Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Solder on CTS Pots - Help.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Dasher, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Dasher

    Dasher Tele-Meister

    Feb 5, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    I seem to have difficulty with the earth solder "sticking" to the back of these USA CTS pots. It drives me insane! I had a joint come off again last night. Don't seem to have the same trouble with the Japanese pots?

    What am I doing wrong with these. Do I need different solder or is there a trick to this? I've even tried a light sanding on the back of the pot with no luck.

    Please Help?

  2. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

    Sep 28, 2009
    Calera, Alabama
    What is "earth" solder?

  3. Loudog99

    Loudog99 Tele-Meister

    Jul 29, 2009
    Howell, NJ
    Try to sand the back with a bit heavier grit, say 100 grit. Then apply a drop of solder to the pot, lay your tinned wire on top, and press the tip onto that. Sanding with 100 grit and cleaning with Denatured alcohol should help.

  4. max_twang

    max_twang Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 8, 2009
    New York
    1. Clean the back of the pot well with steel wool (000 or 0000)
    2. Apply flux
    3. Heat the surface with your iron
    4. Solder your wire in place (don't move it until the solder cools).

    I've been able to do this quite easily using a 25 watt iron.

    Also, what kind of solder are you using? I've found 60/40 rosin core to work best. Don't like lead free at all.

  5. max_twang

    max_twang Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 8, 2009
    New York
    The ground.

  6. bigp7099

    bigp7099 Tele-Holic

    Oct 1, 2010
    Brampton, ON
    are you using copper shielding tape? here's a little method using it that i came up with to make this whole thing alot easier (somebody please tell me if this has been done before)

    if you are using the tape with the non-conductive backer (enough to cover the back of the pot) and fold about 1/3 of it under itself and stick this on the back of the pot with the folded under part across the diameter of the pot.

    take a second piece about 1/2 the size of the the pot and stick it down across the folded over section and the uncovered part of the pot.

    solder your wire to the copper tape (very easy to do) across the seam, check for continuity

    if you are using conductive back tape then you just need to put down one piece.

  7. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    Soldering your ground wires to the back of pots:

    1. Clean the back of the pot with sandpaper.
    2. Using a proper soldering iron and rosin core solder, heat the back of the pot until you can melt a puddle of solder onto the back of the pot. Remove the soldering iron.
    3. Gather the ground wires together. Heat the back of the pot once again until the solder puddle turns liquid. Stick the wires into the solder puddle, remove the soldering iron and hold the wires steady until the solder puddle solidifies.
    4. Done.

  8. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    quit using that 20 watt soldering pencil, get a real soldering tool…

    you have to get the case of the pot hot enough to melt the solder without frying the guts of the pot… that takes a Manly solder tool, get rid of the Hello Kitty thing ya got from Radio Shack. It's designed for Geeks trying to "hack" Satellite TV receivers…. :eek:

    I use a Weller 8200 soldering gun for heavy duty styuff like that…it heats the area of the pot to be soldered fast enough to do the trick without cooking the thing.

    Oh, RS pots do not need any sanding… they just need enough heat… they're just CTS pots… with a good PR agent.

    Ron Kirn

  9. javabirds

    javabirds Tele-Holic

    Aug 15, 2010
    You are a good time.

  10. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    I use a $9.95 20W soldering iron and it works fine for the back of pots.

    I use a slightly different technique: sand with 180 grit, put the solding iron's tip (only) on the pot and feed in solder to the junction. It melts out and pools on the pot. Then I tilt the iron flat and give it a wiggle and the solder pools and we're done.

  11. Dasher

    Dasher Tele-Meister

    Feb 5, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    Boys, the earth is the ground. Sorry 'bout that. What can I say, I'm an accountant!

    The iron I have, I can adjust the temp. It can get freakin hot if I wind it to max.

    Ok so I need to grow some balls and really give it to these Yanky suckers.

    In all seriousness, thanks for your help guys!

  12. itsGreg

    itsGreg Tele-Holic

    Sep 3, 2011
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I use a variable 50w iron for most wiring but for pots I use my 160w gun, does the job quickly and easily.

