Author Topic: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?  (Read 3207 times)

Herr Masel

How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« on: February 13, 2006, 06:38:46 PM »
It's a pretty straight-forward and silly question, but it's always trouble for me and I hate doing it because I have to wrap the wire around the lug and not disturb it too much while soldering, which can be very annoying. I'm sure there is a better way, please enlighten me.

The Tone God

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2006, 06:45:23 PM »
Third pair of hands, make a plate to hold the jacks, mount them on a drilled case on the outside, put them in place solder them in the case near the end, etc. Lots of options. Whatever works.

Andrew

nelson

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2006, 06:46:56 PM »
I know this is prob a bad idea.

I use pcb mount pots.

Because I dont have 3 hands what I do is melt some solder on the lugs.

Then heat up the solder and "bond" the wire to it.

With normal solder lugs, I just solder as normal, stick wire in, heat lug melt solder onto lug and wire.
My project site
Winner of Mar 2009 FX-X

Herr Masel

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2006, 06:52:08 PM »
I don't have a problem with an improvised third hand holding the jacks/pots, but I have the iron in my real one hand and the solder in the other, which means the wire needs to be wrapped around the lugs somehow which like I said can be very tricky.

343 Salty Beans

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2006, 06:54:01 PM »
I put a piece of double-sided tape onto an old CD case...I stick the pot to it, then place the wire so that it's tip is just inside the lug. The I press it down with the soldering iron, then touch the solder to the inside of the lug. It completely fills the lug and surrounds the wire tip, thus making a firm, factory-like connection. You can freaking YANK on it, and it'll pull the lug out before the solder breaks. Make sure you have enough of the tip through the lug to where it'll form well. once the solder dries you can clip the tip (note that I avoid the opportunity to make a cheap phallic joke here) so that it doesn't short out on something later.

Just my $0.02...

R.G.

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2006, 07:16:13 PM »
Quote
I have the iron in my real one hand and the solder in the other, which means the wire needs to be wrapped around the lugs somehow which like I said can be very tricky.
One of the fundamental rules of soldering is that solder is not glue, and should not be used to hold things together.

Of course, we all do it and get away with it most of the time, but it's bad form. The right way to solder pots lugs is to insert the wire in the lug and bend it so that it stays there by itself. Then solder.

The other thing that helps a lot is to not put the pots in the case. Put them on something like this, from Geofex, 5/22/2000:


The wooden block holds the PCB, the jacks, and the controls with lugs up in the air so you can affix the wires and then solder. When it's all soldered, then stick it into the PCB. block of wood, a saw cut, and some holes and you have a custom made holder for soldering leads. It makes it easy to insert the wires and bend them. After that, soldering is easy.
R.G.

In response to the questions in the forum - PCB Layout for Musical Effects is available from The Book Patch. Search "PCB Layout" and it ought to appear.

Dave_B

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2006, 08:02:30 PM »
I use a vise similar to this one, except mine looks about forty years old. 

First I tin the leads and crimp them with needlenose pliers.  They usually hold pretty tight and solder easily.
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Rick

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2006, 08:49:32 PM »
I like the soldering block idea -just drilling various precise holes into a block of wood to hold all your pots, jacks, switches etc. is simplicity. I can see the benefits of this sturdiness already ...will surely make one!
I've always used the R - Shack helping hands (alligator clip vise), it has it's uses and probably always will (good for holding wire while doing tricky soldering), but it's a bit wimpy for holding switches and pots.
I think I'll either drill angled holes in the block or steal my wifes old knife holder block for this project as soldering terminals straight up doesn't give the best solder coverage.   ...Rick

Toney

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2006, 09:25:10 PM »

 As usual RG... spot on.

 Me, I strip the wires, bend and tin the lugs, wrap the exposed end around 2/3 times. Then I either use one of these babieshttp://www.dse.com.au/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/43f13edc066edd442742c0a87f9c0714/Product/View/T5715 or quite often something along the lines of ...pot held by pliers with rubber band around legs  ..... wire held by roll of solder or any handy heavier object.... separate till reasonable tension obtained.
 Those 16mm pots do not enjoy being overheated. Get in/out reasonably quickly. I've cooked more than one...

Ortiz

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2006, 09:52:58 PM »
That's awesome RG. I'm making that as soon as possible.

I don't like to wrap the wire multiple times around the lug. I find it harder to unsolder that way.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2006, 09:54:31 PM by Ortiz »

no one ever

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2006, 10:37:03 PM »
its really hard replace pots which have had their wires twisted through the lugs though..  :-\
(chk chk chk)

pi22seven

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2006, 10:54:54 PM »
That wiring block is brilliant!

R.G.

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2006, 11:18:25 PM »
Quote
its really hard replace pots which have had their wires twisted through the lugs though..
It is definitely easier to replace pots where the wires can break off more easily because the wires were not twisted than it is to replace pots whose solder joints remain securely fastened because they were put in properly.

That would make it really advisable to use good pots and know the right value before you solder them in...  :)
R.G.

In response to the questions in the forum - PCB Layout for Musical Effects is available from The Book Patch. Search "PCB Layout" and it ought to appear.

sean k

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2006, 11:57:27 PM »
The pots that I use have little holes, used to rivet the assembly to the fibreglass backing plates, on the lugs up close to the case and I thread the wire in from the case side and solder on the otherside. Sometime I leave off more of the wires insulation and having inserted into the rivet holes I then wrapp the wire around the PCB type lugs.., usually though I don't bother with this extra measure and just snip off the projecting lugs.

