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connector wire soldering question

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:34 PM
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BoiseBee
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Default connector wire soldering question

I'm getting ready to solder connector leads on my wattsup meter. I noticed the leads (EC3 w/wires) had been spot soldered - about 1/16" bare wire showing. The leads from my meter were cut straight. Typically I would strip both wires to solder. Question - is there a procedure for connecting these leads that might be simpler or better than my normal method?
Thanks,
Steve
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:14 AM
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chuckk2
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Since nobody really answered - - -
EC3 connectors can be a hassle to solder.
I begin by tinning the wire, and allowing a bit of bare wire to show above the end of the pin.
That allows a place to heat the wire and connector without getting too much solder on the connector.
It's not uncommon for me to pre-tin the connector with enough solder to coat the inside without filling the
connector pin well more than about 1/4.
A fine file or even sandpaper or a razor blade can be used to remove excess solder from the outside of the connector pins, if you get a bit sloppy.
A secret or two to getting the pins inserted into the shell with out a big hassle.
A phillips screwdriver tip can be used to bevel the ridge inside the plastic shell. It takes a bit of experimentation to decide on the amount to bevel.
Another one is to preheat and slightly soften the shell with a heat gun. Too soft, and the shell will deform,
The idea is to get it just soft enough for the connector pin ti insert without having to use undue force.
A small screwdriver can be uset to provide the insertion force.
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:46 AM
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peety01
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Here is a video that might help..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8aF3-4uBkQ

The only thing that has not been mentioned is to use solder with the highest lead content that you can find, It makes a big difference.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:40 PM
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chuckk2
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Originally Posted by peety01 View Post
Here is a video that might help..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8aF3-4uBkQ

The only thing that has not been mentioned is to use solder with the highest lead content that you can find, It makes a big difference.
Standard 60/40 Rosin core electronic/electrical solder is of choice. "No lead" solder works, but requires a higher temperature.

The video has a couple of minor "gotchas" First, holding the connector pin with the pliers shown causes the pliers to act as a heat sink, making it harder to get a good solder joint. Next the wire size is not close to the maximum that the EC-3's can hold. When using the larger wire sizes, two obvious problems can occur.
One, pre-tinning the wire before inserting it in the connector pin can easily result in a no fit situation, or solder going where it becomes a problem.
Next, The wire insulation diameter may be large enough to not fit inside the plastic housing, or cause problems in getting the connector to seat in the housing.

When I anticipate these problems, I strip the wire back a bit more, so that enough is exposed above the end of the pin to allow the iron to contact the wire.
Before things really start, I'll also add pieces of shrink tubing to the leads, and move them as far away from the end to be soldered as possible. Alligator Clips can be used as a heat sink, handles, and to restrain movement.
Once the soldering is complete, and the pins seated the shrink tubing is moved to the connector end, so that it covers the bare wire, and also is inside the connector housing. Shrink with a heat gun, and I'm finished.

It gets a little more complicated with EC-5 connectors. First, the wire size may be large enough that a 40W iron is not enough, and a soldering gun might work better.
Next, the connector pins may go into the shell from either end, depending on the mfr and pin/barrel. Watch for the bevel on the pin/barrel, and plan accordingly.
At the larges wire sizes, you may need to taper the insulation to fit the connector shell, and possibly use shrink tubing. At least they do make flexible shrink tubing.

You can use a #2 Phillips screwdriver to bevel the stop inside the EC3 connector shell. If done correctly, this helps reduce the force needed to seat the connector pin/barrel in the shell.
Careful use of a heat gun will also help.

Last edited by chuckk2; 03-06-2014 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 06-14-2014, 05:15 AM
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Bonbob
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Hint:
Oxidation on the soldering iron tip can slowdown the transfer of heat to the connection. Have a damp sponge handy and a quick wipe will clean the tip for maximum heat transfer.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:04 PM
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I would be very careful about heat with EC3 casings. I had one deform because I pushed it on too soon after soldering and it ending up coming loose in flight causing a crash.

