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Soldering wires directly to speaker, how to not accidentally unsolder coil wires?
Old 19th March 2011
  #1
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🎧 15 years
Soldering wires directly to speaker, how to not accidentally unsolder coil wires?

I just mounted some new speakers into a guitar cabinet. I wish to solder the cabinet wires to the little terminals on the speakers. Problem is, the speaker coil wires are soldered very close to the terminal ends, I fear if I heat the terminals to solder the wires on, the existing solder may melt and the coil wires will drop off.... and if this happens they'll be very hard to get back on.

I'd imagine there is a "trick" to doing this. One thought is to put an alligator clip (or similar) on the existing solder joint (to act as a heat sink and hopefully prevent that specific area from heating up too much in order to prevent the existing solder from melting). Or...? What do you guys do in a situation like this?

Another idea is to just solder female blade clips to the wires and slip the clips over the speaker terminal blades, thus no soldering to the speaker itself. This would be way easier. But I've got it in my head that soldering directly to the terminal is a better way to go for long term reliability and for a better connection in general. I don't plan on taking the speakers out of the cabinet any time soon, so.... shouldn't be a problem.

The type of cab I'm working with (fairly high-end stuff), when purchased brand new, loaded with speakers, comes with wires soldered directly to the speaker terminals, so.... if anything I'm just trying to get it back to a factory stock type arrangement.

So, again, in sum, how do you solder onto a small metal terminal when there is already a solder joint very close by on the same terminal, when you do not want to disturb the existing solder joint? These terminals are small, the existing solder joints are small, it's not the kind of thing you can just clamp a big `ole Vise Grips on or something.


Ideas? Thanks.
Old 19th March 2011
  #2
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think I'd use something like a hemostat (small clamp) to hold the coil wires tightly to the terminal. This would provide heat-sinking and if the joint still flows, the clamp would keep the wire from migrating. Without seeing the situation with my own eyes that's the best I got!



5" CURVED TIP HEMOSTAT | AllElectronics.com
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Old 19th March 2011 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 15 years
Every speaker I can recall has an inch or three of flexible wire connecting between the voice coil and the solder terminals on the basket. I've NEVER heard of solder heat causing any problems.

Best,

Bri
Old 19th March 2011 | Show parent
  #4
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tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years

There's usually an eyelet in the terminal.

Tin the wire, bend it into a "J", put it through the eyelet and clamp it down slightly. The wire should pretty much stay in place and probably is making good contact at this point.

Heat up the "J" just enough to get the solder melting and add a little more.

...never had a problem.




-tINY

Old 19th March 2011 | Show parent
  #5
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Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback.

For the heck of it, I'm attaching a photo of the speakers I'm dealing with so you can see the terminals etc. (note, this photo was swiped from the internet, not my actual speaker, but same model)

As you can see, the terminals are in the shape of an "L", the speaker coil wires are soldered to the terminal, and where I need to solder now is VERY close to where the coil wires are soldered, barely a 1/4" away. So, when I go to heat the terminal end to solder to it, it would seem to me that the existing solder at the coil wire joint might melt.

But, since you guys feel that I should not be concerned, I guess I'll just commence and start soldering. Of course my goal will be to heat the terminal end just enough to make a good solder joint while hopefully not overheating it.

The hemostat idea looks cool but I just realized that the coil wires extent downward from the joints so it's almost impossible to clamp anything over the coil wire solder joints... wouldn't be easy anyway, I don't want to risk damaging the very thin, fragile coil wires.

As you can tell here, I don't have too much experience soldering. I DO have some experience, I can solder quite well when conditions aren't too challenging, but.... it's the more challenging situations that I get nervous about. I just don't want to make a mess.

Thanks!
Attached Thumbnails
Soldering wires directly to speaker, how to not accidentally unsolder coil wires?-celestion-terminal-solder-11.jpg  
Old 19th March 2011 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 15 years
Your photo shows two "L-shaped" solder lugs, one per voice coil connection. Merely solder your hookup wires to each part of each "L" lug that does NOT have the voice coil wires attached. Heat should be no problem, unless you are using a blowtorch <g> or if you are very careless.

Best,

Bri
Old 19th March 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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666666's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Thanks Brian

I just wanted to clarify...

Refer to attached photo in this post...

