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How to Solder, beginners guide

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Silver - Posts: 662
Silver spacespace
Joined: December 11, 2002
Location: New York, United States
Posted: August 29, 2004 at 7:04 AM / IP Logged  
You'd have to hold the wires steady with your left hand(assuming you're soldering with you right hand) or you could use some long nose pliers to hold the wires steady just for long enough time for the soldering to flow and dry, which is really just about a second or 2.
Copper - Posts: 275
Copper spacespace
Joined: April 15, 2004
Location: United States
Posted: August 30, 2004 at 9:42 PM / IP Logged  

I think it's very unsafe to solder if you have to be underneath your work. Soldered connections are good, but no installation is worth taking molten solder in the face.

In cases like this, it's better to get the wires down where you can work with them or work without being directly under what's being soldered.

just my .02 on that.

markcars, I like to use the chrome aligator clips for that kind of stuff. I find them very helpful, the chrome doesn't tin very well, so typically you can feed all the solder you want and still remove the clip without trouble. I've only had one stick once, but there was lots of heat and extra flux involved.

Copper - Posts: 128
Copper spacespace
Joined: June 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posted: August 30, 2004 at 10:03 PM / IP Logged  

Soldering appears to be a mess for me. I plan to use plugs. What do you folks recommend?


I have access to wire for indoor buildings. Wires appear to be a bit stiffer. Can I use it?

Copper - Posts: 128
Copper spacespace
Joined: June 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posted: August 31, 2004 at 6:59 AM / IP Logged  

Soldering appears to be a mess for me. I plan to use plugs. What do you folks recommend?

I have access to wire for indoor buildings. Wires appear to be a bit stiffer. Can I use it?

Member - Posts: 12
Member spacespace
Joined: April 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posted: September 01, 2004 at 8:02 AM / IP Logged  

Soldering is the most permanent install. It's more reliable. Had a customer that insisted on crimped connectors and plugs. He came back twice because a speaker wasn't working. That's what happens when you have an offroad vehicle with tunes and no solder. We went back through and soldered the speaker connections, all 14 of them. I always guarantee my work, but this customer thought they knew better, this correction cost him extra. Solder first, Ask questions later! If you are refering to crimp connectors, the crimp itself is more consistent from one crimp to the next. Soldering requires a little more consistancy and skill. If you are using plugs and recepticles, the wires connecting to them may require soldering or crimp pins.

Stereo wire has many small strands. Electrical current flows on the outside edges of each strand, there's capacitive/inductive qualities, and a hole bunch more technical guru stuff. The more small strands, the better. There are application exceptions. Solid core building wire is not appropriate for mobil use. The quality (impurities/oxygen content) and flexibility (vibration in all vehicles) just aren't there. You may have noticed the existing wires in your vehicle are all multi-stranded. Take a look at a stereo wiring kit at your local dealers shop. If the wire in the building is for telephones and you're running a remote amp control, that might be okay. In other words don't use it!

Member - Posts: 35
Member spacespace
Joined: April 17, 2003
Location: Andorra
Posted: October 04, 2004 at 11:52 PM / IP Logged  
so, we know the current travels outside the copper, more strands the better, etc.  so, if you're soldering a speaker wire to the terminal... are you losing current there? obviously there's going to be a loss in every "link" but, to try not to self-defeat the purpose... anyway... just curious, and i wonder if this makes sense to anyone  :)
Mad Scientists 
Silver - Posts: 380
Silver spacespace
Joined: February 07, 2004
Location: United States
Posted: October 11, 2004 at 6:21 AM / IP Logged  

Current travels (on the) outside (surface of) the copper in AC.. current travels inside the copper with DC..

"Skin Effect:
When wire (specifically, solid copper conductors as are used for transformers) is used to carry DC current, the entire cross sectional area of copper carries the current equally. When wire is used for AC current, the current is carried differently. At low frequencies, the current flow is not significantly affected by the skin effect. As you get into the higher frequencies (as those used to drive a transformer in a switch mode power supply), the current flow is carried disproportionately by the outer area of the copper wire (especially for large single solid conductors). This is called the skin effect. If, for example, you are using 14g wire at 100khz, the wire will not be able to carry the same amount of current as it could if it were passing DC. If your calculations told you that you needed to have ~4120 circular mils, you'd have a few choices. You could use 1 strand of 14g wire, 3 strands of 17g or 6 strands of 20g. All would have the same current carrying capacity if you were using it in a DC circuit but... If you were using it for AC, the 14g would only be suitable for frequencies below ~6000hz. Above that frequency, the voltage losses and power dissipation may be unacceptable (it would still work above 6000hz but not efficiently). The maximum frequency that you'd want to use with the 17g would be about 11,000hz. For 22,000hz the 6 strands of 20g would be a good choice. "

 Just something to make your head hurt even more..


Copper - Posts: 137
Copper spaceThis member has made a donation to Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: September 16, 2004
Location: United States
Posted: October 18, 2004 at 3:06 AM / IP Logged  

how would I solder to a connector, like say for my battery terminal connector.  would I just use the same method of soldering two wires together?  Should I crimp the connector and then solder?

Gold - Posts: 1,492
Gold spacespace
Joined: August 04, 2002
Location: Aruba
Posted: October 25, 2004 at 9:48 PM / IP Logged  
The terminal would be crimped first, then soldered with the appropiate wattage soldering iron.
More mass, requires more heat & time.
EVIL Teken . . .
Knowledge is power. But only if you apply that knowledge in a positive way, which promotes positive results in others.
EVIL Teken . . .
Member - Posts: 18
Member spacespace
Joined: August 22, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: November 03, 2004 at 6:49 PM / IP Logged  

Nice tutorial!

Soldering's not always the way though! got three mark 3 escorts rallying this year with my wires on them, due to the pressure these motors are under the very first one i did i soldered everything, don't want a rally car with 'wired by CHK' written on the side breaking down in front of crowds cos a wire came loose! BIG mistake!!!

these vehicles have very firm suspension, they're racing over rough tracks at 100 mph +, when you solder a wire you create a rigid section of flex, not good, when that wire flexes normally there is no point where it is totally rigid, crimp connectors having a tapered lead in, and also only connecting by pressure rather than being connected to each and every strand of the flex do not seem to create this weak point.

in cases where vibration is an issue i would always(almost always) crimp! the almost is important, butt connectors, severe conditions, no, those joints have to be soldered, or the complete wire replaced, but for spades or rings i use crimps, not the fully insulated type, use the naked ones, strip too much wire and slide it all the way through, crimp as usual then fold the excess back over on itself and insulate with tape.

not dissing soldering in any way, i use it a lot, but not always!!!

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