.3% and Kester 275 2.2% are within pennies of one-another.


« Last Edit: May 11, 2021, 04:18:44 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2021, 04:00:37 pm »
As noted in the post above, Kester 275/SAC305 is significantly more expensive with 3.3% flux than with 2.2%. Kimco doesn't even stock 3.3%. Presumably there's low demand for it. I'd like to know whether that's true, and if so why. This morning, I called Kimco and another Kester reseller, but they were unable to explain. Indeed, the Kimco sales person didn't know why his company doesn't stock 3.3%. Interestingly, Kimco does stock 3.3% 275/K100LD.

I've now left a phone message with Kester customer service :)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 04:03:55 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2021, 05:52:59 pm »
All dressed up and awaiting arrival of the replacement for my ageing soldering iron.

From foreground:

Kester 186 Flux-Pen (Amazon U.S., $10.10)
NTE Electronics/Kester 44 63/37 Pocket Pak (Amazon, $7.35)
NTE Electronics/Kester 48 SAC305 Pocket Pak (Amazon, $5.95)
Kester SAC305 solid wire, 1lb, probably destined for a solder pot (Kimco via eBay, $20.00)


« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 06:02:04 pm by redg »
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Offline tooki

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 07:18:33 pm »
I think you’re putting way, way too much thought into this, for the simple reason that you should always have both around. Choose what you want for a particular new build, but you need to have both for repairs: you don’t wanna use lead-free on old devices originally made with leaded because the extra heat needed may damage it. Nor do you wanna add lead to a product originally made lead-free, because (unless you carefully flush the joint of old solder) the mix of solder in a joint can be more brittle.
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2021, 08:22:54 pm »
I think you’re putting way, way too much thought into this, for the simple reason that you should always have both around... for repairs...

I would have thought that it's blindingly obvious that I'm talking about work going forward. As both the thread title and my posts say, I'm doing a test of both leaded and lead-free. Pre-test, I'm leaning strongly toward the latter for the reasons stated six posts up, but I'll make the decision when I test both next week.

Perhaps not being quite as dense as you apparently think I am, I've already thought about the few prior projects that I would bother to revisit. I'll decide when I do the tests whether using lead-free solder on those projects is, or isn't, likely to be an issue. That's why I'm going to do a couple of lead to lead-free replacements, although frankly it isn't a pressing concern.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 10:36:50 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2021, 10:39:35 pm »
Further to the above post, I'm quite a bit more interested in the question of why Kester 275 SAC305 is readily available with 2.2% flux, but is very expensive, and indeed not carried by a major reseller, at 3.3%. Having failed to get an answer to that question from two Kester resellers (see four posts up), I hope to get one from Kester.

Kester 275 is a "No Clean" solder. It's possible that 3.3% is seen by a lot of 275 SAC305 users as unnecessary, resulting in specialised demand. If so, Kester 275 2.2% may be an apples to apples competitor to Kester 48 3.3% on both results and price. I want to know if that's the case.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 11:08:55 pm by redg »
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Online james_s

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2021, 11:35:16 pm »
I think you’re putting way, way too much thought into this, for the simple reason that you should always have both around... for repairs...

I would have thought that it's blindingly obvious that I'm talking about work going forward. As both the thread title and my posts say, I'm doing a test of both leaded and lead-free. Pre-test, I'm leaning strongly toward the latter for the reasons stated six posts up, but I'll make the decision when I test both next week.

Perhaps not being quite as dense as you apparently think I am, I've already thought about the few prior projects that I would bother to revisit. I'll decide when I do the tests whether using lead-free solder on those projects is, or isn't, likely to be an issue. That's why I'm going to do a couple of lead to lead-free replacements, although frankly it isn't a pressing concern.


Clearly you already know everything, so what do you need us for at all and why bother to start a post here if you're just going to be rude to people who try to give you helpful advice?

As far as disposing of leaded solder, that is a total non-issue in a hobbyist environment. When you start producing hundreds of tons of waste then it matters but the amount of lead a hobbyist will release just by throwing a few scraps of solder into the trash is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the amount of pollution you will cause just by using electricity, driving a car or riding on a bus.
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2021, 12:05:47 am »
Hi james_s,

This thread is about an inexpensive way to test leaded and lead-free solder. I can tell you, for a fact, that nobody else has addressed this in prior threads.

Initially I was neutral, but now I'm going into the tests with a bias in favour of lead-free. I state the reasons above. Others may want to do the same inexpensive test, but may have a different bias, or none at all.

Your post is typical of posts in many previous threads where proponents of leaded solder have pursued what comes across as a holy war.

My life doesn't revolve around soldering. Getting into a debate with you, and dealing with your personal attack on me, is a waste of my time.

« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 02:22:10 am by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2021, 01:04:10 am »
All dressed up and awaiting arrival of the replacement for my ageing soldering iron.

FedEx says that I'll receive the replacement on Saturday. JBC Tools calls it a CD-B, in North America a CD-1BQF. It's what I'll be using for the tests, and going forward. I purchased the station from https://www.tequipment.net, which is supportive of participants in his forum.


« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 02:24:41 pm by redg »
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Offline tooki

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2021, 10:18:07 am »
I think you’re putting way, way too much thought into this, for the simple reason that you should always have both around... for repairs...

I would have thought that it's blindingly obvious that I'm talking about work going forward. As both the thread title and my posts say, I'm doing a test of both leaded and lead-free. Pre-test, I'm leaning strongly toward the latter for the reasons stated six posts up, but I'll make the decision when I test both next week.

Perhaps not being quite as dense as you apparently think I am, I've already thought about the few prior projects that I would bother to revisit. I'll decide when I do the tests whether using lead-free solder on those projects is, or isn't, likely to be an issue. That's why I'm going to do a couple of lead to lead-free replacements, although frankly it isn't a pressing concern.
LOL. Nothing is “blindingly obvious”. Nor did I think you were dense; if anything, it’s typically unusually smart people who go to such efforts over something comparatively trivial.

Anyhow, an analysis of how to compare them cheaply (by buying pocket packs instead of whole rolls) strongly implies an intent to only purchase one in bulk once a winner was declared. That is why I said you should have both anyway, and explained why.

This thread is about an inexpensive way to test leaded and lead-free solder. I can tell you, for a fact, that nobody else has addressed this in prior threads.
Maybe there’s a reason for that, namely that the cost of solder is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and that since you need to have both around anyway, the cost of trial packs simply doesn’t matter.

Besides, if you were that worried about cost, you’d also have sought out cheaper sources for said pocket packs. They’re available for a lot less than Amazon’s prices.


Further to the above post, I'm quite a bit more interested in the question of why Kester 275 SAC305 is readily available with 2.2% flux, but is very expensive, and indeed not carried by a major reseller, at 3.3%. Having failed to get an answer to that question from two Kester resellers (see four posts up), I hope to get one from Kester.

Kester 275 is a "No Clean" solder. It's possible that 3.3% is seen by a lot of 275 SAC305 users as unnecessary, resulting in specialised demand. If so, Kester 275 2.2% may be an apples to apples competitor to Kester 48 3.3% on both results and price. I want to know if that's the case.
The whole point of no-clean solders is to have minimal flux residue, and for that residue to be inert and inconspicuous. Older non–no-clean fluxes often meet the inertness criterion, but tend to be more visible due to amount and color.

As such, no-clean wire solder typically has less flux in it, with around 2% being typical. And it’s typically enough for components and boards that are not oxidized. Modern fluxes are more effective, so it doesn’t need as much. For example, that Kester 275 (no-clean) has almost 50% more solder spread than 44. So you can get away with using less of it.

The downside of no-clean fluxes is that if you decide you do need to remove the residues, they’re much harder to remove. Forget about using simple IPA; it won’t properly remove most no-cleans. You have to use proper flux remover.

I absolutely agree that solder/flux manufacturers could do a way, way better job of explaining the differences between fluxes.


All dressed up and awaiting arrival of the replacement for my ageing soldering iron.

According to an e-mail that I just received from https://www.tequipment.net, the vendor and an EEVBlog supporter, it looks like I'll receive the replacement for my old soldering iron on Saturday or Monday.

Hola! I'm getting a soldering station made by a Barcelona company called JBC Tools. JBC calls it a CD-B, in North America a CD-1BQF. I'll find out this week, while testing leaded and lead-free solder, whether it's any good.
JBC is one of the top brands. I use the prior version CD-B at work.

Downside is consumables cost, as their tips are rather pricy and not as durable as many others. (Their tip selection is second to none, though!) In USA, I would have recommended the Pace ADS200 instead, since in addition to being a smidgen cheaper, people who have both say that the Pace has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them reach for the Pace over the JBC. But to be clear, they’re both top-notch systems.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 10:22:19 am by tooki »
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2021, 11:46:33 am »
...buying pocket packs instead of whole rolls ... strongly implies an intent to only purchase one in bulk...

...

In USA, I would have recommended the Pace ADS200 instead...

Yup, I'm making a decision between leaded and lead-free. Apparently you don't like that. That isn't my problem.

I didn't ask for a recommendation on a soldering station, did I. However, now that you raise the question... I much prefer JBC's Compact Soldering Station to Pace's ADS200 as a matter of industrial design, and I like its larger tip catalogue. I also like companies that stand behind their products, and JBC's three year warranty is three times as long as Pace's. Finally, I was completely turned off by the way that Pace has jacked up the price of the ADS200 over the last three years. Meanwhile, JBC has made improvements to its station, in particular an expansion of keypad controls, with no price increase.

For me, going with JBC was not a hard decision.

Re your comments on Kester 275... As I said above, I'll be talking with Kester, probably today. I've already raised the explanation that you propose, although rather more succinctly, and I'll be discussing it with them. I want to hear what Kester has to say about the 2.2% and 3.3% versions of 275 SAC305, seeing as how it makes the product and knows its user base. When possible, I just prefer to get my facts and advice from the horse's mouth.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 02:58:01 pm by redg »
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Offline tooki

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2021, 11:58:29 pm »
...buying pocket packs instead of whole rolls ... strongly implies an intent to only purchase one in bulk...

...

In USA, I would have recommended the Pace ADS200 instead...

Yup, I'm making a decision between leaded and lead-free. Apparently you don't like that. That isn't my problem.

I didn't ask for a recommendation on a soldering station, did I.
Dude, what is your damage?!? Why post in a public forum if you get upset and indignant that people respond?  :palm:

You have a massive chip on your shoulder where you think everyone is attacking you, when in fact it’s just normal responses to what you wrote. If you want no feedback, you should choose a different venue, like YouTube videos with comments disabled.

And my response had nothing to do with “liking” your idea. I was simply telling you about the technical need for both, which obviates choosing between the two.


However, now that you raise the question... I much prefer JBC's Compact Soldering Station to Pace's ADS200 as a matter of industrial design, and I like its larger tip catalogue. I also like companies that stand behind their products, and JBC's three year warranty is three times as long as Pace's. Finally, I was completely turned off by the way that Pace has jacked up the price of the ADS200 over the last three years. Meanwhile, JBC has made improvements to its station, in particular an expansion of keypad controls, with no price increase.
Then you weren’t paying attention, and missed that the ADS 200 had an explicit, time-limited introductory price. Said special offer ending doesn’t constitute a price hike.

Re your comments on Kester 275... As I said above, I'll be talking with Kester, probably today. I've already raised the explanation that you propose, although rather more succinctly, and I'll be discussing it with them.
I don’t think someone who wrote paragraphs of text about the existence of solder pocket packs has any right to criticize others over succinctness.

I want to hear what Kester has to say about the 2.2% and 3.3% versions of 275 SAC305, seeing as how it makes the product and knows its user base. When possible, I just prefer to get my facts and advice from the horse's mouth.
And I bet you’ll then mouth off at them for making a suggestion to Your Highness…
 
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2021, 12:11:37 am »
Then you weren’t paying attention, and missed that the ADS 200 had an explicit, time-limited introductory price. Said special offer ending doesn’t constitute a price hike.

No they definitely jacked up the price, the introductory offer was really good, you could get it down around $200. Then it went to a 'normal' price, ~$240, then was increased again, its at $310 right now.

This isn't the best history but it gives you an idea: https://camelcamelcamel.com/product/B07DX7DGRL
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2021, 01:17:34 am »

I was simply telling you about the technical need for both [solders], which obviates choosing between the two.

What's going on here is that you've invented a fictional reality and projected it onto me. This is also known as creating a straw man, although straw men aren't normally personalised to the other party to the exchange. You keep persisting in an assertion about me that I've already told you, as a matter of fact, is not an issue. You are now flogging this dead horse for the third time.

That is illustrative of why I'm not interested in your posts, and the reason for my brief, straight to the point responses. My impression, starting with your first post in this thread, is that you're a condescending, know-it-all keyboard warrior looking for an argument. Everything that you've written since has confirmed that impression; multi-quote, thought by thought attacks complete with what you think is clever repartee, the idiotic LOL and, in the latest, an offensive teenager wannabe expression - Dude, what is your damage?!? - in boldface. Amusingly, contemporary teenagers, at least where I live, don't even say that, maybe because it's from a film made for the teenage market over 30 years ago. I'm not too impressed with your breathless, barely pubescent use of "wanna" either.

I decided a long time ago to give people like you a wide berth, and that's what I'm doing.

The rest of your latest effort at selective cutting, pasting and trying to sound clever isn't worth the time it would take to respond. I also know that if I do respond, this will just go on and on and on for post after post after post. I see that you're already at 6,298 posts on this forum. I'm not planning on helping you get to 6,500, or even 6,300.

I'm looking forward to receiving the new soldering gear, and to carrying out a leaded vs lead-free test. I have no intention of letting you get in the way of enjoying the experience and having fun with it.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2021, 11:38:49 am by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2021, 02:11:57 am »
Then you weren’t paying attention, and missed that the ADS 200 had an explicit, time-limited introductory price. Said special offer ending doesn’t constitute a price hike.

No they definitely jacked up the price, the introductory offer was really good, you could get it down around $200. Then it went to a 'normal' price, ~$240, then was increased again, its at $310 right now.

