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tinning a wire

Old 03-31-2020, 12:42 PM
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hawkman-RCU
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Smile tinning a wire

please help, i just received new batteries esc's and before soldering i figured i practice first on some extra wires and bullit connectors.i haven't soldered in a while but i use a micro torch and 60/40 rosin core leaded solder.when i try to tin a wire the solder will not wick or stick to wire. any answers would be great.
Old 03-31-2020, 03:36 PM
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DGrant
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Not sure why your solder isn't sticking... all the materials you're wanting to solder should be very compatible with the 60/40..., and a battery lead, and ESC wire should take solder in about 2 seconds once the wire itself is hot enough.

Not sure I'd use a torch to solder though... which might in fact be the problem. I solder frequently(just a few days ago even), and I'm using a simple Wellar 40w soldering iron, with a decent tip.

I strip the wire(s) back to where I want.. Hold the iron to the wire, and apply the solder, and in a few seconds, the wire starts taking in the solder. You don't need to keep feeding the solder. All you want is enough to tin the exposed part of the wire. If you keep feeding solder, it will fully harden the wire well beyond where you stripped it. That's about it for tinning though.

From there soldering the wire(s) together is a snap once they're tinned, and only takes a second of applying a hot iron. It happens so fast, you have to be sure to have your wires aligned perfectly if you want to get it in one shot. With a little practice, most solder jobs only take a few seconds of heat in the right places.

So yeah.. It's good to practice, and you can't solder wires together without tinning.. so you're on the right track... I honestly think what's happening, contrary to what you might think... even though that torch might be hot enough, I would bet it's literally blowing the solder off the wire, which is why it appears to not stick... in fact it isn't sticking..so you're right there. As long as that wire is hot, and that torch is blowing on it(think hottest air with a little pressure blowing on it)... it's just blowing all solder right off, as quick as it melts... just a theory.. but something to think about right. Try a soldering iron, especially for battery leads... that just might work
Old 03-31-2020, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by hawkman-RCU View Post
please help, i just received new batteries esc's and before soldering i figured i practice first on some extra wires and bullit connectors.i haven't soldered in a while but i use a micro torch and 60/40 rosin core leaded solder.when i try to tin a wire the solder will not wick or stick to wire. any answers would be great.

Two things are essential in order for solder flow onto a surface, a wire or a joint. First, whatever you are soldering has to be absolutely clean. Steel wool or sandpaper helps in cleaning, but you have to make sure there's no oil or some kind of residue present. Second, FLUX!!! Without flux, solder will refuse to melt onto the joint.

Point to remember, there are generally 2 types of flux. One is an acid flux that's commonly used for mechanical joints, but the problem with it is that it is corrosive and could eventually destroy an electrical joint. The other flux is called rosin. This one is non corrosive and the correct one to use for electrical work.

Coat with flux only the area you want the solder to adhere to, heat the surface you want to solder, NOT THE SOLDER ITSELF and let the hot surface (joint) melt the solder. Again, don't melt the solder with a flame or an iron, heat whatever it is you intend to solder!!!

Hope that makes some sense for ya!

Last edited by airsteve172; 03-31-2020 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 03-31-2020, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by hawkman-RCU View Post
please help, i just received new batteries esc's and before soldering i figured i practice first on some extra wires and bullit connectors.i haven't soldered in a while but i use a micro torch and 60/40 rosin core leaded solder.when i try to tin a wire the solder will not wick or stick to wire. any answers would be great.

One more thought..

If you heat metal that hasn't been cleaned and not fluxed, the heat you're applying is causing whatever residue might be on the metal to burn onto the surface and fuse itself to the surface which makes a barrier between the metal and the solder, keeping it from sticking. Additionally, even if the metal is clean, but without flux, the heat will cause the metal to form oxidation on the surface that will again form a barrier that the solder alone cannot penetrate to make contact with the metal.

