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R410A Braze or Staybright?

I know there is some controversy about this. Some say brazing weakens and softens the tubing and that Stay Bright is just as strong because the tubing is not annealed. I think I looked this up before and even the solder and brazing manufacturers agree.

What is the best practice in your area? I haven't done much refrigeration since R410A has been out. That's probably what 15 years??

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,783
    edited May 2017
    From what I've observed all manufacturers, not some, ALL say to braze all joints while flowing nitrogen. This isn't just for 410A, it's for all refrigerants I believe.

    The only ones I've seen that say Stray Bright is ok is the manufacturer of Stay Bright. I've yet to see a single equipment manufacturer say it's ok to use.

    That said, plenty of guys say they have had no problems with Stay Bright.

    Personally, I'm a Staysilv 15 guy for now. But I only do this as a hobby.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,217
    I have used both without problems.

    I wonder if it isn't a flux issue. You have to use flux with Staybrite, and from what I hear the flux is bad business if it ends up inside the system. I only put a light film of Stayclean on the male part of the fitting.

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,783

    I have used both without problems.

    I wonder if it isn't a flux issue. You have to use flux with Staybrite, and from what I hear the flux is bad business if it ends up inside the system. I only put a light film of Stayclean on the male part of the fitting.

    It could be no one wants to go through the trouble of testing and approving another solution when brazing works fine.

    Of course, you've got all the guys out there that think it's ok to braze without nitrogen................Stay Bright fixes that at least.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,217
    ChrisJ said:

    I have used both without problems.

    I wonder if it isn't a flux issue. You have to use flux with Staybrite, and from what I hear the flux is bad business if it ends up inside the system. I only put a light film of Stayclean on the male part of the fitting.

    It could be no one wants to go through the trouble of testing and approving another solution when brazing works fine.

    Of course, you've got all the guys out there that think it's ok to braze without nitrogen................Stay Bright fixes that at least.
    Possible. If a manufacturer can give you an option that works all the time versus one that comes with conditions, which one do you think they will choose.

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,533
    I have always thought the flux was the main problem also.
    I use stay-bright for tough situations such as inside a walk-in freezer coil where quarters are tight for a lot of heat. Otherwise 15% silver.
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,653
    For R410A, braze all the way. R22, I braze 99.99999999% of the time. There's been the rare occasion on ref line repair when there was no way I was brazing; carpenter shot 5 16cc nails in our line set. there was almost a fight on that job.
    Boiler Guy
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,746
    Has anyone tried that tried or heard issues with that Red stuff ? You grit cloth the copper , put an bead of the Red stuff around before you attach . Then let set ... I bought it an few years ago but was afraid to use it ..
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,377
    Thanks for the comments.

    If you go on JW Harris web site it's like they promote stay brite. The bursting pressure using stay brite is a lot higher than brazing because the tubing is not annealed.

    A TRANE technician told me the other day he stay brites everything and I was surprised to here that.

    One reason for brazing I have herd is in case of a fire in the building the stay brite will pop at about 550 deg and release phosgene gas where the brazing is good for 1000 deg or so.

  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,172

    Thanks for the comments.

    If you go on JW Harris web site it's like they promote stay brite. The bursting pressure using stay brite is a lot higher than brazing because the tubing is not annealed.

    A TRANE technician told me the other day he stay brites everything and I was surprised to here that.

    One reason for brazing I have herd is in case of a fire in the building the stay brite will pop at about 550 deg and release phosgene gas where the brazing is good for 1000 deg or so.

    15% Braze melts at 1700 degrees F.
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  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,653
    It's the subtle vibration that makes Staybrite a poor choice as much as the flux.
    Boiler Guy
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,398

    Thanks for the comments.

    If you go on JW Harris web site it's like they promote stay brite. The bursting pressure using stay brite is a lot higher than brazing because the tubing is not annealed.

    A TRANE technician told me the other day he stay brites everything and I was surprised to here that.

    One reason for brazing I have herd is in case of a fire in the building the stay brite will pop at about 550 deg and release phosgene gas where the brazing is good for 1000 deg or so.

    Refrigerant doesn't breakdown into phosgene until about 850*, so that's not a concern as far as Staybrite vs. silfos. What is a concern is the flux getting into the line and vibration when used near the compressor.

    When a joint is properly silfossed, its strength will far exceed the pressure of any common refrigerant. If annealing is a concern, quenching the joint with a damp rag after the silfos has solidified, but while still hot, will harden the copper. Care must be taken not to cool it too quickly or you may crack the silfos.

    Proper support of the piping (or lack thereof), is usually the cause of joint failure, not the annealing from the brazing process. That's assuming the joint was properly brazed to begin with.

    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,783
    Here's my problem.

    The instructions from the manufacturer tell you what to do. They don't say "but if you don't feel like it go ahead and....." No where do they give that option.

    This is no different than guys not using a proper header on a steam boiler because they think they know better.

    As a few guys said, maybe you're in a tight spot and you're fairly sure brazing is going to damage something, that's understandable. But overall you should be following the instructions. Flow nitrogen at 3-5 cubic feet per hour and braze using silphos rod.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    410a has been around since 1996ish. carrier really started using it a good amount in 1999and 2000. It's been round for a while. Guys just don't like it cause it takes time to charge the refrigerant.

