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Soldering Basics

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Hi guys, decided to do a quick primer on soldering after reading the posts regarding the CC our moderator has so graciously sourced for us (I just ordered one myself, btw). It seems some folks have some reservations about cutting and soldering a few connections and, frankly, I can't blame them. For some folks taking a bike apart and tinkering with its internals almost seems like second nature and kudos to all of you. But, some folks are a little more skittish when faced with tearing apart their spanking new 9k+ baby. Remember, this is not only a monetary investment but each rider has to consider how their lives and health could potentially be affected. BIG decision for some guys understandably. And it all comes down to how you connect four little wires. A daunting task indeed, if you've never done it before. Never fear though, I am here to tell you exactly how to solder those joints like a professional! Seriously!
Okay, you've pulled the tank and cut the wires as shown in the included instructions. Everything looks good according to the full-color illustrations and pictorials. Nice! Now, you have to cut a few wires and solder the harness in so it will connect properly to the loom and plug into the ECU. Holy electrons, Batman, what should I do? It's okay, just follow a few simple rules and you'll be okay.
1. Make sure you have obtained some 70/30 tin/lead flux core solder. This particular formula works beautifully with electronic/electrical connections. Also, make sure you have some 1/4" heat shrink cut to 2" lengths.
2. Make sure you have a soldering iron with a slender pencil tip. DO NOT use a standard size or flat tip, too much heat could be transferred back toward the ECU and damage it or the insulation around the wires.
3. Either sand or steel-wool the tip of the soldering iron. Clean with isopropyl alcohol and then tin the tip (heat the iron up and apply a small amount of solder until it melts and covers the entire tip).
4. Now, identify which wires you need to solder together. Strip each wire to 1/2" and clean with alcohol. If possible, use alligator clips to pair up the connections you want to make without stranding wires together.
5. If soldering stranded wire, take a piece of plastic (a credit card works great) to separate the wires down the middle for each wire. Do this for one connection at a time. Try not to touch the wires with your bare fingers as this could transfer oils from your skin that could interfere with the joint.
6. Carefully twist the wires for each connection around each other until you have a solid joint. Don't overdo it, the wires just have to be touching for the connection to be closed. I really hope you put the heat shrink on one of the wires before this step. Derp!
 7. Clean each joint with alcohol. Clean again. Nothing contributes to a poor solder joint more than oil from human skin.
8. Now, the fun begins. If the connection you are trying to make is at an angle place the heated soldering iron on the top wire just below the insulation. Place the tip of the solder at the bottom of the joint and wait until the solder "runs" up the wire. When the solder reaches the tip of the iron pull it away quickly and inspect the joint. If there appears to be any cracks or if the solder has a dull luster to it you will have to do it again. Clean those wires!
9. Repeat the steps above for each joint until they have all been successfully soldered. 
10. Once you have determined that all joints are secure, slide the heat shrink down over the joint and use the iron or a heat gun to apply the heat shrink over each connection.
11. Done!
 12. That was easy, wasn't it? Okay, maybe not. But if you still have reservations about this job, get some wire and practice, practice, practice!
13. Soldering is easy if you've done it before. It can be a complete bitch if you haven't. If you are seriously considering doing this mod yourself, please take the time to learn how to make the connections in a proper and safe manner. The life you save may be your own and you just may learn a skill that will allow you to take that next step in modding your bike. Also, the wife might appreciate your ability to fix some things around the house :)
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Thanks for the order!! And what an awesome post! So happy you have joined us and hope that you visit us often.
I encourage anyone to buy a soldering iron and some solder and find some 24 guage wire as well as other sized wire and practice soldering. It's a skill that every man should learn and once you practice its like riding a bike, you won't forget. Half of the electronics that people throw away just have bad resistors and can easily be replaced by soldering. I pick up alot of free equipment and repair it at home.
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I've worked in an automotive shop almost my whole life and this is the first I've heard of using alcohol to clean the wires before soldering, I'll give it a try :)
I prefer to use a flux paste that has to be applied to the wire- sure it may be a little messy, but it garuntees the solder is going to flow into the wire extra easy... "but couter! why aren't you using a rosin core solder?" I do. I like to make the job as quick and as easy as possible. Get in and out. Do it right the first time. I can't agree enough that practice is your best friend, and a little bit of flux to help the nervous begginer.( I literally just stick the wire directly into the paste and then pull it right back out- sometimes it looks like theres nothing evey on it until the iron touches it)
OH! and if you happen to be worried about being tethered to a cable that is either too short or dont have a good spot to put it down while doing the job, I've been using a butane power probe solder iron, no wires, heats up quickly and is travel friendly for those who are concerned about having to "repair the wires" at any point and time.
I have complete confidence anybody following your directions will be able to wire up more than this CC sucessfully.
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As a automotive now heavy equipment tech that also owned a electronics repair side business this is a proper way to make a good solder connection. Only side note I have to add is that you should move the heat shrink as far away as possible from the solder joint until it cools. If the heat shrink reduces in diameter prematurely it will be a pain in the ass to get over the joint. Also if possible purchase the heat shrink tubing with the glue built in.
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AS I read it, we will be splicing into and existing wire. No ends so the heat shrink tubing is out. CMIIAW.

Ken, Candy Ass L.D.R. Sleeps 8 hours
(2)2005 FJR1300abs:  230,000 m
2015 FJ-09:  114,000 m (Replaced engine at 106K)

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