Help using solder pot
Sep 1, 2009 at 5:06 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

skaelin

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I just purchased a Hexacon 948 solder pot (which is set to reach 800 degrees F - no other temps are possible) so I can both tin my wires and burn the enamel off some Cardas wires I have. I've never used a solder pot so this is uncharted territory for me.

I already have a roll of Cardas Eutectic solder and I was planning on just melting this into the pot. Is that correct? Or do I need some special type of solder formulated for solder pots?

So is this the process?

- Melting solder into pot
- Dip exposed wire into rosin flux
- Immerse wire into liquid solder for a few seconds

Any help would be appreciated. Thanx!
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 9:35 PM Post #2 of 16

NightOwl

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First, you can't use any solder that contains flux such as most roll solders. The flux will contaminate the solder in the pot as well sending a cloud of toxic fumes into the air.
The correct solder is flux free bar solder, usually 63/37 eutectic. Cardas and Kester both make this.

Make sure the solder pot is securely anchored. Don't let water hit the molten solder as this can cause spattering and eruptions.

Place the bar in the pot before you turn the pot on. Turning it on while it is empty may damage the pot.
When the solder is molten, dip or brush on your flux. Make sure you don't use so much that it is dripping into the pot.
800F is very high. I've never used a pot that hot for wires. You will have to experiment as to how long to immerse the wires. Too long and the wires (especially finer gauge copper) may melt.
Don't let the solder level get too low while the pot is on. Top it up with new solder.
Eventually, the solder will become "sluggish". This is due to metal particles, contaminants and oxidants from the metals you are soldering. You will have turn off the pot, empty it, wipe the sides and bottom of the pot and start over with new solder.
Wipe/clean the pot before you put it away.
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 9:41 PM Post #3 of 16

jnewman

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Typically you use bar solder which I think does not contain flux (your Cardas solder does have quite a bit of rosin flux in it which would burn off in the pot making a nasty stink). Not to mention the fact that a solder pot is normally filled to just over the brim, and the Cardas solder is WAY expensive.

Gunk builds up on the surface of the solder. You will need to skim it. Typically you also move wires horizontally as you dip them so that anything that burns off the wires doesn't stick to them.

You may want to get a lamp dimmer rated for the wattage of your pot so that you can turn it down. 800F is hotter than you want for most things (for one thing, if you try to tin any PVC insulated wires with it, the PVC will shrivel and pull back almost instantly).
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 10:10 PM Post #4 of 16

skaelin

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Thanks for the info, I really appreciate that.

The reason I got an 800 deg F pot is because Cardas actually recommends an 800F soldering iron or a solder pot. I'm not sure if they mean that both the iron and the pot need to reach 800F or just the iron. That seems like a dangerously high temperature for a pot but I've never done this so I don't know.

If I got the wrong pot I guess I could always send it back and get another.

Also, couldn't I just burn the enamel coating of the Cardas wire using my gas burner in the kitchen?

Thanks!
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 10:29 PM Post #5 of 16

Steve Eddy

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In addition to what others have already said, get yourself a bottle of liquid flux. MG Chemicals' 835 works well, especially if you're using a lead free solder.

Be sure and clean any dross and flux residue off the surface before each use. I have the same Hexacon pot that you do and I just use a large paper clip, straightened out except for one hook and then bend the end of the straight end into an L about 3/8" long.

Apply a little flux to the wire you're wanting to tin.

Start at one end of the pot and gradually dip the wire into the solder to the required depth while slowly moving the wire, pause for just a moment, then continue moving the wire as you pull it up out of the solder.

Continuously moving the wire leaves a trail of flux residue behind the wire and assures a clean tin job. If you just dip straight in and straight out, the wire will tend to pull the flux residue up with it when you pull it out.

Oh, and make ABSOLUTELY SURE that no liquids ever get spilled or splashed into the solder pot. It will splatter molten solder all over the place.

k
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 10:32 PM Post #6 of 16

Steve Eddy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skaelin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The reason I got an 800 deg F pot is because Cardas actually recommends an 800F soldering iron or a solder pot. I'm not sure if they mean that both the iron and the pot need to reach 800F or just the iron. That seems like a dangerously high temperature for a pot but I've never done this so I don't know.


I have the same pot and use it for all sorts of tinning jobs, including 46 gauge litz wire. It works fine.


Quote:

Also, couldn't I just burn the enamel coating of the Cardas wire using my gas burner in the kitchen?


Not unless you want a charred mess that won't solder worth a ****.

Use the solder pot.

k
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 10:49 PM Post #7 of 16

Guild

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I'm no expert, but I have recently delt with enameled or laquered wire. I tried everything except the really harsh chemicals. Everything had poor results: burning the wire will oxidize it, mechanically abrading it ripped it up, dipping it in a large bead of solder was nearly impossible to break the solder surface.

