Potentiometer heat sink? ( for soldering, not because it gets hot )

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Wallaby, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Does anyone ever use a heat-sink when soldering to the backs of potentiometers?

    I've never had a problem not doing it, but I got to wondering.

    If you do - how do you do it? Those little heat clips are too small to fit a pot case. Maybe a small vise grips with a ring of folded over aluminum foil around the case?

    Maybe this is a silly question, but I thought I'd ask.I think you'd have to go way, way too long on a pot to have a problem
     
  2. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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    the pot IS a heat sink..... ha ha

    seriously, the trick is to use a really hot iron and get it tinned as quick as possible before too much hear soaks into the shell. can you damage it with an iron... maybe but I don't know for sure
     
  3. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Yes...yes you can ;). You are quite right. Use an iron that will get it hot quick and get out quick. Some cheaper post have plastic in them an it’s easy enough to fry them by applying heat too long. I don’t know if I have ever killed a CTS pot, but I suspect it’s possible. I did kill an Alpha pot once and they are decent pots. It just didn’t want to heat up fast - probably my iron was dirty.
     
  4. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Other good suggestions are to scratch up the area on the back of the pot where you plan to solder and apply a little solder paste. That will help it heat up faster and adhere better.
     
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  5. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    An alligator clip between where I want the hot, and where I don't want the hot.
     
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  6. Jon Snell

    Jon Snell Tele-Meister

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    If soldering at the correct temperature with the correct type of solder that has flux in it, there is no issue.
    To solder the case of a pot, at a bit temperature of 190℃ and a power of at least 45Watts, should take no longer than 10 to 12 seconds. That is not enough time to damage the pot.
     
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  7. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't see the point for the back of the pot, you want hot so it can stick.

    I do use a heat sink when soldering the legs. I used to not to, and damaged several Alpha pots by not using a heat sink.
     
  8. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    I soldered for a living years ago and had only ruined one pot the whole time. It was an inexpensive/cheap pot on an Epiphone guitar. I've never used any kind of a heat sink.

    I use an iron running at 800 degrees F, and it only takes about 2 to 3 seconds max.
     
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  9. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Meister

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    As noted above, a heat sink would make soldering to a pot case harder, not easier. My alternative is to use solder ring terminals around the shaft and not solder to the case at all.
     
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  10. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    I've always found the whole exercise of soldering wires to the backs of pots to be a real pain. I always end up with too much solder and wire bundles that are hard to position right (and then get crammed into a small cavity in the guitar). I cross my fingers that nothing is touching the ground connections incorrectly once I've screwed the control plate down, otherwise I have to get out the electrical tape to insulate everything.

    Why doesn't someone come out with a potentiometer specially made for guitar wiring which has a built-in lug/terminal on the back for soldering the grounds?
     
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  11. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I have a 40w iron and never had an issue as well. The key is wattage
     
  12. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    Washer with a solder lug. I use them all the time to avoid having to solder to the pot case.

    lug washer.jpg
     
  13. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Meister

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    Yes, the absolute best way to create a cold solder joint is a large puddle of molten solder with a number of not quite still wires in it as it cools.

    As noted above, there is a very cheap, perfect solution.

    https://www.allparts.com/products/ep-4968-solder-lug-washers
     
  14. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Afflicted

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    In guitars that require soldering several wires to the back of the pot, I will solder a small loop of 18-22awg buss wire to the pot. I will then wrap and solder all grounds to the buss wire. This way I only have a single soldering point on the back of the pot. On Strat type guitars, I will solder a straight buss wire across all three pots and then attach all grounds somewhere along the buss wire. Much easier to remove and reattach the grounds from the buss wire if future maintenance or part swapping is needed.
     
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  15. sudogeek

    sudogeek Tele-Meister

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    Memorex and Telecentric beat me to it. There’s really no call for soldering to pots. I’ve never damaged one but replacing a pot when there’s a bunch of wires on it or a bus soldered across several pots is a pain. Plus, those junctions are always suspicious.

    I stopped doing that several years ago. There are several sources of 3/8” washers with crimp connector (which I prefer) or solder lug. Here’s another type from Digikey:

    https://www.digikey.ca/product-deta...-amp-connectors/2-34115-2/A27018CT-ND/2233395

    These work fine and are much easier to deal with for repairs or further modding.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A 40W iron takes too long on the pot, for my taste. 800-900F, on and off in three seconds. Never had a problem, and unlike using a 40W stick, the solder is all round and smooth, not tortured-looking.
     
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  17. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Thinking out loud, I wonder how well using the washers with solder lugs would work with an ES-335 or its brethren?

    It seems like the pots might get separated from their washers while fishing the harness into place.
     
  18. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Yep - use these a lot.
     
  19. sudogeek

    sudogeek Tele-Meister

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    I rewired a Sheraton most recently and it’s not a problem. You use the same technique as placing the toothed washer. You tie twine or fishing line to the shaft of the pot, then thread line through the washer+lug, then thread the line through the toothed washer. I use an angled surgical clamp to get the line through the appropriate hole. Pull the pot in place and, with a little fiddling, direct the shaft through the hole. The washers slide into place. Pretty straight forward and no more fiddly than having all these wires and grounds trailing after the pot if you use that as a solder point.
     
  20. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Holic

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    Something similar here. Tinned copper wire, from craft store, identical gauge to what you see in Gibsons. Then solder pickup ground wires to it.

    Some things still get soldered to pot for economy of space, but it's a lot less and a lot cleaner and more organized this way.[​IMG]

    Sent from my LG-H932 using Tapatalk
     
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