Solder Fumes

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On my never-ending list of things to do is an entry 'solder fumes'. I have one of these...

 

 

..which is, frankly, a bit pants.

 

What do other people do? I can't really, at this point in time, justify a nice Weller or Pace unit but I want to do something. I'm wondering about one of these plus a couple of lengths of flexible hose with the outlet hung out of the window...

 

 

 

Open to suggestions.

#1 Hardware Problem? https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

#2 Hardware Problem? Read AVR042.

#3 All grounds are not created equal

#4 Have you proved your chip is running at xxMHz?

#5 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand."

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Cough, cough, wheeez! What do others do? Probably nothing!

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If I am hand soldering I simply breathe out/gently blow the solder joint I am working on. Cheap and guarantees I am not breathing the fumes in.

 

David

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If solder fumes were inherently dangerous, then we would all be dead by now.   Still they are not healthy to breathe. 

I recommend a CPU fan from an old motherboard.  Running these 12-volt motor/fans at 5V will blow the fumes out of the circuit area, and not create too much distracting noise.

I suggest also moving away from working with components and more towards pre-manufactured module boards, like Arduinos and their shields.

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Simonetta wrote:
I suggest also moving away from working with components and more towards pre-manufactured module boards

So who do you think designs those boards ?

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I love the small smell of Napalm solder fumes in the morning!

 

Apologizes to Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now.

 

JC

 

* solder fumes damage the dictionary apparently. *

 

 

Last Edited: Tue. Jun 2, 2020 - 03:09 PM
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Simonetta wrote:

If solder fumes were inherently dangerous, then we would all be dead by now.   Still they are not healthy to breathe. 

 

Solder fumes are dangerous, even if they don't kill you immediately. There's a reason that fume extraction systems are required over solder stations to meet H&S regulations in many places.

 

(I wonder if I'd be this asthmatic if I'd used such an extractor/filter back in the seventies?)

 

Neil

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I used a very small shopvac for a while ...it had a long hose & I put the vac in another room (so it really just moved the problem "away" from me).

Could have put the vac out the window & exposed the neighbors.

 

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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I've done a couple different things over the years, basically you can take any type of fan vacuum, etc. And zip tie some activated carbon filter material over the Intake or exhaust, and problem solved

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I used velcro to attach a 110V fan to my bench to suck the fumes away from me and blow them across the room.  But it was noisy and annoying.  Now I just dont breathe in when I am soldering.  The lead doesn't vaporize and I use old fashioned rosin core solder so I dont worry about it too much.  It is just tree sap smoke.  I like the smell.  Here is a way to make your own:   https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-Eco-friendly-soldering-flux/

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Years ago we used to solder 2 wires on lamp holders for traffic lights (around 250,000 of them...), lots of fumes.

 

So I built a fume extractor with a 240V fan similar to a computer fan and 100mm plastic drainage pipe to the outside, worked pretty well.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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I use one of these:

 

 

... much like the OP.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Perhaps you should ask these people what they use to blow away the smell of burning flesh ... ?

   

 

laugh

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They are obviously aliens, they don't have flesh.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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Perhaps you should ask these people what they use to blow away the smell of burning flesh ... ?

Oh, haven't you heard; they went from no-lead soldering to using cold-heat soldering several years ago.  Give your outdated Weller Iron to to the nearest Radio Shack.  

 

How a Cold Heat Soldering Iron Works:

A Cold Heat soldering iron is a tool that seems to break the rules of soldering. ... the Cold Heat tool can heat up, melt some solder and cool off almost instantly. In one TV demonstration, someone uses the tool and then puts the tip on an inflated balloon -- the balloon doesn't pop. ... only patents that list Grigore Axinte -- inventor of the Cold Heat soldering iron -

 

They may even carry one of these on the next space shuttle mission for quick repairs!

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

Last Edited: Wed. Jun 3, 2020 - 02:49 AM
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I repurposed an old 12V computer fan and strapped in a charcoal filter which I change every 6 months or so. When I flip on the light over the benchtop the fan starts as well - it runs pretty quietly and the old filters I pull out would indicate it is pulling something out of the air. The filters came from the local electronics store about AU$10 for a pack of 5.

 

Picture of extractor

Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.
www.onecircuit.blogspot.com

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js wrote:

Years ago we used to solder 2 wires on lamp holders for traffic lights (around 250,000 of them...), lots of fumes.

