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FAQ Category: Solder Pots

Q. Can the temperature of an American Beauty Industrial Quality Solder Pot be more tightly controlled?
A. Yes. Incorporate our Voltage Control Unit, V3700, into your operational set-up. Set the solder pot thermostat to its wide open position (Fully Clockwise) and control the voltage that is being supplied into the device via the Voltage Control Unit. You will now find that the temperature variation of your solder pot is reduced from ± 50°F to ± 5°F.

Q. What does pre-tinning mean?
A. Pre-tinning is the process of applying solder to metallic parts (generally the ends of wires) in order to improve the soldering process during the actual assembly application. This is often done using a solder pot.

Q. How do I apply flux before pre-tinning?
A. Flux is available in liquid form and can be applied by brushing, or by dipping the item into the flux. Avoid over fluxing the items and do not allow any excess flux to drip into the solder pot.

Q. At what temperature should I set and run my solder pot?
A. The temperature of your solder pot should be set to run at about 100-150° degrees Fahrenheit above the liquid temperature of the solder that you are intending to use in the solder pot.

Q. What type of solder should I put in my solder pot?
A. It is best to use the same type (alloy) of solder (in bar, or ingot form) that you will be using during the actual assembly of the pre-tinned pieces. Never put rosin-core solder (solders containing flux) in your solder pot.

Q. Can I use lead free solder in my American Beauty Solder Pot?
A. Yes! The use of lead free solders is becoming more common every day. The primary concern regarding this trend is the effect that the higher tin content of many of the lead free solder alloys will have on current processes and tooling. The American Beauty® Solder Pot crucible is made of cast iron which does not readily dissolve into tin at temperatures below 800°F. There is however some solubility of iron into tin at temperatures above 800°F, at which point two intermetallic compounds (FeSn and FeSn2) are formed. The presence of iron in solders at low levels from around 0.1% will show a noticeable grittiness and can affect the solders performance.
The amount of tin in the lead free solder alloy is not as much of a concern as the operating temperature of the solder pot. Only at the very upper limits of the American Beauty Solder Pot will you experience minimal product degradation. However, it is best standard practice to operate your solder pot 100-150°F above the liquid temperature of the solder being used. The temperature for many lead free solder alloys is below 500°F. Therefore, you can effectively use your American Beauty Solder Pot with most lead free solder alloys.

Q. What form of solder should I put in my solder pot?
A. The raw solder you use should be in bar or ingot form. Bar solder melts faster with less thermal loss when cubed, and introduced in lower volumes. Be careful not to splash molten solder when you are replenishing the solder level in the pot. Never put rosin-core solder (solders containing flux) in your solder pot.

Q. Is it common for a new solder pot to produce more dross than an older one?
A. A new solder pot may temporarily produce more dross (especially during the initial start-up) than you are accustomed to seeing. The tin that is common in most solder alloys will interact with the cast iron forming a tin/ferrite barrier on the surface of the crucibles inner walls. This tin/ferrite barrier will improve the solder pots efficiency and help retard dross production. Once the barrier has formed (approximately 72 hours of operation) it will remain intact unless disturbed. Never scrape, file or abrade the surface of the crucibles inner walls.

Q. How do I know when the solder should be changed in my solder pot?
A. Because there are such a wide variety of materials and applications that a solder pot may be used for, there is no simple answer to this question. However a good general indication that it may be time to replace or clean the solder in your pot is when you experience sluggishness or degraded performance in your soldering application, while the operating temperature of the pot remains correct.
Maintaining the purity level of the alloy used in the solder pot, greatly affects the quality, uniformity and efficiency of the application being performed. When the impurities within the solder alloy reach an undesirable level, the solder alloy must be either changed, or cleaned.

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