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 Post subject: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 4:04 am 
I bought a small solder pot to use for tinning hookup wire. I find that it works fine with mil spec wire but barely picks up any solder when using older rubber covered wire. I bought a NOS 1000 ft. roll of rubber covered wire to use in rewiring radios with deteriorating wiring. Is the age of the wire the issue?


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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 4:34 am 
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The surface of the wire has too much oxide on it. I get this with really old spools of wire and old power cords. If its un-tinned copper you can see if its badly tarnished. Then the solder can't diffuse into the copper.

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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 2:01 pm 
It is tinned copper. Should flux help?


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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 4:32 pm 
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Tinned ... that's a new one on me. I never had problems with already tinned wire. Since its mil spec, ya think it might be silver plated. Then the tarnish issue would still apply. You could always try the flux. It couldn't hurt. If its really tinned, then that may be all it takes. If it doesn't, I'm leaning towards it being silver.

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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 5:06 pm 
Let me clarify. The mil spec wire is tinned and works fine in the solder pot. It's the old Alpha rubber covered wire that will not accept being tinned in the pot. It is not copper colored and silver would be more costly than tin, so I assumed it was tinned. Perhaps someone has an old catalog that would specify the material. The wire type is Alpha 1551 but that number is still used today for PVC covered wire.


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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 6:19 pm 
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The Alpha website, and datasheet, are no help. They still make 1551, though, as you guessed, the insulation is now PVC. They made me register, to download the datasheet. It doesn't mention if the wire is tinned or not. That part of the process, I imagine, they kept the same. The picture for the product, shows bare copper, but the note just under it says, the photo is only a representation, and not of the actual product. They could have just put up a photo of Homer Simpson. :(

Unfortunately, its stranded wire. If it was solid, I'd just take some steel wool, or emory, to it. See how the flux works out.

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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 8:24 pm 
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Normally when you use a solder pot to tin wires, you use bar solder which does not contain flux. Then you put about a quarter-inch of liquid rosin flux (eg. Kester) in a glass tray or dish to dip the wires in before they go into the pot. If you put the flux in the pot, or use rosin core solder, most of the flux ends up airborne, and it rapidly loses effectiveness.

If you are doing all this and the solder won't stick even after 15-20 seconds, the rubber has probably left some kind of contamination on the wire, in which case it might not be practical to use in this fashion.

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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 8:32 pm 
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HI:

HERE IS THE ALPHA INFO.

http://alphawire.com/Products/Wire/Hook ... /1551.aspx

THIS INDICATES IT IS TINNED COPPER.

CHRIS IS CORRECT.

HAVE YOU TRIED SOLDERING THE WIRE WITH ROSIN CORE SOLDER?

WALTER-W2WIQ


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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 8:50 pm 
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If attempting to tin badly oxidized copper wire that is usually rubber covered, the sulpher in the rubber attacks the copper and creates that black coating. You can scrap every strand of the wire clean (ugh), or use sal ammoniac flux, or plumbers inners fluid. Strip the wire about 10% longer than needed, smooth the strands and lightly twist into an even bundle, follow the same twist as the wire. Dip into flux but not up to the insulation and tin, re-dip while hot into flux and tin again. Do not allow the flux to wick beyond the insulation as it may not burn off when tinning. Do not use a grease based acid flux as this material may not completely burn off while tinning.

If there is a problem with the active flux (worries about corrosion) then the real issue is to junk the corroded wire and replace with fresh wire that does not need an aggressive flux.

BTW Under certain conditions, usually heat and or high current certain early plastic coated wire will have this corrosion problem. Often seen in appliances at the stab terminations. The PVC breaks down into a corrosive material that attacks the copper. Some early plastic wiring also turns "gummy" and has broken down. The goo can be cleaned off with light solvent but will return as the plastic continues to degrade.

YMMV

Chas

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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 9:38 pm 
Walter,
It tins just fine with rosin core solder and a soldering iron.


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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Thu 19, 2015 9:59 pm 
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When tinning wires you should always use flux. As Chris mentioned dip wire into flux then the solder. What temp are you using?

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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Fri 20, 2015 12:22 am 
Success! Low temp on solder pot, dip in flux and then into pot for 10 seconds.


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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Fri 20, 2015 3:47 am 
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Never mind.

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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Fri 20, 2015 4:13 am 
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Location: Middlesex,NJ
HI DALE:

IF THE ALPHA 1551 SOLDERS FINE WITH THE ROSIN CORE SOLDER THERE IS N NEED TO USE THE SOLDER POT.USE IT ONLY FOR NON TINNED WIRE DIPPING FIRST INTO THE FLUX.
BESIDES IF IT IS ALREADY TINNED AND YOU ADD MORE SOLDER IT ONLY MAKES IT STIFF AND HARFER TO MANAGE.

WALTER-W2WIQ


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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Tue 24, 2015 5:48 am 
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I would use a little bit of Isopropyl Alcohol in the flux to make it more liquid. This will help also to break down any oils on the wire and help wick the flux into wire strands. There are a lot more aggressive fluxes for plumbing that will work and solve the wetting problem, but you really have totally remove any acid residue. I have done this but followed with an alcohol bath and brush scrubbing in the alcohol bath.

One thing you also need to do is put some flux in the pot, then use a scraper to skim the dross off of the pot periodically, as dross will prevent good soldering. Doss has contaminants from lead and tin breakdown (Tin and lead oxides), and high heat.

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 Post subject: Re: Solder Pot Help
PostPosted: Mar Sun 29, 2015 3:53 am 
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I used to work on soldering issues for the auto industry. What radiosmoker says about dross and thinning flux is true.


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