How Difficult Is Soldering???

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by WoRn FrEtS, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    I felt like the man when I actually soldered in my loaded pickguard to my strat- including grounding it where it needs to be grounded and all that. Probably the most I’ll ever do. Before that I just swapped out speakers, made cables, a few Easy pickup swaps. I’m way too scared to touch an amp with my one- temp pencil soldering thing.
     
  2. Urobouros

    Urobouros Supporting Member

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  3. NotWesYet

    NotWesYet Supporting Member

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    I like the suggestion about twisting the wires!

    Could you recommend the gauge and type of wire for the AC application?

    Currently, it is all green, quite a mess and I figure I might as well do it all correctly and be done with it.
     
  4. Coolidge

    Coolidge Member

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    I use PTFE (Teflon) insulated wire. Silver plated (also called coated). TubeDepot carries it. This plating or top coat stiffens the wire slightly so that if you bend it straight or into a shape it mostly retains that shape. Without the top coating wire comes off the spool with a permanent curl/twist which is quite annoying to work with.

    PTFE insulation is far superior to PVC. It's tough as nails and far thinner than the equivalent gauge/voltage rating of PVC insulated wire. PTFE will be about half as thick as PVC measuring the outside OD of the wire including the insulation. Also has a higher temp rating, TubeDepot's PTFE is rated for 600 volts at 200 degrees Celsius.

    I use 20 gauge for everything. AC heater wire gauge is debated, some say 20 gauge is fine, others say 18 gauge. PTFE 20 gauge meets the requirements because the issue isn't so much the gauge but heat on the insulation and PTFE has a much higher temp rating. Also you may have difficulty cramming 18 gauge wire through preamp tube socket solder terminals due to the size. Some use 22 gauge for everything except heater wiring and 20 for that. I keep it simple and just use 20 gauge for everything.

    In a few signal locations you want to use insulated wire for lowest noise. Here's where I REALLY hate PVC insulated wire. The stuff is THICK, stiff, and the curl from spooling even more annoying. Fortunately TubeDepot carries some Mogami insulated wire that's only .118 inch in diameter and super flexible. https://www.tubedepot.com/products/mogami-w2330-interconnect-wire

    Here's the down side to PTFE wire and the solution. The insulation is tough as nails, heat resistant so won't shrink back from soldering. But how do you strip insulation that tough? Answer, a thermal wire stripper. I use this Patco model which is good for 16-30 gauge wire. Not only does it make stripping PTFE wire easy, you will never damage or clip any wire strands with a thermal wire stripper.

    Note the thumb lever. The way these work is, you press the button to activate the heating element, lower the wire into the glowing hot element and rotate, then raise the wire to the top and pull this dislodges the insulation. The little thumb lever then pops the stripped insulation out of the stripper.

    https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/patco-services-inc/PTS-30/PTS-30-ND/102961
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
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  5. Mojoworkin

    Mojoworkin Supporting Member

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    I'm no pro, but for me, a cheap/inadequate soldering iron is the road to a poor quality job.
     
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  6. Coolidge

    Coolidge Member

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    The new Pace soldering station came in this week.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. WoRn FrEtS

    WoRn FrEtS Member

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    Looks like some $$$ to me.
     
  8. Coolidge

    Coolidge Member

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    Not too bad, $295 plus $79 for a package of 6 different tips.
     
  9. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    Easy if you use leaded solder and everything is free of oxidation. I'm still pretty old school and use rosin flux. That makes the solder flow out nice and even.

    Lead free and clean free flux make soldering more difficult but that's what the industry is doing these days. It's not too hard to adapt if that's all you can get. :knitting
     
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  10. ned7flat5

    ned7flat5 Member

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    Just be prepared to find that no matter how good your soldering appears to you, there’ll always be someone, upon inspecting your work, who’ll disapprovingly shake their head.....
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
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  11. sjwieczorkow

    sjwieczorkow Supporting Member

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    Regarding the masterful wiring displayed in the amp picture a couple pages ago:

    How does one get the wires to lay flat on the chassis like that? It almost seems like they are glued down. I am sure they are NOT, so what is the trick? What keeps them lying flat like that?
     
  12. Coolidge

    Coolidge Member

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    First use wire that's 'top coated' aka plated and silver plated. This surface coat makes the wire stiff so that when you bend it into a shape it retains that shape instead of rebounding back into the curl from being rolled onto a spool.

    Next I tape the wires flat with painters tape before soldering and let them settle in that position for a day or two before removing the tape. They pretty much stay flat after.
     
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  13. sjwieczorkow

    sjwieczorkow Supporting Member

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    Thanks Coolidge. I really appreciate it.
     
  14. Coolidge

    Coolidge Member

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    Soldering is FUN, here's a rear board from a Marshall 100 watt I finished last night. New jacks, effects level pot, wire wound resistors, fixed some former tech's goober, all new Teflon coated wire, some Mogami shielded cable.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. CanuckChris

    CanuckChris Member

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    Don't be like Karen

    [​IMG]

    Also, I'd recommend a third hand tool. Very useful when soldering.
     
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  16. Coolidge

    Coolidge Member

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    Face palm, to infinity.
     
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  17. CanuckChris

    CanuckChris Member

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    I don't know, I like a woman with strong working hands able to withstand flesh searing temperatures ;)
     
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  18. Coolidge

    Coolidge Member

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    And if you can afford it a board vise, I have this Panavise 350.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Supporting Member

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    Those glasses look like those that protect eyes from high powered lasers... so I wonder what she thinks she's doing?
     

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