Herr Masel

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2006, 05:57:15 AM »
I think my problem is that I wasn't tinning the lugs and wire (doh!) and that some of the pots don't have holes to hold the wire while you are soldering. I've also been trying to figure out the best temperature for the iron to be on when soldering these, I just got the iron yetsterday, till now I was used to the cheap ones. I put it on around 350C but after I tin the tip at that temperature the solder on it quickly turns to gunk and I have to keep cleaning it which from what I read it actually not good for the tip because it swings the temperature back and forth.

Thanks for the diagram RG, I already have something similar. I used a cube of wood, about 7X7X8 cm, with two nails sticking out at two neighbouring sides making an L shape, onto these I attach clothes-line hangers which hold the board very steady. It can also be flipped on it's side to give different views of the board, all of which are steady. I hadn't thought about drilling for the pots and jacks, I'll add that feature now. Thanks.

Lukas

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2006, 10:25:08 AM »
For the two pedals that I've completed I've soldered everything mounted in the case. It was definitely not the most efficient way to do and on a more complex pedal it would be impossible due to the general lack of space. I'm thinking that the jig posted by R.G. is the way to go, except for the plastic power jacks I've used have to be soldered mounted in the case. For a third hand I just stick the plastic tube of solder in my mouth and use the left hand to hold parts and iron with the right. Just have to remember to tie my hair back.  :o

Mark Hammer

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2006, 01:12:44 PM »
Forgive me father, for I have sinned. :icon_redface:  I must have sinned some 50 times yesterday.  No, not THOSE sins!  Geez, get your mind out of the gutter! :icon_lol:

What I do is use the solder as glue.  I make sure that a) the solder lugs are scraped down so that the solder isn't just sitting on top of plating looking like it's adhered, and that b) the wire leads are tinned.

I load up the solder lugs so that they have an ever-so-slightly-pudgy bit of solder on the lug, and set the pre-tinned wire lead on top of the lug.  I flow the solder around the tinned lead to that the lead forms a nice smooth joint, making sure the insulation starts at the very edge of the lug.  Then, I slip a piece of heat shrink over the lug and first few millimeters of the wire lead.  I've had too many things fail me because of fractures at the solder lug, so even though it is a royal pain to take the heatshrink off if I want to unsolder the pot, jack or switch, I do it anyways.  The need to have a smooth svelte solder joint to slip the shrink over is a big part of what motivates my soldering style slipping the wire through the hole and crimping it around may well be more secure, but I find it bulky, and quite frankly the best solder joint in the world won't help you if the wire fractures from all the twisting you end up needing to do to fit that toggle swith into that cramped space so that the function of the switch in position X matches the legending on the chassis panel. 

The other reason I like to cover lugs with heat shrink is that I'm always finding it necessary to rotate the pots and jacks this way and that to avoid accidental shorting in cramped boxes.  I suppose more meticulous planning on my part could avoid that.  I just find it easier to essentially insulate the solder lugs so that I buy myself the freedom to move stuiff around without having to worry about shorts.  In the world of pro gear with lifetime warranties, precision machining and precisely sized parts, all the recommendation from those with pro experience is spot on.  The world of one-offs with whatever parts you have on hand, and no warranty, however, is a different one.

I find heat shrink prices vary considerably in town here.  The same length sold for 82 cents at the place near me goes for $230 at other places I often shop at.  I can see where the cost might act as a deterrent to some folks if they only run into the pricier stuff.

R.G.

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2006, 04:09:55 PM »
Quote
Forgive me father, for I have sinned.  I must have sinned some 50 times yesterday.  No, not THOSE sins!  Geez, get your mind out of the gutter!
What I do is use the solder as glue.
I do it too, Mark. We have all sinned.

But I figure that the new ones coming up may as well learn the right way before they do it the easy way...  :icon_biggrin:
R.G.

In response to the questions in the forum - PCB Layout for Musical Effects is available from The Book Patch. Search "PCB Layout" and it ought to appear.

nero1985

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2006, 05:02:46 PM »
when i first started building circuits i used to spend hours reading RG's articles, then i bought a "C" size box for a bypass looper box but it didnt work so good, i was gonna trash the box but i remember seeing that picture of RG's wood board so i started using the C box for that! i also use the input and output jacks of it to test a circuit before i throw it in a box, i have holes for everything not just to solder but to test, i can just put the circuit on top of the box (standoffs) and test them, RG kicks ass! :P

troubledtom

Re: How do *you* solder to pots and jacks?
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2006, 07:58:59 PM »
Quote
I have the iron in my real one hand and the solder in the other, which means the wire needs to be wrapped around the lugs somehow which like I said can be very tricky.
One of the fundamental rules of soldering is that solder is not glue, and should not be used to hold things together.

Of course, we all do it and get away with it most of the time, but it's bad form. The right way to solder pots lugs is to insert the wire in the lug and bend it so that it stays there by itself. Then solder.

The other thing that helps a lot is to not put the pots in the case. Put them on something like this, from Geofex, 5/22/2000:


The wooden block holds the PCB, the jacks, and the controls with lugs up in the air so you can affix the wires and then solder. When it's all soldered, then stick it into the PCB. block of wood, a saw cut, and some holes and you have a custom made holder for soldering leads. It makes it easy to insert the wires and bend them. After that, soldering is easy.


i've never seen RG's art work  :icon_eek: but that's the way i've always done it. when i'm prototyping  the main work area is solid w/ combos of holes drilled around the main area. and some other stuff. :icon_razz:
    peace,
          - tom
rg,..........
gotta love'm.