Soldering is not just for connecting two or more metal components. It is even used to attach several types of materials, including wires, for a good, strong, and permanent bond. So, if you’re looking for a guide to help you solder wires together, you’re in the right place! We’ll walk you through the steps of soldering wires in an efficient and safe manner.
Supplies and Tools Needed:
- Soldering gun/Soldering iron
- Solder flux
- Heat shrinking tube
- Cover shrink or shrink tube
- Wire stripper
- Heat gun
- Damp cloth or sponge
1. Prepare a safe working station.
It is always ideal for working in a well-ventilated area since soldering wires might consume some of your time. This is true, especially when you are working with lead-based solder. The surfaces of your working area must also be non-flammable because the soldering iron tips can range from 600°F to 800°F.
Related: Best Butane Soldering Irons
2. Prepare the wires.
Make sure the wires should be shiny, brightly cleaned. Doing so will guarantee that they won’t stick to a dirty surface. You can use steel wool, pocket knife, sandpaper, or energy paper for cleaning all the wires (not just the tip). To do this, simply put the blade on the wire to be soldered and then wipe out the sharp edge together with the wire’s length.
Spin it and continue to scrape until you see it is already clear out from corrosion or everything else. Use a sandpaper or file to clean connection posts and terminals (though the latter is much more recommended as the sandpaper tends to leave a granular mess in the items).
3. Cut the wires.
Once cleaned, strip the wires. Either use an automatic or manual wire stripper. For the manual stripper, position the wire into and pop it. Ensure to pull the insulation off while squeezing it. While for those who want to use an automatic wire stripper, just put the wire in and then clip its outer casting.
To make your soldering highly efficient and simple, the wire should be stripped at a similar position. Avoid cutting any of the wire strands as their increased resistance could potentially cause a fire.
4. Choose the right shrink tube.
The shrink tube you’re choosing should not be too large; otherwise, it will not shrink down to the appropriate size. It must be right in size so that it will sufficiently cover the soldered wires.
5. Connect the wires mechanically.
Here, we have two ways to connect the wires.
The first method is twisting the filaments of each and every wire and covering the wires to each other. The ends must be tucked together. The second method is spreading the wire filaments and connecting both wires together. To finish it up, twist the connected wires in order to create a joint wire which you can use for soldering.
6. Add the solder flux.
There are some cases where tinning flux is popular to use. However, keep in mind that it is only recommended if you happen to solder copper together. It won’t stick to aluminum solder wires.
In our case, we are going to use solder flux to the joint wire using a utensil or your own finger. This flux aids the solder to flow in the wire smoothly, therefore, making the soldering process more efficient and simpler. Heat up the joint wire with a solder gun as soon as the flux has been applied. There is also a need to utilize a damp sponge or cloth for wiping out the oxidation.
7. Apply solder.
Hold the covered wires to steady them before soldering. The heat shrink is an ideal material for making sure the helping hand’s alligator teeth are tightly secured. Only a small amount of solder is enough to apply to the connection. Do this with a solder gun or a soldering iron. If you’d like, then check out our recommendations for a good quality soldering iron.
8. Wire soldering.
You are set in soldering the wires. Heat up and make sure every single strand is covered with the solder. Allow the wires to cool afterward. Remember not to touch even the tip during this process. If the wires are completely connected, proceed to the last step.
9. Inspect and cover the joint wires.
Inspect the connection to know whether or not the soldering process was done accordingly. How would you know if you’ve done a good job? The wire filaments must be fully coated by the solder wick. No single strand of copper must be seen through the connection.
For joint covering, use the cover shrink. Heat the shrink tube using a heat gun through moving the source of heat back and forth, so the amount of heat to be released is only adequate. If you want, add a few silicone pastes before you put the shrink tube on the soldered surface so as to make it last longer and waterproof. On the other hand, use electrical tape if you don’t have a shrink tube.
Bear in mind that soldering wires are not just a simple procedure. Make certain to apply these safety precautions to guarantee a satisfying job.
- Wear gloves as well as safety glasses for protecting your eyes against solder splashes.
- Do not solder close to petrol, gas cylinder, and other flammable materials.
- Wash your hands and the work area thoroughly if you are using a solder with lead so that you won’t inhale it.
- Never touch the tip of your soldering gun when soldering.
- Avoid working on live electrical wires.
- Always wash both hands after every soldering process. The case is specifically important if you’re about to grab a meal afterward.
- Keep the cleaning sponge or cloth wet.
Learning how to solder wires together properly is such a highly useful skill one can have. It specifically comes very handily when small appliances, such as electronic items and electric teapots, start to give you trouble. With a little practice and patience, you are guaranteed to save lots of hassles as well as time and money of hiring a professional to do the job.
Now, you’re all completely ready to solder your wire connections like a pro!