A couple of years ago, I tried installing a humbucker in my seven-string. While I got the pickup in, I couldn't get the solder to adhere to the volume pot. From what I understand, it's because I should've used sandpaper to take off the coating on the metal; or would flux be better?
Anywho, there's a box of cable and connectors waiting for me and I plan to get into it tomorrow. Besides any general soldering pointers, I think I'm better equipped now after some research and fresh in-stock, do any of you regularly complete DIY soldering projects - besides Ethan, of course
To solder to the back of the pot housing you need a pretty hot (high wattage iron). Yes, sanding (I like grey or green Scotch Brite) helps remove corrosion which will cause problems and flux does the same thing chemically so doing both won't hurt. I have an 80 watt Weller with a big fat tip that heats more massive areas up pretty good(I actually bought it for ironing piano hammers and only discovered recently one of the included accessories was that big fat soldering tip...who knew?)
So if you only have, say, a 40 watt iron, you can probably do it, you just need to keep the iron on long enough to heat up the pot and test now and then touching solder the to the work (not the tip except maybe just a tiny bit to start it melting...but that's cheating : ) to see when the solder starts to flow and not just roll around in little balls.
Quick reviews on the 2 above units: I used the Stahl for years, it's OK but the cable to the iron is kinda stiff and has a mind of it's own and it's not detachable from the base so when the iron finally falls apart (after years of use) you can't replace it.
The Weller looks like the same thing in orange but the difference is that the iron is detachable and you can even plug a higher watt iron if if you like. I've had the Weller for several month now and so far so good.
Ah, ok. I have two pencil irons: a 30-watt Radio Shack and a 40-watt Hakko 508. If I recall, I couldn't get the Radio Shack one to work - at least not well - so I got the Hakko. While it did make something happen, the whole situation led me to rethink my approach.
The back of the Radio Shack package says you can use steel wool so I'm going to try that today. I've got a few old cables I plan on doing test runs with. If everything works with these, I'll do the actual 1/4"TRS-to-XLRM ones for my speakers and then look into a variable-wattage soldering station for future work.
The reason Scotch Brite is better is than steel wool sheds steel and you have to be a little careful to not let it get into places where it might cause a short. The different colors indicate the coarseness so if you have an assortment, you can decide what works best for your job. If you're working with new materials you really only need to cloth wipe them a little... but do use a little flux.
BTW, if you do wood finishing, Scotch Brite is better than steel wool again because the little shards sometimes get into the open grain and pores of certain woods like oak.
Pre-tinning your stripped wire ends also helps. As far as tinning goes, never wipe your tip after making a joint. (I mean a solder joint: ). Wipe and clean your tip just before each use, this allows the old solder residue to insulate the tip and keep it from corroding between joints. Lately I've also been using a tip tinner. (you only need to use the tinner once in a while...maybe before every other session?)
You're probably OK with a 30 or 40 watt for average cable connectors. Some if those tiny, plastic 1/8 inch things seem to melt instantly so for that you might need more critical adjustment. If you're working on small components on PCBs you might find less power is better too.
The tip size and shape will help too. For cables and connectors, a medium size "chisel" shape is good. Lay the flat side along the terminal for the most contact area. For small components on PCBs, a smaller conical tip may be better.
Ok, I ordered the Scotch Brite 'gray' today so I'll see how that works.
I actually have that same tip tinner and used it today. Works great!
Thanks for the advice about not wiping my tip after making joints. That'll come in handy depending on who gets elected 💨
Not sure if you mean 1/8" connectors. That's what I tried working on today. Turns out, I'll just need to buy a length of cable for the job because these Rean Neutrik barrels are small the the Radio Shack cable I tried to repurpose is butt-chinned - not sure how to explain it but it's a double-connected insulator instead of one round insulator with everything inside. Still cleaning the electrical tape residue from my fingers from trying to make it work... I guess some heat-shrink insulation would've worked best.
I think you're right about the chisel tip too. That'll be on my upgrade list!
Thanks and I'll be sure to post updates as they arise.
Rock, I got all my stuff from there so that's definitely where I'll look for a thinner cable. I need a balanced cable since it's a 3.5mm TRS-dual RCA. Aren't rack install cables not that durable? Also, what do you think of Hakko vs Weller? I'm not sure which brand to go with for a variable wattage station.
Pasim, did you ground it to the volume pot? For some reason, in my Ibanez 7321, I remember there being four or more wires I had to glob together to the volume pot for grounding. I've considered getting a harness but I feel like that's cheating. Without doubt, my soldering skills - not sure how YOU pronounce it - are in their infancy; you're probably more skilled than I.
Hex, you are correct it is rack and internal cable so it's not for stage use but it's not fragile either and I think there's a middle ground like maybe for studio gear that doesn't get moved a lot and the cable don't lay on the floor in traffic areas.
Did you try to upload an attachment lately? I got an error on the pic i wanted you to see of my little grommets. Soone else compained about the same thing. Seems like we ran out of space?? I sent you,Ethan and Michael L. a message.
Ha Ha, but thanks anyway. Hey but you can't beat the price at $0.19 per foot , this is the balanced stuff. Colors available were black and grey so yeah, it makes it a little easier to keep things sorted out.
Years ago I bought what I believed was that same thing but it's even smaller; 2.5mm and was available in at least red, blue, yellow and purple; maybe more but I couldn't find them the last time I looked . I think that was from Redco too.
Those little grommets are nice to have around but I wouldn't spend $17 on 100 of them just to make a few cables.
Ya, the cable I got for the speaker interconnects is over 5mm but maybe for the RCA. I agree with buying them for just a few and it doesn't seem to make sense to go into the cable assembly business.
I got the first 1/4" TRS - XLRM done and it's super nice. Today I need to make sure to solder the cable on a bit more straight. Not sure if you ever joined the connector too crooked for the barrel to slide on.
Heat shrink is a pretty good strain relief too. If the back hole is larger, you can build up the cable diameter with 1 or 2 short heat shrink lengths. And/or you can put a longer piece over the barrel and a few inches of the cable. For that, you need heat shrink that is just large enough to go over the barrel, If it's too big, it might not shrink down enough to be tight around the cable.
Yeah, you do need to mind the clearance but most 1/4" metal plug housings have a plastic insulator the slides over the connections before you screw the barrel on so you'll know if it's going to fit if you can get the plastic to slide on first.