The ONLY thing that worked for me was a fiber glass brush. And it worked really really well. I now use that brush for any lead which needs cleaning and that has turned out to be quite a few. I really can't believe I never read anything about these brushes, I just happened to find one at work. It seems like an indispenisble tool for any electronics station. The link below shows the type I use.

Glass Pencil Brush - Cooksongold.com
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 11:09 PM Post #8 of 16

skaelin

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Thanks for all the input guys.

I just talked with Josh @ Cardas and he said that the solder pot they include with their termination kit is actually a Hexacon 946 which reaches 600F.

So according to Cardas, either a 600F solder pot or an 800F solder iron will do the job.

I'll probably just end up keeping the Hexacon 948 even though I'm a little afraid of having 800 degree molten metal anywhere near me.

--Steve
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 11:27 PM Post #9 of 16

Steve Eddy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Guild /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm no expert, but I have recently delt with enameled or laquered wire. I tried everything except the really harsh chemicals. Everything had poor results: burning the wire will oxidize it, mechanically abrading it ripped it up, dipping it in a large bead of solder was nearly impossible to break the solder surface.


Seems you'd tried everything except a proper solder pot and some flux.

k
 
Sep 1, 2009 at 11:32 PM Post #10 of 16

Steve Eddy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skaelin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'll probably just end up keeping the Hexacon 948 even though I'm a little afraid of having 800 degree molten metal anywhere near me.


Sissy.
atsmile.gif


k
 
Sep 2, 2009 at 12:10 PM Post #11 of 16

soloz2

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skaelin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks for all the input guys.

I just talked with Josh @ Cardas and he said that the solder pot they include with their termination kit is actually a Hexacon 946 which reaches 600F.

So according to Cardas, either a 600F solder pot or an 800F solder iron will do the job.

I'll probably just end up keeping the Hexacon 948 even though I'm a little afraid of having 800 degree molten metal anywhere near me.

--Steve



I use a 700 degree pot with Cardas bar solder.
 
Sep 2, 2009 at 4:16 PM Post #12 of 16

skaelin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by NightOwl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You will have turn off the pot, empty it, wipe the sides and bottom of the pot and start over with new solder.
Wipe/clean the pot before you put it away.



Thanks for all the info NightOwl. I have some questions regarding the cleaning of the pot. Are you talking about cleaning the inside walls and bottom of the pot? Do I first pour the molten solder into some kind of glass jar?

As far as cleaning the sides, how do I do that without burning my hands? And what do I use to clean the pot? It seems like the heat would be too intense for something like a rag.

I know these questions probably seem pretty dumb but I really want to know what I'm doing before I use the pot.

Thanks again.
 
Sep 2, 2009 at 11:00 PM Post #13 of 16

NightOwl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skaelin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks for all the info NightOwl. I have some questions regarding the cleaning of the pot. Are you talking about cleaning the inside walls and bottom of the pot? Do I first pour the molten solder into some kind of glass jar?

As far as cleaning the sides, how do I do that without burning my hands? And what do I use to clean the pot? It seems like the heat would be too intense for something like a rag.

I know these questions probably seem pretty dumb but I really want to know what I'm doing before I use the pot.

Thanks again.



Sorry. I wasn't very clear. Emptying out the solder and cleaning out the inside of the pot is only required after you've done a lot of soldering.
I've only had to do it once.
You just have to skim the dross off the top regularly. My pot came with a dross skimmer that looks like a small wood handled butter knife. I would guess that a stainless steel spoon with an insulated handle or small stainless steel knife with rounded edges would work as well. Occasionally I wipe the sides of the pot with it as well. I think that's what K does with his paper clip. I'm a sissy too since I'd be afraid of burnt fingers. After I finish soldering, I skim the dross, turn it off and leave the solder in the pot for next time.

When I did clean it I used some brazing tongs to empty the solder pot into an old cast iron cooking pot. After it cooled a bit I used a small brass bristled brush to clean up the surface of the inside of the pot. The inside of the pot should keep a coating of solder. Then I just wiped it with a sponge when it was cool enough to handle.
 
Sep 3, 2009 at 2:50 AM Post #14 of 16

les_garten

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skaelin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks for all the info NightOwl. I have some questions regarding the cleaning of the pot. Are you talking about cleaning the inside walls and bottom of the pot? Do I first pour the molten solder into some kind of glass jar?

As far as cleaning the sides, how do I do that without burning my hands? And what do I use to clean the pot? It seems like the heat would be too intense for something like a rag.



Hey, when you get ready to do this operation, do you mind if I come over and watch?

icon10.gif


.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 5:30 PM Post #15 of 16

skaelin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by les_garten /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hey, when you get ready to do this operation, do you mind if I come over and watch?

icon10.gif


.



Sure, but last time I checked, Santa Cruz is not exactly close to Florida, unless a tectonic plate moved very quietly in the night.
 

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