I wanna new Flux...

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Looking for a new liquid flux for SMT hand soldering, usually SOT-23, SOD-123, SOIC and 0805 size parts. I've been using Kester XZ1189 in the past, but I don't like its long-term corrosive effects if not thoroughly cleaned. Here are my requirements:

1 - Liquid, not paste flux.
2 - As non-corrosive as possible
3 - No need for refrigeration, decent room-temp shelf life
4 - No-clean if possible

Price and difficuly of obtaining it are also factors, but not NEARLY as important as the above 4.

Any good contenders?

Thanks everyone!

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I use Edsyn FL110. Available at Farnell, ordercode 172-6562.

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I was going to recommend Kester 951 flux pens, but can't seem to find them on Digi-Key any more. I may be looking for something else, myself, when my current stock runs out.

Michael

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crwper wrote:
I was going to recommend Kester 951 flux pens, but can't seem to find them on Digi-Key any more. I may be looking for something else, myself, when my current stock runs out.

Michael

Yeah, I've been using Kester 951 for the last 8-years. It looks like Digi-Key isn't carrying it anymore. Mouser does (part # 533-0951). I bought this once from Mouser and it was already over a year old (it has a 2-year shelf life). Since then, I've always bought it from Digi-Key.

Don

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I wonder why Digikey no longer sells 951. I guess I'll buy it from Mouser.

I have some Chip Quik no clean paste flux in a syringe and it seems to be as good, but the syringe isn't as convenient. Maybe the Chip Quik in a squeeze tube would be good. It's more expensive though.

Apparently most people prefer the tackiness of paste flux. It's not much help when using an iron, because the tackiness vanishes when hot.

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I've never dealt with HMC Electronics before but I think I'll give them a try:

http://www.hmcelectronics.com/product/Kester-Solder/951FP

Don

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Don,
You say you've been using 951 flux for years...
Do you like it? Does it seem to fulfill my requirements in my original post?

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I've been using it for 4 years and I think it meets your specs.

No clean. 2% solids. The slight residue, which is practically invisible, is non-corrosive and non-conductive. Kester says shelf life is one year at room temperature. My pen is 2.3 years old and it works for me.

http://rocky.digikey.com/WebLib/...

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Bawker wrote:
Don,
You say you've been using 951 flux for years...
Do you like it? Does it seem to fulfill my requirements in my original post?
Yes & yes. When I first started doing SMD work, I tried both the 951 and the 186 Kester liquid flux pens. The 186 flux is NOT no-clean. I found that the 951 worked just as well and is non-corrosive. I've also tried liquid flux in a syringe. I like the pen better.
steve17 wrote:
Kester says shelf life is one year at room temperature. My pen is 2.3 years old and it works for me.
I was thinking the shelf life was 2-years. You're right, the Kester data sheet says 1-year. I've always gone 2-years beyond the DOM and haven't seen any degradation. I store it in my toolbox in my computer/workroom.

I should note that, although it is advertised as no-clean, I do clean afterwards. I tend to use a lot of flux and I don't like the way the residue looks on the board. After soldering all the SMD components, I use a liquid flux remover and an old tooth brush then rinse with water and blow dry.

Don

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Don, if you are cleaning anyway, you might as well use 2331-ZX flux pen. It requires only water to clean, no solvents or flux remover required. I prefer 2331 if I know I am going to wash the board anyway.

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Sorry to dredge up an old post.

It looks like neither Digi-Key nor Mouser are carrying Kester 951 flux pens these days. I had a look at HMC, but shipping to Calgary is prohibitively expensive.

Does anyone know where I can get Kester 951 flux pens with reasonable shipping to Canada? Alternatively, what other no-clean flux are you guys using?

Thanks!

Michael

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you can also check ebay

Alex

"For every effect there is a root cause. Find and address the root cause rather than try to fix the effect, as there is no end to the latter."
Author Unknown

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:-( Looks like Amazon won't ship flux pens to Canada, and, as I mentioned earlier, HMC's shipping to Canada is ridiculous ($40 or so for two flux pens).

Ebay looks like a possibility, though. Thanks for the ideas!

Michael

Edit: I may also give liquid flux a shot. The pens seem faster/cleaner for the sort of assembly I do most often, but with a bit of practise the liquid flux might not be so bad.

