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Old 07-28-2005, 07:51 PM
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soldering large guage wires

I am repairing some burnt wires in my ignition (350 chevy '73 camaro engine in a custom car). I am told that it is not good to crimp the large main wires from the starter etc. However, at 10 to 14 gauge, it is hard to:

1: twist those suckers together or to even figure out how to put them together.
2: Hard to get solder to flow with my little 75 watt gun.
3: figure out if you have made a solid connection.

How about some advice on this. All help appreciated.

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Old 07-28-2005, 08:14 PM
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Use a butane torch on those big connections. There is no way any resistance heated soldering gun can generate enough heat to get a good solder joint. Also use paint on flux like plumber's flux. Fill the entire connection with solder then wash off as much flux as possible with lacquer thinner 'cause it is corrosive. If washed off well, it won't cause problems, after all it is used in your water pipes at home! It is the only thing I have found that stands up to the flame of the torch. On smaller joints where an electric iron works by all means use the less corrosive rosin cored flux made for electrical connections.

Biggest problem novice solderers have is not getting the joint hot enough to totally liquefy the solder so it will wick entirely through the joint. Whether using an electric soldering gun or butane torch, NEVER heat the solder directly. Always heat the joint so hot that when it is touched with the solder it melts and wicks into the joint.
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Old 07-28-2005, 09:38 PM
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Thanks. How do you put two 10 gauge pieces together to solder. Can't twist them. Could use a bare crimp joint, crimp them and then solder them?
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Old 07-28-2005, 09:50 PM
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yes big butt connector. you can also tin the metal get the wire hot add solder to each piece let it melt thru the wires completely then when you heat them they will bond almost instantly. but thats the hard way.
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Old 07-28-2005, 09:51 PM
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I have had luck twisting 10 gau with a pair of linesmen pliers or regular pliers in a pinch. hope that helps.
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Old 07-28-2005, 09:58 PM
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I had to use my 25 watt iron to preheat the wires ands then went after it with my 75 watt to get a good joint. A small torch would work.
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Old 07-28-2005, 11:37 PM
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For 10ga and larger I have made my own butt connectors using pieces of copper tubing and pipe. Find one that just slips over the wire. Can use the soft tubing or rigid pipe, doesn't make any difference.

Make my own battery leads from 3-0 or 4-0 welding cable and pieces of 1/2" copper pipe. Solder on a long piece of pile, flatten the end that extends past the cable and drill the bolt holes. Cable insulation is super tough and the fine stranded wire is super flexible.
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Old 07-29-2005, 12:47 AM
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That plumbers solder advice isn't good advice. Plubmers solder does not cunduct heat...it's not going to transfer electricity if you use it. Please use electrical solder and electrical flux! Using plumbers solder and plumbers flux is a HUGE no no when soldering electrical connections. A butane torch is good advice to get the amount of heat you need if you don't have an iron or gun that will get the wires hot enough to melt the solder.

My suggestion would be those heat seal connectors. Put the heat sleve on one wire, put the wires together (one on top of the other), slide the connector over both of them and heat it up. Those things work very well and they won't melt and lose their stick like electrical tape does in the heat of an engine compartment. Soldering the connections before you use those things only makes the connection stronger although you don't really need to solder if you use'm. Melted once their like carbon fiber. Not easy to melt again and they don't usually break. You can find them at any hardware store and they make a nice, neat, and strong connection. You can even get them in the same color as the wires so it looks almost like one solid wire. Those old plastic tube connectors could melt from the heat of the engine melting them down to the metal that you have crimped over the wire, and that could cause a short.
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Old 07-29-2005, 01:05 AM
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One more tip on soldering! If you'd use an iron instead of a gun; you can put a bead of solder on the end of the iron and spread it wherever you wanted it. No need to heat the wires at all. Irons run anywhere from $10 on up. They have them at Lowes stores. The only difference in prices on them are pretty much just the brand name. Weller is probably the best and most popular soldering iron, tool, wire, and accessory manufacturer.
I'm a guitar tech by trade, soldering is a major part of quitar teching. Soldering is something I know very well.
I still haven't found an exhaust bearing. (kidding)
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bort
That plumbers solder advice isn't good advice. Plubmers solder does not cunduct heat...it's not going to transfer electricity if you use it. Please use electrical solder and electrical flux! Using plumbers solder and plumbers flux is a HUGE no no when soldering electrical connections. A butane torch is good advice to get the amount of heat you need if you don't have an iron or gun that will get the wires hot enough to melt the solder.

