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Thread: Can old never used solder still be used?

  1. #1

    Default Can old never used solder still be used?

    I just got back from an estate sale with a bag of solder rolls. I didn't look at it closely, but they are labeled don't use after 1990.

    Wondering what to expect if I put them to a soldering iron.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Try it. Dump the stuff if it doesn't work.
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    also .. wipe it with a kimwipe to remove oxides off the solder wire as you use use it. Helps a TON ..

  4. #4
    PJ Allen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Probably dated being old, purged industrial stock.
    It's just what they do.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    I found a can of stewed tomatoes in the back of the cupboard that had a "Don't Use After June 1990" date on it. Seemed to be okay in last night's dinner... (urp!)

    Seriously, what PJ sez is on the money. For casual consumer use it's probably fine. I have some rosin-core solder that's 20 years old. The rosin may age, but for the non-critical, non-industrial work I do, it's perfectly fine.

    -- Gordon

  6. #6

    WBA Consulting's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    PJ and Gordon have it on the nose. The flux in the solder will degrade over time and that is why in commercial environments you have to follow the shelf life as defined by the manufacturer. The performance of the flux will be your deciding factor as to whether or not you will want to use it. A large roll of solder I have with my college iron is from 1993 and I just used some the other day to solder a wiring harness for my wife's new car stereo.

    Solderpaste is another example. Typically manufacturer shelf life of solderpaste is 6 months so if we have paste that hits 6 months at work, it can no longer be used in product we build. I gave away 6 jars of expired paste at last year's UPEW to some very appreciative recipients (solderpaste isn't cheap). However, I have used solderpaste that is 2 years old at home (I keep it in the fridge in the garage)and have not noticed any differences from a brand new jar when I use it for basic boards like my PowerTwig. When I was at HP back in the early 90s, an engineer conducted an experiment and used solderpaste that was 4 years old and only saw issues with fine pitch QFPs.
    Andrew Williams
    WBA Consulting

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    PJ, Gordon, and Andrew all know their stuff from Shinola. http://www.circuitnet.com/experts/73636.shtml

    I just wanted to be on record as agreeing with my forum heroes. Anyone else wanna jump on the train?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    I totally agree with erco about PJ, Gordon and Andrew knowing their stuff!
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Gordon, it sounds as though anyone attending a pot-luck lunch in your presence might be in for a special treat. :-)

    Even if the rosin gets old, the most it's going to do is dry out a little, for the most part it will be preserved by the lead. It should still be fine when heat is applied. I still have a few spools of 60/40 ... actually 56/44 that are at least 25 years old... the fact that most of the label is not in English could explain a lot, but oh well. :-)
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Thank you. I was wondering if it was going to explode or be a non-conductive mess. Five dollars well spent hopefully.

    The bag also had these old irons if anybody collects that stuff.

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  11. #11

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leon View Post
    Try it. Dump the stuff if it doesn't work.
    Sure, dump it right in a local watershed... NOT! Dispose of solder & lead reponsibly. There are literally tons of lead wheel weights alongside most any road, but that don't make it right.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Worthless solder is GREAT for a solder pot! Just the alloy makes it in, so the old flux is gone.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ragtop View Post
    Five dollars well spent hopefully.
    Hmmmm... Those big ol' soldering irons have me thinking the solder you bought may be for something like stained glass windows. Assuming the irons and solder were used together. That style of soldering iron for electronics work will greatly predate a solder roll that expired in 1990. As in they stopped using that style with the big ol' tip in about 1966.

    Stained glass soldering lead is likely to be unsuitable for electronics, as it typically has no flux core. Without flux you'll need to add it to all your joints or the soldering will be tough going. Try chewing on some to see if it has a peculiar "woodsy" piquant, which might indicate rosin. Or not, depending if you've already had all your growth spurts.

    -- Gordon

  14. #14

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Gordon,

    Are you suggesting that someone chew on lead?!!!

    I think there is a reason I'm not as smart as I used to be, all those years of straightening out solder with my teeth prior to applying it to the joints....

    Might be better to suggest just melting some with the iron and look for smoke or sniffing it out. But sniffing flux smoke is probably not so healthy either.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    they look big ,, but are just UNGER brand and tip style irons ...

  16. #16

    Default Re: Can old never used solder still be used?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heater. View Post
    Are you suggesting that someone chew on lead?!!!
    In the old westerns they used to always say, "Eat lead, marshal!" and then come out guns blazing. I figured they were simply suggesting to the local constabulary to check the rosin content in their solder. No?

    -- Gordon

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