Seriously need some soldering help!

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by BobSmear, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. BobSmear

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 21, 2015
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    I'm new to soldering, have watched videos and searched the forum. I cannot get two connected wires to solder together properly. I've have tinned the iron tip beautifully according to every expert video I've seen. The solder melts instantly on the tip. Once I touch the iron to the wires it might as well be 30 below zero. The solder will not melt on the wires, the iron, or probably even the sun itself for that moment. The iron is 100 watts. I can't figure this out! Please help a guy out so I don't run out onto the freeway.
     
  2. Dodgydave

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2012
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    Can you video what you're doing with the iron, sounds like you're trying to melt steel wire.
     
  3. BobSmear

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 21, 2015
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    It's 14awg copper wires. I have no way to video at the moment, but it's nothing fancy. Two wires, exposed copper ends twisted together. Tinned iron tip touching in the center of the join, flux paste over the join. Flux sizzles, solder is held to wires. Nothing. Solder is moved to tip. Nothing.
     
  4. Dodgydave

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2012
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    100w solder gun should easily melt 60/40 solder, can you try it over a naked flame, like a candle?
     
  5. ISB123

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2014
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    You need to pre-tin the wires.
     
  6. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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    Hello,

    What kind of wire are you using?
    Bare copper wires should be able to solder easy.
    Enamel wire has an isolation layer on it that will not solder.

    Bertus
     
  7. BobSmear

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 21, 2015
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    I tried pre tinning. Someone just informed me that maybe the copper is disseminating the heat too fast, but I thought people soldered 14 gauge copper wire all the time. Maybe I'll just try a small torch.
     
  8. bwilliams60

    Active Member

    Nov 18, 2012
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    Can you take a picture of the wires you are trying to solder and post. 100W should solder 14 Guage together without too much trouble. How are you joining the wires (Western Union splice?)
     
  9. BobSmear

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 21, 2015
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    I have tried all of the recommendations and now the soldering iron won't even work. It stopped even being able to re tin the tip. It has to be the junk quality of the iron. I searched for reviews and found most at 1 star with the same things happening to them. It's a Weller, which I thought was supposed to be good. I guess it's time to get a different iron, now thatI've used it a whole 3 hours (and a whopping 20 minutes on the last tip).
     
  10. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Odd, I never had problems from a weller. But it sounds like your 100W iron was behaving like a 15W iron. I guess that was your problem. Good thing it failed all the way or you may have walked away from soldering having never figured out why.
     
  11. hp1729

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    A 100 Watt is what I use on lead for stained glass. Overkill for wires. 25 Watt? 35 Watt? Variable iron up to 50 Watt is even a lot.
     
  12. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Ive used a 100w weller gun to solder (3) 8awg wires together. It did that no problem. Overkill for soldering (2) 14awg together, yeah, but apparently still not good enough if defective.



    Bobsplat, did you happen to hold the trigger for a long time without heating anything? Because that's not a temp controlled gun, its just a dumb on/off control, and it puts out enough power to melt its own tip, i have melted the tips on the weller gun before (you just look down and happen to notice the tip has somehow gotten bent more that 45 deg). The tip needs to be in contact with something, something with some thermal mass, to dissipate its heat into; otherwise the tip itself has to radiate all the heat into the air, and it can't do that, it burns up.

    If you unknowingly went too hot and heavy with the gun on a target with insufficient thermal mass, you could have damaged the tip. Try replace it.
     
  13. umphrey

    Member

    Dec 1, 2012
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    14 awg is annoying but shouldn't be too difficult. You have to get a lot of solder on the iron then hold it onto the copper for awhile to heat up the copper enough to get the solder to flow. Try to figure out how to transfer heat to the copper. I tin both sides and put a bunch of solder on the iron then press everything together until it flows.
     
  14. bwilliams60

    Active Member

    Nov 18, 2012
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    Stupid question but is the tip nice and tight?
     
  15. panic mode

    Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2011
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    are the wires coated in enamel?
     
  16. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
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    Have you tried slowly adding more solder to the joint?
     
  17. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    Not just that - the wires have to be clean, free from grease oxide etc.

    I usually cheat by using a more aggressive flux.
     
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