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Old 02-12-2011, 06:23 PM   #16
wirewrkr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old2wheeler View Post
just a tip not mentioned yet; when soldering, you apply the heat to the wires. When they heat up you touch the solder (resin core for electronics, acid for plumbing) to the wires and they draw the solder into the spaces all around the strands.
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:13 PM   #17
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I almost always use a soldering iron, not a gun. If space permits, I will heat the wire joint from the bottom and touch the solder to the top of the wire. This allows the solder to flow down, towards the iron, thru the strands of wire, ensuring a good connection.

Crimp connectors are fine, but I have seen so many that were not done properly. I only use them as an emergency connection. I prefer soldering if at all possible.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:34 PM   #18
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I will give it a go today. Regarding guns/irons, have you seen those small pencil-sized butane burners for soldering? Seems quite smart and not expensive, several tips available etc.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:00 AM   #19
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GOOD temperature controlled soldering irons are well under $100 now (Ebay). If you are going to solder, get a good iron - worlds of difference.

The big problem is that the solder makes the joint more brittle than copper wire.

The heat shrink is important, not just to stop corrosion, but it also moves the stress points to (hopefully) beyond the soldered section.

As others have said, ideally you heat both sections of wire, touch the solder to it - and it's done - minimal solder flow beyond the joint. That's why the twisted solder joint is the best here.

One trick that is worth knowing "above and beyond" - use a hot melt glue gun and run hot melt glue onto the soldered section before you push the heat shrink back over. When you hit it with a heat gun, it'll flow and REALLY seal the joint.

Telco's use large versions of this for their large cable joints.

FWIW:
The small gas pencil irons are crap compared to a real soldering iron, solder only works well if the metal ratio is correct, get it too hot and you loose zinc - which makes it brittle. The gas irons will almost always be too hot.

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Old 02-13-2011, 01:28 AM   #20
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Thumb Great tip here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterW View Post



One trick that is worth knowing "above and beyond" - use a hot melt glue gun and run hot melt glue onto the soldered section before you push the heat shrink back over. When you hit it with a heat gun, it'll flow and REALLY seal the joint.



Pete
Thank you for this brilliant tip---I've been soldering for decades and never, ever once thought of doing this before!
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:39 AM   #21
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I've been soldering with one of these for about 15 years. It works well enough for a hobbiest. The only thing I have to add is use as little solder as possible to make the joints look like the ones pictured. The only one I've had fail was one of my first and I used too much heat and solder. The joint cracked up under the insultation where the solder was pulled.

PeterW....that's a cool trick. I'll have to try the hot glue.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:03 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by LasseNC View Post
I will give it a go today. Regarding guns/irons, have you seen those small pencil-sized butane burners for soldering? Seems quite smart and not expensive, several tips available etc.
The size of the wire determines the amount of heat you will need to get a good joint. If you are soldering a small wire, 22ga for instance, a small, pencil sized iron works fine. But if you are soldering 16ga or larger, not so much. The idea is to heat the area to be soldered quickly; before the heat has time to transfer up the wire and melt the insulation. I would suggest getting a Weller gun and practice on some scrap pieces until you get the hang of it.

There is shrink tubing with sealant and without sealant. Make sure you get the right stuff, and you can eliminate having to add the hot glue. But that is a good idea if you don't have the sealing kind of shrink tubing.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:53 AM   #23
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Size matters!

I used a propane torch on my starter cable but up to that size the guns are the way to go.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:11 AM   #24
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All good advice! Wirewrkr's joint looks beautiful - as it should.

Clean is the watchword in soldering, and the trick is to have no solder flow beyond the connection. As has been said already, the solder will prevent the wire flexing, a stress point will develop and that's where it will snap.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:18 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by bk brkr baker View Post
Don't forget to slide your heat-shrink on first and keep far enough away from the joint so it's not shrinking too soon.
I hate it when that happens get every thing nice and perfect, then Shit!
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:29 AM   #26
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I hate it when that happens get every thing nice and perfect, then Shit!
I did that three times today :)
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:49 AM   #27
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Ancor Marine Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink and Terminal Connectors are great stuff - been using their products for years on Saltwater Fishing Boats and they definitely keep corrosion from getting into connections.

http://www.marinco.com/productline/a...ed-heat-shrink
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:58 AM   #28
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Great little tool for small wires:

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Old 02-13-2011, 10:07 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by wirewrkr View Post
this is the way I've been doing it for 30 years. Good solder (rosin core) is KEY and also a good iron.
step 1
And what's not clearly shown, and what anyone who wants to solder wires should either make or buy.

Those alligator clips are attached to stiff wires, imbedded into I can assume a block of wood.

I have mine on a big magnet so I can stick it to things like the frame of a car, or the vice in the garage.

But the important thing is, this lets you keep the wires from moving around and position them neatly and in a place you can work on them. Crucial for when you are kneeling on a metal bumper leaning into an engine bay with one hand to do the work. Which, if all soldering was on a nice well lit bench it wouldn't be that tricky.

Anyhow, make yourself one of those stands, worlds of difference.

I like the hot glue trick, I would definately use it, but I often do my shrink tube with lighter just due to not wanting to drag a heat gun under the car, not sure the heat is controlled enough to use hot glue.
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:37 AM   #30
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I bought a stand like that with a magnifying glass and adjustable clamps like that at radio shack last year for <>10 bucks.....

I still can't solder, but thanks for all the tips.
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