Soldering Recommendations - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Soldering Recommendations

I'm not happy with the soldering irons I've accumulated over the years. Seems to take forever to heat up the wires to the point the solder will melt, and by then the piece is so hot it's melting the insulation well away from the stripped area. Need something better. Any recommendations?

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flitecontrol View Post
I'm not happy with the soldering irons I've accumulated over the years. Seems to take forever to heat up the wires to the point the solder will melt, and by then the piece is so hot it's melting the insulation well away from the stripped area. Need something better. Any recommendations?
1. I have used really good lab soldering irons with base station/holders. Last for ever, controllable heat and cost about $40.

2. Resistance solders (running on batteries) are good for quick fixes http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/tools/69d3/?cpg=ab, but I don't think they're good if you do a lot of soldering. This type does not use heat. They run an electricial current through the solder to melt it, more like welding really. It takes time to get use to and the graphite tips tend to break. Also, you can find plans in the Internet to build them yourself.

3. You can go solderless for some connections using Posi-Lock products. http://www.posi-lock.com/ I can personally vouch for these connections, best non-solder connector around.


Chris Glennon - Portland, OR

Last edited by cglennon; 06-12-2009 at 10:07 AM.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 10:27 AM
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i have several older soldering irons. they work best for me when the tip is clean. i usuall scrap the tip & clean it with a little sandpaper. they seem to get a little hotter.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 10:55 AM
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My brother is a pro at this kind of thing. He uses heat sinks at the ends of the wire that he is working on. It stops the heat before it gets to the plastic insulation.
I don't want to say you don't know what you are doing, but you need to control the heat on the wire. More practice.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cglennon View Post
1. I have used really good lab soldering irons with base station/holders. Last for ever, controllable heat and cost about $40.

2. Resistance solders (running on batteries) are good for quick fixes http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/tools/69d3/?cpg=ab, but I don't think they're good if you do a lot of soldering. This type does not use heat. They run an electricial current through the solder to melt it, more like welding really. It takes time to get use to and the graphite tips tend to break. Also, you can find plans in the Internet to build them yourself.

3. You can go solderless for some connections using Posi-Lock products. http://www.posi-lock.com/ I can personally vouch for these connections, best non-solder connector around.
What is a lab soldering iron? Googled it and didn't get anything useful. Have used Posi-Locks before, but some applications don't allow enough room for them. My dad always emphasized heating the work, not the solder. Said it gave the best results.

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i have several older soldering irons. they work best for me when the tip is clean. i usuall scrap the tip & clean it with a little sandpaper. they seem to get a little hotter.
Yes, learned that from my electrical engineer father. Unfortunately, the genes didn't make it to me!

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My brother is a pro at this kind of thing. He uses heat sinks at the ends of the wire that he is working on. It stops the heat before it gets to the plastic insulation.
I don't want to say you don't know what you are doing, but you need to control the heat on the wire. More practice.
Heat sinks at the end of the wire or between the area to be soldered and the insulation? What does he use for a heat sink? Aluminum foil, wet rag, or something else? I'll be the first to admit my technique stinks. If it didn't, I wouldn't have so much burned insullation and gobbed up connections! I've had considerable practice, but my technique isn't getting better! Again, my problem seems to be that by the time the work is hot enough to melt the solder, the insullation is cooking. That, and not having four arms to hold the work, solder, and iron. Guess something like a fly tying vise would be helpful to hold the work.

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
_____________________________________________
"Black Beauty"
1989 VN750 acquired December, 2008, 6,711 miles
Currently 23,298 miles

Old Blue
2001 Honda CMX250 Rebel acquired July, 2008

1987 VN750 project bike, acquired August, 2009, 33,000 miles and balancer sticking out of the case, currently awaiting attention and parts
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 01:50 PM
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X2 on keeping the tip clean. It transfers heat better and, if you wait to even touch your wires until you can easily melt solder on the hot tip, and then use the blob of solder on the tip to help transfer the heat to the wire, you will be able to heat the wire quicker.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flitecontrol View Post
I'm not happy with the soldering irons I've accumulated over the years. Seems to take forever to heat up the wires to the point the solder will melt, and by then the piece is so hot it's melting the insulation well away from the stripped area. Need something better. Any recommendations?
This is one I bought.

http://cgi.ebay.com/70W-TEMP-CONT-SO...3A1%7C294%3A50

It's like the kind I was using when I worked at a TV Shop Repairing Things.

JaY



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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flitecontrol View Post
What is a lab soldering iron? Googled it and didn't get anything useful. Have used Posi-Locks before, but some applications don't allow enough room for them. My dad always emphasized heating the work, not the solder. Said it gave the best results.
Sorry, google 'soldering iron station' for what I refered to as 'lab soldering iron'. Good ones have tips that stay clean by using a damp sponge.

Yes, some applications don't allow for Posi-lock connectors, but they work great for wire-to-wire or splicing applications.

Your dad was right, you need to heat the work in order for the solder to melt and bind. This is the one advantage that resistance soldering has over conventional irons.

FYI, I still use my $8 Radio Shack soldering iron for soldering, but I don't solder very often so its limitations (i.e., low wattage/heat and always having to cleaning the cheap tip) are not a big issue. If I really solder a lot (i.e., electronic hobbies), then I go for the soldering iron station.


Chris Glennon - Portland, OR
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 02:46 PM
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It has been a while since I have seen him do any work. If I remeb right they were like clamps. He would clamp them between the insulation and the end of the wire.
I ussually twist the wires together, that helps keep them together. I put the hot tip under the wire and the solder on top. When the wire gets hot the solder melts into the connection. I imidiatly turn the hot iron off. This works for me.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-12-2009, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Given me a lot to consider. Think I'm either not using a hot enough iron or just too impatient. After 5-10 minutes of heating up, my iron takes a while to melt solder, and then not all that fast. Seems like when I forget it's on and it has been on for a half hour or more it does a faster job of heating up the work. Maybe I need to plan farther in advance when using it. Also going to try binder clips as heat sinks; easy to use and a lot of surface area to dissapate heat.

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
_____________________________________________
"Black Beauty"
1989 VN750 acquired December, 2008, 6,711 miles
Currently 23,298 miles

Old Blue
2001 Honda CMX250 Rebel acquired July, 2008

1987 VN750 project bike, acquired August, 2009, 33,000 miles and balancer sticking out of the case, currently awaiting attention and parts
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