    Sent from my H.A.L 9000 using TDPRI app

  13. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    Yeah, I grew up using a 200/260 watt Weller gun. I learned with a similar one in the mid 1960's. Takes about 3-4 seconds to tin the back of a pot, then an iron will do the rest. I like to hit those hard and fast, never have a problem with frying pots, as long as I stay with 60/40 rosin core solder. Scratch the back with an awl, a pencil eraser, sandpaper, steel wool (whatever is laying on the bench at the time. Idea is to turn up a clean surface before ya heat it up. Once the solder pool is on there, it takes much less heat to get a nice joint.

    I use a Hakko soldering station, and keep everything immaculate- most times with the iron turned to maximum heat unless I'm working on delicate wire (like 44 awg for pickup winding) or miniswitches with plastic bodies.

  14. PinewoodRo

    PinewoodRo Tele-Afflicted

    Somewhere between 330 and 360 on your temp control should do it.

  15. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

    May 31, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Already said by others, but I will repeat it: use a powerful iron for this task. Craftsman 100w/140w is what I have, for stuff like this. Just takes a short time to melt that blob, unlike the regular pencil 25w.

    Same goes for removing humbucker covers. The powerful "gun" will melt that blob fast; if you use the pencil it will take a long time & you will also melt the PU potting wax & make a mess.

  16. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Here's why. . . a low wattage iron's heat will dissipate throughout the whole case until the spot where it's touching the case gets hot enough to cause the solder to flow… an absolute necessity to achieve a secure solder connection… but while doing so, it will heat the rest of the case to a point, it can destroy the guts of the pot…. a more robust iron will be able to supply the heat rapidly enough that the spot gets hot enough before the whole case warms, you touch the solder, it flows, you remove the heat… everything's "cool" . .

    Most pots have plastic "bearings" and other components inside, they can melt at temperatures lower than those required to melt solder… further the substrate the carbon filament silk screened on, is a phenolic resin, in better pots, plastic in the junk, and the heat can cause the resins to ooze from the substrate, gooing things up, or acting as a glue and freezing things up… or just plain melt the plastic.

    While everyone has a "better" way… I can tell ya, I began my foray into soldering around 1954. I was 8 and had the handy dandy Cub Scout Handbook, and the "stuff" to make my first "crystal set" . . did it with my Dad's brand new Weller 8100… he got it at Sears… I dropped it… :rolleyes: I actually cannot remember never having a Weller, or later a Ungar Solder pencil, within close proximity…. I was a Dyna Kit, Knight Kit, Heath Kit guy… I was always soldering something..

    From the late 60's to 1980, I was in "TV"… in the engineering department, the Weller 8200 and Simpson VOMs were as common at the side of the Engineers as the "Peacemaker" was at the side of Lawmen in 1870's Tombstone.. A few tried the little junky toys, but invariable went back to the "real deal". The only time the "toys" were brought out was to work on heat sensitive "Solid State" crap and Printed Circuit boards, where a 100 watt anything would make the copper foil peal like is was sunburned skin..

    The "innards" of a guitar is quite frankly, the same archaic electronics of the 50's . . which were created with the same robust iron, about which I speak…

    "You" need a tool that can supply the heat, in an adequate quantity, fast enough to get the job done without frying the whole kit 'n kaboodle…a "toy" ain't gonna cut it, unless you are pretty good… and know what "signs" to look for to suggest things are about to "heat up".

    Do it the way your GranDaddy did in the 50's . . . getcha a real tool and never look back… or getcha a Chinese made "toy" and wonder what the fudge is taking so long and why does the room now smell like something Electronic and expensive just burned up.

    also.. a side bar… get genuine ELECTRONIC solder… when you ask the guy at Home Depot where to find solder and he tells ya the Plumbing department.. WRONG . . . you do not ever use Plumbing solder for electronics… NEVER . . You want 40/60 (40 % tin 60 % lead) rosin core… there are some weird blends, but the 40/60 is the standard...

    Ron Kirn

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