The correct solder type for Feeder Wire and Rail joints
I am soldering feeder wire and also soldering rail joints on code 100
I have some electrical repair solder I just purchased and it says it is
lead free, 96% tin and 4% silver, with rosin flux core.
Will this work?
I see reference to Rosin Core solder that is 60% tin and 40% lead in
some railroad books. Is this better or is my mix better, or does it
matter at all?
First a few words on soldering joiners:
Electrically, you do not need to solder both feeders to every piece of
rail and solder the joiners. You only need to do one or the other.
Mechanically, if you solder every rail joiner, your track may buckle
as your room temperature changes. Modelers do like to solder the
joiners of flex track to keep from getting a kink in the joint.
Regarding your use of solder:
Solder that is 96% tin and 4% silver and has a rosin core will
definitely work. However, for easiest solderability, I suggest you
use solder that contains 37-40% lead. I have found that solder with
4% silver and/or no lead takes more heat to solder than solder
containing only .4% or 0% silver and 37-40% lead. I like the high
(4%) silver content lead for soldering G-scale track - which is able
to take the additional heat a little easier. But for HO track, you
are likely to melt ties.
While rosin core solder on HO track definitely works, I suggest you
use a solid solder that has no rosin core and use liquid flux. With
rosin core, you have to apply heat to melt the rosin. With liquid
flux, you don't need to apply this additional heat since the flux is
laready liquid. So with liquid flux, you run a slightly lesser risk
of melting ties.
For more on soldering, see my webpage on soldering:
Thank you for the speedy response, I will go out an buy some solid
core solder and liquid flux, it was taking too much time to heat the
rails to make the rosin core flow into the joint ( even with a
230/150 Watt Crsaftsman Soldering gun. Meleting was not an issue
though, I was using alligator clips as heat sinks to keep the ties
from melting, However the clips were also probably adding to the
length of time to heat, since they were absorbing some of the heat.
Regarding the Joiners, I am only solder rail joiners on the curves
(36 radius) and using one feeder wire on each radius and then about
every 6 to ten feet solder feeders on straight track sections. I
leave a small gap (1/32 inch) here and there on the straights to
adjust for humidity (Basement is damp in summer, although I run a
dehumidifier) and dry in the winter (to adjust for my wood L girder
WiringForDCC@..., "wirefordcc" <wire4dcc_admin@c...>
rail and solder the joiners. You only need to do one or theother.
as your room temperature changes. Modelers do like to solder thewith
4% silver and/or no lead takes more heat to solder than solderable
to take the additional heat a little easier. But for HO track, youWith
rosin core, you have to apply heat to melt the rosin. With liquidis
laready liquid. So with liquid flux, you run a slightly lesserrisk
of melting ties.
It sounds like you have a good plan.
Whatever liquid flux you buy, don't buy acid flux. That will eat your
track over time. I can definitely recommend the liquid flux by H&N
mentioned in my website. I use the "gel" for soldering feeders to
rail by using a toothpick to get a drop. I use a q-tip and
the "liquid" for soldering the feeders to the buses. The stuff works