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I have two cut strands of string lights that I want to reconnect, but it's proving very difficult. They have a plastic/rubber coating around the wires which makes them stronger and more durable, but I need to strip it back to solder them together. Since the wires themselves are thin, they are particularly weak at the connection point where I solder them and they snap apart easily. Are there any tricks or trips to strengthen the wires where I solder them together?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If the wires are copper and if you are soldering them correctly, they will not snap apart easily. (A cold solder joint, or one where dirt and oil and other interfering materials prevent a proper joint from forming, will snap apart more easily, though.) However, a proper solder joint does form a rigid segment where bending forces will tend to weaken the nearby wire from repeated flexuring. A strain relief arranged to distribute the bending forces more broadly would be in order, perhaps. This can be as simple as a few pieces of heat sink tubing (stacked one on top of another.) \$\endgroup\$ – jonk Jan 8 '17 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe twisting them together might help? \$\endgroup\$ – Mero55 Jan 8 '17 at 22:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Splay the strands of copper and feed them into each other. Twist, solder, and cover with heat shrink. \$\endgroup\$ – Majenko Jan 8 '17 at 23:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ twist like this, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Union_splice then solder, then heatshrink. \$\endgroup\$ – Jasen Jan 9 '17 at 6:21
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Use heat shrink tubing to provide a strain relief to your solder connection. Be sure to use the correct solder (electrical, not plumbing) and clean the joint with isopropyl alcohol prior to heat shrinking.

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