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  1. #1
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    soldering large wires

    Do you have any tips for soldering large wires? I suspect the answer here is to get a better soldering iron but maybe I'm wrong. I generally use a TS-100 for everything. I have a larger tip on it but I still struggle with larger wire e.g. 12awg+

    For example, With XT60 connectors, I can solder them up without issue. Moving to XT90, the plastic usually melts before I can get all the solder in. Removing the bullets on the xt90, soldering them and reinstalling them works but It's not always possible. My castle motor has some really nice large solder joints on it. How was this done?


  2. #2
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    For 14ga and higher you should really have an iron rated at 80W or higher. You also want to put solder flux on the wires before you tin them. Without the proper iron and technique, you are putting A LOT of excess heat into the material before the iron gets to the point where it will actually melt the solder and allow it to flow properly.

    As soon as you touch an iron to the work, the heat is immediately transferred to the work, which cools the iron down. A 80W iron, will dip a little, but will still maintain good temperature for solder melt and flow. A 40W iron on the same material will dip to the point where the heat will not melt the solder, so you have to leave the iron on the work a lot longer to allow the iron to come back up in temperature. The whole time the iron is heating back up, it is transferring heat into your work, that heat is traveling down the wires, melting connectors, damaging the wire insultation, and if the wires are short enough, the heat will hit your ESC/battery, and damage them as well.

    In short, heat is not your friend, so you want to limit contact between the iron and your work. A higher wattage iron allows for this, a lower wattage iron does not.
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  3. #3
    RC Champion Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatscott View Post
    For 14ga and higher you should really have an iron rated at 80W or higher. You also want to put solder flux on the wires before you tin them. Without the proper iron and technique, you are putting A LOT of excess heat into the material before the iron gets to the point where it will actually melt the solder and allow it to flow properly.

    As soon as you touch an iron to the work, the heat is immediately transferred to the work, which cools the iron down. A 80W iron, will dip a little, but will still maintain good temperature for solder melt and flow. A 40W iron on the same material will dip to the point where the heat will not melt the solder, so you have to leave the iron on the work a lot longer to allow the iron to come back up in temperature. The whole time the iron is heating back up, it is transferring heat into your work, that heat is traveling down the wires, melting connectors, damaging the wire insultation, and if the wires are short enough, the heat will hit your ESC/battery, and damage them as well.

    In short, heat is not your friend, so you want to limit contact between the iron and your work. A higher wattage iron allows for this, a lower wattage iron does not.
    Shouldn't that be, "Direct heat is your friends, but secondary heat isn't"? In other words, higher wattage (which equates to a higher soldering iron temp) applied to the solder, and wires being soldered, melts the solder faster (ie. "direct heat"), completing the soldering job faster...but, lower wattage causes one to have to hold the soldering iron onto whatever is being soldered for a lower period of time causes excess heat where you don't want it (ie. "secondary heat"). If I'm getting it wrong, correct my 'misunderstanding'.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Shouldn't that be, "Direct heat is your friends, but secondary heat isn't"? In other words, higher wattage (which equates to a higher soldering iron temp) applied to the solder, and wires being soldered, melts the solder faster (ie. "direct heat"), completing the soldering job faster...but, lower wattage causes one to have to hold the soldering iron onto whatever is being soldered for a lower period of time causes excess heat where you don't want it (ie. "secondary heat"). If I'm getting it wrong, correct my 'misunderstanding'.


    ~ More peace, love, and kindness would make the world a much better place
    What you're saying makes sense. I'm not an expert in soldering but if this is anything like welding, using a temperature that is too low can result in spending more time in one spot. This gives more time for the heat to transfer out making the overall part hotter.

  5. #5
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Shouldn't that be, "Direct heat is your friends, but secondary heat isn't"? In other words, higher wattage (which equates to a higher soldering iron temp) applied to the solder, and wires being soldered, melts the solder faster (ie. "direct heat"), completing the soldering job faster...but, lower wattage causes one to have to hold the soldering iron onto whatever is being soldered for a lower period of time causes excess heat where you don't want it (ie. "secondary heat"). If I'm getting it wrong, correct my 'misunderstanding'.


    ~ More peace, love, and kindness would make the world a much better place
    No, electronics and heat simply are not friends.

    No, higher wattage does not mean a hotter iron, this is a common misunderstanding; a 30w iron and a 100w iron will be the same temp when they are not touching the work. Higher wattage is able to keep the heat at the solder tip, quickly heating the solder and the work, which means less contact time with the work, ultimately resulting in less heat being transferred to other parts of the work. A lower wattage iron canít maintain its temp, drops below the solder melt point, while the iron is heating back up that heat is being transferred to the work, and going where it will cause damage.


