Any Soldering/shielding hints?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SLiGhTLy_STooPiD, Aug 12, 2001.

  1. SLiGhTLy_STooPiD

    SLiGhTLy_STooPiD Guest

    May 27, 2000
    Des Moines, IA
    I'll soon be putting in a new pickup in my fender Musicmaster. I've never done anything like this ever, I've only seen the guys at the pro-shop do it to guitars, once. hey, its a rare sight!

    the reason i want to do it myself is the pro-shop says it'll be an hourly charge + cost of supplies + pickup. And they only want to use THEIR pickup choice which is very much over priced. I wanted to buy the brand/model pickup I wanted and bring it in but they didn't like that idea. So it's gonna cost roughly $225 for the whole shebang.

    Anyway, today I picked up a soldering kit at Radio Shack and got copper shielding tape, the pickup, pots, and all the other guts the guy said are needed. All together it cost about $100.

    Any books, websites, info you can offer? will a 16 yr old with good logic easily screw up soldering?
  2. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Here's a good`un (click) tho it's mostly for PCB's.

    Ya' really gotta' TRY to screw things up. Solderin's easy :D. Just do a little
    practicin' first on some scrap wires. Also, try to plan ahead as much as possible.
    Put down the shielding tape FIRST. If you're usin' heat shrink on a splice, put it
    on BEFORE you join the two wires. Don't use too much wire between components.
    Too little wire will give ya' headaches too, tho. Try to guess-timate the whole
    assembly in it's final "configuration" (in the bass) and go from there.

    Does your bass look like this? If so, what kinda' pup you puttin' in?

  3. merlin

    merlin Guest

    Ok soldering is easy. Being a electronics tech head who studied soldering as a course, its damn straight forward.

    Most cheapo soldering irons like the one u got heat up to around 360-400 degrees Celsius. Therefore no matter how much you solder, don't hold the soldering iron in the same spot for more than 3 seconds.

    Try to use solder that is 0.7mm or 0.8 mm with flux inside the core (usually has whats in the solder on the packet).

    When u solder the wires, heat for 2 seconds, place the solder in between the iron tip and the wire/component. When the solder runs onto the wire, pull the iron away and don't move the wire. Dodgy solder joints occur when the wire moves in the "plastic" stage of hardening. A good soldered wire should have the "strands" of the wire visible, so don't use much solder, lumps of solder indicate poor soldering.

    I suggest going to radio shack and buying the following:

    1> Perf Board its brown with tonnes of holes in it and on one side is copper lines. comes in multiple of sizes, and cheap too.

    2. By a hand of resistors and some wire etc. Resistors in Australia cost like 2 cents. should be about that where ever u are.

    3. Sit at home and solder like hell until it feel comfortable.

    Oh and wet a sponge and constantly wipe the tip when u have the iron on, it stops oxide.

    That should cover the basics, if u want a more indepth run down email me!.

  4. armidex

    armidex Guest

    Apr 28, 2000
    Australia, Sydney
    Yay! Go Merls Go Merls!

    :D sorry couldnt really resist

    Not that i can offer any advice besides listen to Merls because he's my soldering god hehhe

    Merls you should post some stuff that u made like that amp and stuff

    anway cya later:cool:
  5. merlin

    merlin Guest

    hehe yeah "What Not To Do In Electronics!"

    Well anywho i was hunting around the net and found the following diagram and website. It was amazing to see how many of the so called "help" pages get it wrong. And how crap the info was.

    Here's what a good solder joint of a component should look like:


  6. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I hesitate to contradict because I never took a course in soldering but.....
    Flux or acid core solders tend to etch the metal as a cleaning agent. This over time can be mildly corrosive to small electrical components. I do a lot of speaker/amp soldering and our shop won't use it.

    Also, when you go to solder your tone cap you need to be FAST. Those things can overheat and burn out in the blink of a eye.

