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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, Folks -
The '01 is almost back together - mostly been a jigsaw puzzle with hopefully not too many pieces left over. :) That said, I'm staring at my stator wires and thinking, "Now what?" The old wires from the harness had burned through, so I clipped them and now have the nice, new wires coming out of the engine, and three blank wires waiting for next steps. Here are my questions, and I apologize in advance for sounding like an idiot:
1. I'm replacing the wiring harness on Orleans with a newer one. Assuming the stator wires on that harness are ok, can I clip them for use on the '01?
2. If the answer to "1" is yes, what do I need to solder the wires? We have a soldering gun in the house, but that's the extent of my knowledge. Couldn't even tell ya where it is. SO: what kind of solder? how much? something about shrink tubing? And does anyone have pics?
3. If the answer to "1" is "Are you nuts?!?", then what the heck do I do? I obviously need to solder (see 2, above) some male ends on the wires coming out of the harness, but: What size wire am I looking at? Are these bullet connectors (vs. the clips)? Is there a specific type that I should use, or size?

Fortunately I have to travel on business for the next two days, so I won't be able to ruin anything on the bike until Saturday. But I am stopping by the MVA on my way to the airport today to pick up my temp tags, so the 30-day count-down will begin!! Can anyone walk me through this new territory? Thanks in advance!!
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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6,141 Posts
If it were me, I'd just grab whatever solder I could find, get the old gun out, put the shrink tube over the wire (but move it away from the heat for now) heat up the wire, melt the solder, slide the shrink tube over the connection, heat it up and be done.
But there are proper ways of doing it.
HERE is a Wikipedia article on soldering. I didn't read the entire thing, but it seems to be pretty complete.

Here's the few things I do know about it....
The thing ya want to do is heat the wires first, then have the solder melt into them. For this step, the wires can be twisted together and then soldered. But don't rely on twisted wires and electric tape. It's a lousy connection.
If the solder doesn't melt almost as soon as you touch it to the wires (while holding the iron to it) you're not quite hot enough.

Put a wet rag underneath your work to catch any dripping solder without burning anything.

Maybe someone else can better describe the process.
Check out the Wiki article and if ya still got questions/concerns, give a shout.

And HERE is another soldering article.
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Hyper, those are some great tips. There are different kinds of solder, though, right? Like copper? Lead? Al? Sheesh, a jigsaw puzzle I can do...electrical stuff, I'm right back where I was. :doh:
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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The easiest way to get the right solder would probably be to go to Radio Shack.
I don't think they'd be much more expensive than anywhere else for that and they should be able to tell ya just what you'd need. (or ya could take their info and try a hardware store)
You'll also need flux. It's an acid paste that you put on the wires before soldering. As you heat the wire, it cleans and preps it for the solder.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
See what I mean? I didn't even know that there was such a thing as flux (well, not in the empirical sense). I'm gonna read the articles you referenced before I do anything. That should save me a few mistakes right there.

Thanks, again!
 

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I think rosin core is used for wiring (acid core should not be used) and then you may not need soldering paste.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, some kind of flux (check to see if rosin or acid core), any kind of solder, a good, hot soldering gun, and a stroke of luck?
 

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85 VN 700
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If you get rosin core it eliminates the need for flux if I recall correctly.

For the heat shrink I've always used a lighter (zippo style is best - that way if it gets hot your finger aint right there) with the flame lightly "brushing" the tubing.

I need to get around to fusing my stator soon... wanna avoid a stator pull if possible.
 

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I think rosin core is used for wiring (acid core should not be used) and then you may not need soldering paste.
This is correct. Get rosin core solder from Radio Shack or Wally Mart or local hardware store. It eliminates the need for flux. If you don't do a lot of soldering a 50 foot spool will last you years. ONLY USE ROSIN CORE FOR ELECTRICAL WORK!!
 

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Hyper is right about going to radio shack. Or you can go to Lowes, Home Depot. Go to the electrical dept not the plumbing dept. A rosin core solder is what you want. Tin/Lead composition, but if it's in the elctrical department it should be the right stuff. Generally it's thin about spaghetti thin. If it's shoelace size thats plumbing/hardware solder. Pick up a multi pack of shrink tubing. If they have it you might want to invest in a weller portasol, butane soldering iron. It also has a hot knife, mini torch, and minihot gun attachment (good for shrinking tubing). No need for electricity and very portable.

Flux is a good idea but not totally necessary with rosin core solder. It will help clean and get the solder to bond with the wires quicker though.

Worst case give me a shout. Did I give you my cell number? I'll PM it. I could come up and do it.
 

