Soldering is a skill that can take several attempts to master, but it is one of the most trusted ways to join connections. Soldering is used in many different facets of electronic or electrical projects. Soldering is the process of heating tin and lead to the right temperature to melt over two or more wires to join them together. When joining the wires, it is critical to have a solid bond between them to ensure a good connection and flow of electricity. Knowing how to solder stranded wire to solid wire can be the key to completing a project correctly.
Things You'll Need
- Soldering gun/iron
- Wire strippers/cutters
- Needle-nose pliers
- Soldering flux
- Insulated copper wire (solid and stranded)
- Electrical tape
Cut the two wires to be soldered together to the appropriate length as needed for your project.
Strip off about 1 inch of the insulation from each end of the two wires using the wire strippers. For the stranded wire, using your fingers, gently twist the stranded wire in a clockwise direction to bring all the wires together in a semi-tight fashion.
Plug the soldering gun/iron into an electrical outlet and allow it to heat up for about three to five minutes.
Apply a small amount of soldering flux to the end of each wire and smear it around. The amount applied to each wire should be about the size of a pencil lead.
Mount the end of each wire in the vise to hold them steady and give you access to each one independently.
Tin the wires by applying a small amount of solder to the ends of each wire to just barely cover the wire. Using the soldering gun, heat the wiring up enough to melt the solder and gently apply the soldering to the wire with the soldering gun touching the wire. Be careful to not overheat the wire and melt the insulation or allow the soldering gun/iron tip to touch the insulation.
When complete with the tinning you will be able to still see the strands of the wire or the solid wire and have just a glaze of solder covering the wire ends.
Remove the wires from the vise when they have cooled, and using the needle-nose pliers, twist the two soldered wires together to form an initial bond.
Mount the now joined wires in the vise with the end out a few inches to allow access.
Heat the wire joint up with the soldering gun and gently apply solder to melt around the joint. Move the gun around the joint to evenly melt the solder so it does not build up on one side, but rather covers the entire joint in an even and smooth fashion. Allow the wire and joint to cool.
Apply electrical tape around the joint to keep it from coming in contact with any other wiring or metal. Remove the wire from the vise.
Tips & Warnings
- You can also apply heat shrinking material around your soldered joints as an option to tape.
- Be sure to always solder in a well-ventilated area to avoid direct inhalation of the lead fumes from the solder.
- Always allow 10 to 15 minutes for the soldering gun/iron to cool before you store it.
- Soldering guns/irons are very hot. Avoid contact of the tip of the soldering gun/iron with any part of the skin or body.