Is lead based solder banned for all electronic purposes?

KESTER SOLDER24-6040-0066Many sources on the internet seems to indicate that lead based solder is no longer possible to purchase and is in fact banned for use in electronics. However, this is not the case. It is correct that the EU has passed a regulative that prohibits the use of lead based solder in new consumer electronic products. However, the use of lead based solder for repair of older equipment is still perfectly OK as far as I know. Also, new military electronics is ok to manufacture with lead based solder. I was starting to worry about soldering problems that may affect many amateur radio projects like soldering PL259 coax connectors, after my supply of solder went out. With leadfree solder, a much higher temperature is often necessary to use. The center of the non teflon PL259 connectors then melts and several other problems occur. The leadfree solder doesn’t flow as well as lead based. I us the 60 Sn / 40Pb variant that has been the standard for decades. Farnell sells it and has it in stock.  I have replenished the stock to last for several years in different thicknesses so i have for SMD, hole mounted, plugs and larger devices.

Here are Farnell’s ordering codes for good old lead based solder:

1610446 SOLDER, 40/60 2.36MM 453G;
419310 SOLDER WIRE, 60/40, 1.63MM, 500G;
453614 SOLDER WIRE, 60/40, 1.0MM, 500G;
5090787 SOLDER WIRE, 60/40, 0.5MM, 250G;
5090830 SOLDER WIRE, 60/40, 0.7MM, 500G;

Just go ahead and order so you have solder supplies for hobby use for 30 years. Not easy to know what the bureaucrats in EU will think up next!

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