This isn't the best history but it gives you an idea: https://camelcamelcamel.com/product/B07DX7DGRL

Further on this, the history of Pace's pricing for the ADS200 is shown in detail in posts on this forum, including posts by a Pace representative, in a dedicated ADS200 thread. Those posts were a factor in my decision to go with JBC. Other factors were my preference for JBC as a matter of industrial design, the much larger tip catalogue (two of the tips in my first order don't even exist for the ADS200), the significantly better JBC warranty (three years versus Pace's one) and JBC's decision to make improvements to its product without raising the price.

I also want to note that this thread has nothing to do with Pace's ADS200. Indeed, I made a deliberate decision to say nothing about my choice of JBC over Pace precisely because it is irrelevant to this thread and to avoid this debate. It wasn't an issue until this guy tooki decided to drag the ADS200 into the discussion. Why did he do that? To let me know that my decision, already made, wasn't what he would have "recommended", apparently mostly because of what he calls "je ne sais quoi".

Good thing that I wasn't drinking coffee when I read that :)
« Last Edit: May 15, 2021, 11:52:48 am by redg »
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Offline tooki

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2021, 11:40:47 am »
That is illustrative of why I'm not interested in your posts, and the reason for my brief, straight to the point responses. My impression, starting with your first post in this thread, is that you're a condescending, know-it-all keyboard warrior looking for an argument.
No, it wasn't. Your incredible insecurity is what's causing you to see a neutral explanation of the technical reality as an attack on your person.

Everything beyond that is due to your crappy attitude which, I will point out, I wasn't even the first person to call you out on, so it's not just me perceiving you as a cantankerous prick.


...To let me know that my decision, already made, wasn't what he would have "recommended", apparently mostly because of what he calls "je ne sais quoi".

Good thing that I wasn't drinking coffee when I read that :)
Sorry that my vocabulary is too broad for you. My deepest apologies.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2021, 11:47:58 am by tooki »
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2021, 11:47:38 am »
Then you weren’t paying attention, and missed that the ADS 200 had an explicit, time-limited introductory price. Said special offer ending doesn’t constitute a price hike.

No they definitely jacked up the price, the introductory offer was really good, you could get it down around $200. Then it went to a 'normal' price, ~$240, then was increased again, its at $310 right now.

This isn't the best history but it gives you an idea: https://camelcamelcamel.com/product/B07DX7DGRL
IIRC, $200 was the introductory price for the non-ISB version, the regular price being $300, and around $50 more for the ISB version.
 

Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2021, 12:06:29 pm »
The new soldering station is four miles from my home, but FedEx says it won't be delivering it until Monday.

Arrggh :)

Anyway, tests next week. Plus a report on my discussion with Kester.
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2021, 03:19:34 pm »
Earlier this week, I purchased Knipex's StepCut Cable Shears (96 11 160).

This is a fairly new tool. Apart from the two YouTube videos linked below, there appears to be very little information about user experience.

I made the attached photo while trying out the shears on some Ancor duplex cable (marine grade tinned copper, 65 strand, 12AWG/3.31mm² per conductor). Cutting was effortless, with no deformation. I'm completely sold and will be using these shears going forward.

I'm using some of the cable in the photo as part of a portable power supply that I'm putting together, consisting of a LiFeMgPO4 battery > inverter > AC outlet. This cable will connect the inverter to the AC outlet. No soldering.

However, next week I'm testing two Canare and three Mogami microphone cables, which I'll be soldering to Neutrik XLR connectors. The five cables range in thickness from 21AWG/0.410mm² to 26AWG/0.129mm² per conductor. This will be an important part of my Kester 44 and Kester 48 test. I should note that I'm testing these cables for handling behaviour and to make a decision about braided versus wrapped (aka "served") quad cable. I am not testing them for sound quality, having no interest in that particular audiophile rabbit hole :)

I'll be using the new Knipex shears to cut the cables to my desired length.

Brief demo of the StepCut shears at 02:51: https://youtu.be/gphr9SJOsmg

Comparison of the StepCut shears to standard Knipex Cable Shears (95 11 160): https://youtu.be/G--crkS_g-I



« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 03:59:17 am by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2021, 08:23:15 pm »
One of the reasons that I'm getting back into soldering is that I have a regular need for cinema camera power cables, audio recorder microphone cables and audio recorder to camera time code cables. Time code facilitates synchronisation of sound and picture during editing.

I'll be testing Kester 44 leaded solder and Kester 48 lead-free solder in the context of a broader test involving five different microphone cables, two made by the Japanese company Canare (named for the Kanare River in Nagoya) and three by the Japanese/U.S. company Mogami (named for the Mogami River in Yamagata Prefecture). Marshall Electronics, based in California, has a major interest in the Mogami brand, and at this point may be the majority, if not sole, owner.

I'll return to the cables in a subsequent post. Here I'll address what they have in common. I'll be using XLR connectors made by Neutrik for all of the cables. Neutrik, based in Lichtenstein, is the dominant maker of XLR connectors for professional use. Its current XLR catalogue runs 35 pages and contains 15 different series of XLR connector. There's even a version studded with Swarovski crystals :)

I'll be using a variation from the XX Series, specifically NC3MXX-BAG (male) and NC3FXX-BAG (female). These are 3-pole/pin XLRs, which is the standard for professional audio recorders and condenser microphones. BAG stands for a black metal housing with silver (Ag) plated bronze contacts. The contacts are mounted on a Polyamide insert. A version with gold plated contacts is available, but I'm unlikely to use it.

Each cable requires a male XLR at the audio recorder end and a female XLR at the microphone end. The first photo below shows the assembly instructions. Four of the cables that I'm testing are Star-Quad cables. These use four conductors to carry the balanced line, not just two as shown in the instructions. The second photo, first data column, shows the connectors' technical data.








« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 03:52:26 am by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2021, 01:12:08 pm »
Why am I testing microphone cables?

The decision to make my own microphone cables means that I now have a choice between using Canare and Mogami cable, which as a practical matter I have not had in the past.

Readers who have a good surround sound or stereo system know that Mogami makes excellent audio cable, and that its cable is widely used in music recording studios. However, in the U.S. and Canada people who record sound for film and television use Canare microphone cable almost exclusively. Indeed, it's the only brand offered by the specialist sound houses that supply audio equipment for film production. When I ask my favourite New York sound house to make a microphone cable, it's a very brief exchange. I tell it the length. The cable will be black, with standard Neutrik XLR connectors, unless I say that I want a different colour and/or a specific Neutrik XLR. The cable will be made from Canare Star-Quad L-4E6S as a matter of course.

Why is Canare so dominant? The film and television world thinks that Canare’s method of shielding microphone cable - braided copper - is more likely to stand up to the rough and tumble of film set and field recording than Mogami’s spiral-wrapped copper. This is not an issue in a music recording studio, where Mogami is widely used. I think that a lot of people who record sound for film also believe that the significantly higher price of Mogami cable (see the prices below) doesn’t translate into better sound. It's not like there's a problem with the sound quality of Hollywood feature films.

I don't have any complaints about Canare cable, but I've decided to test both brands to find out whether there's anything that I'm missing. I'll be considering how each cable handles (thickness, weight, flexibility) and behaves when soldered. By all accounts, Mogami is easier to prepare for soldering because of its wrapped rather than braided shielding. The latter requires the use a thin awl or similar tool to unravel the braid. I'll also decide whether to use heat shrink. Custom cables almost invariably have heat-shrinked terminals, but I may choose not to use it.