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The cleanest is the ChipQuik water washable flux. I guess it isn't easy to clean if you need higher temperatures for unleaded solder. I accidentally did some soldering with my iron set to 350C and the flux formed hard lumps that stuck to the board. Normally I use 300-310C and the flux washes easily under the faucet.

I guess most of you enjoy the smell of alcohol and ethyl acetate so you might as well keep using the non water washable stuff. ;)

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I use 951 in a bottle like this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/KESTER-9...

and I find it to be much easier to use than a pen. I stick a tiny plastic bag over the tip when not in use, to (mostly) keep it from evaporating.

I foolishly bought a lot of bottles (like this ebay offering) and after a year have hardly dented the first bottle, while the others sit in my fridge.

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WOW ... seven 2.5 ounce bottles for less than $20.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Does that mean you're in a constant state of flux?

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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Torby wrote:
Does that mean you're in a constant state of flux?

My house is powered by a Flux Refrigerator.

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Hi All--

I received a couple of "Kester 951" flux pens from an eBay seller, but they don't look like the pens I've had before. I tried getting in touch with Kester directly to confirm if they are legitimate, but haven't heard back, so I thought I'd check with you guys. Can anyone tell me if these are the real deal?

http://imgur.com/a/5LsPL

A couple of things caught my attention. First, the pens were in pretty rough shape and leaking a bit when they arrived. Second, there's a spelling error on the label--"FRECAUTIONS". Finally, the pens I've had before were chisel tip, but these are more like a marker tip.

Thanks!

Michael

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Fakes...

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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I have one of those. What tipped me off was the label is stuck on with a big wrinkle.

It does, however, seem to put flux on the pad. I'll look for a different source to get another.

Rats: That's what I should have added to the order I just submitted

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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I have flux pen but I find it next to useless, the sh*t evaporates almost instantly.

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Yea. I'm going with the little bottle next time. Assuming I remember to add it to the order.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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MCM Electronics carries the Kester #951 flux pen:

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/21-2260

They do ship to Canada although they state:

Quote:
We are unable to quote shipping charges to Canada due to the large variance in duties and fees.
You might try calling or emailing them to get a rough idea of the cost.

Don

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kk6gm wrote:
I use 951 in a bottle like this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/KESTER-9...

and I find it to be much easier to use than a pen. I stick a tiny plastic bag over the tip when not in use, to (mostly) keep it from evaporating.

I foolishly bought a lot of bottles (like this ebay offering) and after a year have hardly dented the first bottle, while the others sit in my fridge.

Me too now. Should have a lifetime supply of flux for less than 20 bucks. Let's see, what should I solder :D

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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Torby wrote:
Me too now. Should have a lifetime supply of flux for less than 20 bucks. Let's see, what should I solder :D
A lifetime supply if you only expect to live another 12-months.

From the Kester 951 data sheet:

Quote:
Shelf life is 1 year from date of manufacture when handled properly and held at 10-25°C (50-77°F).
See http://www.kester.com/sidemenu/products/wavesolderingmaterials/fluxes.aspx

Don

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Interesting discussion here: http://www.evilmadscientist.com/...

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I have an 18 year old roll of Kester 60/40 rosin core solder that works just fine.

I do put flux on the parts to be soldered, but not because of a concern about the flux in the wire solder.

I use the "one handed" soldering method where I put the solder on the tip of the iron, then touch the blob of molten solder to the parts to be soldered. I guess this is what the professionals call wave soldering, but on a smaller scale. Maybe blob soldering is the correct term.

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I keep it at a temperature of 5C. Still, it's pretty cheap to get this way if it does only last a year.

My 1 1/2 year old tube of solder paste still does nicely. I keep it in the refrigerator when I remember to put it back.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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Torby wrote:
I keep it at a temperature of 5C. Still, it's pretty cheap to get this way if it does only last a year.

My 1 1/2 year old tube of solder paste still does nicely. I keep it in the refrigerator when I remember to put it back.

I've used Kester flux pens around 2-years beyond DOM and haven't experienced any noticeable problems.

It does, however, make me somewhat nervous & I eventually wind up ordering a replacement. The replacements are often 6-months old or more.

Don

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Replacement flux pens? You can get counterfeit ones from ebay. Mine seems to work, but obviously did not come from Kester.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut.