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Old 07-30-2005, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Bort
???? Since when does any type of plumbers soldering stuff conduct electricity?
I mix my own flux. I've been professionally tech'ing guitars and electronics for 15+ years. I know what I'm talking about when it comes to soldering, wires, and making those types of connections. If you use plumbers solder, it's not going to conduct heat/electricity. The connection will not work. I'm the type of person that uses the right tools to do the job right. So I've never tried it but I'm quite possitive plumbers flux (or something "like" it) will not work with electrical solder.

Glad you got it done and it works, rapsag.
Plumbers are not aliens. If "plumbers soldering stuff" did not conduct electricity, how are the millions of old homes still sporting copper plumbing using that plumbing as a ground connection?

Years ago, copper water pipes were typically soldered using a 60/40 solder; 60% lead and 40% tin. Now whenever copper pipe is used, a lead-free solder is used. It is still metal, however, and still conducts electricity. Lead solders are used for electronics, sheet metal and radiators. Lead-free solders, such as 95% tin and 5% antimony or various alloys of tin and silver, are used where drinking water will come in contact with the solder.

The problem with electrical wiring and acid flux has nothing to do with the use of acid flux (either as a core of the solder or as "soldering paste") in plumbing. The problem is that it is corrosive. It will wick under the insulation of the wire and can come back out to haunt you. It's one of those things you might get by with in a pinch. Electrical work should always be done with rosin flux. Just like you should never use pliers on a bolt or nut.

Flux is not the conductor nor the connector in any splice. Its purpose is simply to clean the metal being joined and keep it clean until the solder adheres.

As for your years of soldering, I suggest you not bring such a thing up around here lightly. You may run into someone who has been successfully soldering for longer than you've been living. I was a "late bloomer" to electronics and was quite proud of building a little single board computer sometime in '81 or '82. Then I met some folks who were involved in some early vacuum tube encryption computers for the Air Force back before I got out of elementary school.

Attached for your amusement is a photo of my first computer kit. Every soldered connection, including every leg of each IC socket, I did with a 25W iron. That computer still works. No, I didn't use acid-core solder, but the fact the connections are still good indicates that I must have figured out how to solder. I've used the same basic soldering procedure for everything from computers, radios, cars, trucks, tractors, instruments to plumbing.

I'm sure there are some old electrical engineers on here who will get some giggles out of the attached photo and this discussion, but whether your ego or mine is bruised doesn't really matter. Making a bad connection of heavy wire in a car, which indicates it's a high current circuit, can lead to a fire. That heat-shrink tubing method is just plain wrong. Just melting a layer of solder to the wires is also wrong.
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