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  6. #6
    RC Champion Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatscott View Post
    No, electronics and heat simply are not friends.

    No, higher wattage does not mean a hotter iron, this is a common misunderstanding; a 30w iron and a 100w iron will be the same temp when they are not touching the work. Higher wattage is able to keep the heat at the solder tip, quickly heating the solder and the work, which means less contact time with the work, ultimately resulting in less heat being transferred to other parts of the work. A lower wattage iron canít maintain its temp, drops below the solder melt point, while the iron is heating back up that heat is being transferred to the work, and going where it will cause damage.


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    Ah...got ya...thanks. Just curious, but, then what's the point of having temp control on higher-end soldering irons & workstations?


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  7. #7
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Ah...got ya...thanks. Just curious, but, then what's the point of having temp control on higher-end soldering irons & workstations?
    More control, more tuning, they are "higher end". My TrakPower 950 has a big range for temperature, but I normally keep it right at 700*/f, the same as my 25w iron. The temperature range is fairly handy, I use my 950 for installing brass threaded inserts into PLA parts. I turn the iron down to around 250*C and heat up the brass so that it melts into the part, allowing it to be installed without deformation.
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    RC Champion Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatscott View Post
    More control, more tuning, they are "higher end". My TrakPower 950 has a big range for temperature, but I normally keep it right at 700*/f, the same as my 25w iron. The temperature range is fairly handy, I use my 950 for installing brass threaded inserts into PLA parts. I turn the iron down to around 250*C and heat up the brass so that it melts into the part, allowing it to be installed without deformation.
    Good to know for one I order a 3D printer, and if I ever need to set anything into the printed plastic. I'm "on the verge" of ordering a Prusa Mini+.


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  9. #9
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Good to know for one I order a 3D printer, and if I ever need to set anything into the printed plastic. I'm "on the verge" of ordering a Prusa Mini+.
    I have one on order, I am hoping to receive it here in a week or two. The prebuilt Mini + is about four weeks from ordering to receiving. Last time I checked, they were listing the kit version shipping at about 10-12 weeks after ordering.
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  10. #10
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Nitronaught's Avatar
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    I use this for the larger wires, take a little to get the technique down but works great. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Titan3-M...-151/314864543

    Trick to soldering, flux, keep things clean, keep a wet sponge to wipe off the hot wires when tinning them. It will clean off any contaminants.
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  11. #11
    RC Champion Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitronaught View Post
    I use this for the larger wires, take a little to get the technique down but works great. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Titan3-M...-151/314864543

    Trick to soldering, flux, keep things clean, keep a wet sponge to wipe off the hot wires when tinning them. It will clean off any contaminants.
    "Interesting" technique...sort of a cross between soldering and welding. The "problem" I see is the temp (ie. up to 2,372įF).


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  12. #12
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    I've thought about soldering brass tube around the bigger wire (10ga) then soldering the tube to the motor lug. I always have the larger wire flatten and then the wires are too close for my comfort.

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  13. #13
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. olds97_lss's Avatar
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    I have a smaller 60W iron for 12awg on down and a larger 100W iron for bigger stuff. Both are just cheap amazon irons. I use a rheostat on both with it usually set between 7/8.

    100W with rheostat: https://www.amazon.com/Choice-Staine.../dp/B077BLVDHD
    60W adjustable: https://www.amazon.com/ANBES-Solderi.../dp/B06XZ31W3M

    On the 60W, I just set it to max on it's dial, then put heat shrink over it so it doesn't move, then use the rheostat to control it.

    I started with an old 25W radio shack iron that I used for small electronics for 20 years. But when I started running electric trucks and had to make charging cables, replace ends, install motors, I quickly found that 25W wasn't going to cut it. Then I got the 60W. It was fine until I had some 10AWG wire and wanted to disassemble some lipo packs. It just didn't have enough heat retention.

    The 100W iron is too big/bulky for small stuff, so I use both of them quite often.
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  14. #14
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Nitronaught's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    "Interesting" technique...sort of a cross between soldering and welding. The "problem" I see is the temp (ie. up to 2,372įF).


    ~ More peace, love, and kindness would make the world a much better place
    No problems with temp, it get's hot enough you take the flame away, you can have the same issue with a high wattage soldering iron.

    My trick is to figure out how far to hold the wire so you can feel the wire heating up without burning yourself.... Works very well.... I've soldered a lot of wire in my time. But everyone has their techniques, this is just how I deal with it.
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