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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Lead free solder - RoHS

Previous 20 Messages  
Contributing Member


Caveat Emptor !!!!
Sep 30th, 2008 09:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

"The reliability of lead free joints is not proven to the point that it is permitted for use in aerospace and medical applications."

Yes, us aerospace boys still use leaded solder.

Contributing Member

Colorful CO

Sep 30th, 2008 12:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

Citizen's Arrest! Citizen's Arrest!

Arrest me, too, while you're at it...

Dr. Mark
Contributing Member

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Oct 3rd, 2008 04:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ok guys here's an update on this issue.

Firstly I have emailed the RoHS website and asked a couple of questions, and got back this reply.

Question #1. Can I continue to use lead solder on old equipment that was made using lead solder?

Answer: Yes. If the equipment was made or imported before 1st July 2006, you can use lead solder on any repairs or modifications.

Question #2. Do I have to take any special disposal measures if I remove old lead solder from any equipment?

Answer: No.

The answer to question #1 CONTRADICTS what I said in my second post, so please ignore a large chunk of that post.

This shows the advantage of me getting my facts straight from the horses mouth, and not relying on what I read elsewhere on the web!!!
I now realise that I am as guilty of spreading dis-information as any body, so my apologies to you all.

So I will say it again to confirm:

I have been using the samples that Multicore sent me, with some encouraging results.

They sent me some 96% lead free with 511 and 309 type flux, and some 99% lead free with 511 and 309 flux. The last type was 96% with ARAX flux.

First off, ALL these solders are a significant improvement over the Maplins solder I was using.

I will discount the 96% ARAX first. Great solder, but you have to wash off the flux after use, otherwise it absorbs moisture and becomes corrosive. This makes it less than ideal.

The 96% and 99% with 511 flux was really good, but the 96% and 99% with 309 flux was even better.

This confirms what I have suspected, that flux type is more important than the percentage of tin.

The 96% has melt temperature of 217 degrees (Celsius), and needs a bit temperature of 340 to 420 degrees.

The 99% has a melt temperature of 227 degrees, and needs a bit temperature of 350 to 370 degrees.

Of the two I think I favour the 99%, but they are very close.

I hope this helps, but remember that it is only MY experience on this. Some of you guys may be using something better. Please chime in if you are.

Contributing Member

New Jersey

saving the otters one guitar at a time
Nov 21st, 2008 06:01 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thank you so much for your effort on investigating this issue thoroughly. It can be tough to get the facts. What you have posted has explained a few of the problems I've encountered during some of the repairs that have gone across my bench with the solder not cooperating and or behaving different during repairs. I was under the silly impression that RoHS was something that applied to components only rather that the use of lead in soldering. It may not be a bad idea for those who repair things for a living to educate themselves and prepare for the future one way or another. Facts about what the rules say including their intent need to be gathered and understood fully. The hobbiest market is quite large along with the professional repair trade. Our goverment is not going to step on a tax revenue generating market without some transition time. Here in the US, a case could be made that prohibiting the use of traditional solder could result in an increased amount of electronic devices going into landfills instead of being repaired. I doubt that the hobbiest and repair trade contribute a measureable level of lead contamination to the enviroment but still its worth becoming educated on the issue. If I were in the UK, I doubt that the solder police will be pulling off pickguards to check my solder connections. Its not worth the effort of RoHS enforcement people to investigate a business or individual who uses less than a pound of solder per year. The RoHS rules are in place to address the thousands of tons of electronic devices that get chucked into landfills and cause a real problem -- its a big deal. The dozen or so repaired connections from a repair shop on your average television would probably still leave the television within the overall limits of lead content. Still, I'm going to look into what is is available for RoHS compliant solder and see if there is something that is acceptable. You learn all sorts of things when you explore something new. Again, thank you for this great post and taking the time to share some hard found facts.

Dr. Mark
Contributing Member

In England's dreamin

In his mid- forties and still unusual.
Nov 23rd, 2008 06:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Mark, you are welcome :)



"...those glassy, bell like tones..."
Jan 24th, 2009 08:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

interesting, when i ordered for drri two years ago - i live in Croatia and the order was made to Fender central in Netherlands - i waited 13 months for the amp to arrive. upon frequent phone calls i made during those months, i was told there is a certain quota that must not be excedeed when importing non-rohs compliant goods to EU. Fender Croatia also told me that Fender Europe had to change ordering policy because now they have a limit and they are quite carefull as to what they're ordering from Usa. So i waited for 13 months for the amp...

