Author Topic: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs  (Read 3319 times)

G8B4Life

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Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« on: December 17, 2015, 07:10:13 AM »
Just wondering what techniques / ideas others have for soldering wires to each other when hardwiring an install. Specifically, I really hate trying to join two wires end-on (eg, pick up wires); and then adding the harness wire as well. Please note miniature connectors aren't really an option.

Previously (back when I installed some DCC decoders) I tried having a small piece of vero board and soldering to the traces on that which worked ok but even that is no good anymore expect for a few certain wide body loco's now that I'm using sound.

Any good techniques / ideas / tips anyone?

- Tim

William Brillinger

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2015, 08:36:31 AM »
I like to:
  • slip a piece of shrink tube over one of the wires
  • bare a few mm's of each wire and tin them
  • heat one of the ends and set the other wire onto it, making a lap joint
  • slip the shrink tube over the joint
  • heat the shrink tube with the iron to seal it in place
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KPack

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2015, 11:07:26 AM »
Similar to Bill for me.  When I solder two wires together I use one of those desktop hobby alligator clip thingies.  I have no idea what it's called.  Basically a series of arms with two alligator clips, one for each wire. I position them so the wires are touching, and it holds everything in place while I solder the two togther.  Then shrink tube over the joint.

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William Brillinger

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2015, 11:21:33 AM »
Yes, I use the "helping hands" to hold one end, I prefer to have the other end free for adjustments.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=helping+hand+magnifier

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nodcc4me

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2015, 11:47:14 AM »
I also use lap joints with a little flux and shrink tube. If there is room I use a barbecue ignitor with a small flame near the tubing. Of course, you have to be careful of nearby wires and you don't want to melt the tubing. If there isn't enough room I use the soldering iron.
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Prostreetamx

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2015, 12:22:41 PM »
I use a piece of PC board tie to solder my light commons on some of my hard wire installs.This gives me multiple locations to put all the + common light wires on without making a big lumpy all in one splice. I also use a stand like the one shown for normal but splices. You have to be really careful not to move the joint until it fully cools to avoid a joint that will fail. You want a nice shinny joint not a dull, rough looking one. If you pretin both wires, it works much better.
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hirailer

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2015, 03:34:39 PM »
For my solder joints I use:

   .08 mm 60/40 Rosin core solder
    15 watt soldering iron
    small heat shrink tubing

I start by stripping the wire back about 1/4 in. and apply solder to each end, this is called "tinning".
Join the two parts to be soldered in a lap style of joint and apply heat. Hold the iron on the joint only long enough for the solder to melt and then remove the iron.
Soldering with too much heat can damage components such as modules, LED's etc.

I also use my"helping hands" to hold parts while soldering, depends what I'm soldering.

I have a small tip on my heat gun which works pretty good, there again, in and out quickly. The side of the soldering iron works in small places.

Practice, practice, practice. Soon you will be a pro  :D :D

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hirailer

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2015, 06:27:42 PM »
This is my set up for soldering small parts in my "helping hands". I took two spring hair clips and put heat shrink tubing on the ends and placed them in the "helping hands". This works very well for holding small things like SMD's.

IMG_1373 (800x450).jpg

Mel
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G8B4Life

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2015, 08:18:08 AM »
Thanks everyone.

I don't own one of those helping hands devices, many I've seen are not that great quality and I've used them with little success on other projects at work; however I do like Mel's idea of the hair clips with the heatshrink for grip, this would overcome the problem of not so great quality alligator clips not being able to hold the thin wire we use. Looks like I'll be hunting for a quality set of helping hands and a few other supplies.

- Tim

yvesmary

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2015, 08:01:33 PM »
The trouble with the helping hand is that it crushes the insulation on small wires. I tried filing the teeth on the alligator clips flat but then it doesn't hold very well.

So Mel's tip of using hair clips is nifty.

Yves
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William Brillinger

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Re: Soldering techniques for hardwiring installs
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2015, 08:20:11 PM »
I agree, the hair clips are a great tip!
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.