 

So I built a fume extractor with a 240V fan similar to a computer fan and 100mm plastic drainage pipe to the outside, worked pretty well.

 

That's a lot of soldering.  I would vent it to the outside too.  The amount of soldering I do is so small I dont worry about it, plus like I said, I like the smell of rosin flux smoke.  Besides, my lungs are tough.  I smoked Camels for 40 years.

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MarkThomas wrote:
I like the smell of rosin flux smoke.

 

I like it too, but that doesn't mean you should breathe it...

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El Tangas wrote:

I like it too, but that doesn't mean you should breathe it...

I like the sweet smell of leaded gasoline combustion exhaust.  Likewise... bad idea.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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MarkThomas wrote:
That's a lot of soldering.
As an 18 year old during holidays from Uni, I worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 7 weeks soldering telephone cables in a brand new PMG telephone exchange (Lonsdale Street). Was a good introduction to soldering and "process" work. The following year they employed me in one of their research labs to design a teletype interface using TTL logic. Not quite as much soldering on that one. cheeky

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Simonetta wrote:

I recommend a CPU fan from an old motherboard.  Running these 12-volt motor/fans at 5V will blow the fumes out of the circuit area, and not create too much distracting noise.

 

I do something very similar - 12V wall-wart and ex-PC fan.  I agree that the 110VAC fans are obnoxious (at least, the cheap ones I have are).

 

However, if you're going to do that, be sure to put fan guards on it (a filter will work too) because if you don't, sooner or later the fan is going to eat something, and that'll be hard on whatever it ate (fingers?) and on the fan itself.  S.

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1964 when I started studying electronics the solder flux smelled beautiful, don't know what was in it.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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Given 1964, I can imagine what was in it.  wink  S.

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Legal in California flux now, isn't it?

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Actually THC is mildly acidic, it might make a decent flux. Needs testing cheeky

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El Tangas wrote:
I like it too, but that doesn't mean you should breathe it...

It's not like I put my nose down there and take a big hit like I'm foiling heroin.

 

joeymorin wrote:

I like the sweet smell of leaded gasoline combustion exhaust.  Likewise... bad idea.

Did you put you nose in the exhaust pipe to get a big hit?  I lived in Los Angeles in the '70's when you couldn't see the mountains 5 miles away most days.  I never much liked that smell.

El Tangas wrote:
Actually THC is mildly acidic, it might make a decent flux. Needs testing cheeky

That stuff is bad for your lungs.  You shouldn't breathe it in.  It is burning vegetable matter after all with small smoke particles.  Rosin flux is nothing in comparison. 

 

I think it's funny you guys are chastising me because I like the smell of flux.  It is sort of like sitting around a campfire in a pine forest.  At my age and all the things I have put into my lungs, solder flux is a drop in the bucket.  Besides, I hold my breath for the first big puff of smoke and blow it away, but I still like the smell.

 

barnacle wrote:
Legal in California flux now, isn't it?

Do you mean illegal?  Am I going to have a hard time getting rosin core flux in the future?  I have less than half a pound of the .020 and almost a pound of .032.

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MarkThomas wrote:

barnacle wrote:
Legal in California flux now, isn't it?

Do you mean illegal?  Am I going to have a hard time getting rosin core flux in the future?  I have less than half a pound of the .020 and almost a pound of .032.

 

Er, you missed my point: I was referring to other recreational chemicals, not the flux itself. We lack a tongue-in-cheek icon.

 

Neil

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Oh, I thought you were talking about solder.  Sorry for my denseness.  Yes it is legal.  I used to smoke a lot of it when my ocular pressure was up around 30 mm of mercury, but these days it makes me so stupid I cant function.  Only one puff and my IQ goes down 80 points.  It is good for nausea, however.  I have some of the old fashioned stuff that isn't so strong I sometimes use when my stomach acts up.  What is available in the shops is one puff stupidity.  The edibles are also incredibly strong.  The rice crispy treats are my favorite.  They are made with cannabutter and are incredibly tasty.  If I buy what is called a two dose treat, I cut it into 16 pieces and my spouse makes fun of me if I eat 1/16th because my eyes look like roadmaps and I walk into a room and forget why I am there, although that happens normally these days sometimes, but not often. 

