Solder safety

Discussion in 'Cartomizer Issues' started by pantss, Dec 10, 2011.

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  1. pantss

    pantss Senior Member

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    Just wondering, are lead solders used for the wires in ce2? Is lead solder safe to use for repairs? (loose wires)
     
  2. SiBurning

    SiBurning Full Member

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    Not a good idea, especially if there's any chance of the liquid touching it. Particles or compounds will end up in the juice and you'll probably end up injesting them. Not that you're very likely to vape lead. Some liquids might even cause the formation of soluble lead compounds, making it much easier to injest the lead. I'm not too keen on the idea of using any solder because of how difficult it is to eliminate all traces of rosin, which you can easily end up vaping. if you go that way, I suggest the liberal use of rosin cleaner and a soft brush, followed by a thorough rinse with 90%+ alcohol, and a final water rinse (at a minimum). Personally, I'd not be happy doing just that, and while I might try it this way myself, I wouldn't give it to anyone else to try. The same issues apply to the other metals, but most aren't as dangerous. Just be careful to avoid odd metals in some solders, such as 95% tin / 5% antimony solder. There's also solders with copper (such as cardas quad, and many lead-free solders), though it's not clear to me just how toxic copper really is.
     
  3. pantss

    pantss Senior Member

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    Alright then. Thank you very much. I shall refrain from repairing my loose ce2. Thank you!
     
  4. SiBurning

    SiBurning Full Member

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    Did a bit to try to answer your first question. I put a brand new ce2 under the microscope. I then put it under alcohol and rubbed the surfaces clean with a wooden stick while still under the microscope. Finally, I applied a hot soldering iron brimming with lead solder to the joints to test the approximate melting point. Please understand that my conclusions are necessarily unconfirmed guesswork.

    Traces of what appears to be resin appear mostly in crevices on and around the two solder joints. There is also a bit of resin in the metal cup near that solder joint where solder or resin may have splashed or otherwise been applied away from the actual joint. The resin does not come off easily from soaking in alcohol, but does comes off with vigorous rubbing by a soft material while wet with alcohol.

    Traces of a white substance appear to stain or bind all along the surface of the metal peg. These appear similar to those that appear after washing solder and resin (e.g. with alcohol) from a typical circuit board. Whatever this substance is, it may come from the resin or some other kind of coating.

    Molten lead solder applied to the joint floats around the joint for a few seconds, indicating that the native solder has a higher melting point, which is likely with unleaded solder. While melted, the two solders don't mix well. After cooling, distinct strata appear in the hardened solder blob, which is consistent with two disparate materials hardening at different temperatures or times.

    Other debris appear in the fresh (still dry) carto, consisting primarily of many small threads, and a much smaller quantity of black specks. The way they stick suggests that some liquid medium was involved in their dispersal or aided in their sticking.

    It's always scary putting anything under a microscope. This was no exception. It might be a good idea to give these cartos a long soak in alcohol, a quick boil, and a long rinse. If you have a paint brush and can open them, it might pay to rub both solder joints well while soaked with alcohol. It makes me wonder what's in my other cartos and attys.
     
  5. Sylvestre

    Sylvestre Registered Supplier ECF Veteran

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    What would anyone suggest to do if u want to try to solder some loose wires on a ce3? I just have lead solder (is there another type of solder? Sorry, don't know this!)


    I like to vape while I tinker, not tinker in order to vape.
     
  6. SiBurning

    SiBurning Full Member

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    My advice would be to use a different type of device that didn't require any solder. But here's my personal thoughts, for what they're worth...

    For the purposes of soldering inside a carto, there's 3 groups of lead-free solder. One will have antimony or other essentially poisonous metals. You want to avoid these. The second group will have copper. It's not at all clear to me what effect copper might have, but it's pretty reactive, and many of the compounds are somewhat poisonous or hazardous, at least in quantity. You'll note that copper cookware is nearly always coated (except for the thing that helps egg whites). The last kind is basically composed of tin & silver. It's the hardest to "wet" or use, but seems safest. Not that silver and tin are completely safe--some studies critical of lead-free solder say that silver's a worse environmental problem than lead--but they're relatively inert chemically.

    Another very important thing to keep in mind is that lead-free solders have even more dangerous flux than leaded solder. Since we're putting the solder in contact with a liquid that we inject, you want to be especially careful to eliminate all traces of flux--or at least as much as possible, since I think it's nearly impossible to eliminate it all. They become especially dangerous at high soldering temperatures. You also don't want to inhale this stuff--or really any flux. Best way is to solder outside, or have a window fan pulling the fumes out.

    Radio Shack has 96/4 tin/silver solder. It's just about the hardest solder to use, but there's nothing safer, except possibly 100% tin. I should add the warning that many of these will have (unlisted) traces of cobalt or some other metal. It's quite possible that the Radio Shack version is tainted with something. Bismuth is another possible dopant (trace element) and it's supposed to have a relatively low toxicity, but only so far as heavy metals go, and I really don't know anything about its health hazards.
     
  7. Sylvestre

    Sylvestre Registered Supplier ECF Veteran

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    Thanks! What do u think of silver solder? I know I've got some in my studio somewhere....


    I like to vape while I tinker, not tinker in order to vape.
     
  8. SiBurning

    SiBurning Full Member

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    I ordered 3 kinds of lead-free solder to do some testing. Only have the Radio Shack kind on hand. Might destroy a few cartos for this. It'll only be about how easy/hard it is to solder, nothing to do with any health issues. Probably won't follow up here, but in the modding forum. (I wonder if this thread would get more replies there.)

    Do you mean solder for silver jewelry? Take note what it's made of. Not all solders list the ingredients, and almost none have a list of trace ingredients. If in doubt, I wouldn't use it. Also, jewelry solder has a much more active (acidic) flux, which might be a good thing for a carto, since the hardest part might be cleaning and wetting the surface, but you definitely need to wash it completely off and quickly.
     
  9. SiBurning

    SiBurning Full Member

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    Just ran into something about silver solder sort of by accident. Not advice, but maybe useful for background. The post said something about melting copper wire at those soldering temperatures. The melting point of silver solder is typically 700-800C, and goes right on up to the melting point of silver. Silver melts at 962C. Copper melts at 1084C. I have no idea what the CE2's wire is made of. Depending on the temperature you're using, you might risk melting the wire, but it seems workable, or at least worth trying. Apparently, the solder's typically made of silver, copper, and zinc. The flux is pretty nasty and acidic, but if you're doing it right, you should be burning most of it off.
     
  10. Sylvestre

    Sylvestre Registered Supplier ECF Veteran

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    Thanks for all the great info, I m going to give the silver solder a go this weekend when I dig it up.


    I like to vape while I tinker, not tinker in order to vape.
     
  11. evosil98

    evosil98 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

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    Dec 16, 2011
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    Hawaii
    Thanks for the info. I was thinking about rebuilding my ce2 but not too sure now.
     
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