    I'm a 15% or 45% guy depending on why I'm doing.
    #8 bearing solder or stay bright is great stuff I use it a lot, and it does have a good amount strength to it. But one purging with nitrogen it will just blow out of the joint.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,821
    The manufacturers are only "always right" in the legal sense. If you follow their rules, the layers will chase them first, since they have deeper pockets. After that, it's hit or miss. They can—and do, don't get me wrong—perform some in-depth analysis; but they are no less influenced by crummy decisions, poor practices, or plain old incompetance than the rest of us.

    That said, 15% all the way, unless I've got to wet it with 54% first.

  • newagedawn
    newagedawn Member Posts: 586
    i am a fan of brazing and have been for yrs, dont get leaks with brazing, considering the one brazing is competant
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,377
    a perfect example today R410A. 1 3/8 suction ball valve installed at the factory with no stub in the valve coming out of the unit.

    That valve is going to suck up a lot of heat to braze it. The valve is also right up against the partition wall of the unit. Your not getting a torch around the back side of the valve so you will end up with a big snot of braze on the back side.

    three choices I see:
    Staybrite

    cook the hell out of it so the braze will flow and hope you don't cook the valve (you will)

    Blow the charge out of the unit cut the tubing on the other side of the valve so you can braze a stub in the outlet and put the valve back in with a coupling on the inlet
  • hvacfreak2
    hvacfreak2 Member Posts: 500
    You may be able to remove the factory clamps holding the valve and bend the factory assembly to where you can get to it. If this is a Trane commercial 6 or 7.5 I can tell you that these suction connections can be brazed. But I have seen factory connections that make me wonder ( Liebert ).

    And just to mention it I know of 2 data room manufacturers that Sta Brite TXV's on 410 systems , go figure. But I say whatever Sta Brite can do , Lennox Purple solder can do just as well ( maybe, lol ). Heck if we are going push the limits we could go with the no name barely water 95-5 too.
    hvacfreak

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

    Easyio FG20 Controller

  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    Oxy/acetylene is a must once you get into 1-3/8". it heats up way faster and you can get in and get out with out worrying about over heating the ball valve. Of course you will still have to wrap the valve with wet rags or the heat pastes. I'm a fan of the Hot Damn stuff it's like working with playdoh.
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,783
    njtommy said:

    Oxy/acetylene is a must once you get into 1-3/8". it heats up way faster and you can get in and get out with out worrying about over heating the ball valve. Of course you will still have to wrap the valve with wet rags or the heat pastes. I'm a fan of the Hot Damn stuff it's like working with playdoh.

    Some guys.

    Once they get an oxy/acet setup they think they're better than everyone else.


    Pffft.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    njtommySolid_Fuel_Man
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    I will admit it's been a long time almost 5-6 years. But I made my goal this year to use oxy/ acetylene more no matter what the pipe size.

    Thanks @ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,783
    njtommy said:

    I will admit it's been a long time almost 5-6 years. But I made my goal this year to use oxy/ acetylene more no matter what the pipe size.



    Thanks @ChrisJ

    Can't you just use a smaller tip and less fuel on smaller stuff?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,821
    My problem was I had to replace a 2-5/8" king valve, change the flange and everything. Couldn't do it with my MC tank, even with a rose bud. I ended up using a B tank with a 32 tip, & even then I had to get pissed at it.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,783
    njtommy said:

    I will admit it's been a long time almost 5-6 years. But I made my goal this year to use oxy/ acetylene more no matter what the pipe size.



    Thanks @ChrisJ


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,259
    I silfos everything. I was always under the impression that flux (same as in any closed loop system) will muck things up. I've removed a fair amount of copper in both refer systems and hydronic systems. And brazed with nitrogen is the cleanest inside by far. I'm not risking my compressor windings to flux acid moving throughout the system eating away at that varnish insulating material.

    If you think about it, where do we most often see leaks? I don't think the pressures that 410 runs at have much effect on brazed vs soldered joints. Most often it's flares or vibration that causes leaks from what I've seen.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,783
    edited May 2017

    I silfos everything. I was always under the impression that flux (same as in any closed loop system) will muck things up. I've removed a fair amount of copper in both refer systems and hydronic systems. And brazed with nitrogen is the cleanest inside by far. I'm not risking my compressor windings to flux acid moving throughout the system eating away at that varnish insulating material.



    If you think about it, where do we most often see leaks? I don't think the pressures that 410 runs at have much effect on brazed vs soldered joints. Most often it's flares or vibration that causes leaks from what I've seen.

    I'd be more worried about copper plating than compressor windings with acid in the system.

    At least, that seems to be where it shows it's evil head on Methyl Formate monitor tops when it breaks down into formic acid.

    Here's a 1933 compressor that seized due to a little bit of copper plating. Everything in this picture is steel, but you can see where some copper ended up due to formic acid and heat. The bottom plate, and the bottom of the oscillating rotor.

    The cotton insulated motor windings were fine, even after 80+ years.











    The compressor spun fine by hand, but was just a little too tight for the motor to get spinning on it's own.

    When I first saw these pictures, I thought those were worn areas. But in reality, they're actually a tad higher than original. Somehow, these pumps don't seem to wear, ever?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,377
    If I had my way I would braze everything. The manufacturers don't help us out much. It's easy to braze the factory joints with no covers on the unit and everything is accessable. They don't think about the guy in the field

    ratioSolid_Fuel_Man