The "L" shaped terminals are solid, one piece each.

Note that the coil wires are soldered right in the "center" of the terminals.

I need to solder to either the "side" legs of the "L" or downward pointing legs of the "L". But I don't think it would matter what leg I go to, should be the same, each leg is the same exact distance from the coil wire connection point.

It would actually be convenient for me to use BOTH legs of each "L" terminal since I'll need to connect two wires to each terminal in some cases, I can put one wire on each leg.

Don't worry, no torch! I have a few small irons, can't remember the wattage off-hand, I'll start with my smallest one of course, it might be a 12 or 15W...? I need to get myself a high-quality variable wattage iron at some point.

Extra question for bonus points ()... how about a recommendation for a good, high quality, variable wattage iron? Something that is good for general electronics. Is there a certain brand / model that you guys like? I do wish to upgrade my electronics tool kit.

Thanks!
Attached Thumbnails
Soldering wires directly to speaker, how to not accidentally unsolder coil wires?-celestion-solder-12.jpg  
Old 19th March 2011 | Show parent
  #8
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
With a decent soldering iron you should be fine. I'd use the section of the "L" that still has an opening in it (the horizontal one in the picture) so I didn't have to apply a lot of heat to a clogged up attachment point to clear the opening.
Just make a good mechanical connection through the opening and then solder it in place without applying way too much heat. If you are still nervous about the coil wires a small alligator clip (or the hemostat mentioned earlier) between the new solder joint and the coil wire attachment will divert the heat.

You might want to get a catalog from All Electronics (linked earlier) as I have found them to be a good source for inexpensive tools that are very handy to have in your toolbox.

I use Weller and Xytronic temp controlled stations. There are quite a few good ones out there and everybody has there favorite.
Old 19th March 2011 | Show parent
  #9
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Thanks, Rick.

The attached photos were swiped off the web, they are not of my actual speakers. The speakers I'm working with are brand new so the terminal are all new and clean.

As well, I'm dealing with brand new cabinets that were purchased unloaded. The cabinet maker already wired up the cabinet and nicely tinned the wire ends that go to the speakers.

I've inspected brand new loaded cabinets offered by this same company (high-end guitar amp and cab maker), and they apparently solder all their speaker connections, they do not pass the wires through the terminal holes. I guess as long as the solder joint is done right it's not critical for the wires to pass through the holes. Though it makes sense that passing the wires through the holes would make it a little easier to deal with when soldering as the wires will stay in place while soldering. I can either snip off the tinned section of the wires and pass the wires through the holes or just solder the wires nice and "flat" to the terminals.

I know I'm making a big deal here about a VERY simple operation, you guys were probably doing this type of work when you were 5 years old, but I just want to make sure I approach this properly. I'd rather spend a little extra time learning the best way to do something than to just roll the dice and possibly do a sloppy job.

Thanks again!
Old 25th March 2011 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 15 years
Hey guys... I'm finally about to do this soldering work today. Will be traveling over to a friend's studio to do it.

Please refer again to the photos I attached earlier in this thread...

I have a small 15W iron and a small 40W iron... which do you think I should try first for this application? Again, I want to heat up the end well for a good solder, but do not want to use any more heat than necessary so as to avoid melting the coil wire joint.

Not being highly experienced at soldering, my thoughts are... the 15W iron might work but will require that I hold it against the terminal longer, not sure if this is a good thing if I am trying not to melt a nearby joint. Might allow more heat to slowly "soak" into the terminal and spread.

Or, the 40W iron might be ok if I am careful, perhaps it will heat the terminal faster and thus there is less time for heat to travel (soak) into the adjacent area of the terminal...? Or... might it just be too powerful in general for that very thin terminal?

Yeah, again, I know I am over-thinking this and making a big deal about an extremely simple procedure, but if those coil wires fall off while I'm trying to solder tonight, our whole session / evening will be ruined. The scheduled session requires the use of these cabinets. I could not get over there any earlier to do this work.

I did pick up a hemostat (forceps) and some other little clamps that could potentially be used as little heat sinks.

The design of these little terminals seems terrible to me. It would seem that anyone trying to solder to these terminals is going to possibly melt the coil wire joint. These are extremely popular speakers... maybe I'm missing something here...?

Thanks!
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