How to Solder a Wire to a Switch

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Soldering is the process of heating and melting liquid metal over two metal conductors, to form an electrical connection. While there are other methods of connecting a wire to a switch, soldering forms a solid connection between the two metals and ensures good electrical contact between the two. Using a soldering iron to heat the solder and allowing the connection to cool for a few seconds will complete the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Soldering iron
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Solder
  • Plug the soldering iron into an electrical outlet and allow it a few minutes to heat.

  • Strip off 1/2 inch of insulation at the end of the wire you are soldering to the switch. Gently twist the strands in a clockwise direction to pull them together for soldering and avoid any fraying.

  • Have an assistant hold the wire steady as you touch the soldering iron and tip of the solder to the end of the wire. Melt just a small amount of solder on the end of the wire. This process is called "tinning" and will help solder the wire to the switch. Apply just enough solder so that you can still see strands of the wire.

  • Place the tinned end of the wire on the prong of the switch where you will solder it. If the prong has a hole in the tip, then insert the wire through the hole. This design further increases the strength of the connection.

  • Touch the soldering iron and solder to the wire and prong on the switch. Move the solder back and forth and apply just enough so the solder just covers the wire on the prong. Turn the switch over and solder the wire on the backside of the prong. Allow the solder to cool.

Tips & Warnings

  • As you solder each connection, blow across the soldered joint to help speed up the cooling process of the solder as it solidifies.
  • Avoid applying too much heat during the soldering process as the wire will conduct heat, and too much heat could melt the wire's insulation.
  • Use extreme caution when using the soldering iron because the tip is several hundred degrees hot and will burn the skin.
  • Never leave a hot soldering iron unattended, because this could lead to injury or possibly a fire.

References

  • Photo Credit Soldering iron image by Gudellaphoto from Fotolia.com
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