what type/brand of solder for LED


New member
quick question, did a search and did not find much on this topic...

don't know if it matter or not, but what is the "best" or most used solder wire for DIY LEDs...

lead or lead free?
brand /type this is my very first electronic soldering project.
Good old 60/40 lead solder with a rosin core is totally fine. Lead- free solder is generally harder to work with and needs higher temps, which is a struggle for many people.


New member
thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my DIY led questions! that's what i was thinking so good to hear.


New member
next question how much do you need, say for 3 led projects 5 led sump, 48 led DT light and 24-36led macro display tank? are we talking about pounds or ounces?


New member
i got a brand called alpha fry,it's 63/37 tin/lead fine rosin core electrical solder frome sears that worked well along with the craftsman 40w soldering iron, melting temp of the solder was around 325-350 i think i'd look for somthing in that range. the craftsman seemd to work alot better than the 2 weller ones i got from home depot and it was only around $10 the solder was arounf $4 for enuf to do probably 50-150 led's or more it comes coiled up in a tube
i also tried the lead free solder and it was a huge pain, i had to remove some of the led's from the heatsink to solder them and wound up cooking a few of them.


^^ agreed. 60/40 or 63/37 is the way to go. Get it in a .032 size for 22awg wire and make sure it is a no clean since I assume you are going to use led stars. Do not go with a lead free. Sucks to work with, temps required are pretty high and so forth.

For a soldering iron, you can get away with a 25w iron, but a variable temp unit with chisel tip is preferred. An outstanding, digitally controlled unit with short (easy to work with) quick change tips and 15 second total warm up can be sourced for around $60. And they can be calibrated.

I have used this unit for around 7 years for literally thousands upon thousands of solder joints and it is simply amazing. I have to solder for a good part of my living so my recommendations are from a professional so no worries there. Puts many $150-$300 units to shame.

I also own this unit here which is basically an update to the above and costs the same. Again, an OUTSTANDING unit that you cannot go wrong with.

For tips for either unit, purchase an lf12d or lf16d.

If you buy one, thank me later :)

Also CSI has this unit out as well now but the iron itself is a junker similar to what most weller stations use. I have been meaning to try it with my quick change iron since it has 4 presets which would really come in handy! It is a 60w vs 70w but that would only translate into a possible slower total warm up time and recovery time but I doubt it would be very noticeable, again have not tried it but want to.

I use this quick change iron handle that comes with the first two irons I recommended because well... it is quick change but the really awesome part about it is that the distance from the hold point to the tip is VERY close so you can be very precise with it when it is needed. It says "for lead free" because it is rohs compliant, but soldering tin lead is perfectly fine and is not hindered by it at all.

For solders, there are many, many types on the market. I have probably 25 spools here that I have tried over the years but my absolute favorites are....

- Kester 331 / water soluble flux. This stuff is AWESOME for work which will be seen. Once you finish, you run your pcb or other under DI water and scrub the flux with a toothbrush. Rinse and repeat lol. Joints will come out 100% flux free and look like chrome and stay that way. Would not use it on led stars to note but for other projects it is awesome as no chemicals are required to clean the flux. Once finished, blow out all the components or any place water can hide with compressed air.
- Kester 275 / No clean flux. Just solder and your finished. Very good wetting for hand soldering.

- MG chemicals no clean also works well, is easy to find and is cheap.
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New member
The thing to remember is the higher the led content the lower the melting temperature. For the LED's the electricial difference is neglegable between 50/50 and 70/30. With the last number being the actual led ratio.

Most industrial applications now are RHOE compliant which means they are basicly lead free. This is basicly to reduce the amount of lead going into waste sites since we have become such a disposable electronic society in the last 10 years. Therefore lead free solder is now hitting all the shelves.

Having worked with prototype electronics the lead free solder had been a real issue do to its higher melting point and often bad connections even when done with automation. If you can at all avoid using lead free solder stay away from it especialy on devices that are temperature sensative like some LEDs.


New member
I upgraded my pencil iron to a Hakko FX-888 as i was starting these projects for the tank. Its wonderful, i would recommend it to anyone. I got it for $80 with shipping i believe. Free shipping also applied to the 63/37, water soluble flux, .015 wire and 2 larger chisel tips (3.2 and 2.4mm), flux pens and tweezers. Both tips have seen action (larger one sure made the ground tab on a CAT4101 solder easily), solder has been great to work with even compared to some 60/40 rosin core i had before.


New member
I just finished a led build with 33 leds. It was my first soldering project since high school (35 years) and I managed easily with a 15W iron, flux and resin core solder. Flux seems to be the most important part. But I did all my soldering in one evening easily.