experience is that soldering wires to batteries or to themselves is relatively easy
and takes little experience if approached in a step by step way.
irons come in price ranges of $5 -$7 for a 120volt 15 watt single fixed point,
fixed temperature to several hundred dollars for adjustable temperature with
replaceable tips of various sizes and tips. For occasional electronics assembly
the 15watt iron will do as good of job as a more expensive Weller unit.
soldering iron you are using is new, clean the tip with acetone or alcohol and
heat it up. As it is heating touch the rosin core solder tip to it. If the tip
is clean the tip should be easy to coat. This is called pre-tinning. The tip of
the soldering iron
needs to be coated with solder to make efficient contact and help solder flow.
Soldering iron has been used previously it up and while hot, wipe it on a damp sponge. If
the tip gets shiny you are ready to start your assembly. If it is not you may
need to scrape or sand the tip and apply new solder. An easier way to keep your
soldering iron tip clean and fully tinned is to purchase a can of tinning solder
at the electronics store when you get your solder. It is a mixture of powdered
solder and rosin flux. You just heat up the tip and push it in the compound. At
the same time pick up a roll of de-soldering braid in case you get a blob of
solder you want to reheat and remove. The braid soaks up excess solder. Get the
widest braid you can because it can also be used as a conductor between
batteries instead of round wire. In addition to the solder absorbing braid
you might pick up a solder sucking bulb at Radio Shack or other electronic parts
supply to remove large amounts of excess solder.
handy tool to keep on hand is a couple of third-hand assembly fixtures. These
devices usually consist of one or more large alligator clips attached by a
multi- axial swivel to a heavy base. These can be used to position and hold
wires and terminals together while freeing the hands to manipulate the soldering
iron and solder tip during the operation.
If your eyes
are as old as mine it will also simplify assembly if you have a magnifier. The
ideal magnifier for bench work is a self lighted adjustable arm type such as an
Electrix model #7452 available from Allied Electronics
www.alliedelec.com . These are quite
expensive but if you have a Granger
www.granger.com close by you can get a magna visor which is worn like a pair
of glasses for about $35. The same type of hood type visors can sometimes be
found cheaper at a hobby store like Hobby Lobby or even some fabric stores which
have hobby supplies. The only ones I have seen in fabric stores are pink,
otherwise work the same. When you are not using it your wife might be able to
use doing needle point. Just don't get her one for Christmas even as a stocking
filler unless it is pink - experience talking here.
- Because of the tolerances in some battery cases keeping the solder joint
as thin as possible is required to reassemble them. Preventing blobs helps assure
this.. When talking about pre-tinning the wires after cleaning above, I
mentioned leaving the strands fanned. Soldering them to the battery terminals in
a fanned configuration helps to keep the profile of the solder joint thinner. Do
make sure all the strands are bonded well with the battery to keep the wire
current capacity intact.
On to Assembly:
These tips can also be useful
when assembling your Hunting Game Trail Monitor Scouting Camera or the TrailEyes™
CAUTION: Never use acid core solder or
acid flux for electronics soldering, the acid will corrode the copper and cause
the joint to fail. Always buy small diameter rosin core solder.
Make sure parts are clean and
free from dirt and grease. Wire used in the original installation is usually pre
tinned or silver plated. You can tell by the silver cover. These wires only need
to be clean, a Q-Tip and a little rubbing alcohol or acetone will usually clean
them easily. The same goes for battery terminals. Another good cleaning method
is a pencil eraser. When soldering wires that are not already tinned – in case
you had to replace them - first expose the ends spread the individual strands
and scrape with a knife then twist the strands back to the shape you want them
and heat them with the soldering iron tip while holding the rosin core solder
below the wire. As soon as the solder melts and coats the wire remove the heat.
Do the same with the battery terminal. This is called "pre-tinning". Press the
wire lightly to the battery terminal, secure the work firmly and apply the
soldering iron tip to the top of the wire. Touch the solder to the junction and
as soon as it flows slightly remove the heat but keep the wire steady on the
battery terminal or two wires if joining wires. The components should not need
heating except for a couple of seconds.
Careful with the hot
tip of the soldering iron. Remove and return the iron safely to its stand.
They can ruin your day if you lay them on furniture or lay an arm on top of
one while still running.
Never heat the
battery but a couple of seconds with a cooling time between tinning and
joining. Battery life
can be shortened by heat and too much heat could even explode the batteries.
See caution below for another reason not to hear batteries excessively.
Do not move parts
until the solder has cooled. Any movement while the solder is still liquid
will cause what is known as a cold joint and may fail completely later on.
CAUTION Most rechargeable batteries contain
mercury, nickel, lithium and/or cadmium. These heavy metals can be very toxic. Cadmium is
a known cancer causer. Federal law passed in May 1966 as the ‘Mercury-Containing
and Rechargeable Battery Management Act’ requires that they be recycled. You can
recycle old batteries at any retailer that sells them such as Home Depot or
If you are unlucky enough to receive burns which require
treatment, treat the burn as any other burn. Cool as quickly as possible.
Don’t break blisters and see your doctor if it seems necessary. The Cold Heat
Soldering Iron advertised on TV is a good choice for small jobs and now is
available in retail stores.
soldering tip should be enough to do any battery replacement but if you want to
become more proficient at soldering see the really good article at: