If you’ve ever messed around with a car’s electrical system or fitted toys like auxiliary lights and winches, you may be familiar with the art of soldering– splicing wires together. It’s not hard, but there are a lot of tricks to learn to perfect the art and this video seems to cover every single one.
Since I just happened to start experimenting with solder myself for the first time last week, I just finished cramming a bunch of YouTube tutorials on the subject and this one is unequivocally better. It’s clear, concise, comprehensive and really makes me wish I hadn’t bothered sitting through any others.
ChrisFix’s YouTube channel has been one of my favorites for a long time. The disembodied voice hosting it does a really good job explaining basic-but-essential automotive maintenance techniques in language that’s easy to understand. Since almost everything is filmed from the “mechanic’s” first-person point of view, the videos on this channel also make work steps clear to reference against your own project.
This video quickly takes you through:
- Applications of solder (permanent installation of electrical accessories.)
- Tools required (available at your local auto parts, hardware shop or RadioShack if it still exists.)
- Safety (watch out it’s hot! Also toxic.)
- How to hook wires together (which type of splice to use and when.)
- Specific types of solder (not all are created equal, but always wash your hands after handling.)
- Secrets you might not know even if you’d done this before (don’t use acidic flux.)
- Tips to improve survivability (silicone paste-wrap your solder job!)
- And the finishing touch (heat-shrinking wrap.)
The basic steps of a soldering project go:
- First, strip your wires.
- Then slip some heat-shrink tubing further back the wire (but not over your stripped-section yet.
- Add some flux to the wires.
- Splice the wires.
- Actually solder the wires– heat up the splice and melt the solder itself onto the connection.
- And finally, paste your wires and shrink the heat-shrink tubing around the connection.
The first time I tried this, without reading any directions, I just melted the solder on top of a couple poorly-laced wires and didn’t really make anything more than a chrome turd.
This tutorial does a great job explaining all the nuances of the process. And really makes me nervous about eating after I played with that solder. I mean, I think I washed my hands?
Another pro tip I’ll throw in– practice this skill before you need it. Every little project is a lot less stressful when you’re playing around, and that will make you better when you need to properly wire something up in a pinch.