Since when has buying solder become complicated?

62vauxhall

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#1
My solder purchasing has not been frequent and I still remember getting Kester TV & radio solder in the orange boxes.

Years ago I bought solder from parts shops. Usually, a coil of it inside a plastic tube but they didn't last long. More recently, I was able to find 1lb rolls at swapmeets and I just started my last one of those. But it's crap. I don't think it has a rosin core since it does not flow well unless heat is applied for a long time. No idea of brand, label on the spool has been obliterated. All that's legible is the diameter - .030.

Probaly why the 1lb roll was $5.

I just left the Digikey sight - was looking for some inline connectors and thought I'd see what a roll of Kester solder cost. But there were six $50 CAD listings for 1 lb rolls of .031.

All I want is regular, old fashioned solder. What Kester series number am I looking for....285, 245 or 44?
 

62vauxhall

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#3
The "no clean" puzzled me, I'd not seen that option before. Made me wonder if it impaired how the solder adheared. But the .025diameter might be closer to what I had been using. For additional flux when needed, I've been using those applicator pens,
 

mlucitt

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#4
Most of the new budget solder you see for sale today is from overseas and is of questionable origin (think wheel weights and car batteries); in my mind it is junk. If I am going to spend big bucks on things like White Oak Audio circuit boards in my irreplaceable Phase Linear amplifiers, I want the best solder available.
I have tried almost every brand of solder that is out there. I used Kester 245 or Kester 44 for years. Then I found that Radio Shack had .031" 2% silver solder and it was better than Kester at wetting and it looked good.
I have now switched to Cardas Audio "Quad Eutectic" Solder and I am never going back. It is made in the USA, size is .032", comes in 1/4 lb. rolls, flows well, and looks great. The Quad refers to the alloys of tin, lead, copper, and silver which helps it to wet to any kind of terminal or wire.
You can find it normally priced at Amazon for $32 per roll, but I found it on sale at Parts ConneXion for $22. Trust me on this one. I think WOPL Sniffer uses this solder as well.
 

George S.

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#5
I still have some off that Radio Shack silver solder. I agree was good stuff, very nice flow and finish. I'm saving it to use on fine pitch surface mount Software Defined Radio projects.
 

8991XJ

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#6
I like eutectic solders, ones that melt and freeze at one temperature, not over a range of a few degrees. so 63/37 instead of 60/40.

The RS silver solder, Cardas and other expensive (90 bucks a pound area) and of course the run of the mill 63/37 stuff is what I gravitate to. I bought a 4 pack of left overs (partial rolls) a few years ago, some .062-.050-.031-.015" and the RS silver I have is .020 so I had different sizes to try. I liked the .050 and .031 best for board work and am running out of these. .062 is for point to point work when you need a good bit of solder for a terminal strip connection of a cap lead for example. The .015 is for the smallest work. These two rolls will last another 10 years.

Solder seems to be about 30 a pound for the good stuff. Any name brand, .031/.040/.050, eutectic fluxed solder.

So with recent orders I looked at what was available and found a 20 buck pound of .040 solder, 63/37 made by AIM in Canada and ordered it. Got the no-clean flux type. Gonna give it a try and see what I think. I know I will like the size, .040 as I was using the 50 and 31 alternately, whatever I grabbed and thought one a bit small the other a bit large but easy to adjust for a great solder joint. I haven't used it enough to form an opinion on the flux, yet, just having loaded the nail with 30 feet the other day. Using the nail with solder wrapped on it for the small easy to handle dispenser.

Kester 44 is what most consider just a good old solder, the standard. Get the formula you want, (63/37 for me) size you want and get a pound, it will last you some time.
https://www.kester.com/products/product/44-flux-cored-wire They have lots of choices. Digikey selected the ones they want to sell from that long list.
 

62vauxhall

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#9
I ordered the .025 stuff George supplied the photo of:

24-6337-8809‎
SOLDER NO-CLEAN 22AWG 63/37 1LB

Sometime around 2010, I went to community flea market/craft fair to flip through records. Some guy had a table laid out with a bunch of electronic odds 'n' ends including three rolls of solder. One about 1/2 gone, another pretty much full and this roll that I tried using the other night. That first roll and a half was $10, there was no issue using it and it did last a long time.

But this third roll was $5 and is for the birds. I wasn't doing delicate soldering, just making inline connectors for speaker cables but the iron had to heat things up a long time before solder would flow between the wire strands and what I wished to attach. I've done likewise several times in the past without needing to have the iron's tip in contact for that long.

It made me think there was no rosin core, just solid solder.
 

wattsabundant

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#10
I use what the PCB dept at my day job uses. There is a definite cost advantage. I'm done with rosin core and the mess of cleaning. The Alpha 7000 works good. I still clean it at the sink. If that ever runs out then the Kester is next.

IMG_3163[1].JPG
 

WOPL Sniffer

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#11
I ordered the .025 stuff George supplied the photo of:

24-6337-8809‎
SOLDER NO-CLEAN 22AWG 63/37 1LB

Sometime around 2010, I went to community flea market/craft fair to flip through records. Some guy had a table laid out with a bunch of electronic odds 'n' ends including three rolls of solder. One about 1/2 gone, another pretty much full and this roll that I tried using the other night. That first roll and a half was $10, there was no issue using it and it did last a long time.

But this third roll was $5 and is for the birds. I wasn't doing delicate soldering, just making inline connectors for speaker cables but the iron had to heat things up a long time before solder would flow between the wire strands and what I wished to attach. I've done likewise several times in the past without needing to have the iron's tip in contact for that long.

It made me think there was no rosin core, just solid solder.

A full 1 lb roll may run $30 but that will last the average dude a year. I go through one in a few months. Spend the money. Screw the $5, $10 old junk....
 
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