Silver solder--what wattage soldering iron?


I need to solder some new Cardas cartridge clips onto my Rega RB600, and I'm having trouble using a Radio Shack 40W soldering iron with the silver solder that came with the clips. Doesn't seem like I'm getting enough heat, even after I cleaned the tip with sandpaper. Does this iron have enough wattage, and if not how much do I need? Thanks, Will Herrera
will_herrera
I am with Marakanetz. I used to use silver solder, but no longer do. tough to get a good solder joint, and its not a eutectic solder. Sometimes can sound bright too.

I switched to Koester 63/37 with a 285 flux. much nicer sound, less corrosive flux and good solid joints.
One thing to note is that with silver you have a chance of making the connection brittle. Take care to not overheat the joint.
One more thought - consider a temperature controlled iron. These have a thermal sensor near the tip and vary power as required to hold the selected temperature, which is settable.
Glad you found an iron to get you by, Will. I can offer that if you get accustom to checking your solder joints with a lupe or strong magnifying glass you will teach yourself a lot about how it is working for you.

Anyone want to comment on this statement about this brand of silver solder? I realize there is some marketing going on, but I can't say if this is bollocks or not. I am simply a satisfied user of the product.

"Some of the best connections are soldered connections. The problem is only one type of soldered connection is truly a joint, most are as the word states, a connection. Many solders, such as the popular 60/40, are a slurried mixture of Tin and Lead. In making the joint, the Tin/Lead mixture melts, but as it solidifies it does so one metal at a time. It goes into a slurry state where one metal is liquid and the other is very small solid particles. Next, the other metal solidifies, and creates a multitude of small connections. This type of connection is not particularly favorable or permanent. When a phone company had to use this type of solder on their main frames, every joint had to be reheated once a year to insure reliability. Even then, the "cold joint" was a common occurrence. Noisy or open joints were the main cause of failure in early printed circuit boards and electronic equipment until sometime in the mid-sixties or early seventies. Then it was learned that eutectic joints were perfectly reliable. By the mid-seventies or early eighties most electronic equipment was being soldered with Eutectic solder (63/37). The reliability of printed circuit boards went up nearly 1000%, and solid state audio gear began to sound almost tolerable. Today, all printed circuit boards use Eutectic solder. The melting point of a Eutectic solder is lower than any of its component parts, so there is no slurry state in these solders. They solidify as one creating an actual solder joint. The only wires used in high-end audio are Copper and Silver, so George Cardas developed an ultra pure Tin/Lead/Silver/Copper eutectic or Quad-Eutectic solder. This solder is now used in the vast majority of all high-end cables and equipment. Properly done, Quad-Eutectic joints reliably provide the best sound with the lowest noise and contact resistance. (The above was taken in part and paraphrased entirely from George Cardas' paper Soldered vs. Crimped Connections). "
I use Cardas Quad Eutectic in all my work. It flows and works beautifully and produces great looking solder joints. The newer Cardas solder without lead doesn't seem to work as well. I would try to get the older "Quad" formulation.