You have flux core solder? What's in the core of the solder is only HELPFUL, but often not sufficient to condition the metal by itself!!!
Old 03-31-2020, 05:13 PM
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Propworn
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The torch is not the way to go an open flame will burn the flux long before the wire gets hot enough to melt the solder then the wire is dirty. Once dirty you are wasting your tine trying to clean it so cut it off and start fresh. What you must do is get the wire hot enough so when you touch the solder to it it melts and tins the whole strand. Depending on the gauge of wire you may need to get a bigger soldering iron. Most soldering guns do not work well for larger wire as the tips do not have the residual heat to do the job. I use an adjustable heat soldering station with the heat cranked up to max. The only time I use a torch for electrical connections is soldering 4/0 cable inside crimped lugs for 12/24 volt RV/marine or auto battery connections. Even then I don't get the flame near the wire. I put flux inside the lug and on the bare cable then crimp the lug on the cable. I play the torch over the outside of the lug away from the cable and when it gets hot enough the solder fills up the lug and makes a perfect connection. To tin/solder wire connections place the iron/gun under the wire and lift until wire is resting on the heat. Keep touching the solder to the wire not the iron when its hot enough the solder will melt on the wire and flow and tin the strand.

Last edited by Propworn; 03-31-2020 at 05:42 PM.
Old 03-31-2020, 06:04 PM
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great advice, thanks for your replies.
Old 03-31-2020, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Propworn View Post
The torch is not the way to go an open flame will burn the flux long before the wire gets hot enough to melt the solder then the wire is dirty. Once dirty you are wasting your tine trying to clean it so cut it off and start fresh. What you must do is get the wire hot enough so when you touch the solder to it it melts and tins the whole strand. Depending on the gauge of wire you may need to get a bigger soldering iron. Most soldering guns do not work well for larger wire as the tips do not have the residual heat to do the job. I use an adjustable heat soldering station with the heat cranked up to max. The only time I use a torch for electrical connections is soldering 4/0 cable inside crimped lugs for 12/24 volt RV/marine or auto battery connections. Even then I don't get the flame near the wire. I put flux inside the lug and on the bare cable then crimp the lug on the cable. I play the torch over the outside of the lug away from the cable and when it gets hot enough the solder fills up the lug and makes a perfect connection. To tin/solder wire connections place the iron/gun under the wire and lift until wire is resting on the heat. Keep touching the solder to the wire not the iron when its hot enough the solder will melt on the wire and flow and tin the strand.

Good point about the torch! Unless it's a matter of soldering a really heavy cable, a torch is a little too crude a tool to use for soldering wire.
Old 03-31-2020, 09:44 PM
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DGrant
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40 watt Wellar soldering iron is perfect for hobby use and soldering battery wires, and many other jobs.
Old 04-03-2020, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by DGrant View Post
40 watt Wellar soldering iron is perfect for hobby use and soldering battery wires, and many other jobs.
+1, a good quality iron in the right heat range gets the job done 99% of the time.

I couldn't imagine trying to tin / solder a wire with a torch and I've worked with electronics for most of my life. Even an iron that is too hot will vaporize the flux before it has a chance to do its job and the solder will just blob rather than flow. Many years ago when doing bench work, we use to use temperature controlled soldering stations where you could dial in the preferred temp. With experience, you got use to setting the temp to where it needed to be for the connections you were trying to do. These days for hobby use, I have a collection of various sized irons and I just pull out the one that I feel will work best for the job.
Old 04-07-2020, 05:51 PM
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Very good advices, event though I have soldered wires and pushroads many times I will spend the time to read the postings here to learn some more.

Thank you for posting how to.
Old 04-17-2020, 01:19 PM
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This is my experience and opinion only and works well for me. Others may have a different way of doing things I will be the first to tell you I am self taught and by no means an expert.

Soldering, do not use the same irons for acid flux that you use for rosin flux. I even keep my supplies in separate containers and the irons separately as well.

Acid flux is associated with mechanical joints like landing gear wire and sheet metal connections. Usually these irons have a higher working temperature because the areas they must heat are larger.

