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Why can't I solder wire in the stock HD580 cable?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have HD580's that I usually use plugged into my y1 / mini^3 combo.  The mini^3 has a 3.5mm terminal, so I use a kind of sketchy and awkward 1/4" to mini adapter to plug them in.  Since the adapter and the length of the stock cable are inconvenient, I figured I would get a new 1/4" cable and then strip and re-terminate the old one.

 

I cut off the 1/4" jack and stripped some of the jacket to expose the wires.  Something about these wires is a bit off, though.  They're insulated somehow - my ohmeter reads no connection - and I can't tin them.  The solder just doesn't stick.  So it seems like each of the copper strands has some kind of coating, but I can't figure out what it is (it seems invisible) and I don't know how to get it off.

 

Any ideas?

post #2 of 14

Those are typical enamel coated wire strands. I believe some kind of nylon (I think? Someone please verify) threads are wound along each colored braid too to increase tensile strength of the cable in general.

 

You are going to need to use solder grease quite liberally and spend about a good 10 seconds (with a 25W iron) on just the edge of each channel's wire to allow the enamel to melt/burn off before the copper gets tinned.

 

Depending on luck, it could be easy or it could be a pain. Some of sony's newer earphones use those that are almost impossible to solder with till you snip off the nylon threads.

post #3 of 14

Put lots of solder on the tip of your iron so it forms a blob. Place the enamel coated wire on the blob of solder and it will burn the enamel off and tin the wire. I use a 45w desoldering pump from radioshack. The 15w radioshack iron doesn't get hot enough. Some people suggest to burn off the enamel but that didn't work for me, it left burn black enamel that I couldn't clean off. You can also try scraping/sanding the enamel off but it can damage the tiny little wires.

Do a search on this forum; enamel


Edited by MrKazador - 12/15/10 at 11:11am
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MrKazador View Post

Put lots of solder on the tip of your iron so it forms a blob. Place the enamel coated wire on the blob of solder and it will burn the enamel off and tin the wire. I use a 45w desoldering pump from radioshack. The 15w radioshack iron doesn't get hot enough. Some people suggest to burn off the enamel but that didn't work for me, it left burn black enamel that I couldn't clean off. You can also try scraping/sanding the enamel off but it can damage the tiny little wires.

Do a search on this forum; enamel

I tried that using my 25w iron, and it didn't seem to do much.  Tended to melt the jacket without getting rid of the coating.  I might try burning - I assume you just use a match?

 

You are going to need to use solder grease quite liberally and spend about a good 10 seconds (with a 25W iron) on just the edge of each channel's wire to allow the enamel to melt/burn off before the copper gets tinned.

You mean flux, right? 

post #5 of 14

Your iron probably can't get hot enough to burn the enamel off. You can try a match, lighter, or stove, whatever can produce a flame. Not flux, solder paste. I don't think paste would help, your iron can't get hot enough.


Edited by MrKazador - 12/15/10 at 1:02pm
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

According to wikipedia, solder paste is flux that either has some powdered solder in it or doesn't.  Wouldn't adding flux to the wires and using a tinned lead have the same effect?  I don't have any paste on hand.

 

I'll give the match a shot tonight as well as using some liquid flux I have to see if that works. Thanks!

post #7 of 14

I had a coworker come in today with some broken Sony MDR-V150s that were chewed up by his cat. I told him it was almost worth it to go and get another pair for $20 rather than fix 'em. I decided to give it a shot anyways and try and fix 'em. I ran into the same weird "my wire won't solder" thingy. I just turned my Hakko 936 up to around 700 degrees celcius and worked the wire for 20 or so seconds. Eventually, the nylon burned off and the solder stuck.

 

Good luck!

 

PS Those Sony MDR-V150s suck a$$. I'm going to tell him to get a good pair of in-ear buds for $50 and call it a day.

post #8 of 14

Solder paste

paste_30x2.jpg

 

 

Try leaving your soldering iron on for 3-5 minutes with LOTS of solder on the tip. Don't mess with it so it gets as hot as possible. If the wires have any nylon, remove that with a nail clipper. Now hold the enamel coated wire over the ball of solder, you'll see the enamel burn off.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johan851 View Post

According to wikipedia, solder paste is flux that either has some powdered solder in it or doesn't.  Wouldn't adding flux to the wires and using a tinned lead have the same effect?  I don't have any paste on hand.

 

I'll give the match a shot tonight as well as using some liquid flux I have to see if that works. Thanks!

post #9 of 14

Enamel burns off easily at 800F, anything less and you'll have to really try with a hot iron and lots of solder (like a solder bath).  If that fails, just scrape the enamel off with a razor, once there's a bit taken off, it'll be easier to burn the rest (heating actual wire really helps vs heating enamel coating).  Some have recommended using a lighter, but with thin wires like these, it's likely to also burn the metal wire.

post #10 of 14

My iron at normal temp usually does the job. You just need a drop of liquid flux on the wire. What I find works best, if you are particularly dexterous, is to put some solder on the contact area, position the wire on top the contact area, put some solder on the iron, add a drop of flux on the wire/contact area then apply the iron until you see the flux stop actively bubbling. Of course clean off the flux when you're done.

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the help, guys.  I ended up burning off some of the enamel with a match and managed to solder the wires to the terminals with a lot of flux.

post #12 of 14
The easiest way to remove enamel is with a chemical stripper. Nail polish remover wipes it right off - I don't like to burn things if not necessary. That can melt insulation and cause other problems.

Mineral spirits and paint stripper will also remove the enamel.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

The easiest way to remove enamel is with a chemical stripper. Nail polish remover wipes it right off - I don't like to burn things if not necessary. That can melt insulation and cause other problems.

Mineral spirits and paint stripper will also remove the enamel.

 

I figured there must be a solution like that.  I should've tried alcohol.  I'll remember that for next time.

post #14 of 14

I have tried soaking enamel wire in nail polish remover before, didn't work for me. Maybe the brand...?

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