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Do I need a solder pot?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Chris Carlen, Oct 20, 2005.

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  1. Chris Carlen

    Chris Carlen Guest


    I am using 4 twisted strands of 20 ga. Beldsol magnet wire to wind some
    Apex SA60 PWM amp output filter inductors on Kool-mu toroids, for 10A
    continuous carrying capacity, 15A short-term.

    It was quite a chore stripping the ends for the first pair I made, and
    now I have to make 4 more pairs. I tried using a big blob of solder on
    the tip of a soldering iron at first, but this didn't work well due to
    heat sinking by the thick wire (even though the strands were separated
    for about 0.75 inch). And it's hard to get a well controlled length of
    the tinned end.

    I suppose the right way to do this is with a solder pot. I could then
    simply dip the strands to the desired depth, and presto!

    But what about fluxing? Does one simply keep a thin layer of flux on
    top of the solder pool when using a pot? Does it smoke all the time?

    I don't want to spend a lot of money on one. I'm thinking of this:

    Probably the 800F one, and a variac to give crude temp control.

    Your input regarding solder pot experience appreciated.

    Good day!

    Christopher R. Carlen
    Principal Laser&Electronics Technologist
    Sandia National Laboratories CA USA

    NOTE, delete texts: "RemoveThis" and
    "BOGUS" from email address to reply.
  2. GregS

    GregS Guest

    I think that would work. Beldsol comes off at 700 deg, so
    it should be a breeze. I have never actually done this, but the flux would not stay
    without burning off also. The metal should be clean as the insulation melts
    away. Doing your first pair will also improve your soldering speed. Taking the insulation
    off is the biggest problem. Only 3 more pairs!!

  3. There are 3 holes in the feet of the pot. SCREW THEM TO THE BENCH. That
    sonofabitch makes one hell of a splash when it gets knocked off the bench.

    It doesn't do the soles of your shoes much good, either. God forbid you are
    wearing sandals or shorts that day.

    Flux not required.


  4. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    Of course, the cheap-and-cheerful method is to use a Bic lighter. Works
    great on Formvar.


    Phil Hobbs
  5. Chris Carlen

    Chris Carlen Guest

    Does the absence of flux allow dross to build up on the liquid surface?

    Good day!

    Christopher R. Carlen
    Principal Laser&Electronics Technologist
    Sandia National Laboratories CA USA

    NOTE, delete texts: "RemoveThis" and
    "BOGUS" from email address to reply.
  6. Pooh Bear

    Pooh Bear Guest

    A solder pot would make sense if you were doing lots.

    What temp tip did you try for the tinning ? It needs to be rather hotter
    than for normal electronic soldering to burn off the 'enamel'.

    You can actually get a dedicated 'stripper' for enamelled wire but I'm
    afraid I don't know where you'd find one offhand.

    I expect if you had a copy of "Coil Winding International" it would tell
    you. There is such a magazine btw. I once got onto its circulation list by
    accident. Great reading ! Loads of stuff you never expected to find out
    about. ;-)

  7. Pooh Bear

    Pooh Bear Guest

    It does.

    I've seen a *big* 'solder pot' at our previous sub-contractor's facility in Bombay
    which they used for dip soldering.

    Before use, someone runs a straight edge over the top to clean of the dross. No
    safety considerations of course. I expect the place is full of lead oxide dust and

    Any flux would simply instantly burn. The pcbs got a quick dip in liquid flux
    before solder dipping btw. Awful 'technology'. Yuk.

  8. Pooh Bear

    Pooh Bear Guest

    I find that a 900F tip is needed to encourage the 'enamel' to play quickly.

  9. Genome

    Genome Guest

    If yoyur wire ixs gtfhick then tyou grabit between vsome plt3eras, pliers zn
    andc rotate gthem to get t5he insdulat8ion ogfftr.

  10. If this has self-fluxing polyurethane varnish, beware of the fumes.
    They may not smell particularly strongly but they are very toxic in
    extremely small quantities and the effects take a long while to show up.

    Do it in the open air or next to a powerful extractor fan.