 

Is it still illegal everywhere in the EU?  I know in Amsterdam the police just look the other way.  It is sort of crazy it is illegal, but alcohol is fine.  It is pretty rare for a pothead to do violence, like beating a spouse after a football game, but it is pretty common among drinkers, and drinking organic solvents is about the worst possible thing you can do to your body.  It affects all your organs.  I used to be a drinker, but my spouse was about to kick me out of the house when I went into rehab.  I always figured a bottle of wine was enough for two people if one of them didn't drink any.  I always liked to have a cold bottle of cheap Champaign for breakfast on weekends.  I never drank before going to work, unless you count having a nightcap at 3AM.  Those were hard days.  300 hangovers per year for two years.  There was only one bar in the neighborhood that would let me in.  I got 86ed from all the rest.  Man, I'm glad those days are over.  I was not a jolly drunk.  

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We lack a tongue-in-cheek icon.

This one? cheeky

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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No John.  That one is giving someone the raspberry.

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js wrote:

We lack a tongue-in-cheek icon.

This one? cheeky

MarkThomas wrote:

No John.  That one is giving someone the raspberry.

It's >>literally<< called 'Cheeky'...

 

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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That one is literally 'tongue out of cheek'.  The poor topic.  Anyone who gets this far wondering what solder fumes will do to you is going to run away from electronics screaming.

  S.

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wondering what solder fumes will do to you is going to run away from electronics

Why? We are all "normal"......wink

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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John. You and I are OK, but... I sometimes wonder about you. cheeky

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Mark, I can't answer your question about when and where it's legal: I simply don't know. I'm one of those odd rarities who have no use at all for brain-mangling chemicals, and I'm leery of prescribed chemistry. Currently on some heavy duty  painkillers to cope with a kidney stone issue and I keep finding myself staring out of the window and finding an hour has gone by... it frightens me. Bad enough that my brain is slowing down as I get older... but I'm sure that's just me, and that other's mileage varies.

 

Old Yorkshire saying: they're all queer[1] bar thee an' me, an' ahm not reet sure abaht thee...

 

Neil

 

[1] in the original non-politicised meaning

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We are certainly at right angles to the plain.  devil  S.

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Pulling my topic on course here...

 

I think the problems with the design I have is...

 

1) The remaining fumes are blown right back in your face (I don't believe for one moment that the filter supplied does any good)

2) The incoming air stream is turbulent (rotating?) because of the nature of the fan used.

 

I think I'm going to try something using an inline 3" duct fan, meant for use of small boats, with extract out to the outside world.

#1 Hardware Problem? https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

#2 Hardware Problem? Read AVR042.

#3 All grounds are not created equal

#4 Have you proved your chip is running at xxMHz?

#5 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand."

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Neil, I wouldn't worry about long term side effects of heavy duty pain killers.  I have used them all for 4 collapsed disks in my lower back that never gets better and has no solution except pain killers and exercise, both of which I do.  The spaciness is temporary.  Kidney stones hurt like hell.  I have had gall stones and am told they are similar and are comparable in pain level to child birth.  I hope they gave you something that works.  Morphine is one of the best but is not euphoric and drug addicts dont really want it.  Buprenorphine works pretty well but is sublingual, so if you swallow your spit you lose it.  It is totally destroyed in the stomach.  Most people dont like the psychotropic effects of opiates.  Only about 10% of people in controlled experiments.  I'm curious what they prescribe for such pain in the UK.  Kidney stones are 8 or 9 on the 1 to 10 pain scale.  Probably buprenorphine.  It is considered euphoric in the EU, but not euphoric in the US.  So much of this opioid epidemic is such bullshat.  In the US people with real pain can no longer get painkillers.  It makes me mad, being in the population with chronic pain.  I used to wake up in the morning with two choices:  suffer or die.  I just couldn't bring myself to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, but I thought about it every morning until I discovered pain killers.

 

I guess I am off topic.  I also found when I used a fan to suck the fumes away it seemed to cool off the soldering iron and made it harder to solder in addition to the fan being annoying.  Fan noise makes me crazy.  I guess a filter will get the smoke particles, and if I was using anything but rosin core I would probably worry about the fumes too.  As it is, I just dont solder enough to worry about it and I hold my breath when the smoke appears and blow it away which also cools stuff off.  As someone pointed out, if it was really that dangerous we would all be dead now.  If somebody made a silent fan I would probably use an extractor or for production work.  If I had to solder all day I would want one.

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Back in the day

 1950s, a female worker at a workbench wiring a radio at the factory of Bush Radio, leading British electrical manufacturers of radios and televisions in this era

 

Women workers soldering components for The Decca Auto Deccalian Model 88 record player

 

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!