I ordered the cables from Redco Audio in Connecticut on Thursday. They should be shipped tomorrow (Monday), and I hope to receive them by Wednesday. The prices below are Redco's prices, which are quite competitive, by the foot.

I'll be testing the following cables:

1. Canare Star-Quad L-4E6S (first photo)
21AWG/0.410mm²
$0.55/ft

If you've seen a film or television programme shot in the U.S. or Canada in recent years, it's almost a certainty that the dialogue was recorded with this cable. Used for all of my current microphone cables.

2. Canare Star-Quad L-4E5C (first photo)
23AWG/0.258mm²
$0.48/ft

This is a thinner, lighter version of the above. Some people may be using it for boom poles. For a boom operator, small weight savings make a difference over a long shooting day. The question is whether this cable is rugged enough for general location/field recording.

3. Mogami Star-Quad W2534 (second photo)
24AWG/0.226mm²
$1.12/ft

I'll be comparing this to Canare's L-4E6S.

4. Mogami Star-Quad W2893 (second photo)
26AWG/0.129mm²
$0.82/ft

I'll be comparing this to Canare L-4E5C.

5. Mogami Balanced Cable W2791 (third photo)
24AWG/0.206mm²
$1.11/ft

Mogami markets this as a balanced cable for use in location sound recording, including for broadcasting. Note that it is not a Star-Quad cable, which is seen as a requirement by most people who record audio for film and television. Star-Quad is insurance against electrical noise, which is a real issue on film sets, and increasingly in urban areas generally. Nevertheless, I'm interested in having a look at this cable.


Canare Star-Quad:




Mogami Star-Quad:




Mogami Balanced:



« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 05:36:46 pm by redg »
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Offline Electro Fan

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2021, 06:03:18 pm »
redg,

I haven’t read all the posts in your threads but I found your thread on the history of flux core interesting.  Thanks for posting that.

Regarding this thread about comparing leaded vs lead-free solder I think it’s a worthwhile experiment for anyone seriously interested in getting into soldering.

I have soldered a little bit since I was a kid but not much until more recently as an adult.  Several years ago as my interest in hands-on electronics grew I developed a lot of the same interests and questions you have been expressing about solder, so I studied articles and videos and came to the conclusion that I should go with lead-free.  Before I firmly drew the conclusion I talked to people at Kester and I tried several types of solder including versions of Kester 44 and 48.  I could see that the 44 (leaded) melted easier/better at lower temperatures but given the environmental and other considerations I decided the 48 (lead-free) was good enough.  So although I could see the appearance of a joint made with leaded was better looking I stuck with lead-free, and went on my way.

Less than a year ago I got an optical microscope and for the first time I could really see what was happening when soldering.  Many types of imperfections that had gone unnoticed became visible.  The entire wetting action process, how rosin/flux worked, you name it, the ability to see with clear detail revealed an entire new layer of information. 

With the microscope it became even more clear how much consistently nicer the leaded joints were vs the lead-free joints in terms of how fast and easily they could be made - with a very good appearance on the lead-free joints each time.  However, with the microscope it also became possible to improve my soldering technique with the lead-free solder.  Until I got the microscope virtually all of my soldering had been with through hole.  With the microscope and lead-free it became possible to have success with SMDs, down to about 0402.

So fwiw, even though I prefer the soldering experience of the leaded I am still using the lead-free.  It seems like the right thing to do, even though it is obvious that much more heat has to be applied to the PCB and components to make a good lead-free joint.  The only slightly offsetting factor now is that with the microscope I can see better what size tip to use for each job, how to better place the tip at the joint, and for how long; and with SMDs not much heat is needed for very long, so making lead-free soldering more efficient and effective helps close the gap a bit with leaded.  But there is no doubt if you said who cares about regulations, health, the environment, etc - leaded works better.  (And to be square, some people will say regulations don’t or shouldn’t apply to personal soldering vs commercial soldering, and some people will say leaded is better for your health than the lead-free due to fumes, etc.  I don’t want to get into that debate.  I’m just saying that leaded makes nicer joints more easily but after that it’s a decision based on your criteria.)

With all that as background, a few more comments on Kester solders.  With 44 (leaded) I tried both 60/40 and 63/37.  My experience indicated the 63/37 was preferrable; the 60/40 was very good but I thought the 63/37 was even better.
 
So even though I decided to go with lead-free, I’m pretty sure this is the best (easiest/nicest/best looking solder joints at the lowest temperature):
Kester 24-6337-0027 Leaded 44 RA Solder Wire, .031" dia., Core Size-66 Sn63Pb37

With the 48 (lead-free) I tried versions that had silver and no silver.  Given what I saw with the silver and given the price uplift with silver I decided to go with the no silver.  This is the Kester model I have standardized on:
Kester 24-9574-1402 Lead-Free 48 RA Solder Wire, .031" dia., Core Size-66 Sn99.3Cu0.7 (K100LD)

(Even setting aside the price uplift for the versions with silver it wasn’t clear to me that the joints were any better with silver and maybe the non-silver joints were better than the joints with silver.)

A few more thoughts:  I think with any of these solders you can make a reasonably strong mechanical joint that will reliably conduct electricity.  So, my guess is that none of these solders will lead to anything in your audio cables that will be discernible with electrical tests and certainly not with listening tests.  I can believe that other aspects of audio design and materials can effect discernible sound, but I’m betting solder is not audibly discernible.  What might be discernible factors are how long you have to apply how much heat, and how enjoyable the soldering process is, but with good visibility into the process and with good technique I’m sure you can make reliable mechanical and electrical joints with any of the solders you are considering.

Hope something in here might be useful or at least interesting.  Happy Soldering and Cable Making!
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2021, 12:49:34 am »

Hope something in here might be useful or at least interesting.  Happy Soldering and Cable Making!

Both useful and interesting. It takes time and thought to write a post like that, and I appreciate it.

The Kester 44 Pocket Pak that I have is the same solder that you're attracted to most among leaded solders. It's Kester 24-6337-0027, just less of it :)

I'll take a second look at Kester K100LD.

Happy Soldering!

« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 01:05:24 am by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2021, 02:02:57 am »
Three posts above, I said that one has to use a thin awl or similar tool to unravel Canare’s braided shielding.

There may be another option. Jensen Tools sells a lead extractor for shielded wire, shown in the first photo. The second and third photos show the instructions, which look like they date to about 1960 :)

One of the few comments on the internet about this tool suggests that it may speed up dealing with Canare’s braided copper shields. I’m not keen on the price, and the tool may well fall into the “more trouble than it’s worth” category, but it’s sort of intriguing.

A search on this forum for both the company - Technical Engineering Devices, Culver City - and the tool turned up blank. However, the tool and stands that the company made to hold circuit boards do turn up on eBay. A little rooting around suggests that this company, if it still exists, now makes a completely different line of equipment. It's unclear who currently makes the tool.










« Last Edit: May 18, 2021, 11:11:20 am by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2021, 03:58:41 pm »
The JBC Compact Soldering Station for General Use (CD-1BQF) arrived yesterday. I ordered it sight-unseen, and I'm happy that I did.

