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General soldering

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Cernael, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Cernael


    Jun 28, 2008
    I'm trying to wire together my old Stratish guitar in new & more interesting ways, but came across a problem; the wires from the pickups is of the "core+shield" variety, and as I wired the shield from the bridge pickup to the switch (as the wiring scheme I deviced demands), it melted through the insulation to the core wire, shorting the pickup.

    Any suggestions as to what I do wrong? I've read some references-in-passing to "heat sink"; what is it, and how & why should I use it?

    And while we're at it, I think part of the problem might be that I tried to avoid cold joints, by making sure (as best I could) that I heated the wire/switch rather than the solder, but I'm still not sure I managed to avoid them all around.

    My iron is marked at 30W, and I'm using (I think) a resin-core lead-free solder.
  2. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    In this case, a heat sink is referring to a small metal clip that would be clipped on the wire to be soldered, above the solder point to keep heat from traveling up the wire and melting the insulation (or damaging other sensitive component).
    Like a tiny alligator clip, roach clip, hemostat, whatever...
  3. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    How is the tip on the soldering iron? If it's old and oxidized, replacing it could help reduce the amount of time it takes to melt solder for a "hot" solder joint.

    Also, the thinner gauge solder you use, the shorter it will take to melt it properly (definitely keep the rosin core).

    Using the heat sink like Thangfish suggests is also a good idea.
  4. electroken


    Sep 2, 2008
    Shelton, CT
    Most, if not all of the lead-free solders have a higher melting point than good old-fashioned 37% Pb / 63% Sn eutectic solder. If you can find some of that, your 30W iron will get the job done with less chance of frying the cable insulation.
  5. lowtide

    lowtide Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2006
    Bradenton, Florida
    Owner: Buzzard's Bass Shop
    60/40 rosin core solder

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