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Old 04-16-2013, 08:14 PM
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Soldering Iron

Okay guys, I'm just getting into wiring on my truck, I've been heat shrinking mostly but I'd like to solder my connections for exterior LEDs for durability. Can anyone recommend a good iron I should be using? I'm also unsure as to how I would cover a soldering connection of multiple wires merging into one? If anyone can give me some tips I'd really appreciate it!


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Old 04-16-2013, 10:50 PM
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For small stuff when I can't bring it to my bench I use a cordless ISO tip iron. For heavier stuff I have a dual wattage gun IIRC it's something like 100/200 w. At my bench I use either a Weller WES50 or WD1 with a variety of attachments depending on the job. Soldering is like everything else, you have to have the correct tool for the job. For splicing multiple wires, strip them back about a inch, slide some heatshrink over one end, twist them together, heat the wire up with the soldering iron and let the solder draw into the wire.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:44 AM
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I use my weller brand butane soldering iron pretty much all the time for terminations. as long as your not soldering a board, you should be fine with just a cheep one. just dont put too much heat on the wire for a long time. I always touch the tip to the wire and melt the solder onto the wire vs using the tip of the iron to create the puddle. Just my 02 cents.
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:38 PM
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Thanks guys, I heard weller was the way to go. I'm trying to keep it low cost but I still want a quality iron that will last years. I just don't think I'll be using it that much so it won't have to be heavy duty.

In regards to heat shrinking multiple splices: say I were merging 3 into one, would I get large gauge heat shrink and have the 3 wires parallel and heat shrink over them and the single I am merging them to?


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Last edited by kirbybc12; 04-18-2013 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:51 PM
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When bringing multiple wires together use heat shrink that will cover the bundle your dealing with. After it is soldiered shrink it down and use either a dielectric grease or a silicon to seal where the wires leave gaps in the heat shrink.

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Old 04-18-2013, 02:11 PM
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Die electric is preferred because it is an electrical conductor whereas silicone isn't, correct?
I'll post up a pick a little later of what my current grill light setup is like (pretty ugly). I plan to solder everything behind the grill and then use a quick connector at the top in case I need to remove the grill.


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Old 04-18-2013, 07:03 PM
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Try not to break my balls too much, like I said this was the first time I've done vehicle wiring lol. The thought didn't even occur to me at the time that the red wiring would be clearly visible against the black radiator.


This is just the basic idea of how I connected.

Here's where they come together, right above the ford emblem.

My plan now is to pick up some black wire, roughly the same gauge, heat shrink, and the soldering iron to just redo all the connections behind the grill. I'm also waiting on my light bar to be fabricated by my friend's father so that I can mount the LEDs I picked up last week. I'll post up some picks and a vid as I go along if anyone is interested in telling me that I've done something wrong as soon as I'm finished lol.




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Old 04-19-2013, 04:02 PM
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I used to be big into soldering but you always run the risk of inadvertently adding resistance into the circuit. This absolutely burned me one time during a lengthy harness repair, the joined wires didn't fuse properly, added resistance into the circuit and wound up setting a check engine light for an open in that circuit.

Wire splices are the way to go. Much easier, faster, and more reliable than soldering. You must use quality butt splices and heat shrink though in addittion to a good crimping tool.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:13 PM
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Seriously? I just ordered a soldering iron lol. I thought it was more reliably, if done correctly, than connectors. I don't trust them being weathered. I don't mind using them in the cab or under the good, but in the grill or outside of the truck I feel like they'll be exposed and short easily


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Old 04-19-2013, 11:11 PM
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Depends on what your doing. In some cases a but splice can be better but to do it properly you almost always have to tin the lead or use a splice with solder in it. Overall a soldered connection is vary good if done correctly.
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