    (Look up 'isocyanates)
  11. Guest

    I've used a file to clean up the ends of heavy gauge wire, but it is
    slow - though all you have to do its to clean off enough of the
    insulation to allow the solder to wet the copper, to give you good
    enough thermal contact to get the copper hot enough to burn off
    "self-fluxing" insulation. At Cambridge Instruments each coilwinder had
    his or her own solder-pot, fixed to their bench and fitted with a
    close-fitting lid with one wire-sized opening.
  12. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    If it was that 24-ga. POTS trunk wire that you scrounge in 6' - 10'
    chunks at construction sites, with the vinyl insulation, you can
    strip that stuff with your teeth. Or a dikes, if you have just the
    right touch. With enamel, however, all bets are off. I'd warm it
    up just a little, and take some steel wool to it. But, if it's the
    kind of enamel that's _supposed_ to be burned off, then a solder
    pot would probably do the trick, if you can put up with the mess
    and the smell. And, as has been said, you'd probably have to turn
    it up way higher than a comfortable soldering temperature to burn
    off the stuff.

    If you were talking about production quantities, I'd say get a
    centrifugal wire stripper:
    turns up this guy, which looks handier than a rat! :)

    If you want to spend money on a tool specifically to strip enameled
    wire, I'd vote this over a solder pot, like, yesterday. :)

  13. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    A few years ago, I worked for a battery charger mfr. who made their
    own transformers. They'd strip #9 square and #13 square wire with
    a die grinder. :) Yes, most of their transformers used square wire.
    I think they even had some #16 square or so for the primaries. I'm
    pretty sure the numbers map onto AWG numbers, presumably by the

  14. Barry Lennox

    Barry Lennox Guest

    I acquired a used one (A Royel #111) several years ago, and it's a
    very handy tool for doing exactly what you describe. The trick is to
    feed the wire in a little slowly at the stage, when the insulation
    starts to bubble and peel, you can increase the feed rate. It takes
    longer to write it than do it. For very thick wire, I use a Stanley
    knife to make one score along the insulation prior to dipping, that

    It's also very useful for terminating wires onto coil formers, just
    wrap the wire around the pin, then gently immerse the pins into the

    I also use it for tinning heavy copper stranded cables (battery
    cables) and that is the only time I use flux, just some RMA on the
    cable, not in the pot.

    Two words of caution, MAKE SURE it's bolted down, I'd hate to knock
    one over! And flux makes them a little smokey, open the doors and use
    a fan.

    I have also read somewhere that adding a small piece of Asprin lets
    the pot strip the more agressive hi-temp wire insulation. I have never
    been game enough to try this, has anybody else?

    Barry Lennox
  15. Chris Carlen

    Chris Carlen Guest

    Well that's a tool I'd often wondered if it existed. So at least for
    now it'll be in my bookmarks.


    Good day!

    Christopher R. Carlen
    Principal Laser&Electronics Technologist
    Sandia National Laboratories CA USA

    NOTE, delete texts: "RemoveThis" and
    "BOGUS" from email address to reply.
  16. In LeftPondia, I believe Eraser makes zumting similar.

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
  17. Pooh Bear

    Pooh Bear Guest

    That was the kind of thing I had in mind too.

    Does a nice job.


  18. I had a six inch round solder pot that i used to salvage dip ICs from
    PC boards. I would float part of the PC board on the surface, then use
    a pair of channel lock pliers to pull out the chips. Then I would tap
    the board against the edge of the pot. If the passives had straight
    leads they would fly off the board against the back of the aluminum
    shield on the bench. I filled a lot of coffee cans with resistors,
    capacitors and TO-92 transistors before it disappeared from a rental
    warehouse. Its the only process where I ended up with more solder than
    I started with. ;-) I had a large coffee can full of lumps of used
    solder that were poured out of the pot and into an aluminum pan.
  19. So, did you get little "lead soldier" molds and remelt it? ;-P

  20. Chris Jones

    Chris Jones Guest

    If you could afford a cylinder of argon or perhaps just nitrogen, then you
    could keep oxygen away from the surface. Seems a bit OTT for wire
    stripping though.

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