Author Topic: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison  (Read 22901 times)

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Offline John_Edward

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Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« on: July 18, 2014, 11:38:55 pm »
I had an hour to spare and wanted to smell the delicious flux, but didn't have any project to work on, so I decided to take all my different solders and do a quick comparison with them. Basically, whenever I've bough something from ebay, I've added a spool of the cheapest solder currently sold, just to see if cheap could be good (spoiler: the answer is no). Also because I was really running out of my good solder, and the label was torn so I couldn't get more (I now know it is made by Solnet, and have found where to get more, so no more crap solder for me).

Anyhow, here are the spools in question.
All (at least sold as) either 60/40 or 63/37 leaded solder.


And here are the results; from left to right:
Kaisi, Kewei, Kaina, Bojie, Yong Chang, no label, and the good old Solnet.
At the right, side by side of Solnet and Yong Chang, both 0.8mm 60/40.


And from the other side:


My thought was to make a nice detailed comparison, but as the results are all horrible, I didn't bother.
They all smell terrible, take ages to heat, stay pasty for too long, spit burning hot flux everywhere, and if they aren't dull even when molten, they will dull the moment they solidify. So let this be more of a confirmation/warning than a review, cheap solder is cheap because it's crap.

Also, Solnet flux smells addictively good. Kaisi smells like burning cat urine.
 

Offline rob77

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2014, 12:06:19 am »
my guess is that the cheapest solder from china is a recycled one - collected from scrap boards.
 

Online all_repair

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2014, 12:45:39 am »
No point.  You can't be sure the next buy is the same. |O  When a product starts to sell, fake coming out very fast in China.
 

Offline John_Edward

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2014, 12:48:00 am »
No point.  You can't be sure the next buy is the same. |O  When a product starts to sell, fake coming out very fast in China.
Oh but you can!
If you buy cheap solder, no matter what brand you buy, it will be pure crap :D
 

Offline kingofkya

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2014, 12:55:42 am »
Yeah a good brand solder is great way to increases your soldering skilllevel:) Same goes for flux and desolder braid i remember for the longest time i though de-solder braid was useless. Till I got some nice chemtronics stuff.

I hope some newbies come across this thread it really makes a ton of difference, you pictures show that very well.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 01:00:51 am by kingofkya »
 

Offline ajb

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2014, 02:39:36 am »
At least with some of the terrible solder braid the only problem is the lack of flux.  We had a couple of rolls of the terrible stuff (ironically labelled "gootwick") lying around, and I found that unrolling it and dunking it in a bottle of liquid solder and then hanging to dry overnight made it just about as good as the name brand stuff.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2014, 11:52:16 pm »
my guess is that the cheapest solder from china is a recycled one - collected from scrap boards.

I am not sure if that can be done cost effectively.  The cost of collecting and sorting the boards, the energy cost, etc.   Just transporting the scrap boards to a location at high enough volume (per unit time) to reach commercial-scale will be very costly.  I think (guess work) it would be difficult to make such solder recycling profitable.

It would be interesting to hear from those who know the numbers and how to do it without loosing their shirts.
 

Offline Prime73

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2014, 12:00:27 am »
My thought was to make a nice detailed comparison, but as the results are all horrible, I didn't bother.
They all smell terrible, take ages to heat, stay pasty for too long, spit burning hot flux everywhere, and if they aren't dull even when molten, they will dull the moment they solidify. So let this be more of a confirmation/warning than a review, cheap solder is cheap because it's crap.

Also, Solnet flux smells addictively good. Kaisi smells like burning cat urine.

Would be nice to see a "good" solder example along with others for visual comparison.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2014, 12:16:34 am »
My thought was to make a nice detailed comparison, but as the results are all horrible, I didn't bother.
They all smell terrible, take ages to heat, stay pasty for too long, spit burning hot flux everywhere, and if they aren't dull even when molten, they will dull the moment they solidify. So let this be more of a confirmation/warning than a review, cheap solder is cheap because it's crap.

