Another Poor Lead-Free Solder Example Chinese Hand Soldering

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I often look at Chinese merchandise as whether the parts may actually be a
worthwhile purchase, as the actual item is likely to perform very poorly for
it's intended use.
A lot of this type of merchandise can be considered "kit parts" for other

A recent purchase is an example of this reasoning. A physically large
rechargeable spotlight packaged as a 2 million candlepower spotlight.. $12
at a local discount retail store.

Halogen lamp (H3 6V 100W), large reflector, 6V SLA battery, miscellaneous
plastic parts held together with low grade hardware, AC/DC adaptor for
charging (9V 300mA), car lighter-socket adapter cable, etc.

The battery, case and reflector appeared to be a good starting point for a
powerful LED project.
A good reflector is fairly vital in being able to "throw" the light from

Looking inside the case, the wire connections appear to be secure, the
quick-disconnect terminals are insulated (rubbery boot covers) with latching
terminals, and soldered connections are covered with shrink tubing.

I've experienced very poor/awful/faulty solder connections in almost every
Chinese product I've seen, where hand soldering is utilized.

As I removed the shrink from the hand soldered connections (slice with razor
knife, low force removal), 2 of the connections separated immediately.

The lead-free solder was dull grey with traces of white colored surface
material looking like oxidation.. as Nigel has observed, something that
looks like it was stored for a long time in an outdoor shed (exposed to high
moisture levels to cause a lot of oxidation).
The solder blobs had the appearance of dried miniature globs of flat, dark
grey paint.

Neither the package or the product had lead-free symbols, but this is
obviously what was used.

Any time I buy electronic or electrical products from China, India or other
poor countries, I disassemble them and check all the connections thoroughly.
This generally leads to resoldering nearly all of the connections that have
been done by hand originally.
When checking line powered devices, the poor quality has been the same, just
more critical as a fire or shock hazard would likely exist if a connection
separated during use.

I'm old enough to remember when there were reasonable standards for
attaching a wire to a terminal (even in consumer grade gear), whereby the
wire would first make an electrically secure mechanical connection to a
terminal (most often by passing the wire thru an eyelet and wrapping the
wire tightly around the terminal at least one turn), before solder was added
to insure that the connection was permanent.

In recent decades, laying a tinned wire end on a terminal, and briefly
applying heat with a soldering iron tip, has become a manufacturing standard
of quality.

I realize that the Chinese workers probably work in conditions that most of
the rest of us wouldn't tolerate, essentially under slave-like working

I do feel remorse when I purchase stuff made in China.. not only for the
Chinese workers, but for the unemployed Americans, and the deaths of
military personnel in previous wars, where the communist Chinese (and
Russians) were backing the other countries.

Lately, I limit my impulse-purchases of such stuff to cheap novelty-type
items or other items that may be useful for kit parts.


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