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Old 02-03-2013, 07:17 PM
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Soldering

Hey Guys I'm having some trouble soldering my connections.

I took soldering in school and everything and could always make good solid solders. For some reason though I can't solder worth a crap on my truck. I will tell you what im using and maybe you can give me some tips. I am using just a small butane torch which I know should work fine for this. I am using electrical solder with rosin core.

I'm sure its not because im not heating it up enough because the wire is changing color a bit before i put any solder to it and actually ive heated it up way to much almost melting the wires insulation quite a ways down.

For whatever reason the solder doesnt want to run though the wires and soak in it just blobs off. Its driving me crazy so any help would be great
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:53 PM
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Sounds like your wire is dirty. Try cleaning the wire with a bit of fine grit sandpaper, just pinch the wire with the sandpaper and pull a few times. I have never had good luck with butane soldering irons transfering heat properly, did you clean and tin the tip on the iron first? For light stuff on my truck, I use a rechargable isotip iron. For anything else, I use a weller gun, wes50 or wd1 depending on the size and sensitivity of the device.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:23 PM
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thanks ill give that a try on the weekend. I think your probably right because I didn't clean it at all and it was a bit dark. Shoulda thought of that anyway.

Also I am just using the torch flame which has always worked fine for me before. I don't use the actuall soldering tip all that often. Maybe I should though
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:35 PM
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Liquid flux works pretty good. We have to resolder wires that have been in the elements and are corroded and oxidized, the flux helps a lot
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:14 PM
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When you say a "torch" do you mean a butane soldering iron (like a PortaSol) or are you actually pointing a flame at the wires?

Where did you get the solder? I do a Lot of soldering and think it's a good investment to buy Kester Solder...
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:45 PM
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I mean i am actually pointing a flame at the wires. I have the bernzomatic micro torch. I can't remember where I baught the solder but I think it is bernzomatic to.

Where do you get kester solder?

Also what exactly does flux do? I kind of have an idea but not really sure. I thought when you have rosin core solder you don't need to use it.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:51 PM
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There's your problem, never use a open flame to solder wires. You will have poor control over the heat transfer and you will build a layer of carbon that will make it hard to get solder to flow. Cut back a few inches of wire where you were putting it under flame and use the tip on the iron. Tin the tip first then use it to heat the wire as you let the solder flow into it. Flux can be helpful in some situations, it is used to help draw in the solder.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:11 AM
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Yea, that's no way to solder (w/flame), either get a good soldering iron/gun or if it's the portability you need there are lots of butane irons available too (but they tend to be less "controllable" and have huge heat swings than you have to compensate for).

Kester solder should be easy to find, I've always preferred pretty "thin" wire and I double/triple it up when I want to have a thicker piece. Kester "66" has been the industry standard for a Very long time, it seem to just flow better than anything else I've used (and I've had other solders that don't want to flow easily). The Eco-Nazi movement wants to take every bit of Lead out of the world and you want a lead-based solder (if you're in CA - you might have trouble finding it ), maybe that's the problem...

You shouldn't need to add flux, there's enough in the rosin core (maybe that's why the thin stuff works better, there's a higher ratio of it). As long as the copper isn't at all black or green, good solder, good heat, and it will flow & stick. To facilitate the initial heat transfer you need to "wet" the iron tip so it has more surface contact with the copper. Also, the flux burns-off while on the iron too long so don't wait more than 5 sec or so, after wetting the tip, before you start to solder (wipe the tip off and start over, or add more, if you do) and it should go pretty quickly.

Every wire I've added to my truck is soldered & heat shrinked (that good stuff w/hot glue inside) and is the only way I'd do it! Forget those blue crimp or tap-a-line things...
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