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Best Soldering Gun and Terminals

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The37Kid, May 23, 2013.

  1. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,799


    If you wanted to solder wire terninals who makes the best gun, and who manufactures the best terminals? Best wire would also be needed. To test your soldering how many pounds should the joint hold before braking? Bob
  2. Sealed Power
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 627

    Sealed Power
    from TN

    I'm no expert but the old Weller soldering irons get my vote. They get hot fast!!

    I'm talking about the ones with the bakeite case. You can usually find them cheap.

    I'm sure there's new ones that are as good but I haven't found one. I had a new Weller and a new Craftsman neither of them would get hot as fast as the older ones.
  3. Try again .... Welles makes a good dual range unit, good tips, easy to maintain , if not "traditional" use solder less terminals from "Ideal", Thomas& Betts, just go to an industrial supply house those guys won't sell you junk! If you are going for the really old look, ask them for the uncoated copper / brass units that require solder and not to be crimped. Purchase good flux core solder, brush or sandpaper the terminals and get your wire stripped. The method that works for me on solderless terminals is to tin the conductors first (heat the wire and coat with solder, well getnitnfull of solder) next get the terminal heated, you'll need to thermally isolate it, fill it with solder and while still hot insert the wire. Another way is to heat the terminal then when hot insert the wire and feed the solder from the wire end. Remember that stuff is going to flow toward the heat, away from the cold. Practice with spare wire, you can always reheat the terminal, pull the wire and sling out the terminal, brush it clean and you can still use it again. Oh, as I suggested for solder less terminals, they are crimped, extra solder may make a better flow of electricity, but isn't really necessary.
  4. Lobucrod
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 4,076

    Alliance Vendor

    I have used lots of soldering guns and pencil type but what I like the best is the mini propane torches. Instant heat and good for heating heat shrink tubing.
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  5. brokenspoke
    Joined: Jul 26, 2005
    Posts: 2,874


    I bought my tinned terminals from " Madelectrical "....I 'm sure there is another source
  6. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    I've never been an elitist insisting on the very best of everything. I look for sales. I often use the readily available crimp terminals from the common plastic boxes with the plastic snipped off and shrink tube for insulation. A terminal is not a critical item to me.

    My soldering gun is so old I have no idea what brand it is. The light no longer works but it solders very well due to the operator:D
  7. Weller soldering guns are the best. I was a certified solderer/ examiner trained at Fort Monmouth NJ. for high reliability hand soldering per Mil-S-45743 and WS-6536. I soldered wiring harnesses for all kinds of military applications. Fort Monmouth's training class used Weller.
  8. I do the same. I crimp , solder and heat shrink all me electrical connections.
    TagMan likes this.
  9. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 7,792


    [​IMG]Tommy is right. Get that plastic crap off of there and use heat shrink. The purpose of the yellow part is 'strain relief'. You will not get strain relief with the yellow crap on your terminal but you will get it with heat shrink
  10. BobMcD
    Joined: Jan 25, 2013
    Posts: 322


    Weller is the only one, I would consider. I bought mine over 40 years ago to build slot cars and it still works well.
  11. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,113


    I like an old weller, a big one.
    For soldering terminals i get them from McMaster-Carr, they are uninsulated and tinned.
    Whenever i am at flea market/yard sale etc i glom onto any old rolls of solder and tubs of flux. The lead stuff is disappearing and i want a lifetime supply.
  12. I've had a Weller gun for close to 40 years as well . I use Techspan terminals . By the way it's good electrical conection you're after not physical strength .
  13. GeezersP15
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 537

    from N.E. PA

    I agree with using Weller. Stick with the very best. Thomas & Betts makes excellent terminals, although you may have to obtain them at your local electrical distributor, where the electrical contractors get their stuff. Doubtful you can get them at Autozone or other auto chain stores. Sometimes they show up on Ebay also. Look for Thomas & Betts, or Sta-Kon.
  14. nxcess
    Joined: Mar 30, 2013
    Posts: 109

    from Mesa, AZ

    Also vote for Weller. I use nylon insulated terminals ( the kind that you can kinda see through ), YOU CAN HEAT THE RING AND WHEN THE NYLON JUST STARTS TO BUBBLE APPLY THE SOLDER AND IT WILL WICK UP INTO THE WIRE.
    (sorry for the caps, hit the wrong button)
    However most wiring kit suppliers and pros are now recommending that you DON'T solder, just crimp with a good crimper. They claim that the wire becomes brittle at the spot where the solder stops and there is no flex area and the wire could break.
  15. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,799


    Thanks for all the replies, but this one is most impressive. So how does one know the soldered connection is good to go? I would do the shrink wrap cover as well. Bob
  16. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

