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Lead-Free Solder

March 7th Fact-of-the-Day

An EU directive restricts the use of certain hazardous substances, including lead, in electrical and electronic equipment sold after July 2006. Continued repair of equipment sold before that date using tin/lead solder will be allowed, but equipment sold after that date must be repaired using lead-free solder. Though it is an EU directive, most equipment manufacturers worldwide are changing their designs to comply and solder manufacturers have been testing various formulations of lead-free solder. The lead-free solder found to be generally best for free-hand soldering is called 99C alloy, because it is an alloy of 99.7% tin and 0.3% copper. Common tin/lead solder melts at 183 degrees C, but 99C requires 220 degrees C. Most existing soldering irons do not reach that temperature. If you are going to buy a new soldering iron, buy one capable of reaching at least 220 degrees C while in contact with components being soldered. ©2005 Martek International All rights reserved.

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