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Thread: soft solder

  1. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelly1963 View Post
    I read a forum post about soft solder and trmost were bad mouthing it. I'm here to tell you alot of that info posted was wrong. First of all if you were taught the proper technique for using silver and nickel based solder like bridgit you would have no problems with leaks. I've used it on the suction side mostly and silver on the high side for residential refrigeration. Using your torch properly is very important and not for rookies or amateurs. When I first started in 1985 we used the harris sticks and soft silver. Alot of the valves on residential units had plastic seats that would melt If you tried hard sticking it. wrapping it with a wet rag helped when you had no choice. As far as nitrogen goes it does keep the scale down if you know how set the the psi and don't have to much in the system or you'll never seal the joint. but that's while your torching. soft solder leaves almost no scale when heating because of the low melting point. You can purge with nitrogen after your done and check for leaks but the vacuum pump does the job most of the time. So for all you youngsters out ther just starting out and the 5 year guys keep all this info in mind. bridgit has a tensile strength of about 11,000 psi. more than enough strength for an r -22 system and probably for the new stuff. Just remember not everything has a brass seat and some have plastic o- rings that melt and leak from overheating using what we old timers call a hard stick.
    I think you're doing a disservice touting these "silver-bearing"solders.
    Not worth a darn, learn proper silver brazing & cooling techniques and leave the solders to the plumbers.
    What irony... I'm waiting for a res. split condenser replacement that some idiot soldered in place.
    The txv was half full of solder beads and with all the developed leaks, this will be the 3rd condenser & two compressors because of forementioned IDIOT. I have had properly soldered fridge discharge lines develope a leak after a year.
    This was before I wisened up!
    Silver solder, my a$$.

  2. #15
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    ive always used a oxy-acetyl once i became knowledgeable i cursed the turbo torch on large lines on widny days working brass to copper as well!

    I use 5 and 15 % stick solder

    i think some posts before mine are correct maybe this OP is using the wrong terminology because i dont think he is talking about true soft roll solder for hvac applications, maybe stay 8 , which ive never tried but will someday when i get a txv or rev valve in a tight spot and learn to use that pitch fork looking tip correctly.

    i used to be ok with water lines and soft solder back in the day but now that i am used to high heat fast brazing , ive become less good at it argh!..maybe i do suck and rely on high heat stay silv too much but it works and ill continue to use it especially with the new 410a pressures..

  3. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by IRBH View Post
    I think you're doing a disservice touting these "silver-bearing"solders.
    Not worth a darn, learn proper silver brazing & cooling techniques and leave the solders to the plumbers.
    What irony... I'm waiting for a res. split condenser replacement that some idiot soldered in place.
    The txv was half full of solder beads and with all the developed leaks, this will be the 3rd condenser & two compressors because of forementioned IDIOT. I have had properly soldered fridge discharge lines develope a leak after a year.
    This was before I wisened up!
    Silver solder, my a$$.
    got to love the ball bearing restrictions! ;(

  4. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by IRBH View Post
    I think you're doing a disservice touting these "silver-bearing"solders.
    Not worth a darn, learn proper silver brazing & cooling techniques and leave the solders to the plumbers.
    What irony... I'm waiting for a res. split condenser replacement that some idiot soldered in place.
    The txv was half full of solder beads and with all the developed leaks, this will be the 3rd condenser & two compressors because of forementioned IDIOT. I have had properly soldered fridge discharge lines develope a leak after a year.
    This was before I wisened up!
    Silver solder, my a$$.
    The person who soldered that condenser obviously didn't prep the lines correctly. Maybe he used the wrong flux and that's why the leaks formed. I have both brazed with 15% rods and used Staybrite 8. I have ran into leaks on both refrigeration and A/C sytems with leaks from either solder or brazing. I had to repair a refrigeration coupling the other day in which "soft solder" was used. In that case, I just brazed the coupling with 15%. To me the Staybrite is a little easier to work with since I am used to preping the copper anyway whether I solder or braze. I still clean the pipe with a brush before making the connection. Granted when you braze, the copper kind of "self cleans" when you heat it up, but to me its still a good idea to do this.
    Stuart
    Lack of airflow destroys compressors.

  5. #18
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    I agree totally, MCEWANS, preparation is everything.
    But in the case of the soft solder multi-failure, the "tech" had brown teeth (he didn't know s##t from toothpaste!) He overheated the down sloping lines & the solder ran in like water. Fortunately, he's moved on to I believe the electricial field. He'll fit right in!

