HOW TO Solder Deans Ul­tra Con­nec­tors

AN EAS­IER WAY TO MAKE SOUND JOINTS

Model Airplane News - - MODEL ENGINE MAESTRO - TEXT & PHOTOS BY JERRY SMITH

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, most new­com­ers to our hobby don’t re­ally know how to solder. This isn’t that sur­pris­ing be­cause most of to­day’s elec­tric-power sys­tems come plug-and-play, and sol­der­ing isn’t as re­quired as it once was. There are, how­ever, some oc­ca­sions when sol­der­ing is needed, as when you’re deal­ing with new bat­tery packs that don’t come with the con­nec­tors in­stalled.

Sol­der­ing is the fastest and most reli­able way to join metal, and a sol­dered wire joint is both me­chan­i­cally sta­ble and elec­tri­cally ef­fi­cient. Avail­able in dif­fer­ent di­am­e­ters, the standard solder we use for elec­tri­cal RC wiring is 60/40 rosin core solder. It con­sists of 60 per­cent tin and 40 per­cent lead, with the rosin in­side the hol­low body of the solder. Koster solder is the most popular, but most build­ing and home-im­prove­ment stores carry other brands. The im­por­tant thing is to use the proper 60/40 type.

Solder is not ca­pa­ble of tak­ing a lot of stress or move­ment, so it is a good

idea to use shrink tub­ing over the joint to help support the joint and to in­su­late it from short cir­cuits. I ran into a prob­lem sol­der­ing large-gauge stranded wire to the lugs on a Deans Ul­tra Con­nec­tor. The lugs are close to­gether, and I just wasn’t sat­is­fied with the out­come. There was lit­tle me­chan­i­cal con­nec­tion be­tween the wire and con­nec­tor’s lug. In­stead of try­ing to tin and solder the ends of the wires to the lugs, I found a bet­ter so­lu­tion: us­ing the EZ Sol­der­ing Cou­pler for the Deans Ul­tra Con­nec­tor, avail­able from Maxx Prod­ucts.

1

Place the con­nec­tor into a holder, then place the gold­plated cou­plers on the con­nec­tor lugs. I like these heavy metal clamp hold­ers as they are steady and do not move around when you are mak­ing solder joints.

2

Tin the ends of the wire. I have found that a hold­ing fix­ture, like the Handy Helper (avail­able from Home De­pot), makes sol­der­ing wires easy. It holds the wire firmly and al­lows you to ap­ply the heat from un­der the end of the wire and the rosin core solder from the top. When the wire is hot enough, the solder will flow eas­ily into the wire strands. Then, do the same thing to the cou­plers and the lugs: Ap­ply heat from un­der the joint, and ap­ply the solder from above. When the parts are hot enough, the solder will flow into the joint. You can see here that I also tinned the in­side of the cou­pler, where the end of the wire will be in­serted.

3

To at­tach the wire to the cou­pler, heat the cou­pler with the sol­der­ing pen while in­sert­ing the end of the wire. When the cou­pler and solder are hot enough, the wire will slip into place and the solder will flow to form a per­fect joint. Here, you see the com­plete solder joint join­ing the wire to the cou­pler and the cou­pler to the con­nec­tor’s lug.

4

It is im­por­tant to slip a length of heat-shrink tub­ing over the wire be­fore your make the solder joint. Slide the tub­ing away from the end of the wire while sol­der­ing so that the heat does not cause it to shrink and make it dif­fi­cult to slip over the joint.

5

Once the solder joint has cooled, slide the heat-shrink tub­ing over the solder joint so that it com­pletely cov­ers the lug. Use a heat gun or a hair dryer to shrink the pro­tec­tive tub­ing into place.

6

As an added bit of pro­tec­tion and strength, I slip a larger length of tub­ing over the con­nec­tor and the wire leads, then shrink that into place. This takes the strain off the solder joints, so the bat­tery con­nec­tors will last a long time.

To make a proper solder joint, you need four things: an ad­e­quate heat source, a clean metal sur­face, a suit­able grade of solder, and flux or rosin. Rosin core solder with flux in the core of the solder is suit­able for most elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ca­tions, and the use of ad­di­tional flux is not re­quired. I bought the sol­der­ing sta­tion shown here from Hakko (hakko.com), and I highly rec­om­mend it. Be­fore you try to make a solder joint, en­sure that the sur­faces are per­fectly clean; I clean the lugs with al­co­hol.

Here are the Deans Ul­tra Con­nec­tors and the EZ Sol­der­ing Cou­plers. The cou­plers are made to fit the lugs on the Deans con­nec­tors. They are a snug fit but will slip into place with­out hav­ing to spread the cou­pler open—don’t try, as you can break them.

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