Personal preferences in design come into play here, and the station meets mine. I think that it's a good example of modern European industrial design for what is historically a pretty stodgy product. Also, note that the word "compact" in the name isn't just marketing fluff. It means something. Everything is integrated into a single, compact box. I like that aesthetically and functionally. For me, it's also practical. I'll be using the station in more than one location. It will be easy to stash the station in a backpack, or in my luggage when I travel to where I spend my summers. Weighing 3kg (6.6lb), it's well-balanced and very stable. I also like the fact that JBC stands behind its product much longer than competitors. Per the User Manual, on registration the warranty is three years, which is three times as long as what Hakko, Pace and Weller offer for competing stations.

I should note that Mac and Linux users need access to Windows to update the station's firmware. I use MacOS, but have a BootCamp Windows partition, so this isn't an issue for me.

There's also an application called JBC Web Manager, which comes in Full and "Lite" versions. This application can be used to record and view data for soldering sessions. I haven't explored the application yet, so I don't know how useful it is for the way that I'll be using the station. The Full and Lite User Manuals are at https://www.jbctools.com/jbcsoftware-menu-115.html. The main JBC Web Manager page, which includes a demo (registration required), is at https://www.jbctools.com/webmanager.html.

I'll also use BootCamp Windows for JBC Web Manager, which requires two Microsoft tools for installation (Microsoft SQL and IIS). In use, the app just needs a browser. JBC recommends Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer/Edge. The application works with mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as with a computer. The third image below is from the Full/Lite User Manuals.

Re the station's model name... JBC calls this line of stations CD-B. In "CD-1BQF", the numeral 1 stands for 120V, and QF is apparently the model name for the 2021 update to the station, which adds four keypad controls.

JBC CD-1BQF

The well on the lower right is for removing excess solder. It can also be used to house a sponge. JBC, perhaps because cleaning soldering tips is one of those subjects that can divide people into camps, is a bit equivocal about sponges. However, a JBC U.S. manager says in a Kimco video that he does not recommend use of a sponge because it causes thermal shock to tips. A Hakko U.S. manager effectively says the same thing in one of Hakko U.S.'s videos.



JBC CD-1BQF with Cable Guide

For this photo, I've included the cable guide that can be used to control how much cable there is in the work area. It's too soon to say whether I'll use the guide as a matter of routine.

The angles of both the pencil holder for tips and the cable guide can be adjusted to the station user's preference. The setting does not rely just on friction. The cable guide uses a small, but effective geared rosette.




JBC Web Manager Graph of Temperature, Time and Power




« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 04:55:19 pm by redg »
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Offline Electro Fan

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2021, 07:39:56 pm »
Thanks for the report on CD-1BQF, and Congrats!

It looks very cool in the video at this link:
https://www.amazon.com/JBC-Tools-CD-1BQF-Compact-Soldering/dp/B08QC9N57V

The product looks high quality with lots of functionality built-in; all the stuff on the back make it look kind of like a computer with some soldering features :)

Only thing I noticed in the video that might be something to watch for is when the user does a change out at about -0:47 it looks like there is a chance to get a finger or hand poke (not sure if anything during that process might be hot as well as sharp/pointy) - or it might be a non-issue in actual use.

One other item on the Mac and Bootcamp.  Bootcamp has been a very good way to run Windows on a Mac but so far it appears that the new M1 Macs are not supporting Bootcamp, so you might want to keep a non-M1 around until you find another solution.

Congrats again on the CD-1BQF.  Keep us posted on your experience with it.
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2021, 09:18:34 pm »


Only thing I noticed in the video that might be something to watch for is when the user does a change out at about -0:47 it looks like there is a chance to get a finger or hand poke (not sure if anything during that process might be hot as well as sharp/pointy) - or it might be a non-issue in actual use.

One other item on the Mac and Bootcamp.  Bootcamp has been a very good way to run Windows on a Mac but so far it appears that the new M1 Macs are not supporting Bootcamp, so you might want to keep a non-M1 around until you find another solution.

Hi Electro,

So far, I think that the main issue is making sure that I don't do something really clumsy during a cartridge change that damages tips in the holder :) On heat, JBC cartridges are hot at the tip, but not at that end.

Good point about M1 Macs and Boot Camp, which I wasn't thinking about. I plan to purchase an M1 Mac as soon as there's one that has the central and graphics processing power that I want. As of last month, Parallels Desktop for Mac brings Windows to M1 Macs. At US$80 it's fairly pricey, but I guess you can charge that when you're the only game in town. Speculation that Apple or Microsoft will address the issue is just that, speculation. In addition to my main Mac, I have a Mac mini (2014 version, but capable enough to run Big Sur) that I use as a music server, that I intend to keep and that would work fine for JBC Web Manager. Anyway, I'm sufficiently curious about the app that I'm going to check it out.

By the way, Marques Brownlee, who I have a lot of time for, had some nice (and interesting) things to say today about the new iMac: M1 iMac Review: Ultra Thin Design Choice!

I should note that Kimco, which is the vendor on your Amazon link, sells this JBC station from its own website for US$415, not $445, shipping included. TEquipment, from which I bought, also sells it for $415 with shipping. As you no doubt know, there's a TEquipment discount code available to members of this forum, at least ones who have been around for a bit.

Further to my comment about sponges in the post two above, I noticed that the JBC video in your link shows the station without one, even though a sponge is included.

This is the same video in Electro's Amazon link, but on JBC's YouTube channel: CD-B General Purpose Station
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 02:55:10 am by redg »
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Offline tooki

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2021, 12:21:04 am »
Only thing I noticed in the video that might be something to watch for is when the user does a change out at about -0:47 it looks like there is a chance to get a finger or hand poke (not sure if anything during that process might be hot as well as sharp/pointy) - or it might be a non-issue in actual use.
It’s a complete non-issue. As redg said, that end of the cartridges doesn’t get hot. You can grab that end with bare hands right after pulling it out.
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2021, 01:05:51 am »
...that end of the cartridges doesn’t get hot. You can grab that end with bare hands right after pulling it out.

As a JBC U.S. manager demonstrates and explains at 01:57 of this video: JBC CD-1B Soldering Station Overview

This is also the video in which he says (see 03:45) that JBC recommends against using a wet sponge on tips that are at soldering temperature.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 07:45:30 pm by redg »
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Offline tooki

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2021, 11:06:47 am »
...that end of the cartridges doesn’t get hot. You can grab that end with bare hands right after pulling it out.

Which Yago Sancho, JBC's U.S. Sales Manager, demonstrates and explains at 01:57 of this video: JBC CD-1B Soldering Station Overview
And it’s what I’ve been doing all morning, as I switch between tips while hunting down a problem on a PCB! :p

I suppose I could borrow a second station from an unused bench…

This is also the video in which Sancho says (see 03:45) that JBC recommends against using a wet sponge on tips that are at soldering temperature.
Indeed, I think all the soldering equipment manufacturers recommend avoiding sponges, even if they continue to supply both.

