Soldering strips - what size wire?

Julian De Jong

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Hi everyone
I am looking for some advice on soldering strips. Having never done soldering before I am having real difficulty soldering wire to the strips.
I am using strips with 3 pads (Ray Wu’s) and Ray Wu’s 3 core pigtails.
The trouble I seem to be having (other than the fact I am new to it) is that the size of the wire is too big to connect to the pads. I don’t have any trouble soldering the wires and the pads individually but when trying to solder them together I don’t get a good connection.
What size wire does everyone else use? I know that Ray Wu’s pigtails are 18 gauge, is that too big or do I just need more practice (undoubtedly I do)?
One of the ways I am thinking to get around it is to solder a short length of smaller gauge wire to the strips and then connect the pigtails to the wire. But that seems messy to me?
Thanks in advance everyone!
 

David_AVD

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Make sure you tin the wires and the pads first, then reflow the solder to do the joint.

Also make sure you don't strip too much insulation from the wires. About 4-5mm is all you need.
 

franky_888

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Not saying this is the correct way, my fingers developed somewhat of a tolerance for heat after doing many strip solder joints.

I found it better if you leave inner three wires a little shorter (don't strip off any extra black insulation off, or even cut the three inners back a little bit to how they come from the supplier), that way they don't move around as much, just make sure you kinda line them up (by rotating the pigtail) before you start joining the solder pads together. Start further away from you and move toward.

You can also gain a little extra breathing room for the middle pad by soldering the outer wires slightly more toward their respective edges of the strip.
 

Julian De Jong

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Thanks everyone. I’ll make sure to tin the wires and pads first and try cutting the wires shorter. I definitely need more practice but the tips or tricks will make the job allot easier.

Would a smaller gauge wire be easier?
 

franky_888

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Would a smaller gauge wire be easier?
It would be, but then you'll be limiting the current you can draw into the strip. You would need to power inject more frequently and use smaller fuses suited to the smaller gauge wire.
 

darylc

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I don't pretend to be correct, but it works well for me.

Tin your wires
Add a fairly large blob of solder onto each pad on the strip
Then hold one wire at a time against the blob of solder from before and apply the soldering iron

I find it useful to have something holding the strip still eg a phone or something just to stop it slipping around on the bench.
 

Adsy

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Agreed tin your wires and use something with a little weight like a pair of pliers or in my case a garden full of river pebbles
 

ICon

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Another two cents

i find using a flux pen on the pads then tin them makes the job easier.

Even if your pigtails appear to be pre-tinned flow a bit of new solder onto them first.

Make sure the tip of the soldering iron is clean, and solder should flow nicely onto it before you start.

youtube Has some good tutorials if new to soldering.
 

Julian De Jong

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Thanks for all the advice everyone, really appreciate it!
I’ve given it another go tonight based on everyone’s tips and it seemed to work better, I actually got some semi reasonable connections on my practice runs so feeling a bit more confident already!
 

Dez

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Yes I can definitely say a clean soldering iron helps. I also have wondered about using flux?
 

David_AVD

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I never use separate flux myself, but always tin the wires even if they come pre-tinned. A good quality solder can make a substantial difference too. If you're trying to use lead free solder, get some 60/40 or 63/37 leaded solder as the lead-free can be hard to work with.
 
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