Best method for soldering to bottom of pots...

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Norrin Radd, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, I hear you. Try taking apart an old Hammond chassis! Every wire, hundreds of them in some cases is through the hole, wrapped around etc. Quality stuff but UGH!.
    But then I feel the same way about "tying" strings around the tuner post... really?
     
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  2. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Decent solder helps Ive tried so many leaded unleaded expensive stuff cheap stuff best stuff i have found is Weller Elektronklot the stuff flows with an very high shine
     
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  3. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    first thing is knowing the pot... the "go to" brands, CTS, Alpha, etc etc.. are designed to accept solder to the pot's case... they are steel with a zinc, tin, or solder plating so that they will accept solder with little effort.. and the proper tool.. many of the imported pots are often made of steel, but not plated with anything that facilitates soldering, thus it leaves the amateur "cooking" the pot trying..

    YOU do NOT have to sand, scrape or otherwise booger up a pot’s case, unless the pot is a POS.. if it is.. replace the booger with CTS or something of similar professional quality.

    the key is having enough heat at the ready to heat the spot to receive the connection faster than the remaining case can "sap" away the heat.... those the little "toys", under 40 watts, while they CAN work, simply make it more difficult and increase the chance of damaging the pot.

    the reason.... as I said, you must heat the area that will be the connection spot hot enough to allow the solder to flow, BEFORE the rest of the pot’s case achieves that temperature.. above 400 degrees F .. For heavy duty soldering like pot cases, Pickup base plates, Spring claws, etc.. I use a Weller 8200N soldering gun... sometimes two simultaneously.

    I also use a couple of Weller WE1010NA solder stations.. I keep ‘em on 800 degrees for about everything inside a guitar… I do reduce it significantly if working on a Printed circuit or other digital components… you can fry ‘em quick at that temperature..

    If you use a 20 watter for instance.,, you will have to leave the tip on the case long enough for it to overcome the case acting as a heat sink... the only way that happens is for the case to get that hot too.. You do not want that, because some of the parts inside the pot are plastic, and can be distorted or melted by excessive heat... that ruins the pot and cannot be repaired easily.

    the next thing is how do you solder.... the correct way is Tin the wire, tin a spot on the case... touch the wire to the spot.. touch the wire AND the spot on the case simultaneously and add a little solder.. that touch of solder will facilitate the solder's flowing, making a sound connection... NOW remove the solder too. . . hold everything dead still for a few seconds as the solder hardens... you're done.. If you let anything move as the solder is hardening, you have what is known as a “cold" joint.. it's a problem.. it MAY work, but cannot be counted on... to be sure, it's gonna let you down just as the frontman looks at ya and says.."Take it"...

    Problem is, the way amateurs do it... they touch the wire to the pot.. touch the tip off the solder tool with solder, forming a big glob... allow it to drop into the wire/pot.. then apply the solder tool to that.... they wind up with a big round ball of solder.. with the wire adequately soldered, but there was never enough heat applied to the pot's case to permit the molecular adhesion... Sure I know its stuck... that’s the rosin acting as a glue... if it works its only because a very small spot of the glob made metal to metal contact which allowed continuity... it WILL fail...


    Here’s the wrong (left) way and the right way…. on the DSC_3240.jpg right...
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  4. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Tele-Holic

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    Thank you tremendously for this info!

    As you recommend I used CTS pots (always do) and ran my iron to 400c. No sanding or scuffing needed. Worked like a charm!

    57332809-A68E-4F42-8674-58C7629F327F.jpeg
     
  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Nice work... and most artists sigh 'em. ;)

    and just so ya know... if you find it a little "wanting" in the very extreme highs... you may want to try disconnecting the treble bypass... or turn the pot back.. but if ya love with sound of classic rock, blues, jazz etc... you're gonna love it..

    r
     
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  6. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

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    I find that lots of swearing helps.
     
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  7. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the tip! Will definitely note. That whole treble bleed thing is brand new to me and a bit of an experiment. We'll see how long it lasts...
     
  8. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    just don't think of it through any of the prejudicial comments seen in the forums... for most, it's effect on the sound does not rise above the threshold of noticeability... but there are those with particularly acute hearing in the upper registers,, for those guys it can be a make or break deal..

    Just play and enjoy the guitar for a few weeks before ya try to analyze anything.

    r
     
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  9. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Just wanted to add... I have a Weller 40w Soldering Station, pretty popular entry level one.

    For guitar stuff it has to run at the max power all the time... 40w seems like the bare minimum for this stuff.

    If you're doing circuit boards that stuff is all way way lower mass than guitar stuff and heats up way faster.
     
  10. zorgzorg2

    zorgzorg2 Tele-Meister

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    Best forum ever. Learn to solder a pot and cook a steak in the same thread.
     
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  11. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    ...wait a second...using two soldering irons simultaneously?
     
  12. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

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    One big improvement was using quality flux. I didn't notice this until I ran out of the flux that came with the all-in-one starter pack. I always felt like the flux was working against me. Turning the heat up to ~450°F, scuffing the pot, and pre-tinning helps too.
     
  13. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

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    If the guitar is a Telecaster, I do not solder the ground wires to the pots. The pots are actually connected to the control plate physically and electrically. I then use a terminal strip like the one below that I place under the outside screw of the control plate switch. The terminal strip will need to be swung around to the side to fit. I then solder the ground wires to the terminal lug that is connected to the tab under the screw and if need be I can bridge a wire between the 2 terminal lugs and have 2 places to solder ground wires. I have used this on several Telecasters and it works very well. The terminal strips like pictured below are only about 15c to 20c apiece. Any guitar that has an electrically conductive control plate with the pots on it could be done this way as long as there is sufficient room in the control plate cavity to accept the terminal strip.

    terminal.jpg
     
  14. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    sure how else are ya gonna be sure its doubly secure?? :p

    When soldering onto a large piece of metal.. like a Tremolo Claw, or the Baseplate of a Tele... you CAN use one solder tool and wait for the whole thing to get hot enough to allow the solder to flow.. or.. touch the tip to the wire and the work . . .allow a small drop of solder to melt onto it.. take the second tool. touch it.., and its like a small explosion of adequate heat.. the solder melts and flows instantly without the whole claw or baseplate rising to 400 degrees..

    and... being a pragmatist.. and anticipating the eventual demise of 60/40 availability.. I have accumulated enough for about the next 20 - 30 years.... so. at my present age, I figure I'm gonna run outta time before I run outta solder....

    But just to be safe.. I've bought a lotta clocks and calendars too, but I don't think they're gonna work... C'mon theoretical Physicists, you can do it.... :D

    r
     
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  15. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I find 40 watt pencil impossible to work with factory silver solder on the ground blobs the factory parks there. 80 - 100 watt soldering gun works like a champ. Factory solder is usually silver solder on the pots for grounding. I'm talking Fender MIM and USA products.

    What other companies use are a mixed bag.

    Of late I have been yanking factory pots and replacing with a grounding cleat as described above.
     
  16. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Flux helps a bunch along with preping the pieces to be soldered(filing/scuffing the back of the pot and tinning the pot/wires).

    Some pots have a tab on the side to keep the pots from turning(the ones people usually bend or cut off);), you could solder to that instead.
     
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