My suggestion would be those heat seal connectors. Put the heat sleve on one wire, put the wires together (one on top of the other), slide the connector over both of them and heat it up. Those things work very well and they won't melt and lose their stick like electrical tape does in the heat of an engine compartment. Soldering the connections before you use those things only makes the connection stronger although you don't really need to solder if you use'm. Melted once their like carbon fiber. Not easy to melt again and they don't usually break. You can find them at any hardware store and they make a nice, neat, and strong connection. You can even get them in the same color as the wires so it looks almost like one solid wire. Those old plastic tube connectors could melt from the heat of the engine melting them down to the metal that you have crimped over the wire, and that could cause a short.
Stay away from my wires, please.

By "plumber's" solder I assume you mean acid-core solder. That acid flux is corrosive, but if you follow wilys' advice to get the joint hot enough and to wash it thoroughly afterwards, there will be no corrosive flux left to cause trouble. A proper solder joint will not have flux inside the joint. The flux residue will all be on the surface.

I have no clue how you can conclude that such solder does not conduct heat. It's lead and tin, just like the rosin core solder you buy at Radio Shack for electronics. Lead and tin conduct heat and electricity. They don't really care what label you paste on them.

Heat shrink tubing is NOT a good way to make an electrical connection. It is suitable only to insulate a connection.
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bort
One more tip on soldering! If you'd use an iron instead of a gun; you can put a bead of solder on the end of the iron and spread it wherever you wanted it. No need to heat the wires at all. Irons run anywhere from $10 on up. They have them at Lowes stores. The only difference in prices on them are pretty much just the brand name. Weller is probably the best and most popular soldering iron, tool, wire, and accessory manufacturer.
I'm a guitar tech by trade, soldering is a major part of quitar teching. Soldering is something I know very well.
I still haven't found an exhaust bearing. (kidding)
If you do not heat the wires sufficiently to melt the solder, and instead do as you advise, you have an extremely weak connection consisting of a thin layer of lead+tin alloy. That's perfect if you want it to fail. Those wires should be physically joined and then heated until the solder wicks throughout that joint. Poor joints come apart with vibration or any other movement. Poor soldering leads to corroded connections, increasing resistance, increasing heat, and eventual failure of either the connection or the components receiving the lowered voltage due to the bad connection.
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:26 PM
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As a way of backing up the advice given by willys36@aol.com and myself, I found a soldering tutorial article written by a HAM operator:

http://www.mtechnologies.com/building/atoz.htm

Note the highlighted rules given in that article:

"Rule #1: A good mechanical connection is necessary before you solder!
Rule #2: Strike while the iron is hot!
Rule #3: Heat the work, not the solder!
Rule #4: Inspect the connection under magnification!"
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:34 PM
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The solution:

I purchased a butane soldering gun at Sears today, got some double butt connectors from a tech at "Car Toys", and did the following: crimped the wires into each end. Got the gun tip very hot first before applying it to the center of the butt tube. Then when it was hot enough, I touched the solder to the ends of the butt where the wire was visible and just let it flow into the joint. Never did touch the iron with the solder. Perfect connection! Thanks to all for the advice that got me there.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willys36@aol.com
Also use paint on flux like plumber's flux.
???? Since when does any type of plumbers soldering stuff conduct electricity?
I mix my own flux. I've been professionally tech'ing guitars and electronics for 15+ years. I know what I'm talking about when it comes to soldering, wires, and making those types of connections. If you use plumbers solder, it's not going to conduct heat/electricity. The connection will not work. I'm the type of person that uses the right tools to do the job right. So I've never tried it but I'm quite possitive plumbers flux (or something "like" it) will not work with electrical solder.

Glad you got it done and it works, rapsag.
out
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:42 AM
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Bead on iron is how it's done on guitars. He was saying he couldn't get them hot enough. This technique would have worked because of that. Got r done! good.
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