  6. #19
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    I'm curious about the physical properties of soft solders used for refrigeration. I've heard that it's rated for pressures high enough for refrigeration purposes but I still don't trust it to be as good as 15% brazing rod. I've seen too many soft solder joints just come apart. Seems to me that the soft solder does not adhere to the copper as good as a 15%. It might be rated for pressures high enough for refrigeration but I don't think it "sticks" as well and it seems to be more brittle making it prone to break loose if there is any stress on the joint. So how does it compare to 15% in the areas of adhesion and brittleness?
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten". --Benjamin Franklin
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  7. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by air1 View Post
    I'm curious about the physical properties of soft solders used for refrigeration. I've heard that it's rated for pressures high enough for refrigeration purposes but I still don't trust it to be as good as 15% brazing rod. I've seen too many soft solder joints just come apart. Seems to me that the soft solder does not adhere to the copper as good as a 15%. It might be rated for pressures high enough for refrigeration but I don't think it "sticks" as well and it seems to be more brittle making it prone to break loose if there is any stress on the joint. So how does it compare to 15% in the areas of adhesion and brittleness?
    Hello, Air1
    I've seen quotes on here of 11000lb tensile strength. So i googled "tensile testing" and it said that test is seldom used with ductile (drawable) metals. I guess the tensile reading only comes into effect if you snag the condensing unit with your truck bumper!
    Like I said before, it seems a combination of 250 degree temp, discharge heat-cooldown cycles with the push-pull stress and perhaps the full frequency of harmonics generated in a system, will produce failures.

  8. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharp-owner View Post
    never used soft solder for any A/C joint, never had a problem. been to lots of leaks on systems where other people used soft solder. I just brazed over them with 15% silver, problem solved. So.... experience = always go with 15% silver brazing rods.

    solder good for water lines though.
    You can silver braze over a soft-solder connection?
    I'm not that lucky, that crap keeps off-gassing right up thru the brazing temperature. I have to remove every last bit of it, and believe me, i'm saying a few choice words addressed at anyone using S. S. in HVAC.

    I assume you mean Silfos 15% ?

  9. #22
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    Would someone define soft solder, I would say 50/50 would be soft. Sra brite 8 not so soft. Yes you have to clean the hell out of it, I believe solder is used in the areo space industry never lost a plane because of it, when you are using 15% you are not soldering, you are brazing. The 2 aren't the same thing, and this needs to be fully disclosed.

    Quote Originally Posted by IRBH View Post
    You can silver braze over a soft-solder connection?
    I'm not that lucky, that crap keeps off-gassing right up thru the brazing temperature. I have to remove every last bit of it, and believe me, i'm saying a few choice words addressed at anyone using S. S. in HVAC.

    I assume you mean Silfos 15% ?

  10. #23
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    Flat plate refrigeration systems on truck applications have used soft solder for many years w/ the vibration of the unit and the truck w/ few issues. Dynaflow will braze over soft solder if needed.

  11. #24
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    I miss using staybrite. Never had a joint leak while using the silver solder. Also the strength of the joint is usually not the problem when brazing. Most leaks I've found from brazing were either a bad joint to start with or the copper failed due to the amount of heat while brazing. The copper will actually crack right at the joint of the braze and not the actual braze itself. When using staybrite the copper doesn't heat/work harden like the brazed joint.

  12. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kht428 View Post
    ................When using staybrite the copper doesn't heat/work harden like the brazed joint.
    Whoa, cowboy, you got the saddle on backwards!

    Heating copper to cherry ANNEALS it, not hardens.

  13. #26
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    There was a time when all refer piping was soft solder. both 50/50 and 95/5. Silver bearing solder has little resemblance to those early solders. I wouldn't be hesitant to use solders like Stay Bright on most piping as I've used it since the mid 70's. If some are basing your opinion on hear say rather than experience then maybe you should abstain.
    I wouldn't choose it on large systems usually because hard silver is specified. There are also often greater vibration and stress issues.
    Silver bearing solders were developed with the industry in mind and have been around for a very long time.
    Often silver brazed joints are poorly made by people not having an understanding of how to develop a proper joint. Usually just smeared on the fitting. For those new to the trade a silver bearing solder joint will be easier to make and less likely to leak as somewhat less skill is required.
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