Possible scenario: 20 years of Lead prohibition, and then when they decide Lead is not dangerous after all, Fender will make expensive vintage - correct series of amps and guitars with Leaded solder joints and vintage enthusisasts will praise its tone

Contributing Member

Detroitish, MI, USA

I may be a lover but I ain't no dancer.
Mar 20th, 2009 04:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

"The reliability of lead free joints is not proven to the point that it is permitted for use in aerospace and medical applications."

"Yes, us aerospace boys still use leaded solder."

As another aerospace guy, I hope to never have to switch. I abhor working with lead-free solder.

Thankfully, the looming threat of tin whiskers is enough to keep the lead-free stuff out for quite a while. Plus, "tin whiskers" is so much fun to say.

Tin whisker info from NASA


Oxford, UK

Jun 22nd, 2009 07:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

I actually work for a consultancy company that deals with the EU/US laws for RoHS and REACH and all sorts of other environmental legislation.

I can't tell you what the best type of non-lead solder is for hand soldering or otherwise, but I can confirm the laws at the moment.

In the EU, you can't have lead in a guitar that is sold, anywhere. If a guitar was made pre-legislation, then it's ok. So a 62 strat could still be sold legally in the UK. But anyhting since about 2005 has to be lead free.

In the USA, there is no federal RoHS law, but some states are starting the ball rolling on bringing it in.

I'm not sure what happens about repairs/mods. eg I bought a rohs-compliant CP60's strat in January. (I'm in the UK). I changed the pickups, and then decided it wasn't for me after all. I used Sn/Pb solder. I'm not sure whether selling it with that solder was legal, strictly speaking?



RonHalen Jokingly He Says
Jul 19th, 2009 12:08 PM   Edit   Profile  

If you use the lead free solder, do you have to remove all the lead solder first?



Jul 19th, 2009 08:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

I don't think your do. I've used leaded solder on "RoHS" boards and it seems to flow fine. Haven't noticed any down-side to it. Maybe somebody else could chime in.

Contributing Member


Nov 14th, 2009 01:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

I tried Lead free and hate it. I truly hope a better substitute is is on the horizon.



Mar 30th, 2010 08:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I really like the radio shack lead free stuff...

Funny thing an above post mentioning the whole tone difference...
I think the silver stuff sounds better to me.

No adhesion problems, and it's pretty stout stuff. (at least for me!)

Contributing Member

W.Warwick R.I.

I brake for 'da blues baby!
Jul 5th, 2011 08:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

@ Dr.Mark; very interesting. What's your take on when I was selling hardware we had what is (was) call 50/50 solder?

Contributing Member


"Edited for bad taste...."
Dec 27th, 2012 09:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

RoHS is a really annoying issue for the guitar community.
It's a laudible concept for an age of disposable electronics, where tons of old kit and comnputers are binned off everyday.
That said, Ii has no relevasnce or benefit to this industry, where we expect our kit to be in use for many years [or even generations!] before it's junked or re-cycled.



Apr 30th, 2013 01:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

What about precoius metals like silver or gold solder? It might seem like a joke but I'm sure some boutique amp and guitar manufacturers could use it as advertising mojo silve thouse metals have legendery conductivity specs.

Contributing Member

Northeast IL

Not very bright but does lack ambition
May 13th, 2013 06:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

Interesting article about major issues with RoHS:

Tin Whiskers

Contributing Member

The Solderist

May 20th, 2013 04:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

This is one of those things that makes my brain hurt.

The lead solder inside of the guitars I fix and the pedals I make isn't hurting anybody.



Jun 5th, 2013 02:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

I would think that the most practical laws would be to force new production electonics manufacturers not to use leaded solder. But to go after people making repairs on old electronics and hobbyists seems silly. They use such a small fraction of solder compared to total consumption. Seems petty and bureaucratic.

Contributing Member

Saskatchewan, Canada

Jul 14th, 2014 08:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Dr. Mark, for a highly informative post.

I moved the neck strap ring on my tenor saxophone last week I used lead free plumbing solder and flux. I used a butane-fired hand-held torch and soldered it in the same manner as I would solder 1/2" (13mm) copper water lines around the house. So far, so good but I never let my horn hang freely, just in case.

(This message was last edited by fscott at 10:12 PM, Jul 14th, 2014)

Lance Lawson

United States

Lance Lawson
Aug 25th, 2018 10:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

Lead free solder hasn't worked well for me. The truth is that it is very safe to use if you keep temperatures low. I use a very basic small wattage soldiering iron to help insure that there isn't overly high temps. Good ventilation is mandatory in all soldering operations. A couple of years ago I invested in an ample supply of traditional solder enough to see me out so to speak.

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Lead free solder - RoHS

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