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Thread: Soldering LED strips back together

  1. #1
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    Soldering LED strips back together

    Hello again all.

    I was wondering if anyone has any tips on good techniques to use when soldering LED strips together. I am working with a strip of LPD 8806s that is about 3 meters long.

    I have had to, because of various reason, repair the strip several times. I have tried various different ways of soldering them back together and always seem to end up with a solder joint that breaks down the road.

    I have checked around for any tutorials on this and the only thing I find is stuff on soldering wires on to the end of the strips. I have that part down pat.

    So, if anyone has any insight on how to put them back together and have them as strong as the factory joins, I would love to hear it.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Have you tried reinforcing the solder joints with something? Small pieces of solder wick, etc?

  3. #3
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    Hey.

    I tried some very light stranded wire and then some light solid wire and then some heavier (20g) solid wire. All were bitchy to pull off. The 20g solid wire worked the best for a while.

    Thanks

    Russ

  4. #4
    Senior Member Wozzy's Avatar
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    Does your strip have solder pads on both sides? ( Front and Back)

    Mine does, so I just pre-tin the front of one side of the joint and the back of the other. Then overlap the two and hit it with a very hot (700 deg F) iron. I hold pressure on the pads with a dental probe until the pad cools,,, I do that for each pad at the lapjoint.

    If your strips do not have solder pads on both sides, you might try some flat pre-tinned bus wire, like used on solar cell tabs, to bridge the butt joint. then reinforce with capton or mylar tape.

  5. #5
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    Hello,

    Yes, it has solder pads on both sides and I have tried what you suggest with the exception that I did not go super hot on the soldering iron. I went at the max of my iron (25-50w adjustable). I am not sure how hot that is but I think it is in the 500-600 range. I have a soldering gun that will go to 1000 degrees so maybe I will try that.

    Thanks

  6. #6
    The high heat is actually to prevent damage to the strip most likely. It lets you heat one little localised area of the strip (the solder pads) fast enough to melt the solder without requiring the iron to be held on the strip long enough for the heat to propagate elsewhere on the strip.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Wozzy's Avatar
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    As I gain experience, I am realizing that many of my past soldering frustrations were caused by either a low wattage soldering pencil, or just not setting it to a high enough tenperature. The higher temperature melts the solder instantly, and doesnt allow time for the heat to conduct to the other components. With my current soldering station, I'm usually setting 650 to 750 degs (F).
    My only other advice is to always have the tip wet with solder... a dry tip does not conduct the heat very effectively.

    I'm sure we have some real pros here that could divulge some secrets for soldering.
    Last edited by Wozzy; 03-07-2013 at 10:55 PM. Reason: Add Farenheit

  8. #8
    Flux is your friend, so long as you don't go overboard. Otherwise it can get messy in a hurry. In which case flux remover comes in handy.

    Also I should warn that high iron temps will eat your tips faster as well, especially copper ones, So always make sure to keep them well tinned.
    Last edited by Qumefox; 03-08-2013 at 05:30 AM.

  9. #9
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    Thank you for the replies.

    I am still a novice at soldering. I have been practicing and have invested some in better equipment then I started with.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wozzy View Post
    Does your strip have solder pads on both sides? ( Front and Back)

    Mine does, so I just pre-tin the front of one side of the joint and the back of the other. Then overlap the two and hit it with a very hot (700 deg F) iron. I hold pressure on the pads with a dental probe until the pad cools,,, I do that for each pad at the lapjoint.

    If your strips do not have solder pads on both sides, you might try some flat pre-tinned bus wire, like used on solar cell tabs, to bridge the butt joint. then reinforce with capton or mylar tape.
    Yeah mine is the same

  11. #11
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    Hi dude, if the strips are flexible then Mabey soldering might not be the best option. There are several types of conducive glue on the market that could do a better job. There are even some tutorials on youtube and instructables that show you how to make your own.

    As for soldering just try to solder it as quickly as you can, the longer you keep your tip there the more damage you will do the surrounding components/housing.
    Also if you can clean up any solder left over from past repairs as adding new solder to used solder does not always give you a strong joint.

    Hope this was helpful

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