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Silver bearing solder

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Silver bearing solder
Posted by astapleford on Sunday, July 5, 2020 11:20 AM

I have read over the years articles by Tony Koester of how he scratch builds his turnouts and his use of "silver bearing solder", especially when soldering the frogs. I am thinking of taking a stab at doing this. I've looked up that type of solder and see different types...some have flux built in, others don't. Some have varying amounts of silver in them. I have the MR issue that featured his article on making your own turnouts. But even that doesn't seem to go into detail about exactly the silver solder that he uses. Does anyone who has built turnouts this way have any suggestions on which is the best type to use for turnout building applications? Also, where to buy it and a tradename to ask for?

Thanks

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Posted by garya on Sunday, July 5, 2020 12:51 PM

I have no experience with silver-bearing solder to build turnouts, so I am not your best source.  I do, however, have some experience with it as an HVAC technician.  We used to use a brand called Stay Brite 8.  It is a very good and very strong solder.

Gary

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Posted by carl425 on Sunday, July 5, 2020 1:05 PM

Your question is based on the assumption that Tony is right.  That's not necessarily so.  Solder with silver is claimed to produce a stronger bond, but in reality, both types are significantly stronger than you need.  I've built turnouts using silver free solder and never had problems.

Fast Tracks is the leading supplier of tools and supplies for turnout building.  The solder they put their name on is good old 60/40 - no silver.

https://www.handlaidtrack.com/SP-0003

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by betamax on Sunday, July 5, 2020 4:57 PM

astapleford

I have read over the years articles by Tony Koester of how he scratch builds his turnouts and his use of "silver bearing solder", especially when soldering the frogs. I am thinking of taking a stab at doing this. I've looked up that type of solder and see different types...some have flux built in, others don't. Some have varying amounts of silver in them. I have the MR issue that featured his article on making your own turnouts. But even that doesn't seem to go into detail about exactly the silver solder that he uses. Does anyone who has built turnouts this way have any suggestions on which is the best type to use for turnout building applications? Also, where to buy it and a tradename to ask for?

Thanks

 

I bought some Silver Solder for a turnout building exercise a few years ago.

MG Chemicals, 4900-35g.  Lead free, no-clean. Doesn't show up on their website.

This is the 17 gram package, 21 Ga wire in a tube dispenser.  They do have bigger quantities.  Their flux is also excellent. Their products are available at any electronic distributor, like Mouser, Digikey, etc. I bought mine at a local electronics supplier.

It may be a little stronger, but it also takes more heat to melt. I've only used for turnout construction (strength) or modifying/building a shunt (heat!)

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, July 5, 2020 5:04 PM

I have two types of silver-bearing solder, one as a paste and the other as a reel of solder.  While the bond may be stronger than the lead/tin variety, it's not used in a manner that would test the strength of the bond.  Both are from Kester, and perform as well as any ordinary solder.

Wayne

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Posted by wvg_ca on Sunday, July 5, 2020 5:34 PM

I have a couple of different types, but don't use them for turnouts ...

regular 60/40 or 63/37 [better], is all you need, plus the silver bearing ones do take noticably more heat to flow properly

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Posted by astapleford on Monday, July 6, 2020 10:51 AM

Thanks to all! I have never attempted to build a turnout from scratch, and am always interested to learn how others have done it, and what their techniques are.

It is easy to fall into a trap of one method, but I am a believer in doing it yourself with materials you have at hand. I have been soldering on my layouts for over 50 years and always use Kester products, because that is what I could get at Radio Shack. Now that they are fewer, it may be harder. I will probably have a go with what I have, and see what happens.

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Posted by woodone on Monday, July 6, 2020 12:21 PM

Silver bearing solder has a lower melt point than 63/37 solder by about 10 degrees. Most 63/37 melts at about 361 degrees. Not enough differance to make a big difference IMO. I have not built turnouts with the silver bearing solder but I do use the 62/36/2 silver bearing solder for DCC installs. Melts at 352/354 degrees. The temps listed here are from Kesler. I find that the silver bearing solder flows better. But that is MO.

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Posted by wvg_ca on Monday, July 6, 2020 2:18 PM

Yes, the 2% silver content is one of the [very limited] versions that do have a melting point that's less than 60/40 ... however, most silver bearing solders [and especially lead free solders] do have a higher melting point

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 6, 2020 6:43 PM

astapleford
Also, where to buy it and a tradename to ask for?

Part of this is to know ahead of time what type of material you want, and some of the specific tech and savoir-faire involved with it.  For example, you'll probably want to use a good flux, and I'd recommend that should be a no-clean flux whether or not you try to do 'proper' joint clean-up afterward. 

Sources catering to the jewelry industry, where fabrication often involves careful sequential choice of solder with differences in liquidus point, are one good source of information (see for example Halstead's).  I mention this because too much target focus on 'hobby' soldering will miss this.  

I have found that many of the solder suppliers provide technical material to help you understand how to use their products more effectively.  For example, a good source for low-temperature soldering rather than brazing is SRA, and they have a special 'resource center' accessible from their Web site

https://sra-solder.com/

I think you are in the UK, where this company does principal business:

https://www.solderconnection.com/

and their somewhat less intimidating sister site specializing in hobbyist applications

https://soldersandfluxes.co.uk/Products/Model-Engineering.html

You might want to download and print off this PDF as a reference:

https://www.solderconnection.com/specsheets/Silver_Brazing_Alloys_and_Fluxes_Brochure.pdf

I suspect they have a counterpart for the low-temperature silver-bearing solders, but darned if I could find it in their site structure.

I'm sure others will chime in with directed selections and wisdom.

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 6, 2020 9:49 PM

wvg_ca
Yes, the 2% silver content is one of the [very limited] versions that do have a melting point that's less than 60/40

Thanks for clarifying that. I have been using Kester's 62/36/2 solder for years and your comment made me question my choice. I have never had a problem with it flowing quickly. In fact, with my newer Xytronic soldering station it flows almost instantly.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Thursday, July 9, 2020 5:32 PM

As far as strength goes, I have had to buy extra strength solder for the points on a couple of switches that kept coming apart. Maybe not necessary in the frog but might be helpful on the circuit board throwbar soldering joint. I didn't need this for all of my circuitboard throwbars - just a couple of them.

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

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