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Soldering tips and tricks – soldering101

One of the main objectives of Repairs101 is to share what tips & tricks I’ve learned on the job over a few decades. Soldering is one of those skills that can take a lifetime to master but can be learned by anyone with an interest in learning. It is an indispensable skill for mechanics and other handymen/women.

Alright, whether you’re soldering with a torch or in iron, here are some tips and tricks and best practices you’ll find helpful and some “what not to do’s” that you’ll want to look out for. This episode of Repairs101 is sponsored by Princess Auto. Check out princessauto.com for all your soldering needs. This guy taught me that the foreman’s first job is the safety of his crew. So welcome aboard and please put on your protective eyewear.

You’ll want some gloves. You’ll want to keep an eye out for stuff catching on fire. And you’ll want to wear a respirator. Now, before you think about firing up or plugging in you want to be sure your tip is clean. Nothing but bare metal. Use a file, an emery cloth, sandpaper, whatever. Clean – no black spots, no pitting. Next you’ll want to “tin” the tip with a coat of Rosin Core, wiped smooth and clean with a wet rag or a sponge. Whatever you’re soldering make sure it’s clean – no paint, rust, oil, dirt, tarnish, fingerprints and preferably no old solder.

You know, solder itself is not particularly strong. So you want to establish a strong mechanical joint and then add strength, and safety, and conductivity with your solder. People often question my choice to crimp and solder heavy electrical cables but this is why I do it. For example I attached this switch to a gator clip by soldering the lock screw shut and bonding the wire to the clip. Keep in mind that acid flux is highly corrosive so wear gloves and clean up afterwards.

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