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I've been band-aiding my 3 yellow wires for several thousand miles by using crimp-on connectors. I check them regulalry and replace as soon as resistance shows itself as burned insualtion. I realize this is not the solution (and never expected it to be).

While my day job is in finance, I am fairly adept with tools and can wield a torque wrench with the best of them. I've wired whole houses and sweated 1000's of copper plumbing connections with no sweat (hmm, no pun!). But, I do brek out in a sweat at the thought of soldering wires together and have never been successful: at best, the solder balls up and rolls off the twisted wire like water beads up on a fresh wax job. As a kid, I used to get HeathKit radio kits and use glue to hold wires together after failing for days to get solder to stick to even a single connection.

Yea, I know, I can see the grins, but seriously, is there some site I can go to that tells me how to successfully solder wires together?

Thanks,
Curt
 

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Curt Miller wrote:
I've been band-aiding my 3 yellow wires for several thousand miles by using crimp-on connectors. I check them regulalry and replace as soon as resistance shows itself as burned insualtion. I realize this is not the solution (and never expected it to be).

While my day job is in finance, I am fairly adept with tools and can wield a torque wrench with the best of them. I've wired whole houses and sweated 1000's of copper plumbing connections with no sweat (hmm, no pun!). But, I do brek out in a sweat at the thought of soldering wires together and have never been successful: at best, the solder balls up and rolls off the twisted wire like water beads up on a fresh wax job. As a kid, I used to get HeathKit radio kits and use glue to hold wires together after failing for days to get solder to stick to even a single connection.

Yea, I know, I can see the grins, but seriously, is there some site I can go to that tells me how to successfully solder wires together?
Curt, first thing it's a lot like soldering copper pipes. The solder won't flow where it's dirty, it also wont flow to well to where there is no flux (rosin core only for wires), it also hesitates to flow to a cold area (It kind of follows the heat by convection)..

One suggestion I can make is to really clean the wires up good (or cut back to real clean wire).. Clean wire is a MUST for a good solder joint..

Personally I use splice clips before soldering as I hate resistance & those splice clips are a god-send there.. Those splice clips are little legged affairs that actually crimp around the wires but allow solder to flow in around the clips. (these are NOT just butt connectors cut off but actual crimp clips that not only go around the wire but the tails turn into the wire & pull up tight ALL THE WAY AROUND)..

I'll bet that if you tin the wires with fluxed solder first, then use the splice clips, then solder the connections, you will have no problems..

Also, make darn sure you are using a CLEAN non oxidised tip on your solder gun or iron & that you are using a soldering utensil with enough heat for the job. A too small soldering gun/iron just won't heat the joint enough to flow the solder in..

Twisty
 

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Curt Miller wrote:
I do brek out in a sweat at the thought of soldering wires together and have never been successful: at best, the solder balls up and rolls off the twisted wire like water beads up on a fresh wax job. Thanks, Curt
The reason the solder won't 'wet' the joint is usually the work to be soldered isn't clean and/or insufficient heat is applied.

The way to splice the infamous yellow wires is to cut them back enough to have bright shiny metal. If the strands of wire look dull gray or greenish you'll have to cut the back until you have clean metal. It may be necessary to spice in short pieces of wire if you have to cut enough that the ends don't meet with a bit of slack.

Once you have the wires clean and ready to go, either twist two (one up and one down going wire) together or the best way is to use an UNINSULATED crimp connector. You can take a common auto crimp connector (Butt crimp type) andstrip off the insulation.

With the wires twisted or crimped, use a fairly high wattage soldering iron, not a little wimpy PC board iron, best is a good old hand cannon, a soldering gun. Tin the tip of the iron by applying a little solder to the tip when the iron's up to heat, then wipe the excess solder off with a clean cotton cloth. Put a very small bead of solder on the iron and apply the iron to the crimp connector with the little bead sandwiched between the tip and the connector or twisted pair. Hold the solder in contact on the opposite side of the connector from the iron and wait until the solder melts. Keep the iron on the wire and touch the solder to the wire if needed if there are bare spots in the joint. If done properly the solder will flow into the joint of it's own accord. With a twisted pair connection not using a butt crimp connector, make sure the solder flows throughout the joint, not just on one side. If it hasn't 'soaked' into the joint repeat the process.

