soldering

Hi. What is the proper way to solder? I am trying to solder 2 copper wires, same material as electrical wires, 14 gauge as a matter of fact together, but the solder won't stick to the wires. I cleaned the wires with sandpaper, but no luck. I am holding the solder on the wires and touching the soldering wires to the solder, but it won't take to the wires. Any help is appreciated. Thanks. Eric
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Are you using flux; either in the solder or brushed on? If not, that is your first mistake.
After that, you should heat the wires so the solder melts on contact.
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Thanks toller. I was not using flux, so mistake #1. Second, just so I understand you, hold the soldering iron so it touches the wires and then touch the solder to the wires themselves, not the soldering iron? Thanks.

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You need solder with a non-corrosive flux for electrical work. It sounds as though the solder you're using has no flux at all.
Moreover, you're supposed to heat the *work* (in your case the wires) with the soldering iron/gun/torch until it's hot enough for the solder to melt when it (i.e., the solder) touches the work.
Here's one how-to site:
http://tools.aubuchonhardware.com/do_it_yourself_projects/how_to_solder.asp
Perce
On 05/17/05 06:40 pm Eric and Megan Swope tossed the following ingredients into the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

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Eric and Megan Swope, 5/17/2005, 6:40:25 PM, wrote:

The wire has to become very hot before the solder will melt onto it. 14 gauge wire is pretty thick so you need an iron that is relatively fat.
Add some solder to the iron and touch it to the bottom of the wire for a while. Hold the other solder on top of the stripped wire until it starts melting. It is important to have solder on the iron for heat transfer to the wire you are tinning.
--
No matter what happens someone will find a way to take it too seriously.

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Proper soldering heats the workpiece,not the solder.Then the workpiece heats the solder to melt it,and it wets the workpiece.You need enough iron wattage to heat the joint.Probably around 40 watts. You also need to use electrical solder,either 60/40 or 63/37,with a rosin flux core. Not plumbing solder,which melts at a higher temperature,and may use an acid flux,which you do NOT want.
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Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Clean the wires with sand paper and don't touch them with your greasy hands after that. Standard solder requires you to use a solder paste on the wire before you apply heat and solder. You can buy solder that has the a solder paste impregnated then all you have to do is apply heat to the wires and when their hot enough the solder should flow freely. Do not heat the solder and and expect it to bond to the copper wire, even if it seems to work you will probably find the joint won't last very long. If you use regular solder paste be sure and wash it off with water because it will cause corrosion over time. Solder specially formulated for electrical work uses a none corrosive rosen core so use that if you can.
I'm no expert but the above works for me.
Good luck
Jimbo

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You are getting lots of good tips. Make sure you are using solder that has 60% tin and 40% lead with flux inside the solder. You may find some 63/37 which is even beter but is often hard to find. Have a rag handy maybe even wet it slightly. Clean the tip of the iron by making sure it is hot enough to melt the solder. Melt a small ammount on the tip and then wipe the tip clean on the rag. Bring the tip to the wires to be soldered. It may help to melt a small ammount of solder between the tip and the wires to help transfer the heat. Then move the solder away from the iron and put it directly on the wires. When you have enough melted take away the solder and the iron. Do not move the wires tul the solder has hardened. If you do move the wires the solder joint will look 'frosty' and not shiney. This is a cold soldered joint and is not very good or strong. As solder cools it will pass through a 'plastic' state and if moved it will form the cold soldered joint.
Another 'trick' is to make sure you have a big enough iron to heat the joint fast. If the copper wire takes too long to heat it will oxidise and the solder will not stick.
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Lots of good advice so far. One thing I didn't see mentioned was 'tinning' the leads. What that basically means is that before soldering the wires together, coat each lead with a small amount of solder first. Then proceed to solder the two leads together.
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