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Old 03-10-2009, 02:23 AM   #1
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Default Soldering is not easy for me.

After looking at countless neat wiring jobs on a thread, I tried some rewiring myself. But it didn't go well. I watched youtube videos on how to solder Deans connectors and tried it but my solder would not melt easily. The silicon cover on the wire melted before the solder liquified. Sometimes the heat shrink tube shrunk before it was in place because of the high temp on the wire and sometimes the heat shrink was too small to fit over the soldered spot because I made it too big. It was a mess.

I shortened the servo to receiver wires, esc to receiver wires, and got rid of the esc - motor plug. I replaced the Tamiya plugs with Deans. I completed the job but my car still doesn't look like the ones I have seen on the other thread.

What could I be doing wrong? Do I just need more practice?
Also the hottest spot on my soldering iron is not at the very tip. It is at the point where it starts to taper into the cone rather than at the tip of the cone. Should I get another soldering iron? Are there better ones? It is cheap and old but I have not used it much.

But I had fun. Before I realized I had spent four hours working on the car.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:00 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edhchoe View Post
After looking at countless neat wiring jobs on a thread, I tried some rewiring myself. But it didn't go well. I watched youtube videos on how to solder Deans connectors and tried it but my solder would not melt easily. The silicon cover on the wire melted before the solder liquified. Sometimes the heat shrink tube shrunk before it was in place because of the high temp on the wire and sometimes the heat shrink was too small to fit over the soldered spot because I made it too big. It was a mess.

I shortened the servo to receiver wires, esc to receiver wires, and got rid of the esc - motor plug. I replaced the Tamiya plugs with Deans. I completed the job but my car still doesn't look like the ones I have seen on the other thread.

What could I be doing wrong? Do I just need more practice?
Also the hottest spot on my soldering iron is not at the very tip. It is at the point where it starts to taper into the cone rather than at the tip of the cone. Should I get another soldering iron? Are there better ones? It is cheap and old but I have not used it much.

But I had fun. Before I realized I had spent four hours working on the car.
Basically you need practice and the right equipment

These are my must have items:
- Hot soldering iron (60w+), can be a cheapie but it has to be hot!
- Good solder e.g. deans
- Solder stand/tip cleaner
- 3rd hand
- Flux pen

Most of the jobs you've seen are by guys with years of experience and some seriously cool equipment. Don't expect to be able to do it straight away, but get the right tools, start small (battery plugs and motor wires) before moving onto harder things (servo/esc wires) and practice practice practice
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:06 AM   #3
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u need a good iron and soldering gun....and more practise on soldering job....
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:34 AM   #4
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I had the exact same problem, with good wiring, the heat from the soldering iron gets "sucked" away and spread out over the conductor quickly. Therefore, you need an iron with plenty of power to get the job done.
1. Get a 60W soldering iron.
2. Make sure your 60W soldering iron has a chisel head (not the cone tip), because you need a larger surface to conduct heat.
3. If your iron is not hot enough, do not use solder with silver in it, because I have heard the melting point is higher.

Once you have the right equipment, then its practice... until you think its right.
Good Luck with that!
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:53 AM   #5
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Also, it's very important that both items you are soldering together have a small amount of solder on them before you solder them together, as it makes the process so much easier.

Too little solder and you risk getting a cold joint, too much and it can look messy or drop off... (usually straight onto you as I found out sometimes ), so take your time feeding solder onto a joint.
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Old 03-10-2009, 05:01 AM   #6
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Default Soldering

edhchoe,
The posts so far have been correct. There have been one or two things missing from each of them. I will try to list the proceedure.
Dont rush things. Have everything prepared and thought through before you start.
1....An iron that gets very hot is essential. It does NOT have to be expensive. (some will tell you otherwise they are wrong)
When you touch the solder to the tip it must melt instantly. If it is too hot you will see the resin evaporate off and the solder goes a dull silver..
2... Make sure all surfaces are clean of old solder, if its used. ( or as clean as you can get)
3...Put solder on both surfaces(it is called tinning)
I put solder on the iron tip then put the wire into it. You will see the solder get sucked onto the wire fairly quickly.
4... Put a blob of solder on the tip of the gun.
5... Hold the two surfaces firmly together.
6... Place tip with solder blob onto the two surfaces.

Dont hold it too long or the solder will not stick properly. Remember the iron must be very hot. I also hold one of the pieces lightly in a vice.
If the above is done correctly the job will be compact and neat. Remember as some said before practice makes perfect.

Terry
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:49 AM   #7
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One thing you should never do is grab a hot solder iron on the metal area, I learn't that the hard way.

I've only been soldering a for few months and I've already noticed improvement in my skills.

Practice, Practice, Practice
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:17 AM   #8
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I agree with some of the points above, but there are a few corrections.

The soldering iron is good at 60W for thick wires or battery making (actually I use an 80W for making battery packs). You've got to be quick too. If a solder joint doesn't take in five seconds, you're doing something wrong.

For tiny wires like servo cables, etc, 25W soldering iron is what you need.

Chisel tip is a very good advice. Cone is useless.

