Soldering Tips, Tricks and Tools – How to make a Reliable Connection

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Ray 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #52553

    Ray
    Admin

    Often in my many RV mods and upgrades, I use solder instead of butt or crimp connections for my wiring jobs. I guess it’s a personal preference from having spent so much time as an electronics repair tech. Right or wrong, I trust a solder connection more.

    Lately, I’ve been asked by a few fellow RVers to do a video demoing how I make a good solder connection. I guess some have tried and it didn’t turn out so well.

    In this video, I give you a few of my tips and tricks for soldering wires and connections. There are four main things I feel go into a reliable solder connection.

    1)  Use a Soldering Iron with enough Heat
    Too little heat is worse than too much heat. The idea is to apply the iron and do the job quickly without lingering. When an iron with insufficient heat is used the solder ends up having to keep the iron on the joint way too long. This leads to blobbing of the weld, cold solder joints and sometimes damage to the connector or wire.

    2) Clean, Clean, Clean
    Make sure all the surfaces are as clean as possible. Soldering with a dirty tip, wire or connection surface is a recipe for a weak joint.

    3) Right Solder for the Job
    I find the best solder for repairs or new connections is Kester brand #44with a mix of lead and tin. I like the 1.2 MM size for most jobs. Don’t silver solder or plumbing solder, they aren’t meant for electronics. Lead-Free solder is but I don’t find it does as good as a job. It doesn’t flow as nice and is more brittle.

    Kester #44 – https://www.kester.com/products/product/44-flux-cored-wire

    4) Good Mechanical Connection First
    Rather than just having the solder hold the parts together I like to have connection be mechanically sound on its own first. Then add the solder to it.

    Solder tools and supplies:
    (Disclaimer: Amazon Affiliate Links)
    Weller Solder Gun – https://amzn.to/2NUzJkM
    Bernzomatic Torch – https://amzn.to/2JyG2HC
    Kester 1.2 mm Solder – https://amzn.to/2Nj2RBg
    Fiberglass Cleaning Pen – https://amzn.to/2NmuVno
    Solder Wick – https://amzn.to/2NlyXfP
    Heat Shrink Tubing – https://amzn.to/2LaQ4U7
    Channel Lock Wire Strippers – https://amzn.to/2NhLBfF

    RVHH Chief Cook and Bottle Washer - LoveYourRV.com

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #52569

    Thanks for the video Ray.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it very informative.

    I did my first solder job about a month ago and the solder kept balling up.  I watched videos prior to trying my hand at it, but no one ever zooms in and actually shows you what’s happening and how they are actually doing the joint.

     

    Thanks a bunch!  It was super helpful!  :Cool:

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    Ray
    #52584

    I commented on the YouTube channel.  I still like crimps for any kind of vehicle applications that are prone to vibration.  But I worked mainly on missiles initially (yes, I said missiles, Trident II Fleet Ballistic Missles) and then my two aircraft.  Solder just tended to work harden and then crack so we stuck with crimps.  But as I pointed out, your coach with it’s cushy springs and tires probably doesn’t vibrate near as much as my airplanes did so probably never going to be a problem.  I enjoyed the video just like all the others.

    #52591

    Ray
    Admin

    I commented on the YouTube channel. I still like crimps for any kind of vehicle applications that are prone to vibration. But I worked mainly on missiles initially (yes, I said missiles, Trident II Fleet Ballistic Missles) and then my two aircraft. Solder just tended to work harden and then crack so we stuck with crimps. But as I pointed out, your coach with it’s cushy springs and tires probably doesn’t vibrate near as much as my airplanes did so probably never going to be a problem. I enjoyed the video just like all the others.

    Yeah, our house on wheels doesn’t vibrate too bad or I’m sure the thing would fly apart! haha  I always make sure to dress the leads really well to take the strain off the joint.  I prefer solder for smaller diameter wires and crimps for larger wires or cables that may heat up like on higher amperage switches or in appliances.

    When you think about it all these smartphones and other modern portable devices are mostly soldered and do quite well. Cheers! Ray

    RVHH Chief Cook and Bottle Washer - LoveYourRV.com

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