Forums

Shelf life of solder

Started by Andrew Smallshaw April 11, 2009
Managed to fry a voltage regulator earlier today attempting to
solder it in place.  It just wasn't wetting properly and when I
came to test it was well off the correct voltage - I noticed it
had got a little warm when working on it.  Now cooking a 7805 is
no big deal in itself - after all they cost approximately nothing
- but it could just as easily have been a more interesting component.
I've finally given up on lead free solder.  I've really tried to
make it work but no, forget it.

The thing is I've noticed that 60/40 has literally doubled in price
over the last couple of years and it is only going to get more
expensive in future, not to mention more difficult to obtain.  I've
seen a job lot going locally - 15 kg of 1.2mm wire for �120 which
seems a good deal to me, and more than a lifetime's supply of hobby
use.  This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux.  Does anyone
have any ideas how it will keep over the decades?  �120 is a lot
to spend on solder in one go but I'll go for it if it solves the
problem once and for all.

Looking around the net the answers seem contradictory.  Some of
the more negative views are directly contradicted by my own
observations.

-- 
Andrew Smallshaw
andrews@sdf.lonestar.org
On Apr 11, 5:50=A0pm, Andrew Smallshaw <andr...@sdf.lonestar.org> wrote:

> use. =A0This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux. =A0Does anyone > have any ideas how it will keep over the decades? =A0=A3120 is a lot
Solder paste is definitely life-limited, but wireform solder stored well (ours is in boxes with dessicant) lasts for decades at least. I'm using solder on my bench right now that was made in 1982, with good results. It was salvaged from the trashpile when closing down a rework/repair facility.
Andrew Smallshaw wrote:
> Managed to fry a voltage regulator earlier today attempting to > solder it in place. It just wasn't wetting properly and when I > came to test it was well off the correct voltage - I noticed it > had got a little warm when working on it. Now cooking a 7805 is > no big deal in itself - after all they cost approximately nothing > - but it could just as easily have been a more interesting component. > I've finally given up on lead free solder. I've really tried to > make it work but no, forget it. > > The thing is I've noticed that 60/40 has literally doubled in price > over the last couple of years and it is only going to get more > expensive in future, not to mention more difficult to obtain. I've > seen a job lot going locally - 15 kg of 1.2mm wire for &#2013266083;120 which > seems a good deal to me, and more than a lifetime's supply of hobby > use. This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux. Does anyone > have any ideas how it will keep over the decades? &#2013266083;120 is a lot > to spend on solder in one go but I'll go for it if it solves the > problem once and for all. > > Looking around the net the answers seem contradictory. Some of > the more negative views are directly contradicted by my own > observations.
Solder definitely has a shelf life. I've got some that is maybe 20 years old and some 5 years old. The old stuff definitely doesn't flow as well and questionable. I suspect it oxidizes over time.
In message <slrngu244l.38n.andrews@sdf.lonestar.org>, Andrew Smallshaw 
<andrews@sdf.lonestar.org> writes
>Looking around the net the answers seem contradictory. Some of >the more negative views are directly contradicted by my own >observations. >
I've got a reel of solder that's been kicking around in my toolbox since I was a television repair man, that's over 20 years ago and it still makes good joints. It is good quality, think it's Ersin Multicore but can't be sure as the label got shredded and lost over the years with tools and miscellaneous junk bumping into it. -- Clint Sharp
Andrew Smallshaw <andrews@sdf.lonestar.org> wrote:
> This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux. Does anyone > have any ideas how it will keep over the decades?
I am nearing the end of a large roll I bought as a kid in the mid 70's. Still works fine, as far as I can tell. I don't do an awful lot of soldering at home, but from time to time I use it for all sorts of things from electronic repairs on PCBs to soldering cables into connectors and it's been fine in all cases. Anecdotal, I know, and a single datum, but it works for me. Not sure I'd recommend using it professionally, though, for no other reason than it's "old" and might not work as well a "new", but OK for home use. Nobby
Andrew Smallshaw wrote:
> Managed to fry a voltage regulator earlier today attempting to > solder it in place. It just wasn't wetting properly and when I > came to test it was well off the correct voltage - I noticed it > had got a little warm when working on it. Now cooking a 7805 is > no big deal in itself - after all they cost approximately nothing > - but it could just as easily have been a more interesting component. > I've finally given up on lead free solder. I've really tried to > make it work but no, forget it. > > The thing is I've noticed that 60/40 has literally doubled in price > over the last couple of years and it is only going to get more > expensive in future, not to mention more difficult to obtain. I've > seen a job lot going locally - 15 kg of 1.2mm wire for &#2013266083;120 which > seems a good deal to me, and more than a lifetime's supply of hobby > use. This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux. Does anyone > have any ideas how it will keep over the decades? &#2013266083;120 is a lot > to spend on solder in one go but I'll go for it if it solves the > problem once and for all. >
Well, thank the bureaucrats in Brussels and their RoHS laws. Hoarding is certainly one option (but not for paste solder). You might want to keep it a bit away from the elements. The other option is to buy in America, haven't seen much of a price hike here. Maybe because we don't have a stupid RoHS law. Oh, and to add insult to injury, if you are running larger construction type incandescents you might want to hoard some of the bulbs because the bureaucrats have lowered the gavel on those as well.
> Looking around the net the answers seem contradictory. Some of > the more negative views are directly contradicted by my own > observations. >
Like Nobby I have some old remnants from the 70's when I was a kid. Works just fine. All but one spool (and that might as well be pre-WW2 stuff from grandpa) are even still shiny. -- Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com/ "gmail" domain blocked because of excessive spam. Use another domain or send PM.
On Sat, 11 Apr 2009 21:50:35 +0000 (UTC), Andrew Smallshaw
<andrews@sdf.lonestar.org> wrote:

>Managed to fry a voltage regulator earlier today attempting to >solder it in place. It just wasn't wetting properly and when I >came to test it was well off the correct voltage - I noticed it >had got a little warm when working on it. Now cooking a 7805 is >no big deal in itself - after all they cost approximately nothing >- but it could just as easily have been a more interesting component. >I've finally given up on lead free solder. I've really tried to >make it work but no, forget it. > >The thing is I've noticed that 60/40 has literally doubled in price >over the last couple of years and it is only going to get more >expensive in future, not to mention more difficult to obtain. I've >seen a job lot going locally - 15 kg of 1.2mm wire for &#2013266083;120 which >seems a good deal to me, and more than a lifetime's supply of hobby >use. This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux. Does anyone >have any ideas how it will keep over the decades? &#2013266083;120 is a lot >to spend on solder in one go but I'll go for it if it solves the >problem once and for all. > >Looking around the net the answers seem contradictory. Some of >the more negative views are directly contradicted by my own >observations.
The official answer from Kester is three years. <http://www.kester.com/en-us/documentation/Shelf%20Life%20Policy%20(30May07).pdf> The shelf life spec may in part be due to a desire to keep selling solder but part, perhaps the larger part, is the age to which they can guarantee it meets performance specs. The surface oxidation shouldn't be a problem, the flux should take care of that. For home/hobby use, a "lifetime supply" is probably the way to go. -- Rich Webb Norfolk, VA
Rich Webb wrote:
> On Sat, 11 Apr 2009 21:50:35 +0000 (UTC), Andrew Smallshaw > <andrews@sdf.lonestar.org> wrote: > >> This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux. Does anyone >> have any ideas how it will keep over the decades? &#2013266083;120 is a lot >> to spend on solder in one go but I'll go for it if it solves the >> problem once and for all. > > The official answer from Kester is three years. > <http://www.kester.com/en-us/documentation/Shelf%20Life%20Policy%20(30May07).pdf> > > The shelf life spec may in part be due to a desire to keep selling > solder but part, perhaps the larger part, is the age to which they can > guarantee it meets performance specs. > > The surface oxidation shouldn't be a problem, the flux should take care > of that. > > For home/hobby use, a "lifetime supply" is probably the way to go.
From the above link, it appears the 2-3 life span is due to flux, not oxidized metal.
On Sat, 11 Apr 2009 21:50:35 +0000 (UTC), the renowned Andrew
Smallshaw <andrews@sdf.lonestar.org> wrote:

>Managed to fry a voltage regulator earlier today attempting to >solder it in place. It just wasn't wetting properly and when I >came to test it was well off the correct voltage - I noticed it >had got a little warm when working on it. Now cooking a 7805 is >no big deal in itself - after all they cost approximately nothing >- but it could just as easily have been a more interesting component. >I've finally given up on lead free solder. I've really tried to >make it work but no, forget it. > >The thing is I've noticed that 60/40 has literally doubled in price >over the last couple of years and it is only going to get more >expensive in future, not to mention more difficult to obtain.
FWIW, lead prices are currently at less than 1/3 of their peak on the London metals exchange, and tin is about half (in USD).
>I've >seen a job lot going locally - 15 kg of 1.2mm wire for &#2013266083;120 which >seems a good deal to me, and more than a lifetime's supply of hobby >use. This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux. Does anyone >have any ideas how it will keep over the decades? &#2013266083;120 is a lot >to spend on solder in one go but I'll go for it if it solves the >problem once and for all. > >Looking around the net the answers seem contradictory. Some of >the more negative views are directly contradicted by my own >observations.
Dunno why, and my sample group is small, but larger diameter solder seems to hold up better. I'd guess you'd be okay for 5 or 10 years with 1.2mm solder. Unless you are making stained glass windows, why use 60/40 rather than eutectic 63/37? Just to save a few pence? Best regards, Spehro Pefhany -- "it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward" speff@interlog.com Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
Nobby Anderson wrote:
> Andrew Smallshaw <andrews@sdf.lonestar.org> wrote: >> This is genuine Multicore solder with ersin flux. Does anyone >> have any ideas how it will keep over the decades? > > I am nearing the end of a large roll I bought as a kid in the mid 70's. > Still works fine, as far as I can tell. I don't do an awful lot of > soldering at home, but from time to time I use it for all sorts of > things from electronic repairs on PCBs to soldering cables into > connectors and it's been fine in all cases. Anecdotal, I know, and > a single datum, but it works for me. Not sure I'd recommend using it > professionally, though, for no other reason than it's "old" and might > not work as well a "new", but OK for home use. > > Nobby
Mine is from the 80's it works fine.