Tinning wires is a good idea, especially when you're doing batteries, etc. Some wires however don't need it (some are tinned already, some are silver or cadmium coated and that's even better - some battery bars fall in this category). Othe rwires like the power wires which have very thin wires in strands will wick the solder op the wire in an instant and will become very rigid, so be careful there (if that happens, cut the wire down so you only have only about 5mm of tinned wire and be carfeul when you make the final joint so solder doesn't get wicked up the wire again ( heating ONLY the tinned section and adding a droplet of solder only there will prevent this).

One more point here, when soldering two tinned wires add solder by touching it briefly to the side of the soldering iron tip. It will get sucked in between the wires instantly and spread evenly leaving perfect joints every time.

Tinning is also good when trying to form the end of the iwre oyu're soldering. I flatten completely for instance the wires that go on the motor tabs. That way I know I use the entire wire section to carry current to the motor not just a fraction of the perimeter. After you tin the ends, you can squash it in the vice or with a plier to fan out the wire and it'll stay that way.

Use solder with high Pb content (no silver, more than 40%Pb). Flows better, melts easier, is less likely to come apart in crashes. I know it's not as green as lead free (silver-tin, etc) but it's the best. Don't inhale the fumes, because you will get lead poisoning. Use a fan (or just open a window or a door) to extract the fumes away from your face.

Use the right gauge solder wire. Thin for small jobs (servo wires, etc) thick for power wires (motor, speedo, battery, etc).

One point nobody touched upon.

When you plug in your soldering iron and it's hot, don't go soldering straight away. Clean it first. Get a moist sponge (the green side of a household grade scotch brite is ideal) and just touch the tip to the sponge, then melt a drop of solder on the tip. This should spread over the entire surface and create a mirror layer. that tells you the tip is clean and has an even temperature. If it's not, repeat procedure, or if the tip is badly oxidised (has dark spots that won't go away) just rub it on coarse grit sandpaper untill it turns evenly red (that's the copper exposed). Now quickly before it oxidises because of the heat, do the trick with the droplet of solder. Now you're ready to solder. Never use fluxes that come separately. the soldering wire has a flux core which is best suited to soldering. Other fluxes are acid (or basic) and in time they'll corrode the wires leaving you with a cold joint next to impossible to track down.

Whilst soldering keep cleaning the tip as above every now and then and you'll have a perfect solder every time. Patience is necessary too, but long experience is not. Get everything organised, in position, ready to go, make sure nothing will move and you're set. A tweezer comes in handy for those wires that get too hot to handle. Some shops sell tweezers that lock closed so you can clamp the wire in an dhold it steady while the solder cools. Blow gently on it and you'll see the colour change when the soldering is cold enough to be sure it won't move anymore.

And remember the five second rule. If it takes more than that, take a break, review your technique let things cool down and try again. Remember building heat in electronics destroys them, mosfets first. Some pcbs will even detach the copper tracks if heated too much (which isn't that much) and batteries will vent or the end caps will buckle and break the contact to the cell internally if overheated.

About heatshrink, keep the sleeve up the wire you are soldering well away from the hot end or indeed it will shrink before you move it over the joint.

Good luck.

Last edited by niznai; 03-10-2009 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:21 AM   #9
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One bit of advice missing from the above posts is use of soldering flux.

I use paste flux. The best stuff I know of currently is "Rubyfluid" paste flux. I used to use Nokorrode and Kester flux but I think Rubyfluid is better.

Use flux every time you make or undo a joint. I'll say that again, louder: Use flux every time you make or undo a joint.

If I am going to solder a wire to a Deans plug, I put flux on the plug terminal and tin it, then put flux on the wire and tin it. Then, again, I put flux on both the tinned plug terminal and the wire, put a little solder on the iron tip (not a "blob"), and, holding the wire on the plug end, heat the joint with the iron tip until the solder flows.

Having fresh flux on the joint even though the parts were already tinned does a few things:

1) Improves heat transfer between the parts and the iron
2) Eliminates oxides on the tinned surfaces (including cleaning off any previously oxidized burned flux)
3) Instantly cleans the tip of the iron as soon as it touches the flux on the joint, providing better heat transfer.

This last item is very important. True, I've been soldering a long time, but using flux on every part, every time, lets me make perfect solder joints.

Also, most people clean their iron tip on a wet rag or towel. This gets excess solder off the tip but doesn't really help heat transfer. I have a separate container of old paste flux. I jab the iron tip in this before each solder joint. Just a quick jab and it really cleans off the oxides and gives great heat transfer and great joints.

Some people will think all this use of flux is unnecessary because most solder has a flux core. But that flux doesn't get out and to the joint until after the solder melts. By using paste flux, you have the joint cleaned before the solder melts.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:42 AM   #10
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If you soldering iron is not hot at the very tip, then sounds to me like you have a defective or crappy soldering iron. Trust me, I made the same mistake when I got into RC and had a cheap iron and I couldn't solder deans, battery packs, nothing. I bought a nice Goot and now it is so easy and quick. You are probably good at soldering and you don't even know it, it's just your equipment. Get a nice 60-80W soldering iron like a Goot or a Hakko or whichever soldering iron your hobby shop recommends. You'll see you need to only hold the iron to your connections for a second or two and it will all be melted together.