What I’ve come to love on the newer JBC stations is the silicone cup. The castellations on the rim work extremely well at wiping off solder. It’s gentle, and it helps avoid saturating the brass wool with solder. The rubber wipers on other brands of stations/stands I’ve tried (Weller, Ersa, and others) just aren’t quite as good.

 

Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2021, 01:17:37 pm »
[EDIT: I've figured out that I can use grip equipment that I already have to support components to be soldered. No need to purchase anything. Perhaps the GRS arm and clamp that's discussed below will interest others.]

It occurs to me that I'm short a couple of hands. I need my right to hold the soldering pencil, and my left to hold the soldering wire. This leaves me short a hand to hold the Star-Quad conductors and braid, and short yet another to hold the XLR cups :)

What to do?

I’m inclined to go with a couple of articulating arms and clamps that I can use for tabletop still photography and video as well as soldering. My current articulating arm (the Titan in the first photo) would work. However, an additional Titan, at US$250, would cost more than I want to spend. The Titan is robust and precise, perfect for supporting an external video camera monitor, as in the photo, or film lights. However, it's expensive overkill just to support a small object that I want to photograph or film, and I think also overkill for soldering.

I may drop by B&H Photo, which is local, to see what I can find. I expect that Manfrotto makes a suitable arm, and I know that it makes miniature clamps. The one option that I've ruled out is flex arms, which I've found work better in theory than in practice. So far, the best option seems to be the articulating arm and clamp in the second photo, which I came across on Adam Savage's YouTube Channel. It's made by GRS, a company that manufactures equipment for making jewellery.

GRS sells this arm and clamp as part of the "Third Hand Soldering Station" in the third photo. However, the arm and clamp can be purchased alone for quite a bit less money. The stud between the bottom of the arm and the wing nut has a 1/4"-20 thread and is 0.5" long. Easy to mount to the base of my choice.

The GRS "Soldering Station" sells for about $160. GRS vendors sell the arm and clamp alone for US$52, or $104 for two. I haven't ruled out an additional Titan Arm completely (they're very high quality and have many uses in filmmaking and photography), but GRS's pricing is certainly more attractive.

Titan Arm, mounted on a Miller fluid head to support an external monitor




GRS Arm and Clamp (single, without a base)




GRS "Third Hand Soldering Station", screen capture from an Adam Savage video





« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 05:35:41 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2021, 07:13:39 pm »
There are about 150 tips available for the JBC station's 245T handle. I want to try two of the barrel tips shown in the screen capture below, the 0.8mm tip for tinning roughly 24AWG/0.20mm² cable, and the 2.5mm for soldering that cable to the cups on XLR connectors. Coincidentally, I had a discussion with JBC today, which was supportive of the idea of using barrel tips for these joints. Nevertheless, if the geometry doesn't seem right, which I can test before use, my vendor, TEquipment, will exchange the two barrel tips for different sizes or for chisel tips.

I'm also attaching a photo that was part of a JBC blog post on tip choice. Note the barrel tip on the right.





« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 07:52:59 pm by redg »
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Offline gtm

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2021, 07:34:39 pm »
...that end of the cartridges doesn’t get hot. You can grab that end with bare hands right after pulling it out.

A JBC U.S. manager demonstrates and explains at 01:57 of this video: JBC CD-1B Soldering Station Overview


Careful there. If the cartridge has just been used for an extended period of time (and not just 5 seconds like in the video), and if you grab it 1 or 2 cm closer to the heater than in the video, where its diameter starts to taper down, then there will be screaming... and blisters. Don't ask me how I know.

This is only likely to happen when picking up a (hot) cartridge from one of the storage holes. JBC cartridges are rather short, and you cannot grab it from the cold end because that part is inside the hole,  so you are left with  about an inch of length of cartridge (that is not blistering hot) to grab from , not much room for error.
The upside is that after you've burned yourself once, your precision at grabbing cartridges will improve markedly, making it highly unlikely that it will happen a second time.

 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2021, 08:46:41 pm »
...that end of the cartridges doesn’t get hot. You can grab that end with bare hands right after pulling it out.

A JBC U.S. manager demonstrates and explains at 01:57 of this video: JBC CD-1B Soldering Station Overview


Careful there. If the cartridge has just been used for an extended period of time (and not just 5 seconds like in the [JBC manager] video), and if you grab it 1 or 2 cm closer to the heater than in the video, where its diameter starts to taper down, then there will be screaming... and blisters. Don't ask me how I know.

This is only likely to happen when picking up a (hot) cartridge from one of the storage holes. JBC cartridges are rather short, and you cannot grab it from the cold end because that part is inside the hole,  so you are left with  about an inch of length of cartridge (that is not blistering hot) to grab from , not much room for error.
The upside is that after you've burned yourself once, your precision at grabbing cartridges will improve markedly, making it highly unlikely that it will happen a second time.

I got a chuckle from that. There's nothing like hearing from someone who's speaking from personal experience :)

Just to clarify, Electro Fan, tooki and I were talking about the following video: https://youtu.be/J6gVZpOIs4c

In particular, we were talking about the changeout of tips shown in the screen capture below, and whether the end of the cartridge nearest the pencil holder is hot.

Good warning, though, about cartridges in the storage area a bit further back, where the tip is facing up.


« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 09:00:18 pm by redg »
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Offline Electro Fan

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2021, 09:18:51 pm »
...that end of the cartridges doesn’t get hot. You can grab that end with bare hands right after pulling it out.

A JBC U.S. manager demonstrates and explains at 01:57 of this video: JBC CD-1B Soldering Station Overview


Careful there. If the cartridge has just been used for an extended period of time (and not just 5 seconds like in the [JBC manager] video), and if you grab it 1 or 2 cm closer to the heater than in the video, where its diameter starts to taper down, then there will be screaming... and blisters. Don't ask me how I know.

This is only likely to happen when picking up a (hot) cartridge from one of the storage holes. JBC cartridges are rather short, and you cannot grab it from the cold end because that part is inside the hole,  so you are left with  about an inch of length of cartridge (that is not blistering hot) to grab from , not much room for error.
The upside is that after you've burned yourself once, your precision at grabbing cartridges will improve markedly, making it highly unlikely that it will happen a second time.

I got a chuckle from that. There's nothing like hearing from someone who's speaking from personal experience :)

Just to clarify, Electro Fan, tooki and I were talking about the following video: https://youtu.be/J6gVZpOIs4c

In particular, we were talking about the changeout of tips shown in the screen capture below, and whether the end of the cartridge nearest the pencil holder is hot.

Good warning, though, about cartridges in the storage area a bit further back, where the tip is facing up.



My main point from my previous post is that there doesn't seem to be a ton of space in the storage and change out area and it looks like a possible opportunity to get poked by something that might be a little pointy if not hot.  And based on gtm's post I'm not sure that it's all a "complete non-issue."  Overall it looks like a great station but as with any soldering iron or station it's always good to stay alert in general, including during change outs.
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2021, 09:32:54 pm »
I received the 0.8mm barrel tip this afternoon, specs in the post four up.

JBC has started packaging its cartridges in cardboard pouches rather than plastic tubes. Someone posted a rant about the change on YouTube, but I don't have a problem with it. The pouches are 13cm x 4.5cm (5" x 1.8") and show tip specs on the front. They could be stored in a small box, file box, etc. Nothing to prevent one from storing the cartridges in plastic tubes, either. The cartridges arrive pre-tinned.

