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I am trying to tin some wires as they won't stick to the IC pins that I'm soldering them to. The problem I am having is that the solder won't stick to the wire.

My iron is fine as can solder other things just fine. I also tried a different wire and the solder stuck very well and I was easily able to solder them to the connectors, this wire is just too thick so I have to use the other one. I have tried to get the solder to attach to the wire with and without flux but no luck.

These are the wires I'm using:

Specification:

  • Type: 30AWG
  • Total length: 280m/11023.6"
  • Material: Tin Plated Copper, Plastic
  • Outer diameter of single core wire: - Approx. 0.55mm
  • Diameter of copper core: Approx. 0.25mm
  • Temperature resistance: 80 degrees

Wire. (Dead link, also not available on the Wayback Machine.) Similar to this wire.

enter image description here

This is the solder I am using:

enter image description here

Can anyone give me any tips to get it to stick? It's giving me a headache.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does the solder melt when it touches the heated wire? (Remove the soldering iron first) \$\endgroup\$
    – Oskar Skog
    Nov 25, 2018 at 0:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't. I tried heating the wire with the iron and applying the solder but the solder just sticks to the tip of the iron and ignores the wire. Since it works perfectly with a different 22(or 24 awg) wire, I am thinking perhaps it's the material (tin plated copper) which is the issue? I'm not sure. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sef
    Nov 25, 2018 at 0:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @passerby means "scrape" it first. As in remove the enamel (or actually probably epoxy) coating. \$\endgroup\$
    – mkeith
    Nov 25, 2018 at 1:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ What kind of flux are you using? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2018 at 2:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ is that flux cored solder? does it make smoke when you melt it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jasen
    Nov 25, 2018 at 5:22

4 Answers 4

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Try first sanding with fine sandpaper, or carefully scraping with knife.

I've encountered high-temp WW wire which simply cannot be tinned. It does work OK if sanded first. Very abnormal. Something in the plastic insulation either coats the metal, or produces a thick (and invisible) tarnish layer.

IF NOT SANDED FIRST, then with lots of time, heat and flux, it eventually will tin. (Time, like 20 or 30 sec.) I don't know if this indicates thick oxide being reduced, or thin polymer being burned off. What a pain. And it wasn't some fly-by-night source; one of the normal suppliers IIRC Alpha wire.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting, Ok I will try this suggestion tomorrow using fine sandpaper on the wire or scraping with a knife before tinning. I'll also try turning the temp up. It's annoying, for this small project I have lifted a few small IC pins which I thought would be the hardest part, not tinning the wire! Thanks, will report back tomorrow. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sef
    Nov 25, 2018 at 0:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just use the sharp edge of a knife, held normal to the wire, and scrap along. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2018 at 11:33
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A tin plated copper wire is very easy to solder. But for a lead free solder with some copper in it you need a soldering iron with higher temperature. The isolation of a wire wrapping wire should be removed before soldering. This kind of isolation does not melt away during soldering.

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Use flux and use the right flux. If you are using lead free solder use flux that is also more compatible with lead free solder. The best one I've found (so far) is chipquick SMD291. I've had no trouble soldering 30AWG wire to pins with a little bit of this flux applied.

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Wirewrapping wire is designed for making connections by wirewrapping, not by soldering. Its surface is treated and coated in order to make good connections when applied by a wirewrapping tool to a wirewrapping terminal.

Soldering it will be about as reliable as soldering nails: you need excessive heat and special flux for even lacklustre results. You wouldn't want to solder connections to heat-sensitive parts with that wire, most definitely not IC pins.

If you want to use that wire, get wirewrapping sockets for your ICs and a wirewrap gun. Otherwise, get standard electronic wire.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have seen at multiple organizations that use wire-wrapping wire for soldering and prototyping and have not had any issues. \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike
    Jun 22 at 18:09

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