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previous: Jeff G. Yea ... even with nickel steel, pre... -- 10/16/2004 2:06 PM view thread

Re: Assembling humbuckers sucks.....

10/16/2004 6:41 PM
Joe Gwinn
Re: Assembling humbuckers sucks.....
I've been soldering stainless steel (and chrome/nickel/cadmium plated steel) for years without difficulty. The problem is that no rosin flux is really aggressive enough for steel. I have two methods, used depending on if I can do the soldering and cleanup away from electronics, or not. In all cases, a reasonably large iron or gun is needed, one powerful enough to get the steel up to soldering temperature in a reasonable time.  
1. (Away from electronics) Use "tinners flux", which is the traditional flux for soft soldering steel. Tinners flux is a yellow liquid, being a mixture of zinc chloride and hydrochloric acid in water, and is sold by Sears. Dip a Q-tip in the flux, clean the area to be soldered, and solder away. The fumes are corrosive, so do this well away from anything delicate. When only warm, clean the area first with acetone (to get the rosin flux residue) and then with hot water, to wash all the corrosive acid residue away. Once tinned in this manner, it's easy to solder a wire to the tinned area of the steel sheet, using only regular electronic solder.  
2. (Near electronics) Use a fiberglass brush and plumbers flux. With the brush, clean the metal surface. Solder with a dollop of plumbers flux, scrubbing the soldering iron tip around on the steel to help spread the wetted area. Clean the area up with acetone, and solder the wire down with electronic solder alone.  
Method 1 gives a stronger and better-looking solder joint than method 2, but is less convenient to do. However, method 1 can be done by the batch, and the pretinned and cleaned items later being installed. This should work well for bases and covers and the like.  
Although tinners flux may allow one to solder alnico, the heat of soldering may not do the magnetic properties any good.

Dave Stephens This is getting to be a whacko thre... -- 10/17/2004 12:59 PM