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

Soldering ground wire to mini-pots w/o frying them?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by V Silly, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. V Silly

    V Silly Tele-Meister

    Nov 14, 2011
    Santa Barbara CA
    Hello folks, working on a project that is requiring me to use mini pots due to small control cavity. My soldering skills are beginner. The last time I tried to use mini pots I fried them trying to get the ground wire to stick on.
    My understanding is that you are supposed to heat the surface of the pot until the surface of the pot gets hot enough to melt the solder. This can take quite a while and I was not able to do it without frying the pot.
    Now that I have to do this again I thought I would check first with this forum to see if there are any tips.
    I since have gotten a new more powerful and adjustable soldering iron and am hoping this will help but still... Any help appreciated, thank you :)
  2. tarheelbob

    tarheelbob Tele-Meister Platinum Supporter

    Aug 30, 2014
    Please Google this. There are some simple YouTube tutorials on soldering the back of pots. It will help.

    Hint: A good soldering iron, pre-tinning the pot, and tinning the wires will help cure your ills......

    - Bob
    Tezuka27 likes this.
  3. jackal

    jackal Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Jun 14, 2010
    mojave desert
    Cleanliness is essential. Soldering iron tip, the mini-pot, the wires, clean everything twice!
  4. V Silly

    V Silly Tele-Meister

    Nov 14, 2011
    Santa Barbara CA
    Thank you very much for the suggestions, should I sand the back of the pot? What should I clean soldering iron tip and wires with? I will go look for the YouTube videos thank you
  5. Artslap

    Artslap Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2014
    Sydney, Australia
    Use a heat sink (a pair of pliers touching the side of the pot) to draw off the unwanted heat.
    MitchMiami likes this.
  6. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Afflicted

    May 24, 2016
    Scuff sand the spot on the pot you want to solder to and get a more powerful iron. Trying to solder to a large piece of metal with an underpowered iron is a recipe for disaster.
  7. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

    Get iron to full heat. Heat the back of the pot until solder melts onto it. Remove iron from pot. Put wire on solder spot. Hold without moving while holding iron on the wire until it melts into the solder. Remove the iron & hold the wire still until it is solid.

    The issue is usually having an iron that doesnt heat up hot enough requiring it be held on the pot longer & melting them.
    PingGuo, MitchMiami and Chicago Matt like this.
  8. V Silly

    V Silly Tele-Meister

    Nov 14, 2011
    Santa Barbara CA
    My new soldering iron says Weller model WLC100, 40W adjustable. Did I under buy? How many watts is powerful enough for this type of work?
  9. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Speed. You need an wide iron tip that will heat the casing up quickly enough to melt solder without sizzling the insides. You can have a powerful iron with a small tip and it will take longer, possibly causing damage, than a lower powered iron with a wide tip. 40W should be fine, but again, it needs a wide tip that will have the most surface contact with the pot casing.
    richa likes this.
  10. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    That's good. It'll do the job.
    Anode100 likes this.
  11. Humble Pie

    Humble Pie TDPRI Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    you could also use a lug that fits around the pot shaft and solder the wires to the crimp lug . no heat on the pot at all!
    eclecticsynergy likes this.
  12. BCblues55

    BCblues55 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

    Nov 11, 2014
    I’ve had success with lightly sanding the back of the pot to get a tougher surface prior to running. Also, I’ve wrapped a plain wire around the shaft to serve as a ground. Works well and you don’t have to solder to the pot.
  13. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 19, 2014
    Interesting idea..! Another might be to solder the ground lead to a hose clamp and then wrap that bad boy around the body of the pot. Lol. :)
  14. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    The idea of heating the pot back until it's hot enough to melt the solder is where you're going wrong. Heat the pot back for two or three seconds, then touch the solder to the joint where the soldering iron meets the pot back. The solder should melt and flow onto the pot back.

    Use good rosin core 60/40 lead tin solder specifically formulated for use on electronics. The lead free solder common today is very difficult to use. I use Kester 44, there are many more good choices.
    Tuxedo Poly and LutherBurger like this.
  15. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    I have the same one and it works fine for me. Crank it to 11 and you should be good. All the other tips - are what I do as well and never fried one.
    MitchMiami likes this.
  16. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Jan 23, 2007
    Often its possible to remove the casing from the pot by simply opening a few tabs with a screwdriver.
    Then , you are able to solder to the casing without getting heat to the internals
  17. V Silly

    V Silly Tele-Meister

    Nov 14, 2011
    Santa Barbara CA
    Thanks for all the tips!! I hope I will do better this time....
  18. V Silly

    V Silly Tele-Meister

    Nov 14, 2011
    Santa Barbara CA
    Well, I'm not doing very well. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos as well as the tips here. My main problem is that my solder tip keeps oxidizing. After every attempt to solder something the tip is oxidized again and the solder is balling up on the tip. I have sanded it multiple times and tried to tin it. Even when trying to tin the wire ends the wire never gets hot enough to melt solder and the tip is oxidizing. I'm a little confused as to why this is happening.
    So far I fried one pot but thanks to using pliers as a heat sink it seems like I'm doing a little better with that part of it.
  19. Finck

    Finck Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2017
    São Paulo - Brazil
    If you sand the tip of the iron, it can really be more difficult to tin. Clean the tip of iron (when hot) with a moisturized vegetal sponge only and try to tin it prior to get it oxidized again.
  20. luckett

    luckett Banned

    Jun 14, 2011
    You shouldn't be sanding the tip. They are plated and you've probably sanded through it. Time for a new tip.
    tarheelbob and eclecticsynergy like this.
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