Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Pickups, magnets, microphones, amps, speakers, cabs, whatever...

Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Greg Martin » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:09 pm

Wondering if silver solder is good for electronics? Better stronger? More conductive? A pain ? Or?
Greg Martin
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Jim McConkey » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:38 am

Pain, and more expensive. The melting point is much higher than normal solder, so you risk damaging semiconductors and other components much easier. The resulting joints are stronger, but also much more brittle and sensitive to shock.
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore
User avatar
Jim McConkey
 
Posts: 821
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Way north of Baltimore, MD

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Brian Evans » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:40 am

Silver soldering (aka silver brazing) is something I used when I needed a medium strength joint at low temperatures compared to bronze brazing. It's really a brazing technique at around 1000 degrees F. Needs an aggressive flux, a MAPP torch, and a very close fitting joint as the braze material flows into the joint with capillary action (it's kind of a high strength version of plumbing solder in that respect). I've seen it used in high pressure tubing like refrigeration and air conditioning. I used it to put ends on control cables. It is not eutectic, which means it has a large temperature range where it is a very thin fluid which promotes it's ability to flow into joints. Electronic solder uses a non-aggressive flux and is highly eutectic so that it melts and solidifies at the same temperature, which is quite low - around 360 degrees F.
Brian Evans
 
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:26 am
Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby David King » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:57 pm

Just to confuse the issue;
Many electronics solders are silver bearing, usually 1-3% Ag. These solders exist to be used with silver plated copper hookup wire (aka milspec)
The reason you'd want a small amount of silver in a solder's alloy is so that there's less of a chance for the solder to dissolve the silver plating off the wire that you are soldering to.
There are undoubtedly hundreds of different solder formulations to serve different specific needs. There are undoubtedly dozens of different solders with the moniker "Silver solder" and some of them may even contain silver. The metal Ag is one of the easiest to solder to so many solders work well with it but you might choose a specific solder for it's melting temp or it's strength or it's malleability among other possible attributes. Most solder alloys will be listed right on the spool or bar like 63/37 Sn-Pb other solders will have a brand specific number such as Kester 275 which is a whole group of different solders that use the same #275 flux.

Audiopiles have very specific ideas about how various solders sound and you can buy a roll of Kimber "wonder solder" if you really want to impress your most fastidious customers. I used the lead (Pb) bearing Kimber solder for a long time and no one ever asked about it or cared. I have very serious doubts that anyone could actually hear a difference in solder but i will say that the Kimber stuff flowed nicely and left a good looking joint. I never would have paid for the stuff myself but a customer who was a Kimber dealer gave me a pound. Once I started using teflon insulated silver plated copper wire I switched to the appropriate Kester eutectic solder.
Last edited by David King on Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
David King
 
Posts: 2398
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Halgeir Wold » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:03 pm

I think there is ome confusion here.... silver solder for brazing and silver solder for electronics is not the same thing. For electronics the use of silver as additive is mainly based on the newer specs for ROHS and lead free soldering. There is also this strange notion in HiFi circles that silver solder "sounds better", which is utterly nonsense. Some of the modern solders for electronics can contain 2--4% silver, but as already stated a higher temperaure is necesseary, which can cause problems wtih sensitive components. 4% silver usually has a melting point around 220C, as opposed to around 180C for traditional Sn/Pb solders. There is even an "audio grade" solder at 6% which requires around 300C. So- all in all - there's no gain and possibly more problems. The modern lead-free solders does not flow as easy as traditional, and I avoid at for hand soldering, albeit there is an environmental issue with the continuing use of lead that is well known.
The only pro issue with silver loaded solders is when soldering silver coated components or silver wires, where the silver content prevents molecular migration in the joint, which may be an issue in extreme reliability electronics.
Halgeir Wold
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Beate Ritzert » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:25 pm

Jim McConkey wrote:Pain, and more expensive. The melting point is much higher than normal solder, so you risk damaging semiconductors and other components much easier. The resulting joints are stronger, but also much more brittle and sensitive to shock.


Which explains that silver solder is used on or better has been used on expensive bicycle frames (of merely all italian and french race bike frames when those were still made from steel)
User avatar
Beate Ritzert
 
Posts: 483
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:20 am
Location: Germany

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:55 pm

I have to say that I am always pleasantly surprised at the knowledge of the members of this forum.
Great education on solders. Thanks everyone, for your contributions.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
Gordon Bellerose
 
Posts: 1031
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:47 pm
Location: Edmonton AB. Canada

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Daryl Kosinski » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:32 pm

When I was working in industrial electronics service the old tube type scopes required a silver bearing solder. Don't know the alloy be we bought it from the mfg. That was to prevent corrosion on the ceramic terminal strips. because of the very high frequency.

In the audio frequency range and most other applications the good old 63/37 or there about is the solder of choice. The lead free solder for electronics was always a problem.
Daryl Kosinski
 
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:14 am
Location: Fultonville, NY

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Kurt Veltman » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:29 pm

Greg, I hope you don't mind me posing a question on your thread, since it's already started and all about solder. If you'd like me to start my own, I certainly will.

Here's my question: The last time I bought solder, it was 96/4 lead free, silver bearing solder from Radio Shack. It was years ago, and I have no idea why I picked that as opposed to 60/40 or any other solder. Can someone enlighten me as to why I would have this particular solder, or what the benefits of it are? Thanks!
Kurt Veltman
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:53 pm

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Halgeir Wold » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:08 am

Possibly because the lead-free motion that hit us.. :) I sure can understand the environmental aspect of it, on an industrial scale,but for our small scale use for hand soldering, it causes more problems than it saves.. just my 10c.....
Halgeir Wold
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:17 pm

Just be sure to wash your hands after using lead bearing solder. You don't need anymore lead in your body.
MIMF Staff
Barry Daniels
 
Posts: 1884
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby David King » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:43 pm

Kurt,

The SN96Ag4 was probably the best lead-free solder Radio Shack could come up with at the time and at the price-point their buyers needed to meet. It has a melting point of about 430ºF. A slightly better choice would have been Sn95.5Ag3.8Cu0.7 which has a lower melting point of 423ºF. Compare these to the standard Eutectic lead bearing formula Sn63Pb37 which melts at 361ºF. Add 2% silver to this last one and the temp drops to 354º which is probably why SN62Pb36Ag2 is so popular.

Again non temp controlled soldering pencils run at about 900º and a temperature controlled iron would typically be run at 650-750ºF so the melting point differences aren't all that noticeable most of the time.

Adding to what Barry says above, I've taken to wearing disposable nitrile gloves when I remember to just to add a little burn protection.
David King
 
Posts: 2398
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Kurt Veltman » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:44 pm

Thanks guys. This still leaves me wondering:
1.) Is there a "best" (within reason) solder for guitar/bass electronics?
2.) Are there solders I should avoid, and why?
Kurt Veltman
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:53 pm

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Peter Wilcox » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:22 am

Kurt Veltman wrote:Thanks guys. This still leaves me wondering:
1.) Is there a "best" (within reason) solder for guitar/bass electronics?
2.) Are there solders I should avoid, and why?

Just use ~60/40 tin/lead rosin core 0.031" diameter. Something like this : https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07 ... MQDG&psc=1
Don't worry about lead or rosin (fumes) exposure for the minimal amount you use in wiring an instrument.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it
User avatar
Peter Wilcox
 
Posts: 929
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:24 am

It is my understanding that it is not the fumes from solder that is the issue but the lead getting onto your hands and then latter touching your mouth. That is why washing your hands after soldering goes a long ways in mitigating the exposure. Or as David does, using nitrile gloves.
MIMF Staff
Barry Daniels
 
Posts: 1884
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby Peter Wilcox » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:47 pm

i agree that lead exposure is oral - however, fumes from the flux, as I specified above, can cause significant respiratory problems.
https://www.elexp.com/Images/Health_Hazards.PDF

I don't think that solder exposure from soldering an occasional instrument is very significant, but doesn't hurt to wash hands and have good ventilation.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it
User avatar
Peter Wilcox
 
Posts: 929
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: Where is silver solder used, good ,bad?

Postby David King » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:55 pm

60/40 solder is OK but 63/37 is better as it hardens quicker so less chance of a botched aka cold joint.
David King
 
Posts: 2398
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR


Return to Electronics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Your purchase from these sites helps support the MIMForum, but only if you start at the links below!!!
Amazon music     Amazon books     Amazon tools     Rockler tools     Office Depot    

The MIMF is a member-supported forum, please consider supporting us with a donation, thanks!
 • Book store • Tool store • Links • 
cron