Front




Back




C245-790 0.8mm Barrel Cartridge and T245 Cartridge Holder




Cartridge Installed in the Holder

« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 10:01:04 am by redg »
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Offline gtm

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2021, 11:52:39 pm »
Something to keep in mind with the intricate tip geometries like the barrel types, and particularly the 0.8mm one, is how are you going to clean them?. 
If you ever get oxidation or contamination on the inside of the barrel, I don't think the brass curls will reach in there. For this kind of tips it might be better to get a brass brush like this one:[attachimg=1][attach=2]Myself I sawed off the handle and hot glued the brush head to the station.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 11:55:53 pm by gtm »
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2021, 10:37:26 am »
It looks like the Lessmann brush in gtm's photo just above is what Lessmann calls a "spark plug brush", with thin brass wire, 0.15mm.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 03:36:30 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #44 on: May 20, 2021, 10:14:08 pm »
[EDIT: Starting with gtm's post two above, it appears that images in this thread can now appear only as text links, not as thumbnails or as in-line images].

I'll be trying out the new soldering station, and leaded and lead-free solder, with the microphone cables in the photo below, which arrived this afternoon. There's more detailed discussion about these cables in the second post on this page.

I should add that this won't be my only lead/lead-free soldering test. I plan to change some of the joints on the circuit board for a tube amplifier that I built from lead to lead-free.

From left to right in the photo...

1 (black): Canare Star-Quad L-4E6S
21AWG/0.410mm²
$0.55/ft

This is one of my current cables. I'll be replacing the lead joints in the right angle and standard Neutrik XLRs with lead-free. If you've seen a film or television programme shot in the U.S. or Canada in recent years, it's highly likely that the dialogue was recorded with Neutrik XLR connectors and this Canare cable.

2 (green): Additional Canare Star-Quad L-4E6S for testing.

3 (black): Canare Star-Quad L-4E5C
23AWG/0.258mm²
$0.48/ft

Thinner and more flexible Canare. Is it rugged enough for general use?

4 (blue): Mogami Star-Quad W2534
24AWG/0.226mm²
$1.12/ft

Used widely in music recording studios, but almost never for location and field recording for film production.

5 (red): Mogami Star-Quad W2893
26AWG/0.129mm²
$0.82/ft

More lightweight than Canare's lightweight cable. That isn't necessarily a good thing. I had trouble getting it to lie flat for the photo :)

6 (black): Mogami Balanced Cable W2791
24AWG/0.206mm²
$1.11/ft

The only non-Star-Quad cable in the group.




« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 02:38:21 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2021, 09:42:53 am »
Coincidentally, a musician and music sound recordist in British Columbia is making a series of YouTube videos (links below) on making XLR cables. In the first of three videos, he says that he uses Mogami cable in his recording studio.

However, he uses Canare for live performances and live recordings, for the same reason that sound recordists for film use Canare. Outside a studio, he has more confidence in Canare's braid shielding than in Mogami's spiral-wrap shielding.

While sound recordists for film have pretty much adopted Star-Quad cable as standard, the gentleman who's making this video series uses ordinary balanced cable. That means that he has two conductors to solder rather than four. He uses a dental pick, which judging from his first video is a good tool for the job, to unravel the Canare braid.

Unsurprisingly, he uses Neutrik XLR connectors.

For more on Neutrik connectors and Canare and Mogami cables, see the first and second posts above on this page of the thread.

Links to the video series:

XLR Microphone Cable DIY Series - Part 1 Strip your Cable Ends

XLR Microphone Cable DIY Project - Part 2 - Tinning your wire ends

Part 3 isn't up yet.

He uses tin/lead/silver solder because he thinks that the silver results in better sound recordings. I'm inclined to file that idea under "audiophile snake oil" :). Although I'm testing SAC305, I don't think the fact that it contains silver is a relevant consideration.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 03:03:28 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #46 on: May 22, 2021, 07:08:00 pm »
There's a trade organisation called IPC that publishes standards for soldering electronic components. The IPC and a number of IPC trainers have videos on YouTube about soldering cup terminals, which is the type of terminal that an XLR connector uses. These videos make a lot of sense to me, and what they preach is different from what amateurs on YouTube tend to show and recommend. I've put links to several IPC/IPC Trainer videos at the end of this post. In some of the videos, gold plate is removed as a first step. That step can be ignored when the connector is not gold plated.

The IPC publishes a document that contains its soldering standards called IPC-J-STD-001. This document, currently at version "H", sells for US$200. I've looked for a bootleg copy, so far without success. However, there's a 1997 NASA document online called Soldered Electrical Connections.

As the four videos below show, there is some variation in technique within IPC standards. I've noted obvious differences, but there are also subtle ones.

In some videos, such as this quite old one from Pace's channel, soldering the connection is a two-step process. First, the cup is filled with solder. Then the solder is reheated and the cable is inserted.




This 2018 IPC video also shows a two-step process. In all of the other IPC/IPC trainer videos that I've seen, both the cable and the cup are vertical for soldering. In this one, they are horizontal.




This IPC video, also published in 2018, shows a one-step process. The instructor places the cable lead in the empty cup and solders the connection in one go.




In this 2012 video, an instructor who is certified by NASA also uses a one-step process. This video attracted a lot of derisory comments, which I found interesting reading.







Here are some other videos that I found helpful:

ETECH Training
https://youtu.be/0KI0v4wKdPE

John Gammell
https://youtu.be/JddYVsD0CZs

Soldering Geek
https://youtu.be/zJXv7BVF1Gg
https://youtu.be/D1XZjalyV8U
https://youtu.be/mafdCIFDMc4
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 07:51:16 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #47 on: May 22, 2021, 09:47:33 pm »
I thought that I'd also mention Soldering Geek's 2009 video below on tinning cable, just because it's unique. He uses a heat sink to prevent solder/flux from wicking up and under the cable's insulation. Believe it or not, a company called Ripley Tools makes special anti-wicking tools for this very purpose. A quick check suggests that these tools are an uncommon item, requiring a special order.

It isn't a completely frivolous issue. The IPC has a ListServe called TechNet. In 2014, there was a lengthy discussion about flux getting under insulation and the consequences. The participants show a knowledge of some pretty arcane history going back to the early U.S. space programme: Tinning Wires - Flux Entrapment and Long-term Reliability.

The quality's poor, but here's Soldering Geek's video. It looks like he's using Ripley's "AW Series" tool:



 
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 11:58:21 pm by redg »
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Offline jonpaul

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #48 on: May 23, 2021, 05:10:52 pm »
To OP RedG:

Bravo for this interesting thread re LF vs Pb solder and then about solder stations.

I am  EE since 1968,  first soldering iron was 1950s...
By 1990s the first Lead Free laws were affecting the industry.

Just a few notes that you may find useful:

1/ In all those years we used only flux cored wire type solder leaded Sn63/Pb37 eutectic, for discrete and repairs normally in 1 # and 5# rolls. Kester  "5 core"  was the best quality.

We use bar solder in 1.5# bars for our solder pots.

lead free was bought only bars at  first AIM SAC305, later AIM and Nichicon SN100C.