Electrical connections range from very small like ultra light servo wires and pc board work to heavier wire for large batteries. You will need a few soldering irons to easily do these multiple jobs or you can invest in an adjustable soldering station. I have found soldering guns a poor choice.

An open flame directly on an electrical joint is a poor choice as the flux burns quite easy and will contaminate the joint. In the case of very large wire and heavy lugs you can heat the outside of the lug without getting the flame on the joint but you still have to watch the temp that you do not overheat it and set the flux on fire.

An open flame on a mechanical joint works well you just need to practice to get the right technique of applying the flame to the work. If I can I still prefer to use a soldering iron and I have made up a few that fit on the end of a torch.

I have a separate soldering system for the tabs on lipo batteries. It is a liquid flux and a special soldering wire for the aluminum tabs. Because I am not sure if this is an acid flux or what it is I have a separate soldering iron I use for just this purpose.

As you can see I am fussy about not cross contaminating my soldering stuff between applications. Especially with electronics contamination can cause failures that could result in loss of connection.

This first picture is my mechanical soldering tools some of which can be used for soldering the large copper lugs shown in the picture. When I do this if I am using an iron I will completely clean the tip of all solder/flux from any mechanical soldering applications so it will not contaminate the electrical connection. If I am using an open flame the flame is played on the outside of the lug. Two torches one propane one butane. Then you see two home made tips that fit on propane torch heads. These get hot enough for just about any job and work exceptionally well soldering up to 3/8 wire for landing gear. The bottom soldering iron is a large head that is placed in a flame and the head retains enough heat to do the job. I use these for mechanical joints but after cleaning I have used them to solder the large lugs in the picture. First the wire is crimped using the crimping tool to the left then heat is applied to the outside and the solder is fed down and inside the lug.


Old 04-17-2020, 01:21 PM
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Propworn
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These are my standard soldering irons top is 120 watt then two 80 watt and scaled all the way down to a 20 watt. These have been regulated to electrical only and have only seen rosin and rosin core solder.


Old 04-17-2020, 01:22 PM
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This is a bit unusual but itís a system for soldering to the aluminum tabs on Lipo batteries. Not sure if itís a flux or acid so it has its own dedicated soldering iron. Small iron as the operation only requires a lower temperature.
Old 04-17-2020, 01:26 PM
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These are my two soldering stations one analog the other digital adjustable all the way to 850 degrees. These are my go to units I use almost exclusively for any electrical. They will even do 8 and 10 AGW and EC5 and 6 connectors and all the way down to micro size wire/pc boards.

Old 04-17-2020, 01:27 PM
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Some handy and some necessary supplies left to right across the top then down.

Two de-soldering vacuum syringes press the button and it will suck the solder from the joint releasing the wire/part from the joint. The three containers across the top are tinning agents for the tip of your soldering iron. On the right hand side is a soldering stand with a brass wool tip cleaner. It does a better job if you stab the brass wool with the iron before heating your connection. A clean tip offers better heat transfer. Rosin paste to facilitate a good solder joint and copper braid used for absorbing excess solder. Two thicknesses of solder and last is a third hand to help hold what you are soldering.



When you are soldering or tinning a wire the heat should be applied to one side of the wire then the solder to the other side. When the wire becomes hot enough the solder will flow along and through the whole joint. The finished solder joint should be smooth, bright and shiny. When soldering Deans type connectors make sure you plug them together it will act as a heat sink and keep the connector from melting. With EC style connectors I have a wooden block that I can push the connector into standing it upright. I tin the wire and heat the outside of the connector filling up the cavity about 2/3 full with solder. Keep the heat on the connector to keep the solder fluid insert the tinned wire into the cavity. Keep the heat on for just a bit longer then remove and let set up. The joint should be smooth and shiny with no solder slop on the outside.



Old 04-19-2020, 02:31 PM
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another thing to keep in mind is whether or not the wire you are trying to solder is coated like headphone wire... these can be a pain in the a**. that coating has to be removed

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