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The correct way of soldering two pieces of wire together.

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by LasseNC, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. photomd

    photomd Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2007
    The Land of Cotton (SC)
    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.
  2. Martian

    Martian Long timer

    Sep 20, 2007
    Elmdale, Kansas, USA
    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.
  3. Jasper ST4

    Jasper ST4 Guest

    Size matters! :evil

    I used a propane torch on my starter cable but up to that size the guns are the way to go.
  4. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

    Jul 26, 2002
    Jackson's Bottom Oregon
    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.
  5. Harry Backer

    Harry Backer Ran when parked!

    Aug 12, 2009
    Danville, Il
    I hate it when that happens get every thing nice and perfect, then Shit!
  6. LasseNC

    LasseNC XSessive!

    Jan 27, 2008
    Denmark, Danimarka, Danmark, Dänemark
    I did that three times today :)
  7. WeeBee

    WeeBee Roaming ADV Gnome

    Apr 17, 2006
    Windsor, CA
  8. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

    Nov 20, 2009
    Hiding off Hwy 6, B.C.
    Great little tool for small wires:

  9. P B G

    P B G Long timer

    Mar 7, 2008
    Greater Chicago
    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.
  10. camgregus

    camgregus riding gently now

    Feb 24, 2006
    on the banks of the mighty mississippi, AR side
    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.
  11. robsmoto

    robsmoto Motorcycleton

    Jul 15, 2001
    Columbus, Ohio
    Oak, an airhead guru, highly recommended the American Beauty soldering iron. I obtained one and it is quite nice, but a little more pricey than the Radio Shack units. I've also been able to get continued service from my old Radio Shack soldering iron by making certain to keep the tip clean.

    Once in a while I'll put the tip in a drill chuck and spin it against a bastard file to return it to a conical shape. Then I clean the threaded end of the tip (wire wheel in drill) and use a bit of anti-seize on the threads. I replace the tip in the soldering iron. When the tip heats up the anti-seize smokes a bit at first, but there seems to be much better thermal conductivity to the tip. I coat the tip with flux and solder before use. I keep a damp sponge handy to remove excess solder from the tip.

    I like the suggestions given herein about joining wires.

    For some recent installations of lights on my bikes I've taken to using Posilock connectors. These work very nicely and are quick and easy to use. Links that may be of interest follow -



  12. Martian

    Martian Long timer

    Sep 20, 2007
    Elmdale, Kansas, USA

    Ancor has good stuff. Its the only brand I would use for all my wiring needs when rewiring boats, and it'll be the only brand I'll use on the bike if I ever need to rewire.
  13. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

    Sep 20, 2008
    backwoods Alabama
    Good info. A couple things I might add or elaborate upon:

    When you are soldering several wires in a harness, stagger the soldered ends and heatshrinks-- nicer than making one big lump.

    The proper way is to apply heat to the wire joint with the iron and apply solder to the heated joint. But I like to keep a little fresh molten solder on the iron tip, the "wet" solder seems to conduct heat to the joint better. And yes, always keep the iron tip brighly tinned.