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Now what
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First off, I soldered my stator wires and didn't put any fuses in there. I seriously think all they do is add more chances for bad connections. But more importantly, it can be a little tight in there. You need to take some scrap wire and practice before you work on the real thing. I found this site http://tinyurl.com/24qq6a -note they use a Western Union splice. It's the proper way to twist to wires together before applying the solder. This site's good too, http://tinyurl.com/29ewa7 - Set yourself down at a table you don't mind getting a few burn marks on (or get a small piece of plywood to cover the table) and go to town. Just don't run the hot end of the soldering iron across your knuckles, it'll leave a scar. :wow:
 

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I agree with the previous suggestions for soldering, but would recommend a crimp connection, especially for someone not experienced at soldering. A butt crimp example is shown in Ironman's first url link and some shops prefer crimping. I have seen lots of poor solder joints with high electrical resistance and / or weak mechanical strength. It takes a fair degree of skill and experience to make a good solder connection. (Some people have a natural ability to learn this quickly though.)

Two common solder connection quality problems are:
1. Cold solder joints where, althoug the solder has melted, the wire / solder is not hot enough for the solder to properly flow and adhere to the wire resulting in a high resistance connection.
2. Too much heat that melts the wire insulation and can cause the copper wire to become brittle that can result in mechanical failure due to vibration.

Good connection on the stator wires on our bikes is critical since they are power conductors (fairly high current) and subject to vibration. Also, from what I understand from previous posts, a failed connection can lead to stator failure. (Another reason why I think fusing the stator wires is not a good idea.)

Crimp tools and connectors (for butt and pigtail splices as well as ring and spade lugs etc.) are relatively inexpensive and available at auto parts stores and the auto dept of many big-box retailers. Crimping is easier to learn and to do. It is important to use the correct size connector and crimp tool for the wire size.

I have found that having a crimp tool "kit" around is really handy for quickly making low voltage (auto, camper, bike...) electrical repairs and adding accessories. Do not use this method for 120v house wiring.

IMPORTANT: Whether making either a solder or crimp connection, give it the "tug test". (Grasp wires on both ends and firmly tug on the wires. Better to come apart in your hands than down the road.)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, folks. We apparently not only have a solder gun, but rosin core solder as well, so I have what I need. Read the two articles to which Hyper posted links, and am gonna practice a few times before I move to the real thing. Fingers crossed!! Once this is done, just have to put a couple more pieces on the '01 and she's ready to ride!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Solder effort

I think my soldering iron was too hot - I did all three, undid all three; redid two and think they're more or less okay, and then there's this one. Looks like I caramelized it, but maybe that's what it's supposed to look like? I'll do it again as needed - but could someone give me some feedback on this before I start my engine?

THanks!
 

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Cindy,

That one's a redo. The solder should be nice and shiny and the shrink tubing should conform to the shape of the solder joint. If the solder looks like bird poop, you have a "cold" solder joint and that too should be redone. It also helps to tin the wires before joining. That's where you flow solder into the bare wires before splicing them together. It insures solder is throughout the wires and only a small additional amount is needed to actually hold the joint together.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Cindy,

That one's a redo. The solder should be nice and shiny and the shrink tubing should conform to the shape of the solder joint. If the solder looks like bird poop, you have a "cold" solder joint and that too should be redone. It also helps to tin the wires before joining. That's where you flow solder into the bare wires before splicing them together. It insures solder is throughout the wires and only a small additional amount is needed to actually hold the joint together.
Ok, I'll give it another shot. Here's a question, though: everything I was reading said something about keeping heat on the solder and the trailing the thread across the to-be-soldered joint. I get no threads. I get blobs. And when I did get something that looked more like a thread on some practice wire, it was then a long, blobby thread (it was only on one side of the wires). I'm using rosin core solder/flux stuff - or do I still need flux?

Wait, here's a different question: do I apply the tip of the iron to the wires themselves, and the solder then flows down? Or do I apply the iron to the solder, hoping the blob drips onto the right spot of the wires? I'm afraid of boiling off the wires if I apply the tip directly to them, but you can see the hazard of trying to aim bird poop...
 

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you need to head the wire to be soldered. One way of doing it is to start heating the wire then put the solder to the wire and iron. If it is done right, the wire will act as a sponge and suck up the solder (if its just one end, that is what Sky Rider meant by "tin" the wire).
 

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Dang it Cindy, why didn't you call me! I needed a good excuse to go for a ride!!! Are you working all week? My schedule is loose. I can ride up and give you a quick soldering lesson.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Dang it Cindy, why didn't you call me! I needed a good excuse to go for a ride!!! Are you working all week? My schedule is loose. I can ride up and give you a quick soldering lesson.
Hey! Uncle! I'm totally screwed - I've tried heating the wire and then putting the solder near it and near the iron, and I'm getting not much of anything. You up for a ride tomorrow? I'm here all day - messing around with this _(&U @#%_&)__(_(&* iron.

If I'm using rosin core flux-solder, is that the right stuff? Or do I still need to apply flux? Maybe that's myproblem.
 

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The rosin core is the correct stuff and no need for flux then. How thick is the solder you are using (if over a 1/16", try to get something smaller)? The other thing to check is how many watts is the soldering gun are you using (I think 30 watts may be needed). Three hands would be nice to have when tinning and four STEADY hands would be great when connecting two wires.
 
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