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post #1 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Soldering

Right you wizards. I've been keen to teach myself soldering as it's something I've always wanted to do for when I'm dealing with automotive wiring and could of even more use on a bike, with the extra vibration and the need for even better weathering. I also fancy having a go at making up my own LCD lights should I ever become proficient enough.

I got myself a 30 watt soldering iron and stripped bare some cabling from an old PC mouse, but I'm really struggling to transfer the heat from the iron through the wire to the solder. I've tinned the tip well and the wire is clean, but this could maybe a coating on the wire that's causing the problem.

I think it's the soldering iron though as I've read that for anything thicker than PCB work at least 45 watts is required.

Thoughts anybody?

I'd also appreciate links that anybody has for "how to" articles on soldering and making up your own lights.
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 06:02 PM
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Theres a ton of info out there. Search on google or you tube.

Electronics Primer: How to Solder Electronic Components

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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post #3 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 06:14 PM
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You should know that, soldering leads to.......welding.

I am now enrolled in a program to try and break that addiction........


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post #4 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 06:19 PM
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You should know that, soldering leads to.......welding.
You need to get off those one way streets, they ALL lead to welding for you. :biggrinjester:

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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post #5 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Theres a ton of info out there. Search on google or you tube.

Electronics Primer: How to Solder Electronic Components
Cheers. I've googled and looked through loads and I've convinced myself that not only am I shite at soldering (probably), but I also have an underpowered soldering iron for soldering twisted automotive thickness wires. I just need this confirming by somebody that's done the work.

The shop that sold it to our lass (I was too busy watching football) should really have asked what the intended use was. They sell a temperature controllable soldering station for 20 which is actually cheaper than the separates that they sold her along with the 30 watt iron.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 06:44 PM
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30W is enough to solder wires. Apply a little solder where the iron touches the wires to help transfer heat, then apply solder to the wires opposite the iron until the wires get hot enough to melt the solder by themselves.

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post #7 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 06:49 PM
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30 watts is fine for PCB work, but a temperature controlled soldering station is the preferred way to go. A 45 watt iron won't hurt either.

Make sure you're using rosin core solder and that the wire is squeaky clean.

Finally 63/37 eutectic solder melts at a specific temperature rather the 60/40 solder, which melts over a range of temps. Eutectic is preferred for electronic work.

All bets are off with solder that is not lead and tin. I don't like it and don't use it.

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post #8 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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30W is enough to solder wires. Apply a little solder where the iron touches the wires to help transfer heat, then apply solder to the wires opposite the iron until the wires get hot enough to melt the solder by themselves.
That's exactly how I did it GW but the wire just isn't getting hot enough. I'll try with some normal automotive wire tomorrow.
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 07:10 PM
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What are you using to hold the wire? If you're using pliers or something else metal, it will act as a heat sink and carry the heat away. Try putting the wires on a piece of wood and pressing down fairly hard with the flat on the tip of your iron. If the wood chars, don't worry (don't use the family heirloom dining table).

Think of soldering as "wetting." You're getting the base metals, in this case two wire ends, clean and the right heat for the solder to melt and flow wet into the surface of the metal and into the strands of the wire. When a touch of solder melts and runs into the wire, you have the temperature right. When the solder forms balls on the wire, it isn't hot enough. When the insulation melts, you've got it too hot.

About that clean part...the metals must be clean and bright. The flux (including the rosin core) chemically cleans the metal. If there is any oil or dirt, clean it off first. Dry moisture. Sandpaper or wire brush oxidation before soldering. (A tip for soldering water pipes with a drip...stuff a wad of white bread into the pipe to hold back the water for a coupl'a minutes. Do your soldering and put the water back on. It'll dissolve the bread like it was never there. Don't use seeded bread.)

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post #10 of 17 Old 04-22-2012, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTRider View Post
What are you using to hold the wire? If you're using pliers or something else metal, it will act as a heat sink and carry the heat away. Try putting the wires on a piece of wood and pressing down fairly hard with the flat on the tip of your iron. If the wood chars, don't worry (don't use the family heirloom dining table).

Think of soldering as "wetting." You're getting the base metals, in this case two wire ends, clean and the right heat for the solder to melt and flow wet into the surface of the metal and into the strands of the wire. When a touch of solder melts and runs into the wire, you have the temperature right. When the solder forms balls on the wire, it isn't hot enough. When the insulation melts, you've got it too hot.

About that clean part...the metals must be clean and bright. The flux (including the rosin core) chemically cleans the metal. If there is any oil or dirt, clean it off first. Dry moisture. Sandpaper or wire brush oxidation before soldering. (A tip for soldering water pipes with a drip...stuff a wad of white bread into the pipe to hold back the water for a coupl'a minutes. Do your soldering and put the water back on. It'll dissolve the bread like it was never there. Don't use seeded bread.)
Cheers for that. I'm using one of those "third hand" contraptions which has crocodile clips holding the wire no more than an inch either side of the area that I'm trying to solder.
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