    I like to put a little solder on the tip of the gun and just tack it on. If it's something that's going to take a lot of vibration, you need a cap with long legs and a heat sink. Or a whole hand full of short ones.
  7. SLiGhTLy_STooPiD

    SLiGhTLy_STooPiD Guest

    May 27, 2000
    Des Moines, IA
    Yeah! It looks exactly like that. I'll be putting in a single coil dimarzio virtual vintage GUITAR pickup.

    And thanks to everyone for the help, I'll have to go out and buy some stuff to begin practicing!
  8. :confused: I thought it was only semiconductors eg. diodes, transistors, IC's etc. that are prone to damage from soldering heat.
    I've never had problems with tone cap's getting damaged.
  9. tone cap = Capacitor = Semiconductor.

    So you're both right:) But anything can be burnt up if you heat it up to much. I used to wire mod-chips in Playstations for extra money. That makes you get really good really quick! Burn up something, $100 mistake...on somebody else's equipment. I just practiced on lots of old computer hardware...modems/MB's/Sound Cards. Teaches you to solder in close spaces!

    P.S. - Use water clean-up solder, it's easy to find, breeze to clean up, and won't eat up your connections in 3 years:)
  10. Acid core is bad, rosin-core is good. Acid core is for plumbing and will eat the components. Rosin core is necessary for a good joint, and will not harm the components. If you try and solder without any rosin at all, it will not work, it'll just bead up and not stick.

    Just to clarify:
    Flux is any cleaning agent used in soldering or welding. "Acid" is a type of flux used in plumbing, that is bad for electrical or electronic work. "Rosin" is a type of flux used for electronics and electrical soldering. The "core" part means it is inside the solder itself.

    No reason to fear Rosin core solder. That's what you're supposed to use to get a good flow.

  11. Actually, a tone cap is a capacitor, but a capacitor is not a semiconductor. A semiconductor refers to a silicon or germanium based device for the most part, not a passive component like a capacitor, which would be an insulator, not any kind of conductor.

  12. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    "If you try and solder without any rosin at all, it will not work, it'll just bead up and not stick."

    Sh*t! you mean to tell me that all the joints We've soldered, in all the speakers we've built and all the comercial sound systems we've installed in the last ten years aren't sticking? Wait 'till I tell the boss, he's gonna have a cow! I knew I should have taken that course....;-)
  13. pkr2

    pkr2 Guest

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    P.S. - Use water clean-up solder, it's easy to find, breeze to clean up, and won't eat up your connections in 3 years [tufnuts]

    Enlighten me please. I've done lots of soldering at a professional level but I've never heard of "water clean up solder". Who makes it and where can I read up on it? Rosin is not water soluble and is the industry standard for electrical use. It has even been used to caulk the seams in boats. Acid is water soluble but no one with a good grounding in soldering would use it for soldering electrical wiring.

    A ceramic disk (commonly used for a tone cap) is not very heat sensitive at all. It's manufacturing process requires high heat. Some of the plastic encapulated caps are pretty heat sensitive because the heat conducts up the lead and can melt the plastic. Not likely to be used as the tone cap in a guitar, although it would work.

    Use a heat sink between the solder joint and the body of the device and theres no worry with overheating the part.

    If you want to do some fun soldering, solder some of the static sensitive solid state stuff. A grounding cuff has to be worn while soldering or you could ruin a part just by touching it with your fingertip. Hairy stuff.

  14. Some tips from someone who is horrible at soldering: :D

    Plan everything out ahead of time.

    Be patient and take time to do everything right. By being cautious you'll save time because you won't have to go back and redo anything.

    If the job that you are doing is such that you have to hold the wires in place while the solder dries (you don't want them to move at all), either wear some gloves or have a pliers to hold them. They can get pretty hot.

    Make sure you have enough length on the wires from the pickup so that you can remove the pickguard easily without breaking anything.. but you also need to make sure that everything will fit back in the control cavity.