Also, Solnet flux smells addictively good. Kaisi smells like burning cat urine.

Would be nice to see a "good" solder example along with others for visual comparison.

He did, the one on the right of the first picture, or the left on the 2nd picture
 

Offline Prime73

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2014, 12:23:55 am »
My thought was to make a nice detailed comparison, but as the results are all horrible, I didn't bother.
They all smell terrible, take ages to heat, stay pasty for too long, spit burning hot flux everywhere, and if they aren't dull even when molten, they will dull the moment they solidify. So let this be more of a confirmation/warning than a review, cheap solder is cheap because it's crap.

Also, Solnet flux smells addictively good. Kaisi smells like burning cat urine.

Would be nice to see a "good" solder example along with others for visual comparison.

He did, the one on the right of the first picture, or the left on the 2nd picture

 :palm: missed it somehow...
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2014, 01:49:38 am »
Yeah a good brand solder is great way to increases your soldering skilllevel:) Same goes for flux and desolder braid i remember for the longest time i though de-solder braid was useless. Till I got some nice chemtronics stuff.

I hope some newbies come across this thread it really makes a ton of difference, you pictures show that very well.

+1--I used to use the cheap Rat Shack desoldering braid and hated it.  Bought some Chemtronics in 2 different sizes and I won't go back to the cheap stuff again.   I also use Alpha Metals Reliacore 63/37 .020" solder with MG Chemicals liquid rosin flux.  No more crappy solder here either.
"Heaven has been described as the place that once you get there all the dogs you ever loved run up to greet you."
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2014, 05:28:47 am »
Yeah a good brand solder is great way to increases your soldering skilllevel:) Same goes for flux and desolder braid i remember for the longest time i though de-solder braid was useless. Till I got some nice chemtronics stuff.

I hope some newbies come across this thread it really makes a ton of difference, you pictures show that very well.

+1--I used to use the cheap Rat Shack desoldering braid and hated it.  Bought some Chemtronics in 2 different sizes and I won't go back to the cheap stuff again.   I also use Alpha Metals Reliacore 63/37 .020" solder with MG Chemicals liquid rosin flux.  No more crappy solder here either.

I have not experienced Radio Shack's braid, but I tried their 60/40 solder a few times recently.  Single rosin core 1mm and single rosin core 2.5mm.  I was helping out with my daughter's school club and I used those to solder thin wires (18-26awg) to various controllers, switches and boards, and I use the 2.5mm to solder some thick (6-10awg) wires to SLA battery connectors.  All told, I think I did about 50-100 solder joints only, and another dozen or so component on prototyping-board just to try the solder out.  So not deep experience but enough to get a feel of it.

Comparing to my circa 1970 5-core roll, they are not as good, but they are quite workable.  Comparing to the cheap unknown brands I have used, I take those RS solder over the unknown cheap unknown brand any day.

On the other hand, I cannot say the same about their rosin flux.  It works well, but I hate their smell...
 

Offline wagon

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2014, 12:53:20 pm »
I use 'Multicore' (Australian-made) solder and Chemtools wick. These products aren't cheap, but they aren't expensive either.  Cheap stuff just wastes time and resources.
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2014, 11:36:35 pm »
I am not sure if that can be done cost effectively.  The cost of collecting and sorting the boards, the energy cost, etc.   Just transporting the scrap boards to a location at high enough volume (per unit time) to reach commercial-scale will be very costly.  I think (guess work) it would be difficult to make such solder recycling profitable.

It would be interesting to hear from those who know the numbers and how to do it without losing their shirts.

