Soldering tips/advice

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I just tried to solder a 1/2 inch copper coupling to a 1/2 inch piece of pipe. I put soldering paste inside the coupling, gave the 1/2 pipe a good going over with a file (i didn't have sandpaper) and also put soldering paste on the 1/2 inch pipe. I inserted the pipe inside the coupling, and heated the couplign up with a torch. I tried to put solder on the end of the coupling and the pipe, but the solder didn't go around the coupling to form a seal. In fact the solder made a complete mess adn I ended up with clumps of solder in one spot.
What the heck am I doing wrong?
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I guess if you didn't have sandpaper, emery cloth, or a wire brush for the outside of the pipe, you probably didn't clean the inside of the coupling as well. Get the proper tools and supplies and start over.
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Doobielicious wrote:

Try using MAP GAS not the stuff in the blue bottle, the stuff in the yellow bottle.
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but you can\'t make them THINK"
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Pffffft. Propane works just fine for 1/2" pipe and fittings. There's no need for the OP to spend forty bucks on a MAPP torch to solder one joint. Sheesh.
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Propane works just fine on those little 1/2" fittings. Do it all the time.... The OP should be patient and make sure he heats the fitting and lets the capillary action draw the solder into the joint, which it will do when it's hot enough. Practice, practice, practice... Mark
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mark wrote:

Yeah whatever I do it for a living. And the propane does not get it hot enough, unless you want to be there for 20 minutes and then you burned all the flux off the fittings.
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can\'t make them THINK"
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Sorry, I just don't believe that you "do it for a living". Anybody who has done that even casually on a weekend wouldn't claim that you need MAPP to solder half-inch pipe. Propane works just fine -- as anyone who has ever *really* done it knows. Sure, MAPP is faster. But the idea that it takes 20 minutes to solder one half-inch joint with propane is just nonsense.
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On 7/11/2008 5:48 AM Doug Miller spake thus:

True that. I may not "do it for a living", but have sweated enough 1/2" copper with a lowly propane torch to know that it only takes a few seconds.
Seems like your general writing demeanor and lack of skill point up just how authoritative you really are ...
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endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.
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Well, maybe a minute... :-)

I'm assuming you meant that for 'evodawg' and not me, despite the way it reads.
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On Jul 11, 2:19pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I guess he missed with his demeanor. ;)
R
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On 7/11/2008 11:19 AM Doug Miller spake thus:
>

Yes; sorry about the ambiguity there.
--
"Wikipedia ... it reminds me ... of dogs barking idiotically through
endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.
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Not using the sandpaper. You must clean both the inside of the coupling and the outside of the pipe. Where ever the copper is to be joined both pieces must be very clean and bright. You can also use some of the Scotchbright pads or steel wool to do the cleaning. The copper must be bright and grease free.
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And be sure the joint get hot enough for the solder to flow, not clump. The new solders with no lead take more heat that the older stuff.
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Doobielicious wrote:

One thing to add to what the others have said. Your pipe must be bone dry inside. If not the water caries the heat away too fast to let the solder melt properly. Kevin
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Two things ........... Not getting it hot enough. When it is hot enough, you will remove the heat, and the lowering temperature will be right to melt the solder, then the still lowering temp will suck the solder into the joint. It takes a bit, but it is easy to master. Maybe you know someone who can show you. If you have a glop, you just plain put too much on there. Too much flows out. The right amount stays right there after filling the inside space.
When I do it, I watch for a certain "color" in the copper. It doesn't really change color, but gets a look that's recognizable. Always keep the heat on the thicker piece and in from an edge. Keep the heat moving, but focus it mainly on the thickest parts. Have your solder wound out to about a six inch tail. You can touch the joint lightly with the end of the tail to check for hotness. Do this at a crack, or just back on the tube about 1/8" from the gap. What you want is to see the solder melt instantly and flow like water. At this time, the torch should have been removed from the heat and be pointing another direction. If it does flow, withdraw solder and wave the torch over the thick stuff for a couple of more seconds, withdraw flame, and stick the solder in the gap, going slow enough not to end up with it running out, but fast enough to not run out of hot metal that's melting the solder. If that happens, you won't have enough solder in the joint, and you have to do it all over again, but this time with the solder in there and making it much more difficult. Touch the joint slightly away from the opening with the solder, on the tubing.
It's easy once you've done about twenty of them right. Might even be worth buying a contractor pack of connectors and a stick of copper. Unless you just have some laying around.
HTH
Steve
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I add to my previous post: clean it really good and make sure it's dry. Others said it too because it's that important.
Steve
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Why mess about! Go get an oxy set or a surefire mapp gas burner and some 8% silver solder and braze the connection, If its for water it will never leak if you do it properly. % minutes practise and you can do it like a pro.

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How hard would it have been to go buy some?

But, evidently, didn't clean it first, since you didn't have any sandpaper.

Is this by any chance the first time you've ever tried to sweat-solder copper pipe? If so... spend a few bucks on some spare fittings, and practice on a few joints first.

Improper cleaning of the pipe and fitting didn't help you at all, but it sounds like the biggest problem is most likely that you: a) didn't get the fitting hot enough before applying the solder, AND b) tried to solder directly in the flame.
Take the joint apart. Clean everything properly this time (with a wire brush or sandpaper). Flux both parts, making sure that you're using the right type of flux for your solder. Then try again. Heat only the fitting, and apply the solder to the pipe, directly opposite from the flame.
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Not hard at all, but I posted this at 10:35 last night. Stores were closed.
wrote:

good
sandpaper.
to
copper
few
brush
type
the
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wrote:

The only thing not covered by other posters is that it is possible to get the copper too hot as well as not hot enough. A little practice will teach you the difference. If the solder melts when you apply it to the copper but does not flow out and coat it evenly the copper is either not clean or is too hot.
The requirements are cleanliness, flux and the proper temperature.
Don Young
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