Advice On Soldering This Kind Of Wire..

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ZenG, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. I have a pickup that has the type of wire as shown below. It has an inner wire and then an outer
    ground sleeve.

    Mine is not EXACTLY the same as the wire in pic.


    It is so lightweight and wispy that it's almost impossible to do anything with it solderwise, because when you handle it to any degree the wispy strands break off.

    But it needs to be soldered or somehow otherwise attached to a groundpoint on the pot.

    ANY suggestions?

    FenderB likes this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I know what you mean I hate that kind of shielding. I don't know of any way to deal with it other than careful soldering. Hoping someone has better suggestions.
  3. Try to unwind it from around the cable the twirl it together for strength. Then pre tin and it should be strong enough to jumper from or to reach your ground point. On weaker wires or smaller guage I will hook splice and shrink wrap a jumper
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Carefully trim back the outer braid to as neat as you can get it. Tin the braid all the way around. Tack solder a small piece of wire to the braid, and attach that wire to your ground node. I can post a pic in a little while if you think that would be helpful.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  5. Please do...:thumbsup:

    Pics are always good..
  6. For difficult soldering operations you could use solder bearing flux. It has powdered silver alloy solder mixed in with the paste flux compound.

    SOLDER-IT Silver Bearing Solder Paste-SP-7 - The Home Depot

    You could also crimp a short "pigtail" wire that is easier to solder to the fine braided shield by using a ferrule.

    Edit: Deleted the word acid above because as 2tonic pointed out acid flux is not appropriate for electrical work.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
    FNHScar17s likes this.
  7. Any braided shield, I use a sharp pointed pick to separate the braid and open up a hole right next to rhe outer jacket. Then get the pick underneath the inner jacketed conductor and pry it up through the hole in the braid. Flatten out the empty braid and solder.

    This method puts the least stress on the braid and aĺlows for the braid to relieve some of the strain on the cable.
  8. bluesfanjp

    bluesfanjp Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2015
    Passinwind has you in the right track. Watch the heat! Don't linger with the iron or you can heat up the shield wire to the point where it will melt the inner insulation and short to the inner conductor. There must be a youtube video on this?
  9. If you pull the inner conductor out of the braid, heat is no longer an issue. You can even use a pair of needle nose pliers between the outer jacket and the soldering area on the braid as a heat sink to prevent heating the inner insulation.
    Relsom and bholder like this.
  10. FenderB

    FenderB Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    Change the wire all the way back.
    Westsailor likes this.
  11. rmars


    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    I did this exact thing with some SX pickups and the pickups in my buddies Brubaker Brute.
  12. Picking the braid apart breaks the strands. I found a Youtube video of the method I described:
  13. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    I usually srtrip back the insulation about 1.5".

    Unbraid the wire or carefully loosen the braid and pull the center wire core and insulation through.

    Fan/spread the shield wire to ease for soldering with a good sized soldering iron.

    I don't use the big one on the other wires.
  14. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    Yes this is what works for me.
  15. BooDoggie

    BooDoggie Typical Dumb-ass with a degree

    Mar 29, 2014
    Sounds to me like what you are describing is an ultra thin 20 or 22 gauge wire that has a layer of super thin copper rapped around the core wire rather than braided... ???
    If you don't have a proper wire stripper tool with the right gauge opening then you need to use a somewhat dull knife to carefully cut through the outer cover without damaging the fragile shielding wires then carefully twist them together. IF you loose a few strands it is really no big deal just as long as you still have more than half. Pre-tin the wire before soldering it in place using as little heat as you can.
    Never use an un-shielded extension longer than about 3/4" to reach the grounding point or you may get RFI noise or a hum from the wire to the pickup.
    ^^^^ This is not a good idea. ^^^^
  16. rmars


    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    Ok if you say so. Bass is fully shielded and makes no noise. I've never needed to use shielded housing for single coil pickups nor have any of the Lollar, Fralin, Duncan or Fender single coils I've purchase and installed over the years been equipt with shielded housing.
  17. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If there's enough length, something that might help with the durability of the shield wire on that is this: Slide some heat shrink down the wire before stripping and unbraiding. Right after you twist the bare wires together, slip the heat shrink up so the end covers a bit of the twist (leaving enough to solder to ground), and shrink it down. This would bury and protect those bare single strands.
    Hoochie Coochie Man likes this.
  18. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    OK. I want to stress that I use this method primarily for 22AWG MilSpec Teflon wire where handling the braid must be minimized as much as possible. I use wire like this a ton. It takes a lot of work to melt the insulation and I have never yet managed to do that to the point of creating a short. OTOH, the stuff in your pic in the OP will probably melt if you look at it sideways. As with most soldering, getting in and out quickly is key.

    If done carefully you can apply heatshrink around the whole deal and end up with a pretty decent cosmetic look. For these pics I just did a quick and dirty example, which took around two minutes from start to finish, tops.




    One bonus to this approach is the ability to tie several ground wires to one shield neatly and quickly.
  19. keto


    Mar 3, 2016
    I’m with those who slice a slit in the shielding then pull the inner core through the hole. Then twist up the shielding, and tin it. I go a little longer than I think I’ll need, can always trim back the tinned piece with side cutters. Did a big pedal board’s worth of custom cables that way, a bit time consuming but worked really well.
  20. I always use heatsink clips with shielded cable. It's the best way I've found to stop the inner insulation from melting. One of mine, I've filed the tips for tighter access. I've used some very fine shielded wire over the years and never had a problem. OD as thin as 2mm in fact.

    Teflon wire is of course a different story. Before all the solderless connectors, the old emgs had this stuff. You can solder the braid right on to a pot casing without unpicking it.

    If the braided shield is really fine and tight, I'd test the heat resistance of the inner. Perhaps you actually have teflon wire that passingwind has shown afterall...?