How to Solder

Howdy, my name is Kyle Wolford, today I’m going to show y’all how to properly prepare and solder to wires together in just a few easy steps. For the past few years I have been installing and upgrading car audio systems along with aftermarket accessories and general wire repair on vehicles. You will want this skill for when that one plastic connector on your car or truck breaks so you can fix it yourself without having to pay someone else. In the end knowing how to fix wire connector issues will save you a good amount of money instead of paying a shop to fix the issue.

Step 1: How to Solder

● Soldering Iron ● Damp Sponge ● Wire Strippers ● Wire Cutters ● Gloves (optional)

● Safety Glasses (depends on work environment) ● Lighter ● Solder ● Heat-shrink ● 2 pieces of wire

● Tape measure

Step 2: Wire Stripping

Locate the two wires that need to be soldered together and use the wire stripper to strip back the first ½ inch of insulation. When the insulation has been removed from the wire, inspect the wire for any discoloration such as a green tint or hue on the wire. If any is seen then trim back more of the wire until good copper is showing.

Step 3: Add Heat-shrink

Once there is ½ inch of good bare wire showing on either piece of wire that needs to be soldered, cut a piece of heat-shrink three times as long as the amount that was stripped off. For this instance cut off a piece that is approximately 1.5 inches long and slide the heat-shrink over whichever piece of wire is longer, so it will have less of a chance of pre-shrinking during the soldering process.

Step 4: Wire Meshing

Now take both stripped ends of the wires and gently mesh them into themselves, so that when it’s done there will only be approximately ½ inch of copper still showing. Some of the strands will be sticking out in odd directions, twist the odd strands around the joint.

Step 5: Prepping Soldering Iron

Depending on how long the soldering iron takes to preheat, it may be necessary to plug it in or turn it on before this part. Once the soldering iron is warmed up, take a piece of solder and put a piece on the tip so there is a nice clean coating of solder on the iron, wipe the excess of on the damp sponge.

Step 6: Soldering the Wire

Place the freshly coated iron tip and place it onto the bare copper, wait at least a minute before trying to melt solder into the wire. When it has been more than a minute, take a length of solder and gently touch the solder to the hot bare copper. If the solder melts and seems to be sucked into the wire, keep adding solder until there is a nice layer of solder covering all of the spliced copper joint.

Step 7: Remove Iron

Remove the soldering iron from the solder joint and place the iron back into its holder. Let the wire cool until the area just soldered can be touched with bare hands.

Step 8: Adding Heat-shrink

Take the heat-shrink that has been previously slid to one side of the joint and slide the heat-shrink over the joint until it looks centered over the solder joint. Now take a lighter

and hold the it so that the flame of the lighter is close to the heat-shrink but is not touching, the flame only needs to be close enough so that the heat-shrink begins to shrink around the wire. Now that the heat-shrink has shrunk around the soldered joint, let it cool till it can be handled with bare hands.

Step 9: Completed Solder Joint

Now that the joint has fully cooled, give the joint a tug so that the joint is confirmed solid. If the joint is solid then the wires have been successfully soldered together. If there are multiple wires to solder then repeat these steps as needed till all joints have been soldered.

Step 10: Video of Two Wires Being Soldered Together

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    2 Discussions

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    Jhonbaker

    19 days ago

    Nice. Soldering is becoming a lost skill. I was recently showing a friend of mine how to repair/alter/make an extension cord and realized he didn't really know how to solder. He caught on quick.
    Most people don't know to mesh the wires first - good on you for knowing that and sharing it!
    Two criticisms/additions: Safety Glasses are never optional and 1 minute is a very long time: 10-15 seconds should be enough - especially for tinned wire.
    Okay, a third - work in a well ventilated area as well.

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    None

    Welcome to Instructables. Thanks for sharing the great tutorial. You should enter it into the Electronics Tips and Tricks contest.