Another thing that helps is a pair of helping hands. It is a device that holds wires and has a magnifying glass on it. You can find them at Harbor Freight for about $3.00.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ta_man View Post
One bit of advice missing from the above posts is use of soldering flux.

I use paste flux. The best stuff I know of currently is "Rubyfluid" paste flux. I used to use Nokorrode and Kester flux but I think Rubyfluid is better.

Use flux every time you make or undo a joint. I'll say that again, louder: Use flux every time you make or undo a joint.

If I am going to solder a wire to a Deans plug, I put flux on the plug terminal and tin it, then put flux on the wire and tin it. Then, again, I put flux on both the tinned plug terminal and the wire, put a little solder on the iron tip (not a "blob"), and, holding the wire on the plug end, heat the joint with the iron tip until the solder flows.

Having fresh flux on the joint even though the parts were already tinned does a few things:

1) Improves heat transfer between the parts and the iron
2) Eliminates oxides on the tinned surfaces (including cleaning off any previously oxidized burned flux)
3) Instantly cleans the tip of the iron as soon as it touches the flux on the joint, providing better heat transfer.

This last item is very important. True, I've been soldering a long time, but using flux on every part, every time, lets me make perfect solder joints.

Also, most people clean their iron tip on a wet rag or towel. This gets excess solder off the tip but doesn't really help heat transfer. I have a separate container of old paste flux. I jab the iron tip in this before each solder joint. Just a quick jab and it really cleans off the oxides and gives great heat transfer and great joints.

Some people will think all this use of flux is unnecessary because most solder has a flux core. But that flux doesn't get out and to the joint until after the solder melts. By using paste flux, you have the joint cleaned before the solder melts.
+10000 on the flux. Most people think they do not need it but it is crucial to a good joint. I follow the exact same procedure as mentioned above except I use liquid flux that I brush on from an old nail polish bottle.

As for cleaning tips, I use a tip cleaner made by Hakko that is a container that has a steel wool type insert in it. I used to use a wet foam sponge but it pulls the heat from the tip; the Hakko unit does not.

http://www.hakkousa.com/detail.asp?C...ID=2989&Page=1

You can also get tip cleaner/tinning products that you dip the tip of the iron in to clean and tin it.

http://www.hakkousa.com/detail.asp?C...ID=2416&Page=1

Hope this helps.

CoryB
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
One bit of advice missing from the above posts is use of soldering flux.
It's not missing, it's mentioned as not necessary.

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+10000 on the flux. Most people think they do not need it but it is crucial to a good joint. I follow the exact same procedure as mentioned above except I use liquid flux that I brush on from an old nail polish bottle.
Nope, you don't need it. As I explained earlier it's just a bad idea or at best snake-oil type idea (if it doesn't hurt, it certainly doesn't help at all, so it's just money wasted). And yes, I have tested a number of fluxes. If you can't do it without the flux (i.e. the flux core in the soldering wire is not enough for you) you're not doing it right.

Quote:
Some people will think all this use of flux is unnecessary because most solder has a flux core. But that flux doesn't get out and to the joint until after the solder melts. By using paste flux, you have the joint cleaned before the solder melts.
That is simply not true. The flux melts way sooner than the solder because the solder conducts heat and melts it inside, so by the time the solder is melting, the flux is already out. Besides, this is what flux does, lowers the melting temperature of the solder, and homogenises the temperature throughout the molten drop, so the metal is pulled by surface tension into a neat sphere around the joint.

As for cleaning the tip, yes you can splash on all sorts of gizmos that'll do everything for you including cooking you dinner but I am a bit old skool and like it basic. BTW, I use an el-cheapo crapola soldering iron too and it never let me down. No point wasting big bucks on something that is essentially a resistor with a bit of copper sticking out at the bussiness end.

Last edited by niznai; 03-10-2009 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:16 AM   #13
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Hakko's are nice but pricy. I bought a Weller 40W from Home Depot for $20.00 and it has been in use for 5 years now Never a cold joint and transfers heat fast because of the thicker tip.

I use a damp sponge, not to wet just enough not to burn the sponge. And when you are done clean the tip before putting the iron away. It will last alot longer

For very small wires I use a Weller 17W (ElCheepo)
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:32 AM   #14
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Hakko's are nice but pricy. I bought a Weller 40W from Home Depot for $20.00 and it has been in use for 5 years now Never a cold joint and transfers heat fast because of the thicker tip.

I use a damp sponge, not to wet just enough not to burn the sponge. And when you are done clean the tip before putting the iron away. It will last alot longer

For very small wires I use a Weller 17W (ElCheepo)
Ouch. I thought Weller was expensive (I haven't even heard of the other one).
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:52 AM   #15
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Thank you all very much for all the helpful tips!

I think the solder I have is rosin-core...

What do you guys do when you are splicing wires together?
1. stack 'em side by side.
2. interlock them like you hold your hands with alternating fingers(???)
3. twist them together.

Here are the before and after pictures..

Before


After



Splicing..

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