How to Splice & Solder Wires

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    • 1). Plug in the soldering iron and allow it to warm to operating temperatures. This may take several minutes.

    • 2). Cut a piece of scrap copper wire into two pieces of approximately equal length using a pair of wire cutters. Strip about a half inch of insulation from one end of each wire using a pair of wire strippers. This typically involves matching the diameter of the wire to the properly-sized hole in the stripper, then grasping the wire in the stripper, squeezing the handles and pulling the strippers toward the short end of the wire. This should strip away the insulation without damaging the wire.

    • 3). Hold the two piece of copper wires so that the stripped ends face each other, overlap the two stripped pieces parallel to each other, and twist the wires together about three full rotations. The wires should be twisted together sufficiently tight to resist a slight tug.

    • 4). Place two pieces of scrap wood on a table side by side an inch or so apart. Place the wire between the wood pieces so that the twisted part of the wire -- the splice -- rests between the pieces. This is to allow you to simultaneously access both the top and bottom of the splice.

    • 5). Hold the tip of the soldering iron to the bottom of the splice to heat the wire. After about five seconds, hold the tip of a piece of solder wire to the top of the splice. The tip of the iron and the solder wire should never touch. The purpose of the iron is to get the wire hot enough to melt the solder directly onto the wire.

    • 6). Melt about one-quarter inch of solder wire into the joint, then remove the iron and allow the solder to cool. The solder should solidify within a few seconds of removing the iron. The wire should be cool enough to handle after about 10 or 20 seconds.

    • 7). Inspect the joint by noting the color of the solder. It should exhibit a shiny, metallic appearance. Tug lightly on the two ends of the wire to verify the integrity of the solder joint. Any cracks that appear in the solder during this process indicate the formation of a "cold joint," or a joint formed while the wire was not sufficiently hot to properly melt the solder. Cold joints must be broken or cut apart and re-soldered.

    • 8). Wrap the solder joint with electrical tape to complete the process.

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