We used liquid solder flux in the solder pots.

2/ In general LF solder is more expensive and has a much worse temp range and durability. The Pb solder 63/37 is a much better solder. LF is needed ONLY to meet EU and US regulatory compliance (RoHS, REACH, conflict minerals) legal, and never has benefit for individuals or hobbyists.

3/ LF solder is useless UNLESS ALL  parts  in contact are also LF, eg solder iron tips, solder pot crucibles, SMD reflow ovens and of course the component leads!

Mixing leaded and LF solder/parts/tools  means the end result is contaminated with lead and not LF!

4/ On PCB rework or point to point wiring I have not had problems to remove rosin flux with normal solvents and cleaners. Left on rosin is very seldom a problem even on very old equipment.



IRONS:

3/ We used Ungar, then Weller, till 1980s.

We discovered fine Hakko Japanese, original analog models and still use them, #926, 936, etc.

4/ In 1990s I designed   MetCal 500 kHz resonant SP-200, these are excellent for large surfaces, ground planes, power electronics rework.

5/ I have never used the Chinese clone irons or rework stations mentioned.


I hope these notes are interesting to you!

Just the ramblings of an old retied EE!

With Kind Regards from Paris,

Jon

Jean-Paul (EE 1968, the Internet Dinosaur)
 
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #49 on: May 24, 2021, 03:34:34 pm »
...In general LF solder is more expensive and has a much worse temp range and durability. The Pb solder 63/37 is a much better solder. LF is needed ONLY to meet EU and US regulatory compliance (RoHS, REACH, conflict minerals) legal, and never has benefit for individuals or hobbyists. ...

Mixing leaded and LF solder/parts/tools means the end result is contaminated with lead and not LF!...

With Kind Regards from Paris,

Jon

Hi Jon,

Thanks very much for the comments.

I'm in NY now, but I used to live in the 14th arrondissement.

We do see a couple of things differently. This morning, I decided to ask major suppliers of custom components to the U.S. film, television, radio and music recording industries whether they use leaded or lead-free solder. I've already heard back from one of the top two in importance: "We use a lead-free solder for our builds". That company makes components that are critically important to making films that can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Their work includes power and audio cables that are constantly stressed. I'm pretty familiar with internet discussions about custom work for film and television, and I have yet to see a single complaint about lead-free soldered joints or their durability.

If I decide to go lead-free, one obvious benefit to me, as an individual, is that I don't have to collect solder waste and take it to a recycling facility. I believe that I have a personal responsibility when it comes to pollutants, and I'm not prepared to ignore that responsibility. Incidentally, the gun club where I shoot skeet, and where a good number of people still use lead shot, doesn't ignore that responsibility either.

I've seen people raise lead contamination of lead-free solder equipment as an argument against going with lead-free solder. I don't know if that's your point, but I don't think that it has any relevance to me. While contamination may be an issue in commercial operations, I'm not running a commercial operation. In this context, I think that the argument amounts to grasping at straws. In any event, there's an obvious fix: just go with lead-free and don't bother testing leaded :)
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 11:49:15 pm by redg »
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Offline jonpaul

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #50 on: May 31, 2021, 04:30:03 pm »
Rebonjour RedG, bon pour connaissance une autre aficionado  française..J'habite au 6eme pres les St Germaine.

1/ Our use of the RoHS was as a transformer manufacturere and required 100% LF solder, pots, leads, components. A single leaded part of the chaine makes the procee leaded and contaminats the equipment eg the solder pot.

2/ The main issues we found were higher solder temp, thus all parts must withstand higher temp anf longer time, the reflow temp profiles are more critical.

The plastic  temp range of any solder  (transaition solid><liquid) depends on the mix, eg Sn/Pb 63/37 Eutectic has no plastic range and lowest T liq.

Finally there are reliability issues re plating of leads and tin whiskers, but these do not impact hand soldering hobby use.

3/ The LF solders include tin, Ge, Silver etc. and all of these heavy metals are not risk free to the environment.

4/ The Eu has REACH, RoHS, WEEE and many toher regs that apply even to LF solder.

5/ The use of Tin was restriced in USA by an old law that required proof that the tin is not from an African mine with conflict minerals.

Finally saw your other notes re soldering irons, we use Metcal SP-200 500kHz for large area, gr plane etc and found these far superior to the Hakko or any Chinese clones.

Full disclosure...my design for Raychem/Metcal ~ 1991

Bon Soiree,


Jon
Jean-Paul (EE 1968, the Internet Dinosaur)
 

Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #51 on: May 31, 2021, 04:59:09 pm »
Rebonjour RedG, bon pour connaissance une autre aficionado  française..J'habite au 6eme pres les St Germaine.

Cool. When I first moved to Paris, I lived just off Boulevard Saint-Germain on Rue Saint-Guillaume :)
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Offline jonpaul

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #52 on: May 31, 2021, 09:12:34 pm »
 Bl St Germain/Rue du Rennes/Rue Grennell/St Peres
Jean-Paul (EE 1968, the Internet Dinosaur)
 

Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #53 on: June 03, 2021, 09:23:27 pm »
Just received the second of the JBC barrel cartridges that I ordered, which was out of stock. I now have the 0.8mm and 2.5mm, specs below. Like the 0.8mm cartridge, the 2.5mm came pre-tinned, but at first glance I think that it may work with the Neutrik XLR cups.

JBC C245-763 Barrel Cartridge, 2.5mm




JBC Catalogue Entries for the 0.8mm and 2.5mm Barrel Cartridges


« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 10:30:05 pm by redg »
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Offline redg

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Re: Inexpensive Way To Try Both Leaded and Lead Free Solder
« Reply #54 on: June 04, 2021, 12:10:21 am »
I've decided to make my own soldering station from gear that I have on-hand, and to use 1/2" plywood as a work surface. I want control over the height of the work surface, so I'm going to mount the plywood on the type of stand shown in the photo below.

These stands are used for filmmaking and still photography. They're rock solid, and the height can be adjusted from 60cm (24") to 115cm (45"). The mount that I'm going to use (photo below) consists of a steel plate and a stud that's 28mm (1 1/8") thick. The plate is screwed to the bottom of the plywood, and the stud is inserted into the top of the stand and locked down. In addition to giving me control over height, this will make the soldering station (basically the 1/2" plywood + plate) easy to stow away. The whole setup is highly portable. Because I already have the stand, the cost is a few dollars for plywood plus US$25 for the plate.

I'm satisfied that photo/video grip gear is built better than most of what's sold for soldering, and in some cases would do a better job, so I'll be using the articulating arms and clamps that I already have to mount components that need to be soldered.

Perhaps of interest to readers who are into photography or video, the stand has a standard Junior (28mm) female socket and the plate has a Junior male stud. This particular stand is often used in pairs to support a film camera on dolly track. It's also used to support a computer and/or monitor on a tethered shoot where the camera is connected to those devices via cable or wireless. The stand can just as easily support a soldering station. It's also perfect for mounting a light or light modifier relatively low to the ground. At 6.4kg (14lbs), with a footprint just under a meter and a load capacity of 36kg (80lbs), these stands are very stable.







« Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 11:10:16 am by redg »
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