I hope the above isn't so basic as to be insulting, but that's the way it works. One big caveat is DON'T USE ACID FLUX SOLDER. Use only ROSIN flux solder. The acid core isn't for electrical work, it will eventually corrode the connection. Use a thin(1/16" dia.) wire solder with a rosin core flux. A thin ga. solder is easier to use unless you have a bit of practice.
 

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exavid wrote:

"I hope the above isn't so basic as to be insulting, but that's the way it works. One big caveat is DON'T USE ACID FLUX SOLDER. Use only ROSIN flux solder. The acid core isn't for electrical work, it will eventually corrode the connection. Use a thin(1/16" dia.) wire solder with a rosin core flux. A thin ga. solder is easier to use unless you have a bit of practice."

Twisty and exavid -

Can't thank you enough for the tutorial, complete in every respect. I'm not the slightest bit insulted by the elementary-sounding description. I haven't been able to get to first base with soldering wires so I needed all the help I could get. I'm sure others will find the tutorial helpful as well. I teach digital photography (as an avocation) and, trust me, there are lots of basic questions and basic solutions that can make or break a person's success.

Now I'll go out and get the big soldering gun, rosin flux solder, heat-shrink tubing,and go to work! :weightlifter:

Thanks again,
Curt
 

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Curt Miller wrote:
exavid wrote:

"I hope the above isn't so basic as to be insulting, but that's the way it works. One big caveat is DON'T USE ACID FLUX SOLDER. Use only ROSIN flux solder. The acid core isn't for electrical work, it will eventually corrode the connection. Use a thin(1/16" dia.) wire solder with a rosin core flux. A thin ga. solder is easier to use unless you have a bit of practice."

Twisty and exavid -

Can't thank you enough for the tutorial, complete in every respect. I'm not the slightest bit insulted by the elementary-sounding description. I haven't been able to get to first base with soldering wires so I needed all the help I could get. I'm sure others will find the tutorial helpful as well. I teach digital photography (as an avocation) and, trust me, there are lots of basic questions and basic solutions that can make or break a person's success.

Now I'll go out and get the big soldering gun, rosin flux solder, heat-shrink tubing,and go to work! :weightlifter:

Thanks again,
Curt
Curt, just a suggestion; Get a few pieces of 14 & 12 gauge stranded wire & practice on those until you get the results you are seeking.. THEN, solder on your motorcycle..

Twisty
 

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twisty wrote:
Curt, just a suggestion; Get a few pieces of 14 & 12 gauge stranded wire & practice on those until you get the results you are seeking.. THEN, solder on your motorcycle..

Twisty
Most excellent suggestion! A few joints and you'll be ready for the bike. NO! I don't mean those kind!
 

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One more thing, Curt. If you are twisting the wires with your fingers, Wash your hands first. Dirty fingers will smear dirt and oils on the wires that need to be clean.

If the solder balls up and drops off, the wires are dirty or not hot enough. Letting some solder drip off will get more rosin (from the core) to the joint to help clean it. Be carefull where the excess solder drips to.
 

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Curt :/forums/images/emoticons/cool.gif I found these sites to be useful for  the three yellow wire soldering job:                                                http://www.saskschools.ca/curr_content/paasurvey/elec/lesson5/lesson5.html                                                                                                  http://www.tpub.com/content/neets/14176/css/14176_46.htm                                                                                                                               http://www.tpub.com/neets/book4/12t.htm                                                                                     In addition to the other tips above... you MUST use a BIG gun  ((Do you feel lucky today , Joint ? Well Do ya/forums/images/emoticons/emoticonsxtra/gunhead.gif ??)  at least 250 watts   and let the heat take the solder into the joint as you go along../forums/images/emoticons/emoticonsxtra/goofygrin.gif...... But I also felt a little nervous when I did my EC harness/forums/images/emoticons/confused.gif,and yellow wires.... So I did about 5 practise ones with scrap 12 ga wire, and triple shrink wrap before I did the stator wires... after all ... this connection  must last  you thousands of miles... Good Luck  SilverDave /forums/images/emoticons/emoticonsxtra/cooldj.gif
 

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What they all said but do not forget to slide the heat shrink on prior to soldering the wires. :shock:

If you are lucky, as soon as you solder one wire, slide the heat shrink up and over it and generally the heat will shrink it. :cool:
 

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globetrotter wrote:
If you are lucky, as soon as you solder one wire, slide the heat shrink up and over it and generally the heat will shrink it. :cool:
Gotta be quick if you do it that way, nothings more irritating than having the sleeve stick for a moment and shrink too much to slide over the joint. I've had that happen when I was in a hurry, if you're lucky and cut the sleeve long enough you can cut off the shrunk end and get away with it. With larger wires 18ga an up that are going to be exposed to the elements, I like to coat the soldered joint with a thin layer of Dow Corning compound (dialectric grease) prior to shrinking. A layer of grease over the soldered joint but not over the wire insulation. If you getgrease between the sleeve and the wire insulation it can prevent the sleeve from getting a good seal on the wire.
 

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I just did this repair and had to solder new leads on. All the tips given here are top notch and right on target. Clean, Clean, Clean is the name of the game.

The sleeves that Twisty talk about are really trick. It's just a piece of heat shrink with a solder ring in it that shrinks and solders with a heat gun. These are pretty foolproof as if the joint is not good it will just pull apart. Cleanliness still applies and I've always tinned the wires first.

On a sealing note I have used liquid tape and heat shrink with great success on boats and in cars. Liquid tape is available at most auto parts stores in a small container with a brush in the cap. I solder the joint and put two coats of liquid tape on it. After the second coat is applied and while still wet I would heat shrink it. This would squeeze the liquid tape out sealing all gaps and make a long lasting water tight seal.



FYI if you don't use the liquid tape again for a couple of months then just throw it away. It'll be a congealed mass by then.
 

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exavid
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Most excellent suggestion! A few joints and you'll be ready for the bike. NO! I don't mean those kind!

Did someone say "joints" lol.:goofygrin:
 

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deputy steve wrote:
exavid
Senior Guru
Most excellent suggestion! A few joints and you'll be ready for the bike. NO! I don't mean those kind!
Did someone say "joints" lol.:goofygrin:
Naw deputy Steve, I spent my formative (nutty part) years in Northern Alaska in the 60s. The drug of choice there was booze.
 

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Thanks, again, for all the tips. I'm collecting my supplies so I can make the fix this weekend. The only problem I've got is getting hold of a 250 watt soldering gun. When I go into any store and ask for one, jaws drop and they ask me if I'm looking to solder joints in some huge industrial equipment. Nobody sells such an animal and I can't even find one in the Weller catalogue. Isn't an 80 watt iron big enough?

PS - love the idea of using the liquid tape!
 

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 Curt ... I have two irons....... one is a really old Weller ... (35 years, maybe ?) that is 100/220 two speed.. and the other is a 80/140 two speed...  I also have a smaller 50 watt small tip for electrical circuit boards  .... Weller may not make the higher wattage ones any more... and you can't go back in time (Can You ??)  so get the largest one you can easily lay your hands on... as noted above.. you want it hot, clean, and fast, so you don't melt too much insulation...If I am soldering a Western Union splice on 10 or 12 Ga wire... I  use the hottest iron I can find in the tool drawer ...       SilverDave /forums/images/emoticons/emoticonsxtra/cooldj.gif                                                        PS. What is the largest that Weller makes now ? My big 'un is so beat up and taped together that I gotta think about replacement .
 

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Very nice hand cannon, so pristine. You'll have to bang it around a bit to make it really work right. I've wondered how long these things will last, mine is from 1968 and looks pretty much the same though the tin box it came in is long gone.
 

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Well, guys, thanks a lot for all the help. Armed with the information and supplies, I made the splices yesterday. I found and borrowed a 2.5 amp (~300 watt) soldering gun from a friend and had the other supplies at the ready. I used 12 ga. wire for the interstices and rosin core solder for the joints. I cleaned everything bright and shiny with one of those green kitchen scrubbers with rubber-gloved hands. When heated, the joints sucked up the solder just like you said it would. When cool, I coated the joints with two coats of liquid tape and finished with heat shrink tubing. When all was cool, I wrapped the affair with tape. All works well.

Thanks, again for being there. This site not only makes ownership of an old Wing possible, it makes it enjoyable.

Curt
 
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