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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to make my own audio cables and I'm having trouble sodering the cooper wire to the gold plated banana plugs.


The cooper wire is from Radio Shack it's your normal 16 gauge wire.


Here's the banana plugs I'm using, also from RS:
http://www.radioshack.com/product.as...t%5Fid=278-321


The soder attaches fine to the cooper wire but it just beads off the banana plugs. It's like the banana plugs are too slippery for the soder to attach to.


I am using a "cold heat" sodering gun and standard rosin core 60/40 soder. I also tried to use some rosin paste flux but that doesn't work either.


For those that are good with sodering what the hell am I doing wrong here? This seems like it should be so simple...


Thanks
 

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Are you crimping before trying to solder?


When you heat the connection, what are you touching the solder to? (Three options: the plug, the wire, or the iron.)


Btw, it's spelled "solder".
 

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It's copper and solder.


Tin the connections first, that means, heat them up and melt a little solder onto them, then solder the wire to the plug.
 

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Gold and Solder don't get along very well and are in general hard to get a good connection because of what's under the gold plating. I would ruff up the spot were your soldering and try to take away some of the gold plating in that spot, that should work and give you a good strong connection.


There are a few websites on Soldering, that talk about this. Do a Google search for "Soldering to Gold Plated"


Redhouse
 

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Quote:
Gold and Solder don't get along very well and are in general hard to get a good connection because of what's under the gold plating.
Fortunately, that yellow plating you see is gold in colour only....cadmium chromate is what is actually plated there.
 

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I still want an answer to my questions. Technique is important to a good joint.


First determine that the work is getting hot enough. You can't tell unless you can melt the solder with the work. Do not melt it with the iron and expect to get a good joint (although I sometimes cheat at the start to get a thermal join with the work). Since the plug is the greatest mass, that's the work to check.


If the work is getting hot enough, then you might try scuffing through the plating.
 

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To add to DMF's comments:


Some cheaper plugs have thick connection surfaces (making it very difficult to heat the work up with a cheap soldering iron). Personally I would just use bare wire in the back of your speaker unless you were planning on swapping cables a lot...
 

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Like TonyBDA says tin first.

DMF is really giving good advice as well. Heat the tinned connector until the tinned solder melts and then move in the conductor. It is fine at that point to let the tinned conductor touch the iron. You should see the solder flow between the two. Remove heat as soon as this occurs and keep everything perfectly still until it cools. You may tend to burn your fingers a bit holding the wire still. It should end up shiny and smooth. Unless you use lead free solder.
 

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I had all my concoctions soldered, but it proved to be not so great (at least in my case).

When you think of it – three (four) different metals (and soldering paste residue) and electrical current through all that – chemical reaction bound to happen. All my connections oxidized within a year.

It all may be result of my clumsiness, but since then all I use is crimping.


All my connections are crimped and then air-tightened with heat shrink. Not even traces of oxidation. Works great!


Just my $0.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not crimping before I soLder for me its easier to move the items in place IMO. I've tried heating different things - mostly the solder and banana plug. I think this "cold heat" solder gun may be my downfall it may not be the hottest. I may run up an get a regular "plug in" iron. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll report back after I try them.
 

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Yes, the 'cold heat' irons are not good and it won't produce enough heat to solder to anything heat conductive of non-trivial mass.
 

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I've been trying my wife's pencil torch for big stuff. You have to be careful with it, but you can solder 00 AWG! Feels almost like welding. :) Prolly major overkill for 12 AWG, though...


For a standard iron, be sure you have a 42 watt or bigger element in it.
 

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For something as large as a banana plug it might be time to bring out the heavy artillery... a soldering gun.
 

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i've tried that cold heat soldering tool and it's a piece of crap, very hard to get it to stay turned on, and is only appropriate for very small wires. your problem right now is that the banana plug is not being heated enough, that is why the solder is beading off of it -- get a decent soldering iron that will be able to heat the banana plug enough and you shouldn't have a problem. also, do not melt the solder by touching it to the iron, when making a solder connection, always melt the solder by making contact with what you are connecting, in this case the banana plug/wire.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99
For something as large as a banana plug it might be time to bring out the heavy artillery... a soldering gun.
A decent iron should have no problems with a banana plug.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradJudy
A decent iron should have no problems with a banana plug.
yep, the "cold heat" is garbage -- was very disappointed with it after reading good reviews online.
 

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DMF
Quote:
I've been trying my wife's pencil torch for big stuff.
Yowza!


For most electronic soldering a 30 watt iron is perfect. Big connectors can take awhile, though.

If you want to do heavier stuff 50 watts might be better.
 

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Thorough pre cleaning (with Isopropyl) of all surfaces including the solder itself, tinning and proper temp on both surfaces is always the key to initial flow and a quality joint. I like about 720 degrees.

If its a real Bi*** you can apply some additional flux and be sure to clean properly afterwards with Isopropyl Alcohol. Flux is corrosive.

Another tip.

When soldering a male RCA I always insert it into the female prior to applying heat. SOMETIMES it can be easy (no matter how careful you are) to apply heat for a little too long and distort the dielectric insulation between the male RCA pin and its outer shell. If its held in place by the female you have a lot more comfort zone.


Steve
 

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Hey, I like that about the female connector.
 

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Energeezer

Energeezer's totally correct. I always use a female connector. Other people like "heat sinks" but I find them needessly expensive if there is a useful female connector available and rather apt to be a bit too difficult to apply in some circumstances. Clean parts are also essential to not having future problems with the results of the application.

geek humour?.... sorry
 
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