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While I've done many in the past I absolutely hate doing it. Is there some secret I'm not aware of to solder the ground? I ruined 4 connectors and a length of wire (because now it's too short) yesterday. Keep in mind that I can't do them on a bench because some of the areas they need to go through won't fit with the connector on them. I don't understand why that has to be so hard (for me). Any tips would be greatly appreciated......
:flame:
 

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The 3 most likely causes of a bad soldering job I can think of are:
1. Touching the solder to the tip of the soldering iron as you apply solder to the piece. The cable will not get hot enough for the solder to flow and stick to it. Heat the connector well and keep the tip just slightly away from where you are going to put the solder...when the solder melts by just touching the part, then it is probably hot enough.
2. The soldering iron is not powerful enough to get such a large connector hot enough, so the solder is melted as in problem #1. A 20W iron may be just hot enough to do the center wire, but probably not hot enough to do the body of the connector due to the large mass of metal carrying the heat away to fast. Maybe a 30w iron would be good (I have a 75w soldering station with heat control, but that's a little overkill). If you do enough soldering, circuitspecialists.com has a 40w analog temperature regulated soldering station for 29.95 (don't forget to get a tip cleaning thing as mentioned in #3).
3. Contaminating the solder joint with a dirty tip. Clean the tip well before attempting to solder the joint. Another way to contaminate the joint is by heating it too much and causing the outer coating of the cable to melt into and contaminate the joint. I like to clean my tip by dipping the hot tip into gel flux, then poking the tip in and out of a solder cleaning device. It looks like a brass scrubbing pad and scrapes the tip clean. I don't like the wet sponge method because it cools the tip down too much and I can never seem to get the tip nice and clean. When doing pc boards, I clean the tip about every 3rd joint (if the joints are very close together, I may do 6 or 7 between cleanings).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The 3 most likely causes of a bad soldering job I can think of are:
1. Touching the solder to the tip of the soldering iron as you apply solder to the piece. The cable will not get hot enough for the solder to flow and stick to it. Heat the connector well and keep the tip just slightly away from where you are going to put the solder...when the solder melts by just touching the part, then it is probably hot enough.
2. The soldering iron is not powerful enough to get such a large connector hot enough, so the solder is melted as in problem #1. A 20W iron may be just hot enough to do the center wire, but probably not hot enough to do the body of the connector due to the large mass of metal carrying the heat away to fast. Maybe a 30w iron would be good (I have a 75w soldering station with heat control, but that's a little overkill). If you do enough soldering, circuitspecialists.com has a 40w analog temperature regulated soldering station for 29.95 (don't forget to get a tip cleaning thing as mentioned in #3).
3. Contaminating the solder joint with a dirty tip. Clean the tip well before attempting to solder the joint. Another way to contaminate the joint is by heating it too much and causing the outer coating of the cable to melt into and contaminate the joint. I like to clean my tip by dipping the hot tip into gel flux, then poking the tip in and out of a solder cleaning device. It looks like a brass scrubbing pad and scrapes the tip clean. I don't like the wet sponge method because it cools the tip down too much and I can never seem to get the tip nice and clean. When doing pc boards, I clean the tip about every 3rd joint (if the joints are very close together, I may do 6 or 7 between cleanings).
Thanks for the replies. I'm definitely on par with all these tips. The biggest issue with these %@#[email protected]# connectors is the size and the fact that it's two pieces (a connector and a reducer for 8x). Heating them enough so the solder melts on the "work" and not on the tip is not easy. I'm using a 200w+ gun at this point and it just barely does it and not well. Of course by that time it's so hot that it's just about melting the insulator. Or it will melt to the outer connector but not to the reducer for the 8x coax that has the ground and the point of soldering it to begin with. So it just ends up floating on top of the hole. I'm not sure why I have so many issues with this, smaller soldering I'm not half bad at now but these connectors really make me nuts. Perhaps I'm just too picky about it and need to stop worrying about trying to make that perfect solder connection to the ground.
 

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I use this coax cable with removable FME connector for my CB kit.

 

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they sell no solder ones that screw together. buddy who works on marine electronic installs uses them as solder corrodes fast at sea he said. I used a few and they worked well.
 

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I have soldered who knows how many PL-259 connectors. Assuming that you are using RG-8 size coax (0.405"), or if you have something smaller then you need the appropriate reduction sleeve. The biggest problem I see people do when it comes to soldering coax connectors is that they do not put enough heat on it. The trick is get them hot fast. If you are at a lower heat and trying to get it hot enough to flow, the connector and coax is trying to dissipate the heat. So what you want to do is get the gun hot, then heat what ever you are soldering and of course apply the solder to the work not the gun tip. The high heat fast overcomes the dissipation of the components, then you wont melt the insulator. I use either a 260 watt or a 300 watt gun to do 259's.
If you do a lot of those DX engineering makes a slick stripping and installing tool.
73's

*and make sure the tip is clean and also the connection where the tip goes into the holder, the set screws always come loose and causes a voltage drop and then your tip never gets to temp.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have soldered who knows how many PL-259 connectors. Assuming that you are using RG-8 size coax (0.405"), or if you have something smaller then you need the appropriate reduction sleeve. The biggest problem I see people do when it comes to soldering coax connectors is that they do not put enough heat on it. The trick is get them hot fast. If you are at a lower heat and trying to get it hot enough to flow, the connector and coax is trying to dissipate the heat. So what you want to do is get the gun hot, then heat what ever you are soldering and of course apply the solder to the work not the gun tip. The high heat fast overcomes the dissipation of the components, then you wont melt the insulator. I use either a 260 watt or a 300 watt gun to do 259's.
If you do a lot of those DX engineering makes a slick stripping and installing tool.
73's

*and make sure the tip is clean and also the connection where the tip goes into the holder, the set screws always come loose and causes a voltage drop and then your tip never gets to temp.
It's a mobile application so RG-8X. I've got a 260W gun, which at the time was one of the hottest I could find. I'm just not having a lot of luck getting the work hot enough to flow the solder onto it. I was using rosin core but maybe I'll try a smaller diameter solder. Thanks for all the replies. After reading qrz apparently I'm not the only pl259 connector inept person out there. :lol:
 

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All really good info, the one trick I use in addition is a little extra flux and a dab of solder to start heat transfer between the item being soldered and the iron on big items that need or soak extra heat... The heat "connection" helps to get in and get out without excessive heat soak... Let the solder joint cool naturally without disturbing until solid then use canned air upside down to cool the rest of the way and clean up with denatured alcohol and Q-Tips... 73's
 

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It's a mobile application so RG-8X. I've got a 260W gun, which at the time was one of the hottest I could find. I'm just not having a lot of luck getting the work hot enough to flow the solder onto it. I was using rosin core but maybe I'll try a smaller diameter solder. Thanks for all the replies. After reading qrz apparently I'm not the only pl259 connector inept person out there. :lol:
IMHO I would ditch the gun and get a 40-60w pencil with a chisle tip it will make life easier. Make sure the tip is cleaned and tinned to help with propper heat transfer. 73
 

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After 48 years of soldering I bought a crimp tool a couple dies and an assortment of connectors. No problems.
Awww...life is good!


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