Author Topic: Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?  (Read 1037 times)

jurfin

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Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?
« on: October 26, 2016, 12:14:00 PM »
Forgive me if this is painfully obvious or stupid on my part  :-[

After reading quite a few recommendations from different pedal builders, I ordered one pound of Kester 245 63/37 solder from Amazon. I got it today and the manufacture date is from way back in 1992. The Kester site says the product has a shelf life of three years. Should I be concerned about this? The interweb seems to say that the flux goes bad...

I know I should just try it out and see for myself, but I'd hate to use it and then not be able to return it on account of it being used. I'd appreciate any advice you could give.

mjg

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Re: Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2016, 03:25:45 PM »
Not sure about an official answer, but I'm still using some solder that I bought as a kid in the 80s - I wasn't doing any soldering for about 20 years in the middle there.  It still works fine for me.  But that said, I've not used any other solder recently, so I don't have anything to compare it to.  Maybe my flux is bad and I don't know it!  :) 

lars

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Re: Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2016, 04:35:08 PM »
By law, all types of things have to have an expiration date and shelf life, even if it doesn't apply. I've de-soldered components from circuits that are obviously 40+ years old, and the solder and flux on there melts and functions just fine, albeit smells funny. It can even be re-used in a pinch if you take it out of the de-soldering pump afterwards. So if solder has an expiration date, I'm guessing it's more like in the 75-100 year range. I'm guessing money has more to do with it than anything. Why tell people their solder lasts their lifetime, when you can get them to throw away and buy new every three years?
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drolo

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Re: Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2016, 02:56:07 AM »
I'm guessing it's more like in the 75-100 year range.


WHAT?!? Does that mean the components in my pedals will start falling off in 100 Years time ?
NOOooooooooOOO



jurfin

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Re: Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 11:00:33 AM »
Why tell people their solder lasts their lifetime, when you can get them to throw away and buy new every three years?

That makes a whole lot of sense my friend... I tried it out last night and it works like a charm. Thanks for the input everyone   :)

EBRAddict

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Re: Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2016, 02:02:14 PM »
Was this sold by a 3rd party seller or Amazon? I don't have any problem using that old a product but I'd have concerns about how it was stored being that old.

pickdropper

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Re: Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2016, 02:58:11 PM »
You can use solder past the expiration date, but if you compare a fresh roll of solder vs. a 10 year old roll, you might actually be able to tell the difference.  Sub-optimal doesn't always mean unusual.

The flux can go bad.  I've come across solder that just didn't flow well anymore.  I've also come across very old solder that worked fine.  I believe storage conditions and quality come into play.

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jurfin

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Re: Expired Solder? Is that even a thing?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 11:29:10 AM »
Was this sold by a 3rd party seller or Amazon? I don't have any problem using that old a product but I'd have concerns about how it was stored being that old.

Thanks for all the input people. It was a store called Parts2000 through Amazon. It doesn't look all that clean, but I guess most things from 1992 are a little worn out, myself included  ;)

I've never used 63/37 solder before, but I noticed that it doesn't seem to rush into the PCB hole like my 60/40 does. It's hard to explain, but the 60/40 would sort of sit around the lead and the hole, and then once it got to a certain temp or something, the solder would almost get sucked into the hole like there was a vacuum on the other side. This doesn't seem to happen with this new stuff. My connections seem to be coming out alright but I'm pretty used to the vacuum thing and it feels strange without it happening. Is that typical for 63/37 solder, or am I experiencing some age related challenges here?