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  1. #1
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    Soldering Lessons: ESC/Motor Connectors, TRX Battery

    Hello,

    I'm piecing together a 4x4 Slash and the first parts I received are the motor and ESC. These are not OEM and are not setup for bullet connectors to connect the ESC to the motor nor is the Traxxas terminal on the ESC for battery connection.

    • Does anyone have any references they used for soldering the connectors?
    • Can you point me to parts/part numbers for what I'll need, specifically bullet connectors (I guess) and the Traxxas plug?
    • Can you point me to any inexpensive soldering irons?


    In the past I've only used the stock VXL power so this is a bit foreign and overwhelming due to the inexperience. I'd appreciate any help/insight offered.


    Thank yu,

    JRM
    / 16

  2. #2
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    Traxxas connector set male/female TRA3060
    One of each
    Traxxas connector male TRA3070
    For ESC conntection
    Traxxas connector female TRA3080
    For battery connection

    If you havent built anything in the car yet you will need at least one of each.
    You will find that you will need more females for the batteries and only one male. I always by them by what I need otherwise you get a stack of male connectors left over.

    There are many types and brans of bullet connectors to choose from. Its all about what size you need and that depends on what you are putting in there and its current draw.

    Inexpensive soldering irons are well....inexpensive, both in price and construction. You will need at least a 40W iron and would suggest buying a good quality iron over a cheap one. If it has a cheaply made tip it wont transfer heat and the tip wont tin. The result is you will spend far too much time trhy to apply heat and end up ruining what you are soldering. Its all about high heat and doing it quickly. It should take no more than a few seconds to tin the wire, then tin the connector then join the two. The solder should be shiny when you are done. If its dull then you got a cold solder joint and thats not good. It will either break or not transfer energy.

    Personally I use a weller 5-40watt station that isnt the top of the line by any means but does the job and its not one of the $7 irons either.

    Get decent solder, I use lead free silver solder.

    Google is your friend for techniques. Many vids out there.

  3. #3
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    I cannot agree more with Justin about the soldering iron. You have to buy a good one that has a rating at least around 100W else it is arduous and frustrating trying to solder the battery and esc cables. Trust me, been there.
    Always get a 2nd Opinion!

  4. #4
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    Ehh, I use a cheapo soldering iron, I just keep my tip clean/tinned and soldering is easy on pretty much anything.
    MM|2200kv 2WD LCG Slash - MM2|2650kv LCG Slash 4x4

  5. #5
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    ^^^^^agreed, unless you were using a soldering iron everyday for intricate work don't waste you money on an expensive iron, it might take a little longer to get hot but you will get there. I would buy quality solder and connectors. I have a cheapo I bought at the depot and its worked for years, but then I might use it once a year.
    Slash 4X4, MM 2200kv
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  6. #6
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. O.G.'s Avatar
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    This is the soldering station I just bought for about $80 shipped from Amazon. It's a HUGE improvement over my old cheapie and I feel like I can solder anything with it. Check it out.
    My Black & Blue Rally is faster than your color...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by O.G. View Post
    This is the soldering station I just bought for about $80 shipped from Amazon. It's a HUGE improvement over my old cheapie and I feel like I can solder anything with it. Check it out.
    Nice station! Great price.

    Didnt intend to send OP to buy top of the line, just not el cheapo $7 variety. El cheapo also comes with El cheapo tips that wont tin worth a hoot. You dont need exremly high wattage either but you dont want extrely low at the same time. 40W works fine for using good lead free silver solder. The trick is the iron has to get hot enough to heat what you are soldering and melt the solder within a few seconds, like 10 seconds tops but 5 is more like it. Any longer and the heat doesnt stay locally to your work are but travels down the wires or posts. If you are soldering on an ESC too much heat transfered will result in a ruined ESC. If you are soldering on wires that arent to close to the motor and take too long the heat propagates down the wire and will draw the solder too far in resulting in a stiff wire for the last inch or more that is prone to breaking and you still end up with a cold solder joint. Basically if you cant hold the wire with your bare fingers a couple of inches away from the solder joint then the iron isnt hot enough and too much heat is traveling down the wire.

  8. #8
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. O.G.'s Avatar
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    Unfortunately I've spent a lot of money on cheap soldering irons that wound up in a drawer because they're no good for the soldering we do.

    Someone on the forum says spend right once, or spend cheap twice... Or something like that, but you know what I mean. Lol
    My Black & Blue Rally is faster than your color...

  9. #9
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    More like spend cheap for an eternity. I got caught in a pinch and bought the el cheapo from LHS near my camping resort. Uber failure. Ran back home and grabbed my weller, Soldered motor, esc and battery connectors in less than 2 minutes including prep time, tinning etc.

    High $$ doesnt always=good either. Ran by radio shack and the station they had for $90 was a joke.

    Weller has been around forever in the soldering industry. I remember using my dads weller as a kid some 40 years ago!

  10. #10
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    You'll need a 100W soldering iron or gun to heat the wire and connectors quickly enough not to damage motor or ESC solder pads. Also a soldering jig is VERY handy. Go to MaxAmps.com they have one for less then $30.
    Last edited by Chief409; 10-06-2012 at 11:05 PM.
    Slash 4X4 SSC , T-MAXX, Revo and Bandit
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  11. #11
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. kdvanb's Avatar
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    I would use th castle creation bullet connectors as almost all connectors nowadays are 4mm. I would do this for future sense

    On the esc connector for battery that has been listed

    And solder station would be trak power 950 I think it's called. Heard nothing but good about those
    Slash 2wd, Slash 4x4, 30th digger, Rustler VXL

  12. #12
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    Thank you for the tips!

    So from what I can see, I just need to trim the wires to length, tin them, then insert into connectors whilst heating them?

    I can't say I'll go all out on a soldering iron as this is all I will likely use it for. I called a LHS to see if they soldered connections but they don't.

    Anyone know what size bullets I'd need to a Hobbywing SC8 esc and Tenshock SC401?
    / 16

  13. #13
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    depending on size/gauge of wires i'd go with castle creation bullets. There will probably be, a how to solder these on you tube.
    Problems.The manual's good starting point. Simple

  14. #14
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rag6's Avatar
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    Radio shack sells a killer 50w iron with variable heat. Think I payed 12$ for it. Will solder 8 gauge wires to castle 6.5mm bullets. Will post the part # If I still have the package, or find it.
    Wanna bash at Greenwood Bashplex in Pittsburgh ???

  15. #15
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. rag6's Avatar
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    Here it is. I must have got it on sale, as it is 21$, but well worth it:
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=4342791

    And, here are the replacement tips that no one can seem to find:
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...lickid=prod_cs
    Last edited by rag6; 10-09-2012 at 01:28 AM.
    Wanna bash at Greenwood Bashplex in Pittsburgh ???

  16. #16
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    Should I shorten the wires to the shortest usable length? I don't know if that matters re: current flow and whatnot.
    / 16

  17. #17
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    Thats all up to you.
    Shorter wires = lower impedance and less drop on wires. If your wires are sized for the load correctly it really wont matter.
    I do it just to make for a cleaner install but in that same breath if you shoten the wires then decide you want to get a different motor or esc shortened wires doest have a large impact on resale value..... unless you are running combo that requires soldering in the first place like a Tekin.

  18. #18
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. O.G.'s Avatar
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    It ruins some motors to shorten the wires. Make sure before you cut.
    My Black & Blue Rally is faster than your color...

  19. #19
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    Hobby Wing SC8 ESC and Tenshock SC401. I'm running 2S at first and maybe a 3S later for fun. I'm not sure how to find out if shortening hurts things. I'm ok with not trimming them, it would just be a lot of wire to bunch up.
    / 16

  20. #20
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    What specific type of solder do I need to pick up? Went to Radio Shack tonight but didn't know what to get.
    / 16

  21. #21
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    The only time it hurts to shorten motor wires is if the contruction of the motor itself is no so good..ie when you go to solder on new connctions the heat transfer into the motor housing will ruin the factory solder job and repair is not possible. You wont have this issue on premium motors.

    For solder I use the lead free silver solder, by it at radio shack myself. You dont need rosin core 60/40 lead.
    When it comes to solder less is more.....The bigger the blob the better the job does not apply here.

  22. #22
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    Thank you. I'll pick some up this afternoon. My roller is supposed to come in today so I'm pumped.
    / 16

  23. #23
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. O.G.'s Avatar
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    I use radio shack silver solder. My package says 64-035e. It works well but is a little small in diameter at .015 - get the same stuff in a bigger diameter.
    My Black & Blue Rally is faster than your color...

  24. #24
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    Well, certainly not the prettiest job but I got it done. Yanked a bit and the wires didn't come out so I assume it's adequate. Thank you all for the guidance.
    / 16

  25. #25
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. O.G.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinThyme View Post
    The only time it hurts to shorten motor wires is if the contruction of the motor itself is no so good..ie when you go to solder on new connctions the heat transfer into the motor housing will ruin the factory solder job and repair is not possible. You wont have this issue on premium motors.

    For solder I use the lead free silver solder, by it at radio shack myself. You dont need rosin core 60/40 lead.
    When it comes to solder less is more.....The bigger the blob the better the job does not apply here.
    On some motors the winding is actually the wires sticking out of the motor case, and if you cut them shorter, it will ruin them.
    My Black & Blue Rally is faster than your color...

  26. #26
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    what about the MMP the wires on the esc and motor are the length of my slash. the MMM in in my e maxx has like 4" wires. I guess I'll cut the esc side shorter just to be safe.

  27. #27
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. O.G.'s Avatar
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    It's ok to shorten the esc side, just not always the motor side.

    If the motor has solder tabs it's always ok to shorten or lengthen them. For motor leads that come out of the motor, find out from the manufacturer before cutting.

    Most racers try to shorten the wires for more power and less resistance.
    My Black & Blue Rally is faster than your color...

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmbtr View Post
    Well, certainly not the prettiest job but I got it done. Yanked a bit and the wires didn't come out so I assume it's adequate. Thank you all for the guidance.
    Are the connections shiny? If not you got a cold solder joint and thats not good.

    Quote Originally Posted by O.G. View Post
    On some motors the winding is actually the wires sticking out of the motor case, and if you cut them shorter, it will ruin them.
    Hence my statement about cheap motors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx_Adam View Post
    what about the MMP the wires on the esc and motor are the length of my slash. the MMM in in my e maxx has like 4" wires. I guess I'll cut the esc side shorter just to be safe.
    Just be careful not to shorten too much as if you ever have to send it in Castle will charge you $15 to put longer ones back on whether you like it or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by O.G. View Post

    Most racers try to shorten the wires for more power and less resistance.
    If you wire is sized adequately the length really doesnt matter and yeilds no more power and the difference in conductivity is so minute its hard to even measure it. Its not like its a 100 ft run and you have to account for voltage drop.

    I cut mine to length to make for a neat install which also comes with the benifit or reducing the weight a little.

  29. #29
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    I don't recall the solder being shiny. Looked matte if I recall correctly.
    / 16

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