I recommended waiting until the wires are completely cool, then press the wires one at a time into the back of the casing. I find it helps to have one or two very small flat head screw drivers. You can used those to push against the edge of the back of metal pin/barrel into the case.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:34 AM
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A connector pin close to soldering temperature will indeed risk shell damage if placed in the shell too soon.
With the same connector pin at room temperature, I've had the plastic shell buckle due to insertion pressure needed.
That's why I recommend using a #2 Philips from the wire end of the shell to taper the ledge inside the shell.
It doesn't take much, and you can overdo.

Generally heat guns used for covering can also be carefully used. Again, overdoing things can ruin the shell.
I preheat a wired connector pin and the shell. The shell will be very warm to the touch, and you don't want to really touch the pin.
For ease of handling I also usually use an alligator clip or two on the wire.insulation.

The real problem is that the tool used to push the pin into the connector is difficult to position so that most of the force is down.
Too much side force will buckle even a cold shell.

There also seems to be a fairly large variation in connector pin to shell clearance. I suppose this is due mainly to different injection mold dies and fixtures.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:57 AM
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The best electrical solder for a vibrational environment is silver solder. It is hands down simply the strongest and best. I use the 96% tin and 4% silver kind. You can find it at Radio Shack or any good electronic supply house. Radio Shack also sells a lead free solder that is 97% tin and 3% copper. This melts at a lower temp than silver solder and is easier for some people to work with. But anyway....just get the lead out. Lead is heavy, weak, and a very poor electrical conductor. Silver is a good conductor even when oxidized.

The high melting point of silver solder is to your advantage in RC aircraft where hot motors, speed controllers, conductors and other things are a likely event. The worst thing that people do with silver solder is use a soldering iron that isn't hot enough, which usually heats up things more, because they can't get the heat quickly on and off the soldered area. I use a high quality TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED soldering iron and use very high heat when silver soldering. Also, you should know how to use heat sinks when necessary to protect sensitive components. Radio Shack sells those as well. Don't expect to find something like a high end Weller temp controlled soldering station at Radio Shack. The cheapest I have found is Stahl Tools brand from Parts Express for $60, and it's a cheap Chinese copy of the Weller soldering station. I have used both brands, and both work well. I would only expect the Stahl to last under occasional use. I only used Weller in my professional biomedical repair shop. Most people buy a cheap soldering iron with no temp control. BIG MISTAKE unless you want to dink with it and let it heat in the stand for a long time and make a solder connection now and then. The temp controlled stations are typically 40 watts or more and can maintain silver soldering temps for making continuous multiple connections. ALSO.....you buy SEVERAL TIPS and you learn to use the RIGHT TIP for the job at hand. How many of you reading this actually do that??? Not many, I would guess. But I was a pro working on biomedical gear worth thousands with legal liability as part of the equation. You might consider what I say might be correct.

When I make a silver solder joint joining cable to pin or sleeve connector, the connector sits upright in a little vise. The cable is of course pretinned. While the soldering iron tip is in the cup of the connector melting the solder, the cable is also against the soldering tip. When both are melted, I remove the tip and quickly insert the cable. This only takes a few seconds. With a sufficiently hot soldering tip you cause LESS heat away from the point of solder connection because you are on and then off the area very quickly. The vise clamping the connector quickly drains heat. The cable that you did NOT heat up because you QUICKLY heated the place you wanted to heat instead of three inches of cable is also acting as a heat sink from the other direction.

Of course, you properly tin your soldering iron tips and keep them that way. Silver solder does a FAR BETTER job of keeping your tips is good condition. A warm connector pushes into the plastic EC3 shell very easily. I prefer putting the connectors onto batteries and speed controls myself, as I doubt the factories use silver solder of the quality that I buy, even if they used silver solder at all. You can find SILVER BEARING solder made by Ersin at Radio Shack that has 2% silver content, but other than that is is tin/lead solder and acts about the same as standard 60/40 solder. Besides being much stronger, silver is used in most of the best high end adhesives, and lead/tin can't even come close in this regard. A properly silver soldered joint is going to rip pads off boards before it fractures or unbonds.

Last edited by Certifiable; 07-23-2014 at 04:01 AM. Reason: fix mistake
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:28 AM
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To hold the EC3 tip while soldering drill a 5/32" hole in a piece of wood.
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