To get the at-home robotics project going, Mr. Family Trivium had to do something he hadn’t done for a few years. He had to solder some wires onto the motors. We’ll assume that you know what wires are and we recently talked about the motor, so today, we will examine solder.

What is Solder?
Solder is both a noun and a verb. Over in the SparkFun Electronics How-To Section, JoelEB has written an article explaining solder. As a noun, solder “refers to the alloy (a substance composed of two or more metals) that typically comes as a long, thin wire in spools or tubes.” As a verb, solder “means to join together two pieces of metal in what is called a solder joint.”

JoelEB also explains that there are two different types of solder used in the electronics hobby: leaded and lead-free. Traditionally, leaded solder has been preferred “on account of its superb ability to act as a joining agent.” However, with the known health risks of lead, lead-free solder has become the norm in electronic manufacturing and has become more popular among hobbyists.

For our project, Mr. Family Trivium used some leaded solder, left over from his numerous years of electronic geekery. Perhaps after this spool has been consumed, we will try working with lead-free solder in our future projects. We didn’t see any RoHS labels on our motors or our other components, or their packaging, so there is a reasonable possibility that they contain lead.

This is a reminder about the importance of recycling electronics when they have reached the end of their useful life. In our community, electronics recycling not only helps to preserve the environment. It also makes employment available to individuals that have otherwise had a difficult time finding it. While employed in e-recycling, these individuals are also learning skills that can help them to advance themselves in the future.


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