For sure it is done, but they would not harvest circuit boards specifically to get solder. Its going to be a low profit byproduct.
If we could analyze the solders, it would give us some clues:

Quote
Dr. Weidenhamer, his students and colleague Michael Clement found that some of the jewelry items they analyzed were composed primarily of lead and tin (the principle components of electronic solders), with minor amounts of copper. They found that copper, which is another component of printed circuit boards, will rapidly move into lead-tin solder when melted. They then analyzed 39 highly leaded jewelry items that contained more than 90 percent lead by weight and found that these contained significant amounts of antimony, a key component of the lead alloy in lead-acid batteries.

http://ban.org/ban_news/2007/070711_toxic_jewelry_imports_pic3.html
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2014, 05:41:17 pm »
I am not sure if that can be done cost effectively.  The cost of collecting and sorting the boards, the energy cost, etc.   Just transporting the scrap boards to a location at high enough volume (per unit time) to reach commercial-scale will be very costly.  I think (guess work) it would be difficult to make such solder recycling profitable.

It would be interesting to hear from those who know the numbers and how to do it without losing their shirts.


Of course!  How dumb of me.  I was looking at solder in isolation instead of as part of recovery of everything else.

In the USA, some (many?) use disposal services which shred used computers/boards into tiny pieces.  My mind was immediately along that line.  The bits of shredded  PCB's could certainly be melted for the solder, but without component recovery, that would have been difficult to get the P&L right without the other useful bits (such as recovering copper, silver... etc.)

Goes to show...  "Pause and engage brain" is an advice I should not just give but follow as well.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 05:51:12 pm by Rick Law »
 

Offline YU2

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2016, 03:50:51 pm »
I can aslo confirm this solder wire bought on ebay is a totall crap:

 

Online PA0PBZ

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2016, 04:07:02 pm »
I can aslo confirm this solder wire bought on ebay is a totall crap:

1.2% of what, usability?
Keyboard error: Press F1 to continue.
 

Offline YU2

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2016, 04:33:42 pm »
I can aslo confirm this solder wire bought on ebay is a totall crap:

1.2% of what, usability?
Trust me I am struggling to find where I could use it for, since despite it's 0.3mm if you use it for smd you will firstly lift of pcb pads or boil the caps before this solder melts.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2016, 05:36:00 pm »
Use as fuse wire in old fuses perhaps?
 

Offline wagon

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2016, 11:23:22 pm »
Use as fuse wire in old fuses perhaps?
Not uncommon to see in old electric fence energisers.  They use a high-wattage wirewound resistor that's hollow, and run a piece of thick (~2mm) solder through the middle.  Works as a thermal fuse should the unit draw too much current.
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Offline macboy

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2016, 04:24:35 pm »
Quote
Also, Solnet flux smells addictively good. Kaisi smells like burning cat urine.
I would imagine that uric acid would work fairly effectively as a flux, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the flux is literally made from urine.

Try Kester 44. It wets and flows beautifully, joints stay shiny when cooled, and the rosin based flux smells pleasant too. I have used two rolls manufactured probably 20 years apart and they work identically; Kester knows not to mess with a good thing.
 

Offline Muxr

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2016, 02:04:50 am »
Solder is something I don't want to be skimping on. I hate dirty boards so how easy it is to clean the board after soldering is pretty important to me.

I was using this MULTICORE / LOCTITE stuff http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DKF13JY?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage. And I really wasn't happy with it. The multicore flux was difficult to clean. The flux would calcify and become really hard and tough to remove.

I did some research on different solder markings and stumbled on this video:

Carson really explains the fundamentals of solder and how to decipher different markings on it.

Anyways armed with this new knowledge I decided to give this solder a try: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YFES1TE?redirect=true&ref_=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

I've been using this solder for the past 2 months, it's simply amazing. Night and day difference compared to the solder I used previously.
 

Offline Halvmand

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Re: Quick dirt-cheap ebay solder comparison
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2016, 12:39:13 am »
Anyone in the market for a good solder should really consider a spool of Kester 44.
Not long ago someone from the forum posted this review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1VK2QLA5M0FFS/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0149K4JTY&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=228013&store=hi
 


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