    One question:

    I recently wired up a passive PJ config in my bass, and the tone pot has started scratching a bit. Is this a sign of a burnt out capacitor?
  15. SLiGhTLy_STooPiD

    SLiGhTLy_STooPiD Guest

    May 27, 2000
    Des Moines, IA
    1. Will i have to strip a little of the wire (from insulated wire) to expose the core before soldering it? Or I just let the outside covering melt with everything?

    2. Will i have to bother with the wire leading from the bridge?
    --I'm gonna just cut it off from the old tone control and solder it onto the new tone. Is this the correct thing to do?

    3. What does that dinky little capacitor do?

    4. Do i have to do anything to the tone/volume control things before soldering the wires to it?

    5. What surfaces should the shielding tape cover? (Just the inside of where all the guts are? Should it go on the surfaces around the actual pickup?) I really have no clue about the idea of shielding, people have just told me to put in some shielding tape while i'm at it...

    This is getting pretty scary!
  16. merlin

    merlin Guest

    oK strip the wire back about 1 cm max! And then twist the brands into a nice firm end Then run your soldering iron up and down the length of the exposed wire and apply solder. This is known as tinning. That way you get a solid connection.

    As for the "putting solder on the tip" don't do that. What soldering is, is a bonding of two metals, its not the sticking of two bits together. By tacking it on, you create a dry joint that can easily be just chipped off.

    As for the flux, when you have finished any kind of soldering clean the joints with a toothbrush thats been dipped in some form of alcohol. Usually Isopropal. Meths does the trick too. Alcohols evaporate quickly and therefore do not contaminate your joints.

    Ok a capacitor is not a semiconductor. Semiconductors are comprised of mainly Silicon and sometimes Germanium. These elements have 4 electrons in their outer shell so they can give or take e-. They can "semi conduct". Capacitors are two plates of metal separated by a dielectric, sometimes paper, sometimes a paste, sometimes just air. They block DC voltage and allow AC to pass. They are by no means a semiconductor.

    Ok my volume pot was scratchy, and i just replaced the pot. It can be fixed by spraying some lubrication like WD40 or RP7 into the shaft and moving it back and forth.

    A suspect cap usually leaks, bulges, or dries out due to excessive heat.

    Umm nuff said for now.


  17. SLiGhTLy_STooPiD

    SLiGhTLy_STooPiD Guest

    May 27, 2000
    Des Moines, IA
    Just an update, I did everything myself today and it works!! :)

    It took almost 3 hours with the help of my cousin (well he was just kinda there for company. He's a drummer) I picked up schaller tuners yesterday and my gotoh bridge also arrived yesterday. And today we put everything in and it sounds great! Much less hum, better tone, it sounds hotter, easier to play, and just like a very good bass. There was some fumbling with soldering, but I got the hang of it. thanks for all your help everyone!!
  18. Chris J

    Chris J Inactive

    New tuners? A new bridge? New pickups? Shielding? Sounds to me like you either beat that thing bad or are doing everything short of re-building it. In any case, it sounds to me like you got a real good bass there. Doing mods on bass breath new life into it. You're gonna have fun with that.

    Someone said that holding the iron on the tone cap for too long will fry it good. I guess I'm lucky. I replaced a pup and trying to melt the old solder, (which was extremely hard to find. Not to mention poorly done) I held the iron on there for about 1 minute and a half. :eek: Everything works great now though.
  19. SLiGhTLy_STooPiD

    SLiGhTLy_STooPiD Guest

    May 27, 2000
    Des Moines, IA
    Man, this thing was beat! Buckle rash, scratches, rusty tuners, alot of cosmetic stuff. I found this for 50 bucks. Everything was working but I just don't like fender stock pickups and the rest of the stuff I just thought would make it much more playable. The new things I added on all together cost roughly $200. I don't think that's too much, plus now i have a bass exactly to my likings.
  20. Modifying is so fun!

    As soon as Hipshot sends me the tuners and bridge I ordered 20 days ago (I sent an email and they said they were having problems getting the tuners back from the company that plates them), the only original things on my Peavey will be the neck, body, and pickguard.

    I don't think I'll be modifying it any further though.. I like the neck and don't see anything wrong with the body.