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Post subject: Soldering Tip
Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:27 pm
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm Posts: 451 Location: Erie, PA
This afternoon I was doing some soldering of copper plumbing (moving the washing machine connections in the basement) and ran into an unexpected situation where the propane torch was not able to deliver enough heat because of the large amount of copper fittings in the immediate area. I was using the standard Pb-Free plumbing solder (SnSb5), which has a melting temperature of around 235 °C.
It just wasn't going to work. I pulled out the MAPP/Oxygen torch, but alas the Ox bottle was empty. What to do?
Well, fortunately I have a good stash of the good old 60/40 PbSn solder, which has a melting temperature of around 188 °C. That's 45 degrees lower - pretty significant.
It worked. The solder flowed readily into the joints using the propane torch, and as a bonus, the comforting signature shiny finish resulted. Lead-free solders are dull when cool... the way we used to know to spot a cold solder joint. Since the downstream flow goes only to a washing machine, I am not concerned about the lead content (not that I would be anyway, since the 1950s vintage house is filled with it).
So, this is a good reminder for anyone else facing a similar situation whether with a plumbing project or with an electrical/electronic project that is difficult or impossible to solder due to not being able to transfer enough heat.