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Soldering tips?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by sled_dog, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    It is sad but for all the wiring I've done in my life, I suck at soldering. I did fine when I installed my head unit a few weeks ago but man I am having trouble tonight. I'm real inconsistant like that. So anyone have any tips for soldering wires together? I usually twist them together then hold the iron on them for a while and add solder from the opposite side as the iron. Its just not working for me right now. I'm trying to wire the connector from my 1 wire O2 sensor to the 3 wire one I just bought. The wires are fairly heavy on the wire thickness(not more than maybe 18 guage but the wire inside the insulation just seems hefty). They are not copper and I think thats a big problem I'm having. Taking forever to heat up. I let the wires sit on the iron and walked away, when I came back like 5 minutes later it still wasn't hot enough to melt solder.

    I'm using a flux core solder too, think that may be an issue.
     
  2. PhoenixZorn

    PhoenixZorn 1/2 ton status

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    I usually use separate flux when I solder... but I haven't done it since high school except for odds and ends speaker repairs and such... Does your soldering iron have a high and low power setting? If not, it may not be hot enough to get through the thicker wires. Try a thinner solder wire, or heat the wires with a mini torch... I have a torch that can burn on butane at about 3000 degrees or so, and it works well for the thicker stuff when the iron just can't cut it...
     
  3. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    Its just a one setting pen iron. I was thinking thinner solder, this was all I could find at walmart. The local hardware store closes at 5 freaking 30 so I am SOL with no O2 sensor on the burb :mad: It will probably run as well as it did with one though. No torch but maybe I will try to use the stove as a heat source(famous last words).
     
  4. PhoenixZorn

    PhoenixZorn 1/2 ton status

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    probably not a good idea... lol
     
  5. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    if i am haveing trouble i melt a little on the iorn then get it on the wires just a little it will sock in and help it heat up a little faster.

    i figgered this out assebaling small componants that couldent be heated too much.


    and other thing that has worked great for me is useing a copper nail (comes with copper pipe straps) in a pair of vice grips and heating it red hot with a torch, works great!!
     
  6. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    I use a butane pencil torch, the kind you see crackheads on cops getting busted with. And I also use paste flux. A second or two on the wire with the pencil torch and it sucks up the solder like there is no tomorrow.
     
  7. dirtwarrior17

    dirtwarrior17 Banned

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    if it doesn't melt i take a little pressure off it and rub it on the iron back and forth like a majic geny(don't know how to spell) and it melts pretty damn fast. Also I've found that when soldering if you want it to stick good you have to have it as hot as possible (the liquid solder) right before it hits the wire... then just let that blob dry and melt some of it over the wire then repeat. Try to do everything real quick when doing the actual soldering otherwise it won't stick. I soldered and shrink wraped my tank wires and i could tug on those things like they were rope...never came apart.
     
  8. RustBuket

    RustBuket 1/2 ton status

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    Yes, putting a "blob" of solder on the tip and then sticking the wires in the melted "blob" makes for a very fast heat transfer and usually works. However, sounds like you just need more heat.
     
  9. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    my roommate showed up and showed me a way of twisting the wires together that allowed heat transfer quite well and I was done in minutes with great connections.
     
  10. jekquistk5

    jekquistk5 Weld nekid Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Id suggest a 45 watt or bigger iorn. You probably only have a 15watt. And pick up some flux while your at it.
     
  11. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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    Get a Weller.
     
  12. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    Just to let you know the short piece of wire that comes out of a O2 sensor isn't copper. I don't know what it is but you can't solder to it with regular solder. Just use a crimp on connector and some heat shrink over it.

    FWIW I never use just solder to join 2 wires. I always use a bare crimp splice (or terminal), put liquid flux on the inside, put the heat shrink on the wire, crimp it, solder it, then slide the heat shrink over it and shrink it with a heat gun.
     
  13. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    hmm, I soldered the wire on the 02 sensor, I thought I had heard something about not doing this, but I did it. Truck runs great, much better than it did before.
     
  14. dirtwarrior17

    dirtwarrior17 Banned

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    soldered mine 2 months ago.... no problems yet.
     
  15. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    There are some proper techniques for soldering wire. If you're using an iron you need to clean and 'tin' the tip. Use some sandpaper or a file to clean the tip to bare metal. Then heat the tip and flux it. Then you melt some solder onto the tip. This is called tinning and helps with heat transfer. Once the tip is tinned you touch it to the wires and heat them. If you aren't using flux core solder melt some flux onto the wires. Then touch the solder onto the wires. Remember you want the wires hot enough to melt the solder. The solder should not even touch the iron, the wires themselves should melt it.

    I only use an iron for very delicate repairs, thin wires of circuitboard traces. For soldering 2 wires together I use a butane pencil torch. The latest northern tool catalog had a pack of 5 for around $15 and you just refill them with a can of butane. The pencil torch works much faster and easier on wire splices than an iron. You can also use the torch to heat your shrink tubing to cover the splice (you're not using black tape are you??).
     
  16. R72K5

    R72K5 Banned

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    hum id like to solder connections in my wiring underhood on the 71 where i just converted to internal regulated alternator

    but i really dont knwo the best way of going about it is..

    so far ive crimp connected and tape wrapped everything.. i guess it will have to stay that way

    good thread however, maybe some more good info will come along on this subject..,

    :D
     
  17. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    I use the Cold Heat soldering iron and it works great especially since it has no cord and I can take it anywhere and it is very easy to use.
     
  18. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    is that the one that you can touch right after and its cold?

    does it get really hot? no problems?
     
  19. 77crewcab

    77crewcab 1/2 ton status

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    Yep thats the one! For $20 and some AA bateries it is awsome. I always hated soldering with the conventional irons because it never seemed to come out very well no matter how much I practiced. With the cold heat I feel like an old pro. I was sceptical until our local news channel featured it on a "does it work" segment with an electrical repairman doing the testing to compare it to other irons. On the segment he stated that he had been in the business for 30+ years and this was the easiest and most convenient iron he had ever seen. I thought I should give it a try so went and bought on from Harbor Freight and haven't looked back. It is so much easier to use when you don't have a cord in the way and it is so quick and efficient that I am blown away by it. Deffinately good if you need to work on your truck but dont have a way to plug in an standard iron plus it can easilly be taken on a trip. I've used the mini torches in the past and they work well, but not really safe to use under the dash for emergency repair type work. I would use them around anything flamable either. So for a cheap price the Cold Heat is an awsome tool. I would highly recomend it if you couldn't tell! :D
     
  20. R72K5

    R72K5 Banned

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    cold heat, huh? please explain

    ?

    cold and solder just dont go together in my mind ?!


    thanks
     

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