  17. klawockvet
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 307


    I have personal experience with broken soldered wires on motorcycles where there is more vibration. Although I soldered things for years I now usually crimp. The key to a good crimp is using the right tool. I prefer the Snapon 29CF. Anchor marine makes crimp terminals with adhesive shrink wrap that will reduce wire tension. They also make tinned wire which greatly reduces corrosion in wet areas. If using the common terminals with plastic covering the first thing to do is remove the plastic and discard, then use shrink tape.
  18. My 2 cents: like others, go to the industrial supply places, T&B, Stacon, Ideal are excellent. Therenisbanreason that new technology solder less connectors have the plastic, it is to provide a total insulated connection after the wire is stripped, inserted and crimped. You MUST have the right crimped, it is different for solder less and soldered, again for a reason, thenwrongncrimper destroys the insulating collar. To the use of soldered terminals, yep, they are insulated after crimping and soldering, so thatnisnwhy so many people use shrink tubing. If you are really looking to do the job as in the early days, buy the bare copper / brass connectors, strip your wire and practice. These early type connectors also need to be clean, use flux core, you can practice, reheat and sling the solder out again. Remember that the solder is going to follow the heat, so get the wire in the connector and practice, keep the heat on the opposite end from the wire and feed the solder at the wire, connector joint. Weller makes a great dual range unit, works even after dropped, I've made soldering tips from 10 gauge wire hammered to give me a tip and they work. I wish Dave29 would chime in, I'm sure he has techniques an old sub sailor has forgot.
  19. C-1-PW
    Joined: Jun 11, 2006
    Posts: 357


    For the best terminals, buy what the aircraft guys buy. Thomas and Betts, also Tyco are two brands worth taking a look at. If you were to go this route, you would be very wise to use the crimper that goes with each. Over kill? You bet. But unless your idea of a good time includes being stranded at the side of the road, over kill has its advantages. I buy mine from Allied Electric.

    For wire, I recommend checking out the guys at KayJay:
  20. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 6,886


    Yup, my bakelite housing is all taped together because some idiot dropped it.
  21. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,815


    I use a propane torch... I won't go back to a corded gun type!!!

  22. I used to buy Thomas and Betts connectors at the home depot.
    I haven't set foot in there for years, but when I worked there, they had Ideal and T&B in the electrical department, by the circuit beakers and such.
  23. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677


    Alright, heres a slight on-topic highjack... A buddy of mine who does computer stuff said that well crimped connections are better than soldered connections because soldered stuff causes a slight voltage drop due to the added material(?). He said they no longer solder joints on aircrafts. Thoughts?
  24. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,353

    from Soquel, CA

    I've literally soldered thousands of parts and wires and a Weller has never let me down. The one I have is 30+ years old.

    For battery terminals I use my triple flame cigar lighter. It works great for cigars and battery terminals. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  25. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,799


    That is really going to pissoff the guy a week away from finishing a B-17 retoration. Bob
  26. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 677


    I'm not saying it's true! Just wondering if it's legit or not.
  27. mob53
    Joined: Sep 6, 2010
    Posts: 129


    As an Electronics Engineer who's worked for many companies, not a single one used Weller. They ALL used METCAL. Expensive though.
  28. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,908


    Ditto "Weller" soldering guns.... Bought mine in the late 50' still works perfectly !

  29. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 870


    Weller Gun!!!

    I just use the bulk terminals they sell at NAPA, O'Reily's, Radio Shack, etc. I always use my Harbor Freight heat gun to soften and then I yank the stupid plastic crap off the terminals. I always crimp, solder and heat shrink. No problems, ever.

    For soldering tips, I just go to Lowe's and buy the clearance solid 12 AWG house wire. Cut a piece about 6" long, strip the insulation off, bend it a full 180° in the middle and bend the tips to fit the gun. I then give it a pass on the wire wheel to get to fresh, bare copper. I can make tips all day long, since the tips that Weller sells never last.
  30. You asked about wire - Aircraft Spruce sells MIL-W-22759/16 wire which has tin plated copper strands and Tefzel insulation - 16 ga is around 32 cents a foot.
    When I was working on some prototype UAV's we used wire with silver plated copper strands and teflon insulation - the 16 ga looks like most other 20 or 22 because they make the insulation thinner. Not sure what the cost was though.
    When I was in the Air Force we were still doing "component level" repair, changing transistors, capacitors, etc. Every type of joint had a very clearly defined spec as to how it should look, how much solder, etc. The minimum amount of solder on the joint to assure good conductivity saved weight - not much but a complicated aircraft or missile could have thousands of connections